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How to Successfully Proofread While You Travel

This website is called Proofread Anywhere for a reason.

I want all of you to have the freedom to work from wherever you choose. For some of you, that’s in the comfort of your own home. For others, it’s on a plane, in an Airbnb, or in an RV. #youdoyou

I created my Transcript Proofreading course while I was traveling in South America for a year. I loved the freedom of working from anywhere and getting to explore new countries while I grew my business. And I hope to do some more traveling very soon!

One of my awesome VAs, Catherine, started her proofreading business after moving from Ireland to Canada. And now she’s on the road again! Earlier this year, she proofread while she hopped from state to state and province to province in the US and Canada.

She’s sharing her story and her top tips on the blog today so you can see how it’s possible to maintain a successful proofreading business while living the life you’ve always wanted.

Take it away, Catherine!

How to Successfully Proofread While You Travel

Raise your hand if you want to start a freelance proofreading business so you can travel and work from ANYWHERE.

Think it’ll be too hard to work and travel the world at the same time?

Earlier this year, I took a ten-week trip around the US, Puerto Rico, and Canada. On that trip, I visited six US states and three Canadian provinces — and I proofread in all of them! Later in the year, I also worked as a proofreader in Ireland and Spain.

It’s been my dream for several years to take a big trip like this. I would devour success stories about PA graduates who were proofreading anywhere, hoping that someday it would be my turn.

I’m not going to lie. It’s challenging. But it’s totally doable!

Preparation and realistic expectations are key to making it work. These are my top tips for proofreading while you travel. Follow my advice, and you’ll be working from the road in no time and living the digital nomad life.

1. Communicate, communicate, communicate

Proofread while you travel to earn money and still grow your business!

This is probably the single most important thing you can do to make working on the road go smoothly.

Some of you may have regular clients who are reliant on you. They may have come to expect you to reply to their emails ASAP. So you might be worried about telling them you won’t be quite as available as you once were. Don’t worry! Becoming a location-independent proofreader doesn’t have to spell the end of your existing client relationships. Communicate with your current clients. Most of them will have no problem with it as long as they know what to expect. Let them know that you plan to work while you travel. Tell them you’ll still be available by email, but it just might take a little longer for you to reply.

Put an out-of-office notice on to advise potential clients that you’re traveling and may take longer than normal to reply. Some may be put off, but I haven’t found that to be the case. Most are interested in hearing about your travel plans!

It’s not just your clients you’ll need to communicate with. If you’re traveling with someone, you’ll also need to communicate your work plans to them — especially if they aren’t working while they travel. They may have the expectation that you’ll be free to go out exploring from dawn until dusk every single day, but if you’re trying to meet a deadline, that just won’t be possible. Set expectations right from the beginning by making your travel partner aware of how much work you’ll need to get done on the road.

And learn to compromise! Sometimes you might have to get up early to work or stay up later at night to finish something so you can do something your travel partner wants to do. Making sure that both of your needs are met as much as possible will make the trip go a lot smoother.

2. Prepare for take off

The key to the success of any plan is preparation.

Just like at home, there are some items that are essential to your being able to do your job. You’ll need to ensure that you bring everything you need to do your job with you including your laptop or tablet; proofreading software like Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or iAnnotate; and your reference books. Don’t forget you’ll be carrying these items with you wherever you go, so weight will be a factor. Choose online reference books wherever possible.

When it comes to booking your trip, take the time to ensure that you book accommodation that will be suitable for working in. Of course, you can squeeze in a couple of hours’ work here and there in cafés and airports and not worry too much about being comfortable, but for longer stretches of work, you’ll need a desk and comfortable chair. The most important consideration: pay close attention to the specs when choosing accommodation to make sure Wi-Fi is included.

3. Create a routine

Creating a routine when you’re on the move every few days or weeks can be difficult, but it’s worth the effort. Sitting down to work at roughly the same time every day will help keep your productivity up.

Figure out when your peak productivity hours are and try to work at that time every day. To maximize your productivity levels, it’s best to get your most important work done during the time when you have the most energy. You can always finish up more routine or admin tasks when you return from sightseeing!

4. Make time for self-care

Taking a long trip is not all fun and games. Balancing work and travel can be tiring. There are only so many hours in the day, and if you fill every single one of them with work and sightseeing, you’ll burn out.

Make sure you schedule some days to just hang out and do nothing. Take time out to relax in your apartment and watch a show. Read a book by the pool or go to the beach. Sit outside a café in the sun and people watch.

If you don’t take the time to relax, your body will force you to slow down! Take it from someone who battled a three-week cold on the road!

Our Take

As someone who employs lots of virtual assistants, I can tell you it doesn’t matter where you’re based. I don’t care if you’re in Tallahassee or Timbuktu. As long as you get the work done and communicate with me, I say Bon Voyage! Way to create the life you’ve always wanted, Catherine!

Your Turn

If, like Catherine, you want to find a way to fund your way around the world, check out my free Intro to Proofreading workshop. It could be your ticket to freedom!

Catherine is a nonfiction proofreader, copy editor, and freelance writer. Now that she’s found her calling, she wants to help other people do the same. She blogs about working from home, freelancing, and productivity tips over at Turner Proofreading. 

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