Zulaikha Faatima is a work-at-home mom who balances a proofreading and editing business with caregiving. It’s no secret that being a parent is a full-time job, and the fact that Zulaikha is caring for a toddler, doing daily household tasks, proofreading and editing for clients, and making time for herself is impressive. It’s worth it, though, because she is able to stay at home raising her son and enjoying the precious early years with him.
If you’re a parent or caregiver who is wondering if freelancing from home is for you so you can spend more time with family and enjoy a flexible schedule like Zulaikha, read our interview below. She shares how she started and manages it all, what it’s like running her own editorial business, and how her biz has impacted her life.
Hi Zulaikha! Let’s start off with learning a little about you.
I have grown up in and currently live in the UK. I am married and we have a three-year-old boy who I spend most of my time with now!
Growing up I wasn’t really a big reader; my parents were immigrants from Pakistan and so English wasn’t our first language at home and there wasn’t a huge focus on reading English literature. It’s only been as an adult that I’ve discovered an enjoyment in reading and it’s something that now both myself and my husband are trying to encourage with my toddler.
What made you decide to get into proofreading and editing?
Whilst I was at University, I realised that I actually enjoyed editing my writing more than the writing itself. I studied History as an Undergraduate course and then Medieval Studies as a Masters, so there were a lot of essays to write. But as I finished university, I got sucked into the corporate life and lost track of my passions.
However, when I was pregnant back in 2019, I knew I needed something that worked with motherhood and family life. And so, I tapped into my natural instincts and that’s when I came across the courses at Edit Republic and to be honest, I never really looked back. As I learned more about the industry and through my training, I kind of just fell in love with working with words again!
Please tell us about your editorial business, Bluebottle Editorial Services. What kind of content do you work with?
Bluebottle Editorial Services was born out of a desire to help those who write Muslim content. As a Muslim, naturally I read a lot of content on Islam and to be honest, I felt like the content was great, but the editing in most cases wasn’t the best.
Since working within the niche, I’ve realised that it’s just a lack of knowledge, that editing and proofreading are a crucial part of making a manuscript ready to share with the world. It is a relatively young and growing niche, as more Muslims (who are probably second-generation immigrants to the West) are writing Muslim content in the English language.
So, I work on children’s books, academic manuscripts, and poetry. My favourite genre at the moment is children’s books, as there’s so much creativity coming out from this particular genre!
What do you like best about being a proofreader and editor?
It’s definitely the satisfaction of seeing the final printed manuscript. As an editor, I see a couple of different versions of the work as I work on it, so seeing it after the typesetting is complete and the illustrations have been added is a special feeling—which strangely enough, I didn’t even consider being one of my favourite parts when I started!
You are quite busy with raising a family and running your own business. How do you balance being a work-at-home mom?
It’s a balancing act, for sure. At the moment, I tend to work in the evening and on the weekends. As the main carer for my toddler, I’m limited in terms of the number of hours that I can commit, but I’m comfortable in the knowledge that the business will grow as he gets older.
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I know you started with proofreading and copyediting, and you’ve since added line editing, developmental editing, and manuscript evaluations. You offer the full suite of services! What made you decide to expand your business?
This actually came out of conversations with potential clients. I had a lot of interest in my services; however, when I reviewed work or discussed requirements in more depth, I realised that a lot of authors had written their book, but the text needed developing before it could go to copyediting and proofreading. So, that’s where line editing came in. I knew that with this service, I could bridge the gap and provide clients with what they needed.
With developmental editing and manuscript evaluation, it’s about providing a more comprehensive package for clients. As I mentioned earlier, I intend for the business to grow with the different seasons of life, and I would love for it to become a full-time sustainable venture for me and my family.
How did High-Level Proofreading And Copyediting Pro prepare you for running your own proofreading and copyediting business?
High-Level Proofreading And Copyediting Pro included everything that I needed to get started; after completing the course, I instantly felt as though I was knowledgeable enough to market myself as a proofreader and copyeditor. It was helpful that the course gave both an introduction to proofreading and copyediting, as well as really focusing in on the most common areas that a newbie would need support with.
What advice do you have for parents who are considering starting their own editing business?
To take the first step and to go with the knowledge that whatever small you do, but consistently, it goes a long way.
I decided that even if I can’t commit to a full day’s work whilst my son is young, I will take these few years to build the brand and to foster meaningful relationships with the clients that I do have and other potential clients. Social media plays a huge part in this—I can connect to other editors to share and learn good working/business practices and build my knowledge of the niche I’m working with. I feel like I’ll be able to hit the ground running when the childcare duties ease up!
What do you enjoy about running your own editorial business?
The flexibility and being my own boss. Of course, this can work both ways as I need to hold myself accountable and make sure that I organise my time in the best way possible. But I love that I can work from anywhere and take time off when needed. I took full advantage of this in 2022 by performing the annual Hajj Pilgrimage and then going travelling in Asia for a few months. Something that I wouldn’t have been able to do in a corporate role!
How has running your editing business impacted your life?
Obviously, there’s the financial benefit of running your own business, but the biggest impact has been on my own confidence. Founding my own business has never been on my radar, but when the opportunity arose, I took that first step, and it has shone a light on my capabilities as a Muslim woman.
About Zulaikha Faatima
Zulaikha Faatima is the founder of Bluebottle Editorial Services, a specialist editorial company for Muslim content. The company came to life out of a desire to share with the world the vastness and beauty of Muslim heritage and history; something that is often overlooked in today’s world. And what better way to do it than helping Muslim writers refine and polish their words! When she’s not editing, she enjoys spending time with family, drawing, or exploring new places. You can find Zulaikha on Instagram and LinkedIn where she shares everything from grammar and feel-good quotes to entrepreneurship and travelling!