Hey, Eagle Eyes!
The results are in!
I have decided to share with you how much I actually billed in 2014 — my last year doing proofreading as my full-time income.
I say “billed” because I collected slightly less than that, as some clients are slower payers, and I’m still waiting on their checks from 2014. But as for the amount of work I had the entire year, these are the amounts I earned each month:
My total proofreading earnings came to $43,096.86.
So how do you know I didn’t just make this up? I’ll show you my FreshBooks ledger (names excluded, of course). Click each of the images below to expand each page of my revenue report from 2014, or download the PDF.
Why Am I Sharing This?
Now, the reason I share my proofreading earnings with you is not so I can brag.
Obviously, proofreading doesn’t make you a millionaire! But you can make enough money, and you can use it to pay off debt or create a bit more freedom in your life (like these people).
I share this information simply because I want you to know that I’m serious about what I do and because I want to show you what’s possible. You can seriously earn money proofreading transcripts for court reporters.
People ask me a lot why I’m “giving away all my secrets” by sharing my online course — well, because it’s always better to share your knowledge than to be a “knowledge hoarder.” But that’s just my opinion :-).
Yes, like any freelancer, you do have to pay taxes.
Yes, it could be more than if you worked at a regular job.
But keep in mind, to earn this kind of money, I only worked on average 20–25 hours a week! Sometimes more, sometimes less.
At my old job, I made $94 a day for 10 hours or more of my time (includes commute). That’s $9.40 per hour, and I HAD to be there. I couldn’t work from anywhere else but that office, and it sucked.
At home, I can do my work when I want to, and whatever else I need to get done, gets done… when I want it to, and not only between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. This means I can spend the best hours of my day doing what I want or need to do — not being chained to a desk.
I think the freedom and flexibility are totally worth it.
- Free 7-Day Intro Course to Proofreading Transcripts
- QUIZ: Is Transcript Proofreading Right for You?
- Free Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Your Proofreading Website on the Cheap
- 15+ Work-At-Home Job Ideas for Detail-Oriented People (more than proofreading!!)
- 4 Keys to Growing Your Proofreading Business
- How to Become a Transcriptionist (Expert Interview)
- 21 Resources and Tools Proofreaders Use
- 7 Ways I Stay Focused and Productive While Working at Home
FAQ: How long did it take you until you were consistently earning a living wage exclusively from your proofreading work?
I worked for two clients for about three years while I dabbled in several other things. Once I got plugged in proofreading for an agency, my name was getting passed around left and right. I had 6 clients and an agency and earned about $1,100 in September 2012. The next month I had 9 clients and an agency and made about $1,500. I made over $2,000 with 10 clients and an agency in November 2012. Fast forward to 2014, I don’t do a lot of work for agencies at all, and I have on average about 20 reporters each month that I work for. They’re not all busy at the same time. Some reporters I go months without hearing from them, but I’m consistently making between $3,000 and $4,000 per month working between 20-30 hours a week — sometimes more; sometimes less.
FAQ: How Do You Proofread So “Fast”?
I’m not superhuman. It’s not that I read faster than everyone else. If it’s an easy job (simple answers with few errors), I can (and do!) read up to 100 pages in one hour, and I do it with excellence. This “speed” did not come without lots and lots of practice, though. Harder, denser jobs, such as hearings, slow me down to about 40–60 pages an hour. Any faster than that, and you’d miss things.
How I’m able to do so much work to earn so “much” money is largely dependent on the method I use to proofread. I only use an iPad. It reads just like a book, and it keeps my eyes on the “page” — no need to dart my eyes up to the page number, over to the line number, and over to an errata sheet. My eyes never leave the words I’m reading. My iPad also saves me from having to wait on a printer to print or a scanner to scan, and I don’t have to separate clean pages from dirty pages — the app allows me to email annotated pages only directly inside the app.
Looking up something used to mean opening up a browser and manually typing in a word or phrase. With new technology, however, it’s as easy as tapping the word on the screen and selecting “Google” or “Dictionary.”
Not having all the tedious steps involved in “paper proofreading” and errata sheets allows me to take on more clients and work more efficiently. I did start out proofreading on paper and writing errata sheets. There is just so much wasted time doing it this way. Before, when I’d finish a job, I’d have to stop what I was doing, get up, scan in the pages, wait, save the PDF, attach them to an email … that whole process was a time suck! If you’re working with a lot of clients, it can really add up.
Faster Technology = Faster Proofreading
The technology is new, I get that, but that doesn’t make it bad or wrong. It works, obviously — I’ve got lots of happy clients who love my PDF corrections, and many students who can say the same about their own clients. In the same vein, it totally makes sense there are many freelance proofreaders who don’t make the kind of money I do if they’re not doing it the way I do it. The truth is, many proofreaders don’t do things the way I do them; the app I use on iPad (iAnnotate) was just released in 2011, so I’m not surprised some reporters and proofreaders haven’t heard of it.
Got questions? Leave a comment below!