One thing I’m proud of as an instructor and mentor is that my editorial training program is life-changing. I recently received an email from a graduate who turned a desire to work from home into an editorial career. She wrote: “Your course has been a lifesaver for me. It has allowed me to have a career working from home and taking care of my children.”
Two years ago, Jessica Berry began searching for a way to work at home so she could have more flexibility and freedom in her day. That led her to proofreading and editing, and my program, High-Level Proofreading Pro.
Now she has a successful career running her editorial business at home and taking care of her children. In this interview, Jessica shares how she balances homeschooling, managing new and regular clients, and how becoming a freelance proofreader and editor has been a blessing in her life. Keep reading to find out how her life has changed since finishing our program!
Hi Jessica! Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I have always enjoyed reading. Growing up, I read daily, and my mom would have to come in my room and make me go to bed if I was reading a particularly interesting book! I still remember hiding under the covers with a flashlight just to find out what would happen at the end of a story.
Before starting J. Berry Proofreading, I worked in customer service. I decided I didn’t enjoy the inflexibility of my job and began searching for ways to work from home. I worked a few independent contractor jobs before finding your course. I was excited because I’d always wanted to work with books but didn’t think it was possible for me without an educational background in publishing.
How long have you been running your editorial business for?
I have been running J. Berry Proofreading for almost two years. It has been a wonderful experience.
What made you decide to get into proofreading and copyediting?
I have always had a knack for catching errors. I helped my friends during college with papers and assignments. Additionally, I looked over emails and forms for colleagues at prior jobs. Basically, I was already sort of proofreading before, and once I found out I could make a career out of it, I was ecstatic!
What do you like best about running an editorial business?
I enjoy being able to schedule my days around my life as a homeschool mom and virtual school parent. I like being able to be with my family more and prioritize my life according to my values.
Can you tell us about your editorial business, the kinds of content you work on, and do you have a niche or niches?
I work on both fiction and nonfiction manuscripts at J. Berry Proofreading. I also have a few business clients who I work on websites, brochures, and more for. My niches are romance and fantasy.
Want to work from home and take the first step towards an editorial career?
Note from Phon: If you want to learn how to start your own editorial business from home like Jessica, sign up for my FREE masterclass that will teach you my 4-step framework that includes editorial skills, marketing and publishing knowledge.
What has been a project you’ve really enjoyed working on?
There have been many projects that I have enjoyed working on. However, I can narrow it down to two. The most recent project I completed was working on a young adult novel that dealt with mental illness. It presented mental illness in a way I hadn’t seen before and made the characters relatable. Also, I really enjoyed learning more about the protagonist’s diagnosis.
The second project I enjoyed was a post-apocalyptic novel set in a West African country. It reminded me of a novel I’d recently read, and it was a joy to read. I could tell the author had put in a lot of research, as it showed in the novel. It was very interesting to learn about some of the myths from West Africa.
What do you feel proud of having accomplished since starting your own editorial business?
When I first started my business, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find clients. I am proud to have made connections and have a steady stream of clients.
How has your editorial business impacted your life?
It has allowed me to lead a life truer to my personality and to myself. I can work from home and keep my priorities in order. It has been a blessing in my life.
As a parent, how do you juggle or stay on top of everything on your plate?
I have a loose schedule that I try to stick to every day. I make sure to have time outside of homeschool and work to spend time with my children outside or reading aloud with them or just playing or talking. I really enjoy using time blocking to stay on track with my day to make sure I get a few things accomplished from each category in my life.
What advice do you have for people who want to work from home proofreading and editing?
Take Edit Republic’s course as soon as possible. It has tremendously changed my life, and I’m not sure if I’d be able to enjoy the many freedoms I have if I hadn’t taken the course.
How did High-Level Proofreading Pro prepare you for working as a freelance proofreader and copy editor?
High-Level Proofreading Pro helped me learn how to proofread and copyedit various materials and what was expected of me as a proofreader or copy editor. It also allowed me to see that I could do what I dreamed of if I just worked at it.
Can you give us a peek at what your typical day is like?
During the week, I always wake up and do yoga first. After, I do my devotional with a cup of coffee. Then I check and respond to emails before setting up the chalkboard for homeschool. I make breakfast and have a second cup of coffee before getting dressed.
We do a quick pickup of the house before we start homeschooling for the day. We also are first-time gardeners and take care of our garden during a morning break. It has been an exciting and educational experience! We finish school around lunchtime and have a relaxed lunch together.
While my youngest daughter practices piano, reads, and has quiet time, I have a work block in which I post to social media, check emails again, and work. I take a break to spend time with my girls and have a snack. We usually go outside around this time if the weather is nice.
I return to work while my girls have device time and finish up in time to make dinner. After dinner, we usually spend family time together, and I relax with my husband and watch a TV show or read. If I have a deadline, I will work some more before going to bed.
On the weekends, I try not to work for more than an hour or so as I use that time to recharge and plan my week for both homeschool and work.
About Jessica Berry
Jessica Berry is a freelance editor and proofreader at J. Berry Proofreading, where she enjoys working with clients to polish manuscripts and copy while maintaining their voice. She works with both fiction and nonfiction, with a niche in fantasy and romance. Jessica also works on numerous types of content such as short stories, manuscripts, flyers, brochures, and websites. You can find her at jberryproofreading.com and on Instagram.