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You’re Never Too Old to Learn Something New! Barb’s Story

Are you a little on the mature side?

Worried you’re “too old” to start something new?

You have no idea how often people email me and ask if proofreading can work for them at their age.

Every. Single. Day.

Multiple times a day!

Want to know what I tell them?

You’re never too old to learn something new! Your brain is not at capacity. It’s not too late to try something you’ve always wanted to try.

Physical limitations meant that Barb found it difficult to keep driving a school bus, but she didn’t take that as a sign to slow down. Instead, she decided to find a job that would allow her to use her smarts like she always wanted.

Keep reading to find out more!

Q: Hey, Barb! Tell us a little about your background. What did your life look like before you crossed paths with PA?

Learn something new at any age. It’s never too late!I have been a school van driver for about four years, and before that, a school bus driver for about twenty-seven years. Every year during summer break, I’d go on unemployment, and when school started back up, it usually took several months to catch up financially. Every single year.

I went to college — I did one year in a community college, taking premed-type math and science courses. Then I went to SUNY Delhi and took the Veterinary Tech course. I loved college — most of it. I graduated with honors, got a job before too long, then lost it through no fault of mine. Long story short, I got married, had kids, and took up driving a school bus because it fit in better with caring for my family than a full-time job. I’ve often wished to do work that used my “smarts” better than just driving. I’ve tried many different work-at-home schemes, but most of them ended up draining my energy and pocketbook with false promises. I’m not a sales-type person!

I’ve wished I could go back to school, but the money just wasn’t available. Time is kind of against me; besides, at my age and with my physical limitations, I don’t think college is for me anymore. I’ve thought about writing, but whenever I think about how that went in my school days, I know I need to limit my writing to when I’m really inspired.

Since I took the Transcript Proofreading course, I’ve talked to a few other PA students who are older people. Many older people are kind of reluctant to try something “new” like this, but if you’re anything like me, you might be looking for something challenging, yet not physically stressful. Our bodies wear out faster than our brains — some of us anyway — and for me, proofreading is a really good fit!

Q: Learning something new keeps us feeling young and makes life more interesting! When did you start proofreading, and what made you decide to learn how to proofread transcripts?

My daughter started proofreading and told me about it. When she started getting good paychecks, she started to encourage me to try it and actually paid for a good deal of the course for me.

Q: I love that proofreading now runs in your family! What was the most challenging part of getting started?

Probably the most challenging part was having the confidence to believe that my ability would be valuable to clients.

Q: What was the most valuable thing you learned during the course?

You’re Never Too Old to Learn Something New! Barb’s StoryI think that the most valuable thing I learned was that I am not alone. The resources that are available, including the proofreaders that graduated in the years before me, are there for me to go to whenever I have questions, whether it be proofreading questions or for help dealing with clients, marketing, and even invoicing and taxes. I love the camaraderie in the PA Graduate Huddle and helping trainees in the PA Proofreaders group.

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 after about two months, which was a little discouraging, but my daughter kept pushing, gently, for me to do more marketing steps. One of my regular clients is a court reporter that I contacted through LinkedIn very early on, but who didn’t give me work until much later. I am working for an agency, and I get most of my work from them. It’s a great confidence booster and great experience. I have one other regular client who was referred to me by my daughter. I have several other court reporters that give me work on occasion.

Q: It sounds like you’re very busy! How long did it take you to recoup the cost of the course?

I would say that it only took about one month after I started working with the agency. Actually a little less than that.

Q: What advice would you give anyone thinking about enrolling in the course to learn how to proofread? Is it worth the money?

It is so worth it! If you love to read and you’re able to catch mistakes in the “written world,” you’ll never regret it for a minute!

Q: What does your life look like now as a working freelance proofreader?

It’s just so amazing to get paid for doing my favorite thing: reading! I can work almost anywhere. It’s so cool to be working and have my husband actually do some dishes so I can continue! It’s really nice that I didn’t have to file for unemployment this summer!

Q: That’s awesome! Anything else you’d like to share with the PA community? 

The reason I stopped driving the big bus was because I now have rheumatoid arthritis. While I got help for the pain I was experiencing at first, there are still limitations as a result of the RA. I could never work a stand-up type job again, and while I am now able to drive a bus as a sub on occasion, it would be difficult to do it full time. My work as a proofreader gives me the ability to work full time again. I have options that were impossible with any job I’ve had before, like taking my work on vacation, not having to worry about clocking in, or not having the opportunity to get extra work for special needs.

Another bonus of doing this work is the challenge it provides! I just love puzzles, not just the ones in a box, but anything that pushes my mind to find an answer, to grow my mind. I have to say that when I’m proofreading, I am learning something new all the time.

There is nothing more satisfying than a court reporter’s gratitude for delivering a job back that they know that a sharp eye read every word and caught every error. The pay is important, but the appreciation goes a long way to making my day!

Pics attached are of my visit to see family with new baby, made possible by PA!

Learn something new at any age. It’s never too late!

You’re Never Too Old to Learn Something New! Barb’s Story

Our Take

I love that proofreading runs in Barb’s family! Kudos to Barb’s daughter for sharing this opportunity with her.

Your Turn

If you know someone who would be a great fit for proofreading, share a link to our free 7-day email course with them! When they discover they can earn money doing something they love, they’ll be forever grateful to you!

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