They say everyone has a book in them…
If that’s true, then we proofreaders have job security for life!
Okay, so not every single person you know is going to write a book, but some of them will! And you might be the only professional proofreader they know, so you’re in prime position to snap up that work.
(Emphasis on professional!)
Maybe you feel shy about telling people you know that you’ve started a proofreading business. I get it. We worry that they won’t understand or that they’ll laugh at us. (Although why would they? Getting paid to read is awesome!)
But if you don’t tell everyone you know that you’re a proofreader, you’re not on their radar when they write the book that’s been percolating in their brain for years!
Katie tapped into her network to get her first job proofreading a book for a friend. She calls it a lucky catch; I say she’s a networking genius!
Keep reading to hear more about how Katie makes money from home proofreading books!
Q: Hey there, Katie! Tell us a little about your background. What did your life look like before you crossed paths with PA?
I originally went to college for graphic design. I did art throughout my life, and I fell in love with graphic design in high school. After college, I worked for a couple of different small businesses, then in 2017, my husband and I got married and moved cross country for his job. We had one car, so while he worked full-time, I was in the apartment working on my Etsy shop where I sell wedding cards that I design. The business wasn’t doing so well anymore, so I started looking for ways that I could make money from home. I came across an article from The Penny Hoarder that listed Proofread Anywhere, and I was intrigued, so I signed up.
Q: Creative and a word nerd. You’re the full package! 😊 When did you start proofreading, and what made you decide to learn how to proofread?
English was always one of my strong points. When I was in college, my husband (boyfriend, at the time) always had me proofread his papers. However, what made me really intrigued with proofreading was the fact that one of my mom’s first jobs was proofreading for a local newspaper. I thought that’s something I can do, so I had casually looked for proofreading jobs in the past. When I learned about Proofread Anywhere, I became really excited about it.
Q: I love that proofreading runs in your family! What was the most challenging part of getting started?
The most challenging part of getting started was realizing that I didn’t know as much as I thought I did. A large part of me thought it would be a piece of cake, but after doing the first worksheets, I felt like I was going back to grade school.
Q: What was the most valuable thing you learned during the course?
The most valuable thing I learned while going through this course is that you never stop learning, and if you make a mistake, the best thing you can do is own up to it. Even after taking the final exam, when I am proofreading, I am constantly Googling, referencing, and taking notes. I have made mistakes while proofreading; I thought I knew something, but my client made me aware of my mistake. That just proves that even if you think you know something, it doesn’t hurt to double-check. But if you do make a mistake, if you are honest instead of defensive, you will have a better relationship with your client.
Q: Very wise words there, Katie! Maintaining a good relationship with your clients is more important than defending your honor. How long did it take you to find your first client? And how many clients do you have now?
My first client was a very lucky catch. I am friends with a writer, John Shore, who I had become acquainted with through Facebook. Three years ago, I think it was, he started a Kickstarter campaign for a book he was writing, so I helped him out by backing his campaign. I passed my final exam in January of this year, and John was getting a lot closer to publishing his book. I decided to send him a message asking if I could do any proofreading for him, or if he could share my name with other writers. He decided to have me proofread his book (one more time) before he would send it to print. This was about a month after I graduated. Today, I have had five clients total — three novels, one screenplay, and a one-page biography.
Q: Great idea to tap into your network to find work! How long did it take you to recoup the cost of the course?
I recouped the cost of the program itself with my very first job. With the added cost of reference materials (a few books and a CMOS subscription) I made it all back by my second job.
Here’s what Katie’s happy clients have to say!
Q: What advice would you give anyone thinking about enrolling in the course to learn how to proofread? Is it worth the money?
My advice is no matter how much you think you know, don’t expect it to be easy. Some may find it easy, but I think for most people it can be a bit frustrating at times. There are so many resources to help make you a better proofreader. The best source of all is the Facebook group for students of PA. You will never find a better, more supportive group of people. Whether it’s worth the money or not depends on what you do with it. It takes hard work and discipline to go through the course, pass the exam, and grow your business, but it’s not impossible. The resources you gain from the program alone are worth the cost.
Q: What does your life look like now that you work from home proofreading books?
Right now I can’t say that I’m making bank, but my portfolio is slowly growing, and I have had some amazing clients. It makes me really excited for the future of my business. When I have a client, I wake up in the morning, have my breakfast, and then I sit down at my table with my tablet and I get to work. The best part is that I get to do it at my leisure. My hours are set by me. I can take as many breaks as I need. I can take an hour lunch and then take a nap . . . as long as I am meeting my work goals for the day.
Q: Who doesn’t love a good daytime nap?! 😊 Anything else you’d like to share with the PA community?
The one thing that will determine your success is you. You have to decide to put the work in, to learn and grow, to ask questions, and even make mistakes. And a positive attitude will help!
I love that Katie followed in her mother’s footsteps to become a proofreader! The family that proofs together, stays together! 😊 I’m so impressed that Katie reached out to her network when she was sure she had the skills to proofread for money. You never know where your first proofreading job will come from!
Do you want to help someone in your network make their book as error-free as possible? Take our free proofreading workshop to find out if you’ve got the skills to work from home proofreading books!