We are so honored to have Patti Hasbrouck here on the blog for a success interview today.
As a former court reporting student, Patti experienced a major mindset transformation as a fringe benefit of her time as a student with us. We asked her a few questions to learn more about her experience and success as a proofreader.
Patti Earned an Extra $3,000 — in 10 Weeks!
Tell us a little about your background, Patti!
I’m a single mom with a long history of accounting — more than 30 years! My current job is accounting manager for a CPA firm, where I’ve been for nearly 14 years. I won’t go into boring details, but suffice to say it’s not been a happy decade and a half. Before my daughter was born 18 years ago, I went to court reporting school, but I was unable to finish due to some family issues and had to go get a job to support my family. Fast forward to 2015, and I’m stuck in a job that makes me miserable and is the definition of “dead end.” I don’t want to spend the rest of my life there being unhappy!
RELATED: Learn to work as a bookkeeper from home (and earn $75+ per hour).
When did you start proofreading transcripts, and what made you decide to learn how to proofread transcripts?
When I read about the Proofread Anywhere course on a blog in April of 2015, I felt an instant connection. I signed up for the 7-day course and knew that I could totally do this!! But I was nervous about the cost, concerned about the time, afraid that maybe I wasn’t going to be able to find enough clientele to support myself… those pesky negative thoughts we all have. After several sleepless nights of pondering whether or not I should make the leap, I decided to pursue it. I knew if I didn’t go for it now, I would never do it. I enrolled on May 11, 2015, and graduated on July 11, 2015.
What was the most challenging part in getting started?
Honestly, just making the decision was agonizing. Being a single mom, I don’t have a “partner” to talk these things over with, get advice, bounce ideas off of, receive encouragement from. It was hard to dig deep and find the courage to take the first step. I’m my only source of support, so if I sign up, leave my job, and then can’t support myself, what do I do then? It was a scary decision to make.
What was/were the most valuable thing(s) you learned during the course?
The most valuable thing is actually two things. One, I learned that in order for me to be teachable, I had to be humble enough to admit that I don’t know everything. Just because I had a year of CR school doesn’t mean I’m automatically imbued with some magical source of superior knowledge. Two, I learned that I am capable of doing hard things. I can start a difficult project and complete it successfully. I really am good at proofreading, and I am providing a quality service to my clients. I feel a sense of accomplishment I haven’t felt in a long time.
How long did it take you to find your first client? How many clients do you have now?
It took about a month to land my first job. I had been putting out some feelers, but I didn’t have even a nibble. One late night, a sharp-eyed PA student spread the word that someone needed help. I got in touch and got the job — a whole 20 pages! I have since read more than 10,000 pages for 10 different reporters. In the first two and a half months, I earned over $3,000, which means I’ve more than made back my cost of the course, the iPad, all my reference books, and then some. It feels surreal. I still have my full-time day job, so this is part-time work after hours and on weekends. I’m actually getting to the point where I need to make the next decision about the day job…
RELATED: This is the iPad Patti uses to proofread.
What advice would you give anyone thinking about enrolling in the course to proofread transcripts? Is it worth the money?
If you’re serious about this, if you have the talent for it, you can absolutely do this. It’s not for everyone, but if you got this far into investigating it, you’re probably thinking you can do it. What’s your goal? More time with family? More cash for savings or paying off debt? Ditching the sucky job? It’s not easy, and it’s not quick, but it’s definitely worth every penny and every drop of sweat equity put into it!
Anything else you’d like to share about your journey?
The ability to work from home is especially important since my mom got sick — because she can’t be left alone. She is too weak, still, after more than six weeks at home, to fend for herself. She has said on more than one occasion that she would starve to death because she can’t open even the simplest of packages. It’s such a blessing to be here and to know that I can continue to care for her here at home even after I take the leap away from my toxic day job. I love proofreading and the ability to do it anywhere!
You don’t have to be an English major, and you don’t need a degree. You don’t have to be young. I’m 55, no college degree, but I have a knack for this. So what you do need is an “eagle eye” for errors and a solid knowledge of the basics: spelling, grammar, and punctuation. You also need to decide “how bad do you want it?”
Caitlin — and the PA team — are awesome, the Facebook group for students is a wonderful source of support and encouragement, there are so many grads that pitch in to help, and I’ve come to admire and appreciate them all.
So? Get going!
What are Patti’s Clients Saying?
We like to show undeniable proof that PA grads learn and earn. Not only do they earn money, they earn appreciation from their happy clients. So: These are screenshots of emails from some of Patti’s clients.
To protect their privacy, we’ve blocked out their names and other identifying information.