Richard wasn’t financially ready to retire yet, but he also didn’t want to get back into corporate life. That’s when he reconnected with his childhood dream of proofreading.
Now that he’s proofing for court reporters, Richard is bringing in the income he needs while loving every minute of his pre-retirement life.
And he’s proving guys are awesome proofreaders!
Read on to see how this veteran-owned proofreading business became a huge success!
Tell us a little about your background, Richard! What did your life look like before you crossed paths with PA?
I was laid off from my engineering job back in October 2015 and began a job search while drawing severance pay and unemployment. My job prospects were looking very dismal around May/June 2016 and my severance/unemployment were just about used up. Even though I had a military pension upon my retirement from the U.S. Air Force in 1993, and IRAs and a 401(k) from my engineering job, I still needed “bridging” income till I could retire from civilian industry and collect my full social security in 2019. Even the prospects for just a part-time job at my age, experience level and salary requirement, were not promising. My wife suggested I look into proofreading since I always had a knack for grammar, spelling, and punctuation ever since I was a child, and I was always correcting something or other in the media.
I was always interested in the law and found Proofread Anywhere a perfect way to get involved in the legal industry, start my own business (which I always wanted to do), leave corporate America, and be my own boss with my own hours, my own clients, and no commuting hassles. I liked what I read about Caitlin and her course, so I signed up for the free 7-day intro course and got hooked. So here I am!
When did you start proofreading transcripts, and what made you decide to learn how to proofread transcripts?
Actually, the first time I proofread a transcript was in the course. I didn’t know what these documents were formally called, and I did not know that much about what a court reporter did. I did not know such a job as transcript proofreading even existed and where it fit in the grand scheme of the legal industry. Book proofreaders and editors are fairly common, but transcript proofreaders were a “special ops” group. From my online research, the field also was not saturated and wouldn’t even come close to being saturated in the near future.
What was the most challenging part in getting started?
The most challenging part was convincing my wife that I should invest in the course. The tuition for Caitlin’s course is actually very, very reasonable compared to a business college tuition (I have an MBA = $$$$). And the start-up costs of a transcript proofreading business are much less than a brick-and-mortar business. After I informed my wife that the course cost can be paid in three stages and after I explained the start-up costs model, she was in!
What was/were the most valuable thing(s) you learned during the course?
I was able to ask the instructor and the PA team questions and receive near real-time responses from a genuine person and not a computer. Also having the student Facebook forum was very valuable in asking questions, in forming relationships with fellow students, and in working as a team toward a common goal. The Graduate Huddle Facebook page is invaluable when you are setting up your business. Another asset was that the course material was always available even after graduation and that the course content was dynamic.
How long did it take you to find your first client? How many clients do you have now?
I launched my website on 1 November 2016 and got my first client on 4 November 2016 and my second client on 5 November 2016. Both clients are now regulars. I have a total of 7 clients as of 12 December 2016.
What advice would you give anyone thinking about enrolling in the course to proofread transcripts? Is it worth the money?
If you have an appreciation for the written word; if you like grammar, spelling, and punctuation; if you like having your own business; if you want to be part of the legal profession; if you genuinely want to help your clients; if you have good time management skills: then you should proofread transcripts! Is it worth the investment? Yes! I was able to recoup my course costs (non-deductibles) in 26 days! Carry on and proofread!
What does your life look like now as a working proofreader? Anything else you’d like to share about your journey?
Life is looking good! I own my own business now; I am my own boss; I have no commuting costs; I set my own hours; I read and learn about all kinds of new things; I make much more money than I would in a part-time job in much less time. This is the perfect “bridging” job that I was looking for in my journey. Owning your own business, accounting, marketing, client management, and time management are all part of the journey now.
What Are Richard’s Clients Saying?
Richard’s court reporters can’t stop raving about him!
Check out comment after comment from his clients.
Richard has joined Bonnie in proving that age really is just a number! What matters is the heart you put into wanting to make passion turn into success. Richard wasn’t afraid to study hard and then jump right into finding clients. Being proactive makes all the difference.
Thanks for sharing your story with us today, Richard!
Super story Richard. I will be following right behind you. I am 49 years old and a former Army Flight Engineer. (90-98)
Your website was not listed in the text. Can we have that link?
Hello Troy, my website is:
Welcome aboard! You know the pre-flight drill: sit down, strap in, and hold on!
Thanks for sharing Sir. And yes, I do know those rules. Along with the one about making sure your coffee cup lid is secure as you never know when a negative G might show up. LOL!
I am 61 and about to retire from 38 years of teaching high school English. I passed Caitlin’s course two months ago and set out to find my first client. I have a website, I am on LinkedIn, and I have contacted court reporters in my local area (which is in Vermont … not many). Still nothing.
Any advice? I thought finding clients would be easy.
I am trying to be patient.
Shouldn’t Caitlin’s course have taught you how to get clients?
Please look at Modules 5-10 because the second half of the General Proofreading course, Ignite, contains all of the marketing and client-acquiring information you need to start your business. Thanks! 🙂
Diane, send me an e-mail at [email protected].
Thank you, Richard for your inspirational story. This was exactly what I, and other students needed to read this morning. Congratulations on your new found business.
Thank you, Ms Nette! It is certainly keeping me busy! I am usually proofing every day with a lull of a couple of days interspersed for flavor! The course will teach you how, but you have to turn the “hows” into action and do the work.. Good luck!
Really encouraging to read of your success, Richard. It’s stories like yours that keep us all heading for that goal.
Hello, Dee! Thank you for the kind words! Yes, a thriving and profitable transcript proofreading business is totally possible by applying what you learn in the course and your own drive to succeed – at any age! Keep moving toward that goal, and keep in mind what Sir Richard Branson always says, “Even if you fall flat on your face a few times, you are still moving forward!”
Richard, thank you for you for sharing your truth and your service to our country while serving in the Air Force. Your story is inspiring in more ways than one. Take care and I look forward to connecting with you soon.
Wow this is marvelous posting..! I really enjoy the reading, You are a great author. I will definitely bookmark your blog and I will come back in the future.Thanks for sharing valuable information.
Thanks, Helly! Well, I am now 65 and still going – keeping clients happy and growing the business steadily.
Are you still proofreading? If yes, what are a few of your current assignments?
Do you still think the legal proofreading field is not saturated in 2021?
I welcome updated advice.
Hi Sandra! I reached out to Richard to see if I can get a 2021 update from him — I’ll let you know what he says. Having referred dozens of proofreaders in the last month alone, my gut tells me that proofreading is still not a saturated market.
Hi, Richard. What an inspiration you are! I am a retired English teacher who would like to earn some extra $$$ and still have the energy to do so. With regard to transcript proofing, does one have to come into the field with a background on legal jargon? And what about the saturation level of the field in 2022-23?
It is so awesome what Richard is doing. I would love, love, love to do it. I am just not in a position to secure the start up costs. I live on a very limited income.
Honestly wish I could be doing what Richard is doing and I wish him all the best!
I believe age is no barrier, I'm 65. But what about education? I do not have a college degree.
You don’t need one 🙂
Very inspiring, thank you for sharing. I will turn 65 in a couple weeks and have been feeling the pull away from corporate for a while. I’ve been working on the course, but a full time job makes it hard to focus.
A voice inside is whispering to quit my job and turn my energy to finishing the course and launching. I am in a prime market – Washington DC metro. It’s that nagging fear of walking away from steady income despite being miserable.
is there a way to find out about start up costs before enrolling?
For more information and the cost of the course, please click on the link provided: https://learn.proofreadanywhere.com/gptp
What a great success story! Congratulations to you, Richard! I am just getting ready to embark on the PTs. 😊
Richard, do you use CAT, paper and (red and yellow) ink, a PDF editor, or something else? I want to learn which is best, as in easiest or most commonly used. Thank you for sharing!
I so enjoyed reading about you, Richard! I am roughly the same age, and living in the same circumstances: I too need a 'bridge' income to stay home with a sick wife, make more money, and hopefully thrive until I can draw SS. I am currently in the general proofreading course, but could use some mentoring once I am ready to launch a business of my own. And now that I've read your story, I may have to consider the transcript course as well. We'll see. Right now, the medical bills are first priority.
Richard, I too am an Air Force Vet. But I've been doing book editing for about 28 years. I like the idea of Transcript Proofreading, and just received a link from Caitlin to take a closer look at it. A fellow editor in my Christian Editing Network introduced the concept to me, having taken the course last summer.
So where do you live and work?
I have purchased the course but I haven’t started it yet, as I am currently finishing another course. Is transcript proofreading part of the Proofread Anywhere course or is it a separate course? Thanks from a 68-year-old on this journey.
Transcript Proofreading and General Proofreading are two different courses. They are sold separately. The first part of Transcript Proofreading is included in the General Proofreading course.
Congratulations Richard! I'm also a "seasoned" individual who is currently working remotely. However, my position ends with Tax Season so I invested in the course and slowly working through the modules. You alluded to other start-up costs. Would you be so kind as to give me a "ballpark" estimate. I want to make sure I put enough funds aside so I can launch quickly upon graduation. Thanks!
As far as start-up costs for your freelance proofreading business go, I can’t itemize everything for you here, but as a freelancer, you can keep your costs minimal. And there are free and heavily discounted trial subscriptions for several services, e.g., Freshbooks (Module 12) is a premium invoicing service you can use to bill your clients and keep track of your accounts, and it even sends payment reminders with custom stationery with your logo to clients who are behind on a payment. Check out the pricing here: https://www.freshbooks.com/pricing. We also encourage students to use Weebly where you can create your customized website and pay for your domain name monthly for as little as $6-$12 per month (Module 9). If you use an accountant, that’s another expense, as well as buying a reliable and updated tablet or computer and any software programs you choose to use for your proofreading. Actively marketing yourself on social media platforms is free, so you really don’t have a large investment to make as far as additional costs.
I’m new to PA, am 57, have a MA in teaching ESL, but have not worked in the field for 20 years due to raising children and assisting husband with his business. I love language and am know to read the dictionary for fun. However I am very nervous about making any mistakes after i finish the course and get my first client. My background should give me confidence as well as my strong desire to do an excellent job each time. I just am so worried i might not catch a mistake and would feel devastated. I know it happens, so how do you handle that both with yourself, and with your client if that happens? Thanks so much.
Proofreaders are human, and we all make mistakes! The more you practice, the more you increase your accuracy which in turn will build your speed. Although it’s important to take the time to go over your work critically with laser focus, mistakes happen, and believe it or not, the majority of clients will be more understanding than you think. It’s important to have high standards for yourself and your work, but don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Establish a system of checks and balances and practice as much as you can to build your accuracy. Don’t stress yourself out so much! I’m sure you’ll do great!😉