You need to have an eagle eye for error. This means errors tend to pop off the page at you as you’re reading. If you don’t have this already, I need to be up front with you: it’s not something that can be cultivated. Please don’t be drawn in by the earning potential of this kind of work if you don’t have an eye for detail. No one will stop you from enrolling in the course anyway, but lacking the eagle eye will not be easy to hide when you return jobs back to clients that are still littered with errors.
Know your grammar and spelling. It doesn’t need to be perfect, because there are tools to help you quickly while doing the work, but if you have no clue about how to use apostrophes or create plurals, etc., it might not be a good fit for you. When I first started proofreading transcripts, I didn’t know the difference between “its” and “it’s” — I quickly learned and never forgot. So things can be learned in this arena. Most of the time, the kind of stuff you’re looking for has nothing to do with grammar — it’s incorrect word use and punctuation mistakes. If something doesn’t look right, it’s easy to highlight the word using iAnnotate and look it up online or in the dictionary to check the spelling. The key is knowing an error when you see one, or at the very least knowing it could be an error and having the sense to stop and check.
You need to be flexible, and you need to have more than an hour of free time a day. This type of work can come in waves, meaning when your clients aren’t busy, neither are you … but when they are busy? So are you. If you think you’ll be able to make as much as I do working from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Monday through Friday, not going to happen. Most of my work happens in the evenings, when my inbox is quiet and the bustle of the day has died down a bit. That’s also when I tend to receive the most jobs from clients, too.
Transcript Proofreading: Theory and Practice™ is much, much less expensive than going back to school. You can enroll in the course, buy an iPad mini, and buy the app we use, all for around $1100. That is less than the average cost of two college courses, but instead of just a few pieces of the puzzle for a new career, you have all the tools, resources, practice, and community support you need to create a brand new income stream — for a lifetime.