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How to Supplement Your Income with Proofreading While You Work from Home

Are you feeling a little overwhelmed with everything that’s going on in the world right now with COVID-19? 

Don’t worry; you’re not the only one. 

I know many of you are worried about how you’re going to cope if you lose your job. Even if you can work from home for your current employer, you may be facing a reduction in your work hours, and by default, your pay.

While you’re self-isolating, it’s tempting to spend any free time you have watching Netflix or reading books, but I’d like to propose a more productive way to use this time…

Learn how to proofread and use your skills to earn extra money from home. 

Proofreading is one of the best ways to supplement your income from home for these key reasons:

You can do it completely online. 

You do not need to leave your home to work as a proofreader! 

Usually, you don’t even need to have a phone call with your clients. The majority of your communication will be done via email. 

You’re stuck at home now anyway because of the restrictions related to the coronavirus, so why not use the opportunity to earn extra money? 

And if you work from home as a proofreader, you’ve got the added benefit of not having to be in physical contact with anyone but your family — definitely a plus under the current circumstances!

You don’t need a lot of equipment.

All you need to work from home as a proofreader is a laptop, access to Microsoft Word and Google Docs, a reliable internet connection, and some reference books.

Proofreading has a pretty low start-up cost compared to other businesses. You likely already have many of the resources I just listed or you can get access to them cheaply. 

Laptop ✔ (A desktop or tablet is fine too.)

Internet connection ✔

Google Docs ✔ (It’s free!)

Microsoft Word ✔ (The online subscription is about $10 a month.)

Reference books ✔ (You can borrow online versions of these for free from your library or college.)

You can fit it around your other responsibilities.

Proofreading is an incredibly flexible job. 

You can choose how much work to take on and negotiate deadlines. 

It doesn’t have to be done during the hours of nine to five. 

You don’t have to wait for the markets to open.

You can proofread early in the morning or in the evening if you prefer. This makes it the perfect side hustle to fit around completing work for your regular job or taking care of your children. 

You can make money doing something you enjoy.

How many of you were looking forward to using social distancing as an excuse to read more books? 

You can’t kid a kidder! As a fellow book lover, I’m onto you! 😉

Think about it… Why read books for free when you could be paid to read them and help the authors fix their mistakes? 

If you’re the kind of person who…

  • reads anything you can get your hands on
  • points out typos on restaurant menus
  • cringes when you see a misspelled word on a billboard or TV commercial
  • feels embarrassed for a writer when you see glaring typos in their work
  • feels cheated when you buy a book and get hit with 10 typos in the first paragraph alone…

Then chances are you may have what it takes to be a proofreader

Who would be hiring proofreaders at a time like this?

People who hire proofreaders often work from home themselves. So if they continue to work during the coronavirus outbreak, then they will still be hiring proofreaders and other service providers. 

Let me give you some examples of people who hire proofreaders:

  • Self-publishing authors
  • Bloggers
  • Course creators
  • People using this unexpected downtime to update their résumés and LinkedIn profiles

But if I’m going to be a proofreader, I’ll have to do it full-time, right?

If finances are a little tight right now, why not supplement your income with proofreading!


Just because you’re interested in becoming a proofreader — to earn money during times of crisis or for other reasons — doesn’t mean it has to be your full-time gig. You determine how much work you take on and how much money you make. The sky’s the limit!

Of course, everyone’s situation is different. We’re all going to have varying amounts of time we can spend on our side hustle depending on if we’re working from home for our employer, if we’ve got kids stuck at home because of the pandemic, etc. 

And we all have different needs when it comes to how much extra money we need to make. But you can adapt your business to suit your own needs.

Check out these stories from 12 people who are rocking their at-home proofreading side hustles

How do I get started as a proofreader?

Step #1 is always going to be this: get training. 

That might not be what you wanted to hear, but it’s the truth. #sorrynotsorry

I would be doing you a disservice if I told you to jump onto the internet right now and start advertising as a proofreader without getting any training. 

Proofreading clients have a tendency to expect perfection. 

Now, they’re not always going to get it because proofreaders are still human, and we make mistakes, but it’s our duty to catch as many errors as humanly possible in our clients’ documents. 

If you don’t know what you’re looking for or you’re holding on to several outdated rules or grammar myths, your clients will find out and they won’t hire you again. 

Your new business will be dead in the water. 

So make sure you start out on the right foot by investing in training so you can provide the highest quality service you can to your clients. 

I talk about how you can get started as a general proofreader in this free workshop

Our Take

We really don’t know when this pandemic will run its course, so investing our time wisely now could make things a lot easier on us in the long run. 

You can work from home and not have to worry about picking up a virus from coworkers or customers. 

You can look after your children when they can’t go to school.

You’ll have a way to earn money if your boss can’t afford to pay you.

And even if you don’t get your proofreading side hustle up and running before the panic blows over this time, you’ll be prepared for the next one! 

Your Turn

Haven’t really put much thought into proofreading to earn money before? Check out our FREE Intro to Proofreading workshop to learn how it could be the perfect side hustle to start right now.  

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