Kimberly is a mom of four kiddos who wanted more freedom in her monthly budget. After discovering she could use her talent with words to earn money from home as a proofreader, Kimberly’s life changed for the better. They’re no longer scraping by each month! Learning to proofread transcripts changed her life.
This is her story.
Tell us a little about your background, Kimberly!
While many students take the PA course so they can quit their old job, I enrolled in it so I could afford to keep mine. I’m a stay-home mom of four young children, and my husband is a grad student, so money is tight for us. I only proofread a few hours a week, but my income has allowed us to go from barely scraping by to having some breathing room in our budget. It has been a godsend for our family.
When did you start proofreading transcripts, and what made you decide to learn how to proofread transcripts?
I was introduced to the idea of legal proofreading about a year ago by an acquaintance who is a court reporter. The career intrigued me, and I loved that its hours would be so flexible, but I was reluctant to pursue it seriously because I felt like such a clueless rookie. I had a solid grasp of grammar and spelling, but felt like there were lots of ins and outs of legal proofreading that I just didn’t know, and wasn’t sure how to learn. A few months later I happened upon Caitlin’s website, and realized her course was just what I needed to fill those gaps.
What was the most challenging part in getting started?
Deciding whether this course would be worth the investment of my limited time and money, and believing I could truly succeed after I finished it.
What was/were the most valuable thing(s) you learned during the course?
It took my proofreading skills up a notch or two, and gave me the hands-on practice I needed to feel confident marketing myself as someone prepared to do quality work.
How long did it take you to find your first client? How many clients do you have now?
About a month. Marketing doesn’t come naturally to me, and it took me a while to find my groove. Once I did, though, I quickly connected with several clients that I’ve enjoyed working with. I now have three regular clients and a fourth who occasionally sends me expedites. I make just over $400 a month, on average, and I’m sure I could earn more if I decided to connect with additional clients. Right now there’s only room in my busy schedule for a few hours of proofing a week, but I may choose to take on more work in the future when my youngest child starts school.
What advice would you give anyone thinking about enrolling in the course to proofread transcripts? Is it worth the money?
It is definitely worth it if you’re willing to put in the effort. If you have a talent for proofreading, this course will polish your skills and you will come out prepared to succeed in this line of work.
Anything else you’d like to share about your journey?
The most satisfying part of this journey has been that I attempted something new and intimidating to me, and I emerged successful. Some parts of it came easily, but there were other times when I had to step outside my comfort zone and wrestle with self-doubt. That made it all the sweeter down the road when I realized that I was succeeding in a career that once seemed beyond my reach. I’m proud of myself, grateful to Caitlin for designing this course, and grateful to God for leading me to it right when my family and I needed it.
Congratulations, Kimberly!! You identified the problem and took specific steps to change it. Nothing is beyond your reach.
What are Kimberly’s Clients Saying?
Here’s a screenshot of an email from one of Kimberly’s clients. To protect their privacy, we’ve blocked out their name and other identifying information.
Great story Kimberly! I, too, am a stay-at-home mom of four (soon five!) and one of my biggest challenges is carving out quiet time to work on the course. Our two oldest are in school but the younger ones no longer nap at the same time, and in that last hour before bed the tiredness creeps in. Can you share any tips or tricks for how you’ve made proofreading work around your family demands?
I hear you, Amyable. I tended to work on the PA course after my kids were in bed, and that’s when I do the majority of my proofing these days. The only tip that comes to mind is that if there are other tasks that compete for your time at night (e.g. washing dishes, doing laundry) try to get a jump on them while the kids are awake so you have more time and energy during prime time at night.
Hope that helps. Good luck!!
Way to go, Kimberly. You should be proud. ??
Thank you Kimberly for your clear, honest testimony. I’ve been vacillating (I love that one of its synonyms is “dithering”) and this article has helped me to make a final decision to take the course.
Dithering is, indeed, a fun word to say. 🙂
Good luck with the course!!
This kind of came at a good time for me. I’m currently going through the course and I’m at the point of starting the practice transcripts…and I’m a lot nervous. I’m doing this to supplement, not do FT and I was wondering how I was going to balance my FT job (which I like. A LOT), find time to write, and do the work-life balance thing. I’m like Kim. I’ve got a grasp of the whole grammar/spelling thing, I think it’s just the punctuation side of things that’s really going to trip me up. And that’s making me doubt myself.
The first few practice transcripts were really humbling for me — I missed so many things and wondered if I was cut out for this work. The more of them you do, though, the better you get at spotting even the littlest errors.
Thank you. I am really freaked. I know I will not make the 60-day requirement on the practice tests. This is not me. I’m a perfectionist when studying and on the job. Any advice?
You can take as long as you want, but if you’re doing NextSteps and find you need more than 60 days, we recommend just upgrading to the full course, which has lifetime access. You won’t lose your progress 🙂
Great story Kimberly – I’m very happy for you and the success you’ve had so you can still be a stay-at-home Mom. I’m interested in possibly pursuing something like this and I was hoping you could expand a little on your proofreading experience prior to starting this course. You mention that you “had a solid grasp of grammar and spelling” and “proofreading skills” already. I was hoping you would share a bit more about what your skill levels were before you decided to enter the legal transcription field. Thank you!
When I say I had a solid grasp of grammar and spelling, I mean that I already knew how to properly use semicolons and apostrophes, my spellcheck rarely had to correct me, and I often noticed when other people misspelled things or used the wrong punctuation. I didn’t have any formal training, per se, but I was skilled enough that people periodically asked me to proofread things for them. In other words, I had a solid foundation to build on when I started the course.
That said, the PA course opened my eyes to a lot of proofreading pitfalls that I had never even considered. I hadn’t realized that discreet and discrete had separate (ahem, discrete) spellings, and I now have a much clearer sense of which things should be capitalized and when a comma or hyphen should be used. Doing the practice transcripts was like having an expert looking over my shoulder, showing me which things I was good at catching, and which ones I needed to pay more attention to. I’m a much better proofreader now than I would have been without Caitlin’s training.
Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer my question 🙂
Thank you for your story, Kimberly. I feel like we are in similar circumstances. I have three kids at home that I homeschool and was looking for something I could do at home to use my talents. (To tell the truth, I had not considered my strengths in grammar an actual talent!) I came across PA and remained undecided about it for at least 6 months. I studied the website and the feedback. I finally made the plunge in February and have not regretted it! I’m still doing practice transcripts, but I know this course was a God send. I’m also looking to do it just a few hours a week, but wanted to have my foot in the door for when my kids get older. Thank you for the reassuring testimony!
I feel the same way. I’m really grateful to have found a home-based career with flexible hours, which allows me to work very part time now and then expand later if I want or need to.
I know you said that your family was tight with money when you started the course so did you get the books and IPAD that is on her suggested list before you started? I feel that I need these books and IPAD to do the course and get the most out of it so I am scared to start it until I have those items. I’m glad that you are doing well with it and I hope I get there some day soon also.
Sorry for the late response. I just saw this question today, and I wanted to address it in case others are curious.
I didn’t actually have any of the suggested books while I was taking the course. For grammar questions I relied mainly on my existing knowledge, things I learned from the PA course, and occasionally my friend Google when I wasn’t sure about something. An acquaintance later gifted me her old Morson’s English Guide, which has been helpful for a few questions about quotes and the like.
As for the iPad, our family already had an older generation iPad capable of running iAnnotate, so I didn’t need to buy one of those. While I don’t think the books are a necessity to take the course, I do think the iPad is important to have. Fortunately, you can buy refurbished iPads through apple.com or amazon.com for much less than you’d pay for a brand new iPad.
Also, be on the lookout for sales, especially as we get closer to Black Friday. I got a great deal on a new iPad mini 2 plus a Bluetooth keyboard last year.
Great testimony especially with 4 kids. I would love, love to be able to earn extra money proofreading but here in the Washington, DC area, I’m not sure that court reporters use proofreaders. From what I understand, they all have systems that allow them to talk into a machine that transcribes for them and then they proofread their own work. So I can’t really see where I would market my skills in this metropolitan area. Does anyone have any input on this? Thanks!
Hi, Janice! Those are called voice writers. Many voice writers still use proofreaders. One thing to keep in mind is that it really doesn’t matter WHERE your clients are. You can proofread for people in Washington STATE if you wanted to. There is nothing limiting you to only working for people in your area.
Hi, Janice! While I’ve been a working transcript proofreader for a year now and have court reporters all over the country, I don’t have one in the Washington, D.C. area, so I can’t speak to the specifics of that area. I do however have some in the surrounding area, like Maryland, so you need not ever worry about having clients in your exact area. The beauty of this gig is that you can market and work for court reporters nationwide! 😀
Wow!! Thanks!! I am encouraged to look more closely at the course. I appreciate the additional info.
Fantastic article! You’ve covered things that potential proofreaders wonder about but actually need a former student to ask about these things.
Definitely an inspiring piece!
Do you have any recommendations on how to find employment in this field? How did you find your clients?
Hi, Kristian! I recommend signing up for the free intro course to find out more about transcript proofreading. You can also check out the FAQs on finding clients.
Hi people! One shorr question 🙂 how much on average does freelance proofreader charge per page of ~250 words?
Many thanks in advance!
Proofreaders set their own rates, usually on a per-page basis. With some hard work and dedication, our grads are able to work as much as they want proofreading transcripts.
This is a great tip. I’m trying to make some extra money to renovate my house and fix the decor, but I did not know it was possible to make money this way. Thanks for the tip!