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How I Earned $43,000 as a Proofreader in Just One Year


Updated: January 9, 2015

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  1. Hi Caitlin,

    I came across your ads and it surely made me think about my present job. Do you accept non-Americans to study proofreading? I am from the Philippines and speak, read and write English very well. I am bored with my present job and would like to make a big change in my career.

    Thanks

    Aristeo

    1. Hi Aristeo! I do accept international students, but just keep in mind the time zones — most court reporters you’ll find are in North America. I have had several Canadians go through the training with me. I’d say as long as you have a very keen eye for detail and are willing to learn a new skill, you can go for it. The course does not teach you to have a keen eye for detail, you must already have that, along with a strong command of grammar and lots of patience 🙂

      1. Hi Caitlin,
        This is Nick here. I am a Canadian who just moved to Brasil of course, I have excellent English reading and writing skills. I am also a blogger and very active in the field of Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing and the like. I am learning all of this for the first time and I’m loving it. I would love to know how you do it. Money is something I can use right now, since I have ample time. How do I get these court documents and get started? Do I need to pay at the end of 7-day crash course?

        1. Hi, Nick! Wow, congratulations on your big move! The answers to your questions (and many more!) can be found here. Let us know if you have any questions! We’re here to help. 🙂

  2. Would this be something I can do with small children in the house? Could I work it in with only working a few hours a day?

    1. Yes, you can, BUT just be realistic: there is likely no way you’d be able to get the kind of income I’ve outlined here if you’re severely limited in hours. This is for 20-25 hours a week, working for 15+ clients a month, sometimes more, and I’ve been doing this a while. You will not be as quick as I am while you’re beginning. You can absolutely earn some “side gig” income devoting 10-12 hours a week, though. You’ll find your own groove that works with your and your clients’ schedules. If you say I’m ONLY going to work from 8am-10am every morning and a client needs a rush at 10:15 due by 5:00 (this doesn’t happen often, but it can happen) — you would have to pass that job on. Regular jobs have a 2-3 business day turnaround. Lots of the moms who’ve taken the course do their work at night when everything’s quiet, too. I guess the important thing is to be realistic and not take on too much work if you know your time is limited.

  3. Hi Caitlin,

    Like Aristeo, I am also living in Asia, although I’m originally from UK. I wonder if North American court reporters would consider having overseas proofreaders do work for them….? As you point out, tax is payable on the work you do as a proofreader. Any idea of the tax ramifications if payment for the work is made outside of North America? Do you know of any proofreaders completing work for clients in the USA or Canada who are not paid domestically? I do actually have a US bank account, as I used to live in Florida, but since I no longer have a valid US work visa, and am no longer domiciled there, I assume I would not be able to pay tax there either. I love the idea of proofreading anywhere, but it has its complications! If I could figure out a way to make it work I would so love to take your course. Thanks Caitlin! 🙂

    1. I have program grads doing work in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Canada, and the Philippines right now. Soon to add the UK to that list. I know for reporters to deduct business expenses, they need to issue 1099s for work completed, but they ALSO have an option to deduct expenses for Contract Labor on their tax returns. This would be the option they’d take for someone outside the US, for whom they could not issue a 1099. They would have an invoice from you and evidence of your services, so it would still be very tax deductible for them, they just would need to list that as a regular deduction instead of filing a 1099 for you. I’d get with an accountant on your end, too, who’s familiar with US tax law. I’m NOT a CPA and I’m NOT a tax attorney.

  4. Hi,

    I have seen you refer to having an eagle eye as a good indication of whether this is a good field for someone to enter. Do you have a recommendation for how to yes if my knowledge is good enough? I ask because you say the course doesn’t teach how to have a keen eye for detail.

    Thank you,

    Katie

    1. It’s not really knowledge, it’s a skill, and it’s often innate, which is why it’s impossible to “teach” it, even though the practice pages do help you sharpen the skill. Do you spot errors from a mile away? When you read books or blog posts, do errors pop off the page at you?

  5. That is a great income on a part-time basis! I need to make a bit more than that. So if I were to work a typical 40 hour week would I be able to make even more? Do you think it is realistic to work 40 hours a week as a proofreader? Is there enough supply of proofreading jobs to meet the income demands of a full-time proofreader? Thank you.

    1. Hi Deena — definitely don’t go into this thinking you’ll immediately be able to make what I made. In 2014, I’d already been proofreading for five years. Beginners don’t proofread nearly as quickly as I’m able to (depending on the job). It takes time to “level up” so to speak. There’s definitely enough supply, but I would not recommend working 40 hours a week as a proofreader. Your accuracy would suffer. It’s hard on the eyes and brain. The weeks I spent more than 30 hours or so were not fun weeks for me. Finding balance is a necessity.

  6. Hi Caitlin.
    Do you know if the Canadian legal system, and Canadian court reporters, uses proofreaders the same way the American system does? Will there be the same kind of potential in Canada? Thanks!

    1. It’s definitely not exactly the same, but there are similarities. We have a handful of Canadians who are working both for Canadian reporters and for American reporters. You’re definitely not limited to Canada.

  7. I am interested and I am presently looking for a job but would want something part time. I live in California too. How can I get such jobs? What is the least amount of time I can devote to earn something considerably good?

    1. Hi, Hope — we teach you how to get the jobs within the course. We don’t publicize how to get the work because then anyone can try to get the work without actually knowing what they’re doing, and that doesn’t help anyone — in fact, it makes us look very bad for teaching inexperienced people how to get the work for free but not how to do it. If you aren’t looking to invest a considerable amount of time into learning how to do this type of work before actually doing it, it’s not the program for you.

  8. Hi caitlin

    I’m in South Africa can I do this from here? I’m a single mom and would love to get an extra income..how do I get more information and start with this?

    tania

    1. Hi! We have a 7-day intro course that will help you learn whether this is a good fit for you (see home page). However, you must be very detail-oriented and good at punctuation to succeed at this type of work.

  9. Hi Caitlin,

    Would like to receive your training on being a proofreader.

    As long as I can earn your salary ($40k minimum) part time. The part time but is important!

    Jill

    1. Hi, Jill. It took me a while to build up to that amount, but it is possible. You should not expect, however, to go through the training and immediately begin making what I make. It’s just not realistic. It takes time to build a business, and it’s built first on a foundation of excellent work. If you don’t have that foundation, it’ll be hard to make money, much less $40k. In the course, we place a LOT of emphasis on knowing your stuff — so much so, we require the passing of three different tests before even allowing access to the “getting clients” info.

  10. Hi Caitlin,

    Thanks for your feedback and other information. Some of my questions were answered in your responses such as, tax issues which is an important issue for me. I am Canadian, and is interested in relocating to South America in the near future.

    Regards,

    Lourdes A.

  11. Caitlyn, I am recently working from home and I am looking to add on to my work load. I am looking for any additional income, so I don’t mind earning a small amount starting out. My question is about obtaining a clientele. By taking the course do you help us find clients or are we left to figure that out? I just don’t want to take the course and not be able to start making money as a proofreader.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi, Victoria! Although we don’t do job placement (too much of a liability, and the course would need to cost a lot more), our how-to-get-clients/marketing module is HUGE. There are over 5 hours of video training on social media marketing alone along with lots of other how-to’s on how to build a website, do’s and don’ts for your resume, etc. We teach you exactly HOW to do it… then you have to go do it 🙂 Check out our “Finding Clients FAQs” section here for more: https://proofreadanywhere.com/category/faqs/finding-clients-faqs/

  12. Hi!
    I’m a teacher. Could I use this as a summer job? Or would it be difficult to find clients? I also live in a small town.

    Thanks!

    1. You definitely could — but you’d run the risk of every time you pick up clients for the summer, they have to find someone else when you go back to work. I’m sure you could do summer work for agencies, though. We’ve got a bunch of teachers who are making it work — even one who wants to quit teaching altogether 🙂 Being in a small town doesn’t make a difference, fortunately, because you have the power of the internet 🙂

  13. I was cited to see this information. Then I saw that you had put in an error in the text. Was this on purpose?
    Was this a test? If so, did I pass?

    Please don’t add me to other address lists.

  14. Caitlin
    As an English teacher, this sounds like something I could comfortably do. My question is with regard to the types of errors you most commonly address. Do you strictly proofread a piece (spelling, capitalization, punctuation, etc.) or do you also edit content (ideas and details, organization of ideas, etc.)? How much background knowledge is necessary to proofread legal documents? Thanks for you response!

    1. Hi, Stephanie! You do not edit the content, ideas, or the organization in any way. We teach you all the background knowledge within the intensive course. There are, however, LOTS of other things to check for that have nothing to do with spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. Transcripts are an interesting animal 🙂

  15. Hi,

    I am curious to learn about how much you made on average starting out, before you leveled up to an over 40k income earning?

    Thanks,

    Rena.

    1. When I was working full-time, I made probably $400 – $500 per month just doing it after work only for two part-time reporters. When I started taking on more clients in July 2012, my first “bigger” month was $1,300 — August. Each month I earned a little more, and by December 2012, I had reached the $4,000/month mark, and it stayed steady for all of 2013 and 2014. I currently do many other things in addition to proofreading (such as blogging and teaching my courses), so while I don’t publish reports like this anymore, my income has been more than $3,000/month since I published this post.

  16. I am a proofreader myself and its impossible to really read 100 pages an hour, not even 50. Maybe you use a rapid reading technique, but for proofreading and editing you need to be very careful. The eyesight plays you tricks, especially if you are tired.

    1. “Pages” are double-spaced, 25-line pages in court reporting, and in order to read 100 of them, the amount of text on each line would have to be greatly reduced, which can and does happen with simple Q&A transcripts. You also do not edit transcripts as a proofreader, and the technique you use to proofread can also improve the rate at which you can complete jobs. Please read the entire post carefully, and that will make sense. Also, I counted five errors in your comment.

      1. Thank you for mentioning those errors in his comment! Why would someone even think about being a proofreader when you can’t produce a correct comment?

  17. Is transcript proofreading an endeavor that doesn’t necessitate being located in the same geographic area as your clients? Are all of your clients in your area?

    I will soon be receiving Social Security disability benefits. At that point there will be a limit to the amount of money I can make each month, so I am looking for a way to make some supplemental income each month, not the equivalent of a full time salary. Is it possible to do that and retain clients without eventually having to “step it up”?

    1. I am in the same boat and my SSD is small because I spent the majority of my nonhandicapped years on part-time work including paper routes because I had two small children and could not afford to pay a babysitter. Please excuse my grammatical mistakes as I am out of practice!

  18. You’ve developed the ONLY workable system for legal transcript proofreaders. I don’t feel you’ve inflated possible and general earnings. $40,000 a year isn’t a millionaire by any means. However, it’s darn solid income with an output of time and money being around $1000 for your course, $300 for an IPAD, and a few books that you recommend. The time spent learning is reasonable.

    I can’t figure out why the “naysayers” are “nay-in.” 🙂 I think, quite honestly, some people do it because they don’t want a lot of newbies to enter the field so they play down the income potential of it. The other possibility, and I’m not trying to be sarcastic, but you must be GOOD at it to make money. So…. maybe they are not good proofreaders? Just my thoughts.

  19. I am curious as to why a court reporter does not proof read his/her own work? There are so many programs and applications internet wide to use.

    1. Hi, Dina!

      That’s a great question. While some reporters choose to proofread their own work, many rely on the services of proofreaders because having a second pair of eyes is MUCH more effective at catching stray errors. Also, outsourcing the work gives them more time to focus their attention on some of their other responsibilities. In regards to programs and applications, most use spell checkers on their transcripts, but there is NO program or application that is able to properly proof VERBATIM transcripts. Why? Because programs are created to correct improper grammar, something that a reporter cannot do. They must write the job exactly as it’s spoken, bad grammar and all. Then, they have to punctuate it properly to make sure they accurately depict how things were said in order to preserve the integrity of the testimony. Programs simply cannot do that when people naturally speak with slang and poor grammar. There’s simply no substitute for a human proofreader. 🙂

  20. Quick question,
    I’m looking for something extremely part-time, 10-20 hrs./week. And am looking to only supplement my full-time income, is it possible to make and extra $400-$500/mos. consistently. Also, how hard is it to get started in proof-reading without your course?

    Thanks,

    1. Hi, Ammon. Caitlin has written blog posts on proofreading online that you might find informative. As for how much you can make for a certain amount of time in, well, that’s up to you. You’ll get out of it what you put in, and like any new venture, it takes hard work to get up and running. These student testimonials might be helpful in giving you a better idea of graduate experiences. I hope this helps!

  21. This is very impressive and quite encouraging to newbies. As newbies , we work as a team of three and it helps to share notes and the income, on every project. School books is our main stay. Lack of English language degrees has been our main challenge. But word of mouth advertising / endorsement helps!

  22. I was wondering if these numbers reflect your gross earnings or net earnings? In other words, is $43,096.86 the amount you put in your pocket that year, or the amount you made before taxes, deductions, etc.?

    Thanks!

  23. Hi Caitlin, I know you made $43,000 in one year working part time. But if a person is disabled with major pain issues and has all the time in the world and no social life by choice, can she make more by working more? Can she make up to $60,000+? She is on the iPad almost constantly in any position that makes her comfortable. But after taxes and health insurance the net income isn’t so impressive to live on. Monthly disability checks aren’t great either, but low income benefits help her survive. What to do in a slump? Or are slumps almost unheard of in this business? Serious slumps, anyway.

    1. Hi, Leslie,

      In terms of income potential, if you check out this link and scroll down, you’ll see this great graphic from a Facebook survey Caitlin did of our graduates about their monthly income in the first two months after completing the course. Your income potential depends on many variables, so it’s difficult to state an average-per-hour rate that an individual can earn. Hope that helps! 🙂

  24. Hey Caitlin,

    I would want to do this part time but where do you fine the clients? how do you get on with an agency?

    1. Hi, Dustye! Proofreading is great as a part-time hustle. I encourage you to sign up for our free 7-day intro course! We cover how to find clients in the full course. 🙂

  25. Hi,
    My name is Muhammad Imran Rafique. I am from Pakistan. I am a teacher. I want to do part time job. Do you accept the application.

  26. I know you’re not a tax attorney or tax expert. Currently my only income is SS Disability. And any additional income I make will affect my disability benefits. Is there any way to make a decent amount from this without losing my SSD benefits?

    1. Hi, Betty! This kind of thing is definitely best to ask a task attorney or CPA. I will say, though, that you are in control of how much money you make. If you need to only make a certain amount, you could only take on a certain amount of work. Transcript proofreaders are paid per page, and the rate varies depending on the turnaround. General proofreaders can negotiate a rate per page or per project, so it definitely varies. Hopefully, you can see why I can’t say proofreading this way will make you X amount while doing this will get you X amount. 🙂

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