We all dream of making money doing work we enjoy.
No one wants to be stuck doing work they hate every day!
But even though millions of people love reading, not that many of them consider reading when thinking about what they’re going to do for a living.
Can you even make money reading?
Duh! It’s been staring you in the face your whole life!
You can make money reading by being a proofreader or editor.
Merideth and her husband laughed at the idea of her making a living reading, but then she found Proofread Anywhere and learned how it’s possible to earn a good living as a proofreader.
Keep reading to learn more about Merideth’s journey…
Q: Hi, Merideth! Tell us a little about your background. What did your life look like before you crossed paths with PA?
I’d put my career in human resources on hold when our third child was born (he was a “surprise” after our first two were grown). What I’d thought would be a break of a few years turned into fifteen (so far) because his special needs require me to be more readily available than a full-time job would allow.
I’ve worked from home for years as the owner of three Etsy shops and an Amazon Handmade shop, but I missed exercising my mind every day at work. Thank goodness I’ve always been an avid reader, so my brain didn’t have a chance to atrophy much. Ha!
One day I told my husband it was too bad I couldn’t make a living reading. We laughed and forgot about it, but a couple days later I saw a Proofread Anywhere ad in my Facebook news feed. I clicked over and read a bit, visited the blog, and researched reviews. A few weeks later, I told my husband I’d found a way to earn money (proof)reading and I started saving for the course.
Q: So many people don’t realize they can use their word-nerd skills to make money! When did you start proofreading, and what made you decide to learn how to proofread?
Well, I’ve been a proofreader, albeit unofficially, my whole life. I taught myself to read at the age of three because I so desperately wanted to be able to decipher the “secret code” I saw everywhere… and then I annoyed my poor parents for years by pointing out every spelling error I saw. Yeah, I was a weird kid. I remember the first time I saw my elementary school teacher diagram sentences on the chalkboard. I. Was. Hooked.
I was a strange child, but those traits made me the perfect proofreader for my junior high, high school, and college classmates’ essays and research papers. Even years later as a human resources professional, I was a proofreader. I may have been auditing a company’s policies and procedures for employment law compliance, but I was also compelled to correct all the grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting mistakes I came across. I’ve always done the same (in my mind) while reading for pleasure: I enjoy the casual flow of the text, but spelling and punctuation errors yank me right out of the story.
Q: Me too! There’s nothing more frustrating than getting distracted by errors when all you’re trying to do is relax with a good book. What was the most challenging part of getting started?
Waiting until I’d completed my research and decided which course (Transcript or General) to purchase was probably the biggest challenge. I was impatient to just get started!
Q: I’m glad you made the decision to join us! What was the most valuable thing you learned during the course?
Easy: it’s not all about the grammar. All the extras Caitlin includes are so useful. I already had a firm grasp on all the mechanics-of-proofreading content, but I found it difficult to connect the dots from there to actually earning money as a proofreader. I really needed the step-by-step of how to start a proofreading business.
I was also raised to believe talking about money is distasteful, so The Money Mindset Transformation was eye-opening.
And the Facebook groups? What a godsend to have that ready-made group of supporters and mentors.
Note from Caitlin: If you sign up for the General Proofreading course, you get the Money Mindset Transformation workshop for free as a bonus!
Q: So true! Starting a successful proofreading business takes a lot more than just good grammar knowledge. How long did it take you to find your first client? And how many clients do you have now?
I am a super-introvert, so marketing is never going to be my forte, but I decided I could comfortably start with people I already know. (Or if it wasn’t exactly comfortable, at least I could be reasonably certain I would not die.) So, when I came to Modules 5 and 6, I contacted one friend with an offer to proofread her online content, and another—who’d gone back to school—with an offer to proofread her upcoming final essay. Both hired me.
I participated in a couple of “proofread swaps” with other PA grads too. Have I mentioned how wonderful it is to have the PA Facebook groups?
My first official, paying, not-from-my-personal-life client came about three months after I finished the course. A grad with a successful proofreading business of her own who knew I had expertise in the exact area a recurring client needed for this job (and according to her, also knowing my drive to do stellar work) outsourced that project to me.
Q: Congratulations. It just shows that other proofreaders aren’t our competition; they’re our colleagues! How long did it take you to recoup the cost of the course?
I haven’t yet, but I know I’ll get there. This isn’t a full-time gig for me yet. My boy still requires so much of my time and focus, but I’ll keep going at a steady pace. When he’s more independent, I’ll be well-prepared for my business to take off.
Q: Creating a schedule and workload that suits your circumstances is important. What advice would you give anyone thinking about enrolling in the course to learn how to proofread? Is it worth the money?
I think I’d say the first step is to decide whether they truly want it. Proofreading isn’t for everyone, and PA isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s an investment that must be worked on for it to pay off. And that’s exactly the advice I’d give to those who decide to become proofreaders: commit and then work hard. If you do, you’ll find PA is more than worth the cost.
The book of Proverbs is chock-full of wisdom, and I think this verse applies here: Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper. Proverbs 13:4 New Living Translation (NLT)
Q: Well said! What does your life look like now that you make money proofreading?
I feel proud of my accomplishment and excited about having a long and profitable career. I love the variety each new project brings. On the days I don’t have a job from a proofreading client or when I begin feeling impatient for the day I can proofread full-time, I remember I’m fortunate to have time to sharpen my skills and strengthen my network.
Q: Anything else you’d like to share with the PA community?
As I write this, we are smack-dab in the middle of a global pandemic, with millions of people having lost their jobs. It’s a scary mess, all right, but times of crisis frequently produce opportunities and provide clarity. Now may be the perfect time to refocus your energy and change your life. Learn a new skill, build a new business… Work to gain your independence and security. Now’s the time!
I love how Merideth went from laughing at the idea of making money from reading to being excited about creating a long and profitable career as a proofreader! Once you start to see the options available to you, there’s no stopping you. Get out there and start making money doing something you love!
Want to make money reading like Merideth and many others do? Check out our free proofreading workshop to learn how to get started!