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What’s holding you back?

It’s 12:51 a.m.

I’m sitting in a hotel room, dog-tired, and I made the grave error of checking my email before going to bed.

Well, usually it’s a grave error.

This time, I’m glad I checked my email.

I got a complaint email, and I thought about ignoring it or keeping it short, but instead, I wrote back, at length, and the words just flowed. Then I realized, HEY… this could be a blog post. You’ll note I’ve categorized it as “Productivity and Mindset,” and once you read it, you’ll understand why.

So here you go. Y’all knew I was honest, but I’m guessing you didn’t expect me to be this honest. I hope you’re glad I am that way.

You can click each screenshot to open it to full size in a new tab.




[EDIT: I meant week, not month… it’s 12:51 am!!]



She responded back to my email, and it’s only fair I keep you updated. You can see her response below, along with mine. It goes to show that some honesty and tough love, along with a good dose of encouragement to not hold yourself back can really go a long way.

Her Response

My Response

What’s holding you back?

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  1. Oh man Caitlin, I do not want to be in a debate with you! Wow, you nailed your response to this disgruntled person. Good for you to stand up for yourself and your course. I’m loving it.

  2. Hello Caitlin,

    I always believe that if you’re going to sell any product or service, that you should be able stand behind it and back it with your full faith 100%. It looks like you backed your product 200% here in this instance!

    I strongly recommend that you have all of your materials copyrighted of you haven’t done so already. This individual now has access to 2 modules for free, and the least she/he could do is delete anything they’ve downloaded in exchange for that refund.

    Also, I may have mentioned that I’m a contractor/consultant. I’m a road warrior who over the last 3 years, I hadn’t had a single gig that was longer than 12 months (not yet anyway). Also, I often dabble in stocks, mutual funds, etc… I’ve made money, and I also LOST money. So I guess you could say, I know or thing or two about taking a risk!

    First thing you always want to consider when taking a risk is the risk-reward ratio. If I was risking $1000, and expecting only $20 in return… Then I would say the risk-reward ratio is not worth it! Never would I risk losing $1000 just to earn an extra $20.

    But if my risk was $1000, and my potential payoff was an indefinite stream of income… Then even if I lose ALL of the $1000, the risk was totally worth it, because the money is recoverable in one way or another.

    If I win, I get secondary stream of income as a back. If I lose, my LLC gets a tax break 😉

    I would much rather the venture succeed, though!

    Basically though, you shouldn’t worry about a disgruntled customer. You can’t please everybody, you can’t be friends with everybody, and you certainly can’t cure stupid!

    I look forward to taking the course!

  3. Caitlin,
    I wanted to know, if I take your course and complete it, would I be able to professionally proofread anything, besides court transcripts? I do proofreading already, but I thought if I take your course it would be good for my future working with court reporters, but for now it would also help me in my present job. Proofreading is not my job, but I am asked often to proofread reports, letters, and anything that is written that is sent from our office. I have been doing this for more than ten years, but you can always learn something new.

    I always wanted to tell you that you are awesome and thank you for creating this course. I hope to take in the future.

    Please advise.

    Thank you.


    1. Hi, Grace! We have actually had a lot of our graduates go on to use their training in various fields of proofreading, including proofreading novels, websites, eBooks, advertisements, etc. You can definitely use the skills gained in the course to branch out into other industries.

  4. Shouldn’t your use of “industry specific” not be hyphenated as it follows rather than precedes the noun it modifies: “nothing?”

    1. Grammar and punctuation style guides may differ on the use of hyphens in some scenarios. 🙂

      1. Can you tell me which style guide advises hyphenating compound adjectives after the noun they modify?

        1. Hi, Annie! For transcript proofreading, we recommend the texts by Margie Wakeman Wells and/or The Gregg Reference Manual, 10th Edition. For general proofreading, we recommend The Chicago Manual of Style. 🙂

          1. I’ve checked with these style guides, and they do not recommend hyphenating compound adjectives when they follow the noun they modify. My point in bringing this up is simply that Caitlin was quite eager to point out that the individual incorrectly used a comma before “because,” but Caitlin had a grammatical error of her own in her reply.

            I’m not pointing this out just to be snarky; I’m making a larger point. I agree with the individual’s email in quite a lot of respects. While the courses Caitlin offers seem to be rather helpful for individuals who want to begin freelance copy editing/proofreading without any formal training, I don’t think they are terribly helpful for those of us with an editing background trying to break into the freelancing world more generally.

            There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, but perhaps Caitlin should have more graciously accepted this criticism and acknowledged her intended audience. Obviously, criticizing this individual for a grammatical error while having an error of her own belies some petty motives.

  5. We appreciate your feedback, Annie! We have many people enrolled in both courses who have different backgrounds and skill levels. 🙂

  6. What a great article, especially your comments. I hope one day, to have the same capacity as you and not get so offended that I question everything!

    In this email, you both mention using Upwork. I have registered and looked but have never taken the leap to actually apply for writing jobs. Now that my focus has changed from writing to proofreading, I’m ready to look again.

    Have you ever used this site? Is it reputable? Are there others that you recommend. I’m interested in taking your course but I do NOT have the money right now so I’m looking for ways to earn extra income for that.

    Thanks for all the support that you provide your followers!


  7. Hi, Dawn,

    Upwork and Fiverr are two of the largest online marketplaces for freelancers. They are reputable, but make sure you review their policies and FAQs for communicating with potential clients. Good luck! 🙂

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