What benefits do you expect to get when you sign up for an online proofreading course?
You’ll improve your proofreading skills.
You’ll learn how to use your skills to earn more money.
And you’ll find a way to work from home and be your own boss.
But one benefit you may not have considered is that you can boost your confidence. Lack of self-confidence is what holds a lot of people back from even trying to learn a new skill. But it’s in the learning of a new skill that your confidence can grow.
Kristen didn’t expect to grow so much as a person when she started the Transcript Proofreading course. Now her confidence in herself is through the roof!
Keep reading to find out how taking an online proofreading course boosted Kristen’s confidence.
Q: Hi, Kristen! Tell us a little about your background. What did your life look like before you crossed paths with PA?
Before I found Proofread Anywhere, I was a high school graduate with some college experience, but I hadn’t finished a degree because I never could decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. I married my husband in April of 2005, and our oldest child was born in August of 2007. My second child was born in December of 2010, and my youngest child was born in July of 2015.
Two of the three kids have medical challenges that require more medical attention than most kids. My son has a rare genetic syndrome that has caused issues since the day he was born, and my youngest daughter was diagnosed with epilepsy around her second birthday. Because of these medical challenges, the medical bills were piling up. And so I was scrolling through Pinterest one night looking for ways to earn extra income from home. I have worked at Costco part-time for the last sixteen years, and I needed to find a way to earn more money to pay down the debt without having to arrange for additional childcare and be away from home any more than I already was.
When I came across an article on Pinterest that mentioned Proofread Anywhere, I was instantly interested, but I was still somewhat skeptical. I dug around on the Internet looking for reviews, and I signed up for the first week of emails just to see what happened. After about three weeks, I finally felt confident enough to approach my husband about it. He was instantly on board and said we’d find a way to pay for it. We didn’t have a lot of money just laying around, but my grandma had just passed away unexpectedly a few months prior, and she had left me a little bit of money in her will. It just so happened that it was just enough to cover the cost of the course. Once I realized that, it all seemed meant to be and I dove in headfirst in February of 2017.
Photo credit: Trinity M. Photography
Q: I’m so glad you were able to find a way to make money without getting additional childcare! When did you start proofreading, and what made you decide to learn how to proofread?
I passed the final exam on July 7, 2017, and my first client sent me a transcript on August 16, 2017. My second client sent me a transcript the very next day. I started proofreading as a way to earn extra income to pay down debt. English has always been one of my favorite subjects, and I’ve always been a voracious reader. I’ve always been able to easily spot errors on TV and in books and magazines, so it seemed like I’d be good at proofreading transcripts also.
Q: Being an avid reader is often a good sign that proofreading could be a good fit for you. What was the most challenging part of getting started?
The most challenging part for me was definitely getting the business up and running. Trying to understand taxes and business licenses and think of a good business name and branding and all of that was definitely a challenge for me. I was out of my element and asked a lot of questions in the graduate group on Facebook. If it weren’t for the awesome graduate group and my husband helping me, I never would have pushed through and gotten my business off the ground.
Q: The support from our graduate groups is second to none! What was the most valuable thing you learned during the course?
The skills I learned to be able to proofread and run my business were valuable, but I learned a whole lot more than just how to proofread and run a business in the process of going through the PA course. I learned that I’m more capable than I give myself credit for. I’ve learned how to be more assertive when talking to people. My confidence in myself is so much better than it ever was before I found PA. I never expected to grow so much as a person just by taking an online proofreading course and that is invaluable to me.
Q: Learning something new is one of the best ways to boost your confidence and self-esteem. How long did it take you to find your first client? And how many clients do you have now?
On July 7, 2017, I passed the final exam and then spent the next month setting up my business. I don’t remember exactly when I started marketing, but I had my first transcript from my first client on August 16, 2017, and my second transcript from my second client on August 17, 2017.
I was ecstatic to have clients that quickly, but they were possibly the longest weeks of my life waiting to get someone to give me a chance. A lot of times, it’s more about being in the right place at the right time than anything. I did get discouraged as the days went by without any clients or work, but just when I thought it would never happen, it did! As of today, I have three clients that I work with on a regular basis (one of which was my second-ever client), one that I work with occasionally, and another possible fifth client that just contacted me.
Q: It can take some time for your marketing efforts to pay off. I’m glad you stuck it out and reaped the benefits! How long did it take you to recoup the cost of the course?
It took me approximately eight months to earn back the money I spent on the course and the reference books.
Q: What advice would you give anyone thinking about taking an online proofreading course like Proofread Anywhere? Is it worth the money?
I definitely think it was worth the money. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Once I started proofreading and connecting with court reporters, I was able to expand my services to include transcription. I’m also learning how to use CaseCAT to be able to scope and proof for reporters in that software.
My advice is if you already have a natural ability to spot errors, then this course might be for you. Don’t expect the course to be easy, though! It was tough to get through! There were several times I wanted to quit and wondered what I’d gotten myself into and if I had what it takes to proofread transcripts for court reporters. There were times I had to set a timer for fifteen minutes and give myself permission to stop when the timer went off to motivate myself to get through the practice transcripts.
And then when it came to setting up the business, I finally had to just make a list of things that needed to be done in order of importance and only focus on one thing at a time. Otherwise, I got so overwhelmed and just wanted to quit. I pushed through it, though, and now I have no regrets.
Q: I love your tip about setting a timer! What does your life look like now as a working freelance proofreader?
My life is busy! On top of being a mom (which is a full-time job in and of itself) and taking care of my two dogs, two cats, and a small collection of various houseplants, I still have my part-time job. And with four, possibly five clients, it’s rare I don’t have a transcript (or two or three!) to work on. Between my job and the business, I usually work between 30–40 hours a week, often more than that.
Since my main goal with my business is to pay down debt, my monthly goal is to earn at least $300 a month after I set aside taxes. Most months I earn more than that, though, and I could definitely earn more if I needed to. My hope is that I might be able to quit my part-time job eventually and focus on proofreading transcripts full time. I’ve also considered going to school to become a court reporter, but I haven’t decided for sure yet.
Q: It sounds like you can do anything you set your mind to! Anything else you’d like to share with the PA community?
Although the coursework wasn’t easy, I feel as though I had the skills and/or resources I needed to be successful after I finished the course. The biggest resource and the best thing about PA is the Facebook groups. I have never met a more helpful, friendly, considerate, and respectful group of people. I consider those in the graduate group as friends. And even though we technically compete for work in some of the online communities, you’d never know it by the way we interact with each other.
I hate to see so many people thwarted by low self-confidence. Mastering a skill is an awesome way to boost your confidence and make you realize what you’re capable of. I’m stoked that Kristen’s confidence grew as a result of taking an online proofreading course!
Want to earn extra money from home without needing additional childcare? Check out our free 7-day email course to learn how proofreading legal transcripts could be the right fit for you!