Valerie is stopping by the PA blog today to share insight into the tremendous success she’s experienced in her journey toward replacing her income with proofreading.
I was shocked to learn that in just six short months after graduating from Transcript Proofreading: Theory & Practice™, Valerie’s grown her client base to ten reporters — and has earned a total of $5,275.39 so far. Wow!
Enjoy the interview — you’ll be able to drop Valerie a line at the end of the post.
Hey, Valerie!! So excited to have you on the blog. Tell us a little about your background!
Your typical secretary/bookkeeper, gal Friday type who tried improving my job satisfaction and earning potential by taking various courses over the years, including court reporting, computer programming, software testing, and medical transcription. I’ve always enjoyed the written word and am my friends’ go-to girl to review correspondence and resumes, etc. as well as on the job. I enjoyed reading so much that, as a child, I read (and found errors!) the backs of cereal boxes and road signs when books weren’t within reach.
When did you start proofreading transcripts, and what made you decide to learn how to proofread transcripts?
I started proofreading transcripts in 2015 after I took this course. In the spring of 2015, I was working from home doing medical transcription, but recent partial hearing loss made it a struggle. I frequently scoured the internet for other ways to earn my keep at home, when one day I read an interview where Caitlin Pyle described transcript proofreading for court reporters — something I had never heard of and would not have thought of on my own. But I knew immediately this was perfect for me. It met my desire to continue to work at home on my own schedule; I would be working with words and language; and the legal industry is one in which it seemed each function was respected for its part in the entire process — even or especially the “scribes” who, in so many industries, are less respected, even viewed as “a dime a dozen.”
What was the most challenging part in getting started?
The most challenging part in getting started was the actual decision to just do it. Was this going to be another “investment” in my skill set that will be less viable in practice than theory? Would I actually succeed in being completely responsible for my own business and finding clients and keeping the work coming in? Big decision.
What was/were the most valuable thing(s) you learned during the course?
1) Readability is king!
2) There really is a job where I can use my natural abilities to make a living by partnering with people who need and appreciate my contribution.
How long did it take you to find your first client? How many clients do you have now?
Here’s my timeline:
9/28/15: I received my certificate of completion for the course.
10/8/15: I received my first contact from a reporter who sent me my first job the next day and who has sent me jobs steadily since then.
10/10/15: Another PA grad forwarded on a request for rate sheet from a reporter when she was unable to accept the work. That reporter sent a job immediately and has become my second steady source of jobs.
Between then and November 5, I have completed one “one-off” job and have acquired two more clients, so I have four steady CR clients.
11/5/15: I deposited a total of $518.70 into the bank — IN THE BANK!! I have $186.35 more paid and pending clearance in PayPal, $93.40 invoiced/unpaid (check has been mailed), and $117.60 in jobs in the queue awaiting completion and invoicing. That is a grand total of $916.05 of earnings in my first month!
I earned about three times what I allowed myself to hope for the first month. Thereafter, I quickly made a profit even after recouping the course registration fee, the two reference books purchased, monthly fee for my invoicing app, and check processing fees. Woo hoo!!!
Fast forward to 3/31/16: With the exception of February, which was very slow, my earnings have increased each month. I have worked for 10 reporters. Six of them remain active and in touch, and three of them provide most of my steady work.
I have been paid for a total of 56 jobs totaling $5,275.39.
I have $308.00 invoiced awaiting payment.
There is $188.80 in my work queue right now.
My total income so far includes only one job that earned a rush rate and only one job earning an expedited rate. I am doing this almost completely on my standard rate. (Oh, that expedited paycheck was sweet!)
If I continue to grow my client base and my income at my current pace, I expect to match my former full-time income within the year, even taking into account taxes and health coverage. I might estimate that could happen by fall, but I do not want to push too hard unless I can do so without risking the quality of my service. I am confident my proofreading business can produce the income I want.
What advice would you give anyone thinking about enrolling in the course to proofread transcripts? Is it worth the money?
Yes, if you enjoy puzzles, have a knack for punctuating, are flexible and are not a die-hard stickler for a rule over readability/client preference, you will enjoy this career. Of the several various courses I have taken over the years, this one is the first that revealed enough about the reality of daily life actually doing the job that I have not had any unpleasant surprises or disappointments since completing the course and doing the job in real life.
As a freelancer, there will always be a need to market myself, to stay active and visible in the local and cyber communities related to my chosen career, as well as to continue to learn and strengthen my skills. On the other hand, I have the freedom to set my schedule and workload and build friendly partnerships with my clients.
I am proof the work is out there for anyone willing to put out the effort and time to get it.
Anything else you’d like to add about replacing income with proofreading?
Go into this with your eyes open. It is a job, and you will have to work. Keep your expectations real and grounded in the facts in front of you. You will have a lot of freedom and control over your schedule, but you must be flexible and available to provide the service you promise your clients. Communicate, communicate, communicate with your clients to avoid misunderstandings. Have faith and be confident. When you have successfully completed the course, you know you are able to do the job well and far better than many people advertising their service who have not had the training. Exude the confidence of the skills you possess and potential clients will have that same confidence in you. Go for it!
What are Valerie’s Clients Saying?
These are screenshots of emails from some of Valerie’s clients. To protect their privacy, we’ve blocked out their names and other identifying information. Valerie’s also featured on our Wall of Fame!
Other Ways to Earn an Income from Home
No interest in proofreading? No biggie! You’re not limited to proofreading if you want to earn money from home. Check out these other income-earning (or replacing!) ideas!
- Bookkeeper Business Launch
- General Transcription: Theory and Practice™
- 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success
- 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success
- or — see the full list of our recommendations.
Leave your questions and comments for Valerie below!