There are lots of ways to market your proofreading business successfully.
Some people focus on online methods like their website and social media channels. And that’s awesome! It’s the way of the world now, and it can get a lot of eyeballs on your offer.
The more people you can reach with your message, the better.
However, others prefer the personal touch. Reaching out to your existing network is still a viable and often overlooked marketing strategy. You never know who in your network needs your services unless you ask them!
Carolyn found all her clients through her existing network. And since she recouped the cost of the course before she even finished it, this strategy seems to be working for her!
Find out more about Carolyn’s story below.
Q: Welcome to the blog, Carolyn! Tell us a little about your background. What did your life look like before you crossed paths with PA?
My degree and work experience before having children was in endangered species management. It often required me to go into the field for a few days at a time.
After children, I wanted to be able to stay home and started to focus on writing. I wrote a novel, The Gardenia Curse, that was published in 2015 and then began working for a small publishing company as an editor.
When I first came across Proofread Anywhere, General Proofreading: Theory and Practice had not been created. Even though I was interested, transcript proofreading didn’t really fit what I was looking for.
I stayed on PA’s email list though, and when I saw the general proofreading course open, I debated signing up. I didn’t sign up right away, though, as I was skeptical about whether or not it was worth it. It took about a year for me to finally decide to take the leap to invest in myself and the course in hopes of being able to make more money from home.
Q: Wow — endangered species! What an exciting and worthwhile experience. And congratulations on publishing your first novel! When did you start proofreading, and what made you decide to learn how to proofread?
I was writing and working for a small publishing company. I wanted to expand my knowledge and skills, so I signed up for the General Proofreading course in July 2018. I began proofreading for friends while taking the course to gain more experience.
Q: What was the most challenging part of getting started?
For me, it was having enough confidence to put myself out there and figuring out what exactly to put on my website. It’s still a work in progress.
Q: Low confidence is a killer for a lot of people. Confidence comes with mastery though, so by honing your skills, you will feel more confident. What was the most valuable thing you learned during the course?
How to use CMOS and other resources to research answers.
Q: Using your resources is incredibly important! How long did it take you to find your first client? And how many clients do you have now?
So far I’ve found all of my clients through word of mouth. My first paying one was actually while I was still taking the course. I’ve only had a handful of clients so far, but one is a recurring client.
Q: That’s awesome! Word of mouth is one of the most important marketing tools out there. How long did it take you to get freelance proofreading jobs and recoup the cost of the course?
I took my time with the course. It took me just under a year to complete it and pass the exam. To gain experience while taking the course, I told people I was proofreading and did some work for free. As a result, I ended up getting paid work and actually recouped the cost of the course the month before I passed the exam.
Q: You’re on fire! Way to make use of your existing network to bring in clients. What advice would you give anyone thinking about enrolling in the course to learn how to proofread? Is it worth the money?
If you’re serious about proofreading and will go through every assignment, the course will more than prepare you. Yes, I feel it was definitely worth the money.
Q: What does your life look like now as a working freelance proofreader?
I am able to work around my daughters’ schedules and be present for them, which is even more important now with all that is going on with COVID-19. I’m happy with my workload and proofreading income.
Q: It’s amazing that you are able to be there for your family and still earn money at the same time. Anything else you’d like to share with the PA community?
It is possible to make an income through proofreading. Compared with some of the other proofreaders in the group, I’ve just barely begun. I know if I want to increase my income, I’ll be able to.
I have no doubt you will be able to increase your income as well, Carolyn! Reaching out to existing contacts is an often overlooked marketing strategy, and you’re really making the most of your network. Kudos to you!
Want to get freelance proofreading jobs from home like Carolyn does? Check out our free proofreading course to see how you can get started!