Think you can only get paid to proofread if you live in the United States?
As long as you are FLUENT in the English language and have excellent knowledge of grammar and punctuation rules, you can work as an English-language proofreader.
This not only applies to general proofreading but also to transcript proofreading.
Take Silas, for example. Originally from the UK, Silas emigrated to Australia for love. Dealing with visa work restrictions led him to search for location independent jobs, and eventually he hit on the idea of proofreading.
Silas took both my courses and has been able to work for both court reporters and people in need of general proofreading despite not being from or living in the US.
No excuses here, folks!
Keep reading to find out how Silas gets paid to proofread!
Q: Hi, Silas! Tell us a little about your background. What did your life look like before you crossed paths with PA and started getting paid to proofread?
Before I crossed paths with PA, I was very skeptical about any “make money online” course. My first experience with entrepreneurship involved unknowingly getting sucked into an MLM (often synonymous with pyramid schemes) while raising money for charity in 2012.
I was in my first year of university, full of optimism and naivety. I was indoctrinated into thinking we’d all be making money together and helping each other out. It took me quite a while to work out for myself what I’d gotten into and stop being a part of it.
Fast forward a few years and, although my entrepreneurial spirit had been dampened, the idea of building something that could generate location-independent income never left me. I’m English, but I moved down under in 2016 after falling in love with an Aussie.
I had lots of dead-end jobs while dealing with visa work restrictions, and I was always on the lookout for a way to make money with something I was already good at and enjoyed doing. I love to read and naturally pick up grammar mistakes, so when I found Proofread Anywhere, it seemed like the perfect opportunity.
Q: Those MLMs can really suck you in! I’m glad you found an alternative path that suits you better. When did you start proofreading, and what made you decide to learn how to proofread?
I started the general proofreading course in the second half of 2018. I completed it within a month and jumped straight into the transcript proofreading course. That took me about four months to finish, and pretty much as soon as I graduated, my partner and I embarked on a four-month trip house and pet sitting through Europe and Asia. During our travels, I got everything set up, began marketing, and got my first client!
I’d always wanted to try earning while traveling. Although I didn’t really earn much — I was having too much fun to put any real time into my business — just knowing I could make money from literally anywhere is an amazing feeling.
I made the decision to proofread after doing a lot of jobs that I didn’t enjoy and finding that I could earn an income with something I was naturally good at. My history of working online left me with a healthy dose of skepticism. I researched everything I could find about PA and Caitlin Pyle, asked lots of questions, and thought long and hard before making the decision to start with PA.
Q: I totally agree; having the freedom to earn money wherever you are in the world is awesome! What was the most challenging part of getting started?
One of my biggest roadblocks was finding clients. I thought that there would be no work left, particularly as both of the courses had already been out for a few years.
On top of that, I’m English, doing an American course. I was concerned that the skills wouldn’t transfer outside of the US and nobody would pay me for it. I tried finding other courses to weigh up the decision, but they were all theory and had nothing in terms of marketing, finding clients, or support of any kind.
Now, I actually find it easy to switch between US and UK English. They almost feel like separate languages, so it really stands out to me when the wrong version of a word is used.
Q: The demand for proofreading is growing all the time thanks to the boom of self-publishing! There’s work out there for anyone willing to work hard. What was the most valuable thing you learned during the course?
That’s a tricky question. There’s so much great content! If I had to pick one, I’d say the section on marketing. When you first start, you might hope that just listing your services online and sharing a link to your website will get you off the mark, but there’s much more to it than that. It’s all about making genuine connections, engaging with others, and providing value first, rather than going straight to the pitch.
If you follow Caitlin online, you’ll see she really practices what she preaches. Her blogs alone contain so much valuable info for free. Check out any of her stuff and you’ll get an idea for how to market and sell in an authentic way.
Q: How long did it take you to find your first client? And how many clients do you have now?
I got my first client within a month of graduating from both courses, but I didn’t get any more for another three months or so. Keep in mind, though, I was traveling the whole time, and I spent waaay too long getting “set up” before reaching out to find new clients. (I literally spent months building my website. Wouldn’t recommend.)
Once I made proofreading a priority, I began picking up lots of one-off jobs and new clients pretty quickly. Now, I have about four regular clients and five semi-regular clients.
A couple of times, I’ve told my friends how many pages I’ve got to read, and they’ve said they couldn’t think of doing anything worse. That in itself shows that many people will pay for someone else to proofread their work, and if that doesn’t put you off, then proofreading might be for you.
Q: Yes, not everyone likes getting into the nitty-gritty and searching for errors. How long did it take you to recoup the cost of the course?
Around six months for both courses.
Here’s what some of Silas’s happy clients have to say!
Q: Awesome! What advice would you give anyone thinking about enrolling in the course to learn how to proofread? Is it worth the money?
First, make sure this is actually a good fit for you. Go through all the free training, check out some reviews, and do your own research. You’re not going to make money overnight. You will have to read. A lot (obviously). And they are by no means easy courses. The transcript exam was more difficult than most of my university exams.
In saying all that, it has been so worth it for me. Proofreading is a real and valuable skill that people pay for. It’s not going away anytime soon, it’s a relatively short learning curve and investment compared to other ways to make money online, and the other skills you learn in the course will set you up to do so much more in the future. Since graduating, I’ve launched another part-time business in a completely different field, using a lot of the transferable skills I learned in the PA courses.
If you’re thinking about enrolling, I’d recommend starting with the general proofreading course first. It’s much shorter, less of an investment, and allows you to dip your toes into the proofreading world to see if it’s for you. You’ll also probably be able to start making money quicker through this route.
Q: What does your life look like now as a working freelance proofreader?
I proofread on a very part-time basis. Proofreading has given me location and time flexibility. I’ve proofread on the couch, in the car (I wasn’t driving), at the beach, on a plane (I wasn’t driving). I get to set my schedule, work around other things in my day, and plan it around my other business.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. I have to work hard. I have to stay disciplined. I have to wear many different hats, and there have been some struggles along the way, but proofreading has allowed me to earn enough to live comfortably and support myself while doing something I enjoy.
It’s an amazing feeling to reflect and see what I’ve accomplished. PA has helped me to build something for myself from nothing, something I can look back on and be proud of.
Q: I’m proud of what you have achieved as well, Silas! Anything else you’d like to share with the PA community?
- Don’t take forever to get everything ready. When I first graduated, I spent a long time building my website. While I enjoyed working on it, it literally took me months to do. However, barely any of my clients found me through my website. I could have used all that time reaching out to find clients and start getting paid. That proof of concept is critical for your motivation. Get set up as quickly as possible, then focus on getting clients. After that, when you’re getting paid, by all means, spend any other time you have perfecting your brand or tweaking your homepage.
- I have to mention the PA community. The Facebook groups and the Proofread Anywhere team are THE BEST. Everyone is so supportive and encouraging. We all help each other out and even share jobs and opportunities for one another. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or voice any doubts. Every time I’ve reached out to the support team, they’ve gone above and beyond to ease my concerns and give an individualized response to each question. Caitlin and her team truly want you to succeed and will help in any way they can.
- Your income will be a reflection of how much value you can bring to the marketplace. If you can learn and offer skills that solve other people’s problems, you’ll be set. Proofreading is one of those skills.
I couldn’t agree more with Silas’s last tip. If you can solve people’s problems, you will be successful in any business you start — proofreading included! I love that Silas didn’t let his location hold him back from starting his proofreading business. You can proofread from anywhere in the world!
Want to get paid to proofread just like Silas does? Our free proofreading course will show you how you can get started!