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How Catherine Made an Extra $3,600 Freelance Proofreading From Canada

Some of you may know this already, but when I started Proofread Anywhere, I was living in Ecuador and traveling the world. I was literally freelance proofreading anywhere and practicing what I preached. It’s a lifestyle that I stand behind 150% 😉

Even with the name of Proofread Anywhere, I still get questions from potential students nearly every day asking if they can proofread outside the US. The answer is a resounding YES.

There might be a few kinks to work out if you’re in a different country than your client — time zones, payment fees, language differences, etc. — but it’s nothing insurmountable. You CAN make it work.

Catherine is another perfect example of the Proofread Anywhere lifestyle. She signed up for the General Proofreading course after moving to Canada from Ireland, and she’s now running a successful freelance proofreading business.

I’ve even hired her to help me out with some proofreading for my web content! (And yes, she does fantastic work :-))

Catherine is further proof that it doesn’t matter where you’re located — you can make freelance proofreading into a legitimate work-from-home gig. And the best part? Your business follows you wherever you go!

Read on to hear more about Catherine’s journey.

Q: Hi, Catherine! Tell us a little about your background. What did your life look like before you crossed paths with Proofread Anywhere?

Don’t let your location prevent you from freelance proofreading

I’m originally from Ireland, but I moved to Canada in March. Before this, I worked in the financial sector for eight years. Although I liked a lot of things about my previous job, it wasn’t very creative and could be a bit tedious at times. When I moved to Canada, I decided I wanted to take the opportunity to create something for myself so that I didn’t end up in the same rut again.

Q: Sounds like a great path to take! When did you start proofreading, and what made you decide to learn how to proofread?

I started proofreading as part of my previous job in the financial sector. I proofread my division’s contribution to a quarterly report that was published on the company’s website. This was the highlight of my job and something I looked forward to every quarter. So it was a no-brainer when it came to deciding what I wanted to do to earn a living in Canada. But I really wanted to make sure that my skills were up to scratch before I started advertising as a proofreader. The General Proofreading course sounded perfect as it promised lots of proofreading practice, marketing information, and a graded exam to verify my skills.

Q: I love that you wanted to solidify your skills before starting your business! So what was the most challenging part for you in getting started?

Having the confidence to put myself out there. I’m very shy, so I struggle with the marketing side of things. However, the benefits of this course don’t end with the course material. If you pass the exam, you can list on the Self-Publishing School’s Preferred Outsourcer Rolodex. This is invaluable and has led to some great work for me. Now that I’ve had some real-life experience, I feel more confident about marketing and networking.

Q: Having confidence is key, and it sounds like you’re gaining more and more every day 🙂 What was the most valuable thing you learned during the General Proofreading course?

Don’t let your location prevent you from freelance proofreading

The most valuable thing I learned is how many amazing resources there are to help you proofread to the best of your ability. The course has pointed me in the right direction toward the best books, reference guides, and software to use to help me grow my business. Without guidance from the course and tips from other students in the Facebook group, I would have been lost when trying to figure out a difficult grammar or punctuation issue or when trying to set up my website.

Q: That’s so great to hear! One of the best perks of our courses is the support from the Facebook groups. So how long did it take you to find your first client? How many clients do you have now?

I graduated from the course in June and had my first client by the end of July. The beauty of general proofreading is that you can work on so many different types of content for all sorts of different people. So far, I’ve proofread nonfiction e-books, online course material, website content, blog posts, email newsletters, college essays, and job-hunting documents. I’ve proofread over 150,000 words! I have two regular clients so far while the rest have been ad hoc. I love the variety that comes with proofreading for different people!

Q: Variety is the spice of life! How long did it take you to recoup the cost of the course?

I recouped the cost of the course about six weeks after graduating. I graduated in June and have earned more than the course fee every month since then. I’m not earning a full-time income yet, but I feel very confident that I will be able to achieve that.

Q: I have no doubt you will achieve that as well! What advice would you give anyone thinking about enrolling in the General Proofreading course to learn how to proofread? Is it worth the money?

It’s definitely worth the money! I would advise anyone thinking of enrolling to be clear about how much work they want to put into it. This isn’t the kind of course that’s going to hold your hand every step of the way. You need to do independent study as well. What the course will do is provide enough proofreading practice to allow you to become an excellent proofreader. Getting access to this level of practice would be very difficult on your own.

Another great thing about the course is that you get lifetime access. Since I completed the course, the content has tripled! I took the opportunity to work through the new material and learned even more. Most experienced proofreaders will tell you that your learning doesn’t stop after one course. It’s so important to keep up to date with changes to style or usage guides. Think of this course as just the beginning of your proofreading training.

Q: What does your life look like now as a freelance proofreading business owner?

I am living the dream! I love working from home and setting my own hours. Don’t get me wrong; when I’m working on a project for a client it can be full on, and I have to remind myself to take breaks, but I don’t spend two hours a day commuting or going to unnecessary meetings, so I definitely feel like my time is my own. I can sit outside in the sun and proofread if I want to. I wouldn’t have been able to do that at an office job!

Completing this course has also reignited a passion in me for continuous learning that I haven’t felt in years. I’m devouring grammar books and blogs just for fun to try to learn as much as I can. I’ve also since completed a copyediting course as I want to be involved in different types of editing and expand my service offering.

Check out what one of Catherine’s happy clients had to say about her work! 
Don’t let your location prevent you from freelance proofreading

Q: Mo’ skills = mo’ money! Is there anything else you’d like to share with the PA community?

The course isn’t easy, and there will be a time that you feel as though you’re just not getting it (by “it” I mean those damn commas!), but if you put in the effort, it will click eventually. Deciding to do this course was the best decision I’ve made in a long time.

Our Take

Did you love reading about Catherine’s story as much as I did? She truly embraced a growth mindset and not only completed the course but also dedicated herself to lifelong learning. And that’s what is going to make her even more successful down the road!

Update 2019: Catherine is once again proving that you can proofread anywhere. In early 2019, she worked as a proofreader while she traveled around the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Love it!

Your Turn

Are you interested in proofreading a wide variety of content like Catherine? Or maybe you also want to work in the sunshine? 😉 Here’s a great (and free!) place to get started.

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  1. What a great and inspirational story. This specifically resonates with me as I live in Canada and also work in the financial industry. I did graduate from the transcript proofreading course but also interested in the general course. Way to go Catherine!

  2. I am definitely interested in this course. I want to have this skill alongside transcribing which I am currently pursuing.

    Commas I think are the hardest part of these courses.

    Well done Catherine! I am shy also and nervous to start a business. However, I am getting more confidence daily as I am also fed up of the commute in my country of Trinidad and Tobago.

  3. The picture is showing you in front of a laptop. Are you using it or an iPad to do the proofreading? Just asking since an iPad is recommended. If you are using a laptop, which software do you use instead of iAnnotate?

    1. The pictures you are referencing are not of the people in the interviews. The others are, though. In this post Caitlin wrote, she does discuss other methods of proofreading. 🙂

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