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“I Got My First Proofreading Client in 20 Minutes” — Jerrica’s Story

Just STOKED to have Jerrica as our featured success story today!

She literally got her first client within 20 minutes of starting her marketing process post-course completion. We think that’s a record! She has gradually increased her earnings each month since.

Jerrica’s not just earning a nice chunk of change as a proofreader now — her clients are super happy with her work, too!

Here’s Jerrica’s story. Feel free to chat with her in the comments below!

Tell us a little about your background, Jerrica!


I have a bachelor of science in paralegal studies with a specialization in litigation, and I’m finishing up my master’s in library and information science with a focus on museum studies. I have been working in the legal field for 5 years, and I love it, but I was a little restless (hence my master’s degree). While working on my library science degree, I realized I also wanted more flexibility to travel. My husband and I had to cancel our first trip to Europe three years in a row due to work schedule conflicts. I decided enough is enough and I began searching for a way to accomplish our traveling goals.

When did you start proofreading transcripts, and what made you decide to learn how to proofread transcripts?

I was browsing Pinterest one day in search of a way to either travel on a budget or make extra money for my traveling fund, and I stumbled across Proofread Anywhere. At first, it seemed too good to be true, especially being a combination of my two favorite things!

My current job does require me to do some proofreading of legal documents, and it is my favorite task at work. It was like someone made this job for me. The more I looked into it, the more excited I was. Not only could I make extra money for traveling, but I could eventually quit my job and travel as much as I want! I’m pretty sure I did nothing else the rest of the evening. πŸ™‚

I officially started the proofreading course on April 24, 2015.

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    What was the most challenging part of getting started?

    The biggest hurdle for me was actually deciding that I can do this and that it is worth the course fee. I don’t like to spend money on myself, and I’ve watched others try to create their own business but ultimately fail. It was definitely a mental stumbling block that my husband had to help me get over. So after two or three, or ten, pep talks with my husband, I bought my iPad, paid for the course, and dove in. I promised myself if nothing else, I would pay off the course fee and the iPad. I have more than tripled that amount so far!

    What was/were the most valuable thing(s) you learned during the course?

    Honestly, the entire course is so valuable! I’m very Type A, so for me it was great to know in detail how a transcript is made, to be able to work through all the practice transcripts, and even have examples of what to say to clients.

    How long did it take you to find your first client? How many clients do you have now?

    Now, I don’t want to set unrealistic expectations, but I found my first client within 20 minutes of completing the course! It was all timing.

    Since I am still working at a law firm full-time (for now), I wanted to take things slow. My first month I made $600, the following month I made $750, and this past month I exceeded $1,100! I haven’t done any marketing since my first month and I’m still gaining more clients.

    Currently, I proofread for six reporters and one agency. I would say I only get steady work from 2-3 reporters while the rest send me one-offs throughout the month. I just started proofing for the agency this past month too, so I’m excited to see where that will lead.

    What advice would you give anyone thinking about enrolling in the course to proofread transcripts? Is it worth the money?

    The transcript proofreading course is definitely worth the money! If you already have an eye for errors and if you are willing to put in the work, it is so worth it. Be forewarned, proofreading is a little addicting.

    Anything else you’d like to add?

    I just wanted to thank Caitlin for all the hard work she has put into this course and her willingness to share this awesome opportunity.

    If I’m able to quit my job and support myself by proofreading while traveling the world, and it looks like I’m well on my way, that is truly life-changing! Thanks to proofreading, we have a vacation to New Orleans paid for and our trip to Europe has expanded into a three-month adventure next fall!

    If anyone would like to contact me, whether you have questions about my experience with the course or if you are in need of a proofreader, my e-mail address is schaferproofreading[at]gmail.com.

    What Are Jerrica’s Clients Saying?

    We asked Jerrica to send in some screenshots of emails she’s received from happy clients. Here’s what they’re saying about her work! [Names have been redacted to protect reporters’ privacy.]

    What Jerrica's clients are saying

    Do you have questions or positive thoughts for Jerrica?

    Leave a comment below!

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    1. That’s amazing, thanks for sharing! I’m just getting ready to start the practice transcripts and reading stories such as yours only adds to my motivation πŸ™‚

    2. Hi Jerrica,

      That is a really encouraging story! Thanks for sharing and good luck with the traveling. Get in touch if you’re coming to Wales!


    3. Oh wow, what a great story! This is so inspirational to me- I also have the same hurdle I need to get over, I feel like this was my pep talk. Congratulations Jerrica and enjoy your travels!

      1. Thanks Mari! That’s great to hear. You can do this! πŸ˜‰ Good luck!

    4. Thank you for sharing your story! I’m still working on my biggest hurdle of getting started — reassuring my husband. πŸ™‚ I’m getting closer every day. I’m curious; how many hours per week did you spend working through the course material and how long to finish the course? I don’t want to set-up unrealistic expectations for myself. Thank you again for sharing — this is very encouraging!

      1. I wish I had kept track better, but I think I spent around 10-15 hours a week for about a month. However, I finished when there were only around 20 practice transcripts. πŸ™‚ Good luck! Hopefully your husband sees the light soon. πŸ˜‰

    5. Wow, Jerrica, you encourage us all. Your goal is my goal…travel. Hope I see you in Alaska, summer 2016! Your hub must be so proud of you!


      1. I definitely am proud of her. She is an amazing and talented woman. I am incredibly lucky!

    6. This is so inspiring! Thank you for sharing your story, Jerrica!

    7. Many congratulations Jerrica on your success!

      This is great positive news as I am getting ready to embark on this course. Wishing you all the best in your ventures, both proof reading as well as travelling.

      Many wishes,


    8. Jerrica, I’m enrolled in the proofreading class and am currently working on the comparing my first transcript to the one Caitlin did. I must admit, I’m a little disappointed because I found so many more errors than she did and it makes me feel like I overdid it!!
      Am I missing something? I found so many more places where a comma should have been and a captal letter there, and a semicolon there. What’s your secret to being able to find all the errors without overdoing it?

      1. Make sure you read the lesson that comes right before you get to the practice transcripts — this is an art, not a science. When you proofread spoken word (especially for a reporter you know purposely goes very light on punctuation), it’s not about littering a comma everywhere you can just because there’s a rule. Many reporters will purposely request you NOT to do this, or will stop using you if you do it. Some reporters hate semicolons. Plus, with interpreted depositions (as PT 1 is), you have to tread even more carefully with what you fix. The first PT is a mess. There’s no big secret, but it is easier when you have your own clients and you learn their preferences (using the preference sheet :-))… some reporters purposely send a messy transcript because they believe it’s the proofreader’s job to insert punctuation. It’s not. PT 1 is NOT a typical job, and it’s there for learning purposes only… so don’t worry too much about it.

      2. I know how you feel Sandy. Don’t sweat it too much. As Caitlin said, this isn’t typical. Just take a deep breath, and give the second one a try. πŸ™‚

    9. So great to read your story! You mentioned contacting court reporters/agencies in your area … I live in a small rural town and I realize all work is done via email, etc., but is it easier to get work if you live in/near a city, or does it matter at all? Thanks!

      1. Actually, I live in a pretty small city and had this concern in the beginning too. It’s really not an issue since everything is done online. I live in Ohio, but I have clients in California, Florida, Illinois, and Texas! I just sent e-mails to the few local agencies and reporters in the beginning because I would already be familiar with addresses and things like that. I quickly moved on to other states after getting that first client. Good luck!

    10. Hi Jerrica,

      Thank you for sharing your story. It’s really encouraging. Like you, my biggest challenge was trying to figure out if I could do this and then coming up with the money. I decided to start off with the 30-day course, and so far it has been great. I’ve decided that I’m going to go forward with the complete program. Thanks again for sharing your story.


    11. Very encouraging! I’m currently in the marketing phase myself, and it can be a challenge. I quickly received some very positive replies from several of the reporters and agencies I contacted, but haven’t yet gotten one who’s in a place to hire me. (A couple said they’d save my information for later/pass it on to anyone else looking for a proofreader, and a couple agency owners forwarded my info to their reporters.) Always gives more motivation to keep at it to hear from someone who’s doing so well!

    12. Hi Jerrica,

      Great to hear your success story! I noticed you are a full-time paralegal. I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind answering some questions I have. I too am now working full-time in a law office. How do you have the energy after working all day to still proofread? And about how many hours a week would you say you proofread? Also, I just started my full-time job after a three month lay-off situation. My new employer wants to know about any other work I do (or plan to do) in case there is any conflict of interest. Do you consider proofreading while working in law a conflict? If not, how so? I appreciate your help in answering my many questions! Thanks!


      1. It’s not a conflict unless you’re proofreading transcripts that involve firms or cases to which you have some kind of interest or connection. Proofreading for a case in another state involving law firms to which you’re not connected is no conflict at all.

      2. Actually, I find that proofreading after a long day at work is kind of relaxing! I would normally come home and read for an hour or two so it wasn’t a big change for me. I would say I proofread anywhere from 10-25 hours a week. It varies depending on how busy my reporters are. Sometimes I have 3-4 days of nothing, and then I get 700 pages at once! And I agree with Caitlin; it isn’t really a conflict unless it involves a case your firm is handling. It does take work to balance proofreading with a full-time job, but if you’re serious about it, you’ll make it work. πŸ™‚

    13. Congratulations on your quick success and travels! I’m still considering signing up for the course, and now I’m wondering how difficult it will be to get work if so many proofreaders are marketing to the same firms and agencies. Is this a concern? And did your current relationships in the legal community make it easier for you to obtain proofreading jobs?

      1. Hey, Natalie! Check out the video on the home page (about 2/3 of the way down). We discuss “Is the market saturated?” a lot on the video. A lot of students are worried about this, but this type of work isn’t easy enough for the market to be saturated. Only the strong survive. Those who are excellent and want the work will find it.

      2. Thanks! I had this concern too, but I didn’t have any problems finding my first clients. It will be difficult if you e-mail all the same reporters that have been getting marketing e-mails. I would try alternative routes such as calling agencies, handing out business cards, and getting involved in the court reporter Facebook groups. I didn’t have any connections to court reporters from my job either. All of my clients were found the hard way. πŸ˜‰

    14. Dear Jerrica,

      What a testimony!

      This course is on my must-do list! Since I live and work in Malaysia, I need to do a bit of asking around about the culture here and also keep a close watch on the USD exchange rate. Any ideas on how to do a quick research on demand for proofreaders? I welcome suggestions!

      Thanks for sharing!!

    15. Jerrica, I’m so happy for your success and wanted to ask you if you have a large iPad or small? I only have a 7-inch and wondered if that is big enough. And also, is proofing legal documents much different from term papers and other school papers?
      I taught school for a few years in English and I was always proofing essays and term papers and such. My daughter told me, as she went to college, that she was not going to write letters to me (this was quite a few years ago when we still wrote letters) because all I would do would be to correct them and send them back.
      So as you see, I do love to proof. But I’m afraid it will be completely different and I might have trouble. I am now a senior citizen and I don’t learn as well as I did years ago.

      1. Sandra,

        I, too, was worried about the same thing. What I did was sign up for the free 7-day course to see if it was going to be something that I would like and would be able to do. And luckily it was. I suggest you sign up for it as well, that way you can see for yourself if it is something you will be able to do and like to do. You have nothing at all to lose since it’s free.

    16. Hi Jerrica!

      Great job! It sounds like you are well on your way to the lifestyle you dream of. Your story is inspiring for those just starting out or thinking about taking the course. From one paralegal to another, best of luck to you! πŸ˜‰

    17. Awesome post! Thank you so much for the encouraging story and words of inspiration. Best of luck in your traveling adventures πŸ™‚

    18. This is totally amazing and inspiring! I am saving up as we speak so that I can take the course. I know everyone’s success is different, and it’s all about how much work you put in.

      Tell me, what course option did you use? The Basic, Plus, or VIP option?

      I am trying to determine if someone can be successful with just the Basic option or not. Of course extra guidance from Caitlin that is offered in the Plus and VIP options would be advantageous, but my budget will only allow for the Basic option.

      Thanks! And much continued success!

    19. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m just starting to look into this and I also stumbled across the information on the course on Pinterest. Congratulations and enjoy your traveling!

    20. Hi Jerrica,
      Could you provide an update on your proofreading journey? How many regular clients do you have now? How many hours are you now working per week? Has your income increased since October?
      I’m still contemplating this course since this original post in October.
      Thank you!

      1. Hi Lauren!

        Since October I’ve been doing work for the court reporting agency I mentioned in my interview, and that has led to three additional reporters that use me regularly. πŸ™‚ It’s always hard for me to say how many hours I work in a week, but I would estimate anywhere from 10 – 30. It always seems to be feast or famine! My income through the holidays remained steady, but it has spiked since the beginning of January, and I expect it to continue to grow this year. This is perfect timing since my husband and I are (finally!) leaving for our first trip to Europe next month!!

        I think if you’ve been thinking about it since October, you should go ahead and jump in. I was on the fence initially too, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the course. I decided it was worth trying if it was weighing on my mind that much. I’m so glad I did! Our trip to Dublin, London, and Paris would probably not be happening, especially this soon after the holidays!

        Good luck!

    21. I currently live on about $800 a month social security and would like to get some idea what this course costs. An IPad would take a few months savings to buy so I would need to get an idea of the time frame I would need. I have a BFA , minors in Archeo/ Geology. I understand maketing the benefits, but even a private message would be helpful to me. [email protected]

      1. Hi, Susan! Please see this page for everything you need to know about the course cost. About an iPad, definitely shop around! This page has a section that briefly covers where you could score yourself a deal. πŸ™‚ Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

    22. Thank you for sharing your story! I am also a paralegal for a law firm, and it is encouraging to see that I am not the only one that has some self-doubt issues! I look forward to beginning this program!

    23. Hello! I’m not a native speaker but I would say My English is not to bad. Would you say it’s still something I could consider or would it be to hard?


      1. Good news, Michaela! Our Jumpstart program is an excellent way for non-native English speakers to grow and refine their English skills. What’s even better is Jumpstart will give you the opportunity to test your skills with our new, in-depth Word Skills Test. This will do one of two things for you: 1) It’ll help you gauge if your skill level is a good fit for proofreading English transcripts, and 2) if it’s not, will help you save a LOT of money by letting you know that the full course might not be a good fit for you. Either way, you walk away a winner with new English skills that will benefit you for a lifetime! For more information, go to proofreadanywhere.com/overview.

    24. Hi Jerrica. I have a question about your work with agencies. Do you find they pay on time or is the payment for your work tied into their payment by a lawyer?

      1. Hi Diana! The agency I work with always pays on time. They do a direct deposit to my bank account on set dates just like my day job. πŸ™‚

    25. Great success story..thanks for sharing! I hope you are still enjoying traveling!! Freedom to be with my kids more, and travel, are my goals!

    26. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sitting on the fence as I’m hesitant about spending the money because I’m ultimately trying to save money, but I am intrigued by it all. It would be great to be able to travel when I wanted to, but like most people, I’m hesitant to give it a go and possibly leave the nice predictable comfortable paycheck. Thanks again for sharing and placing those seeds of encouragement to “get out of my own way.”

    27. Hi Jerrica, Congratulations on building a successful business! It’s wonderful to hear success stories like yours. How long did it take you to finish the course and how intense did you find the coursework? I’m thinking about embarking on this journey, but want to hear from an actual graduate regarding the level of effort needed to complete the course. Thank you!

      1. Hi, Frances,

        I know this question was meant for Jerrica, but I wanted to give you some feedback because this post is from 2015, so I wanted to make sure that someone got back to you! Up thread, she mentions that she spent about 10-15 hours a week for about a month working on the coursework; however, there is much more content now, so bear that in mind, too.

    28. Hi All

      Congratulations Jerrica!

      I think that a plus for you was being in the field. However, I am not going to be discouraged although I am not yet in the field. I really believe that it is how much you put in you will get out. Based on your situation you may have to put out a bit more but determination will pay off eventually.

      I am also feeling more encouraged to really push with saving to sign up to do the course later this year as Nerissa says that there is a lot more content in the course now.

      I must say that I am also concerned being a person that was born and has lived all my life in Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean on how easy it will be to get jobs online. We are still primarily a hire to work in an office culture. However, I can challenge and help set a new trend.

      Thanks to all for taking the time to share.

    29. Would you use a practice transcript to show as an artifact of your work on sites like LinkedIn, I have no other example of work to show them.

    30. I'm grateful for this story. It's a great pep-talk. I will soon be following in your footsteps.

    31. Thanks for sharing your encouraging story. I may contact you with some questions, because I think this is right for me and want to know your opinion. Keep up the good work

    32. Hi,
      I am seriously considering your proofreading from anywhere program. I do have one concern. I am not a fast reader, probably average. Do you think I can still be successful with your program.
      Thank you,
      Christopher Brown

      1. Hi Christopher, as long as you enjoy reading you should be fine. Knowing how to research will be very important.

    33. I’d like an update on Jerrica, since it’s been 7 years since this story was published.

      I love commenting and querying writers when it comes to book editing, so I’m looking forward to how I can help court reporters!

      But first I’m going to learn how transcripts are made and used. I’ll continue on Module 1 today!

    34. It is so kind of Jerrica to share her story and to even give us her email address if we have questions for her.

      I do have one question: I know the cost of the general proofreading course but not the fee for the transcript course. If you could let me know this information, I'd be very grateful. I'll also email you and Caitlin for the information.

    35. Amazing story and even more shocking speed! Your voyage into proofreading gives us ALL encouragement and hope!

    36. Hey Jerrica, Your comments are like a breath of fresh air to me. I can't even think of going to any other proofreader. This is what keep's me going back to Caitlin and others there. My husband is bedridden with a bad heart condition. I'm his sole caregiver and sometimes I need a little break from taking care of him.
      To be honest, I cannot afford to do it right now. But I'm saving up my money to do it asap. I've got $400.00 in my bank account now. So I'm going to be there soon.
      Honestly though It keeps me sane. Please don't think I'm asking for money I'll be there soon.
      Thank you for the encouragement I really needed it.
      Alice Shonk

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