One of my favourite things about being an editor is that I get to work from home reading online. If you love books or consuming any type of written content, and you want to earn an income at home, keep reading because I’m sharing how you can do the same.
Proofreading and copyediting are in-demand skills that require a lot of reading and are excellent work-at-home jobs. You can work with businesses, writers, content creators, and entrepreneurs by fixing errors in content like books, emails, blog posts, articles, reports — basically anything that contains words.
Working From Home Is An Achievable Goal
Not too long ago, working from home seemed to be something only a select few could do. That has changed, and the pandemic has shown us that it is possible to make money online from the comfort of home or anywhere.
With proofreading and copyediting, you just need your computer and an internet connection. They are ideal for you if you’re:
- An introvert who wants to work independently
- A parent who wants to stay home and have more time with your family
- Looking to be your own boss so you can work on your terms
- Wanting better work-life balance and more freedom in your life
Work From Home Proofreading Online
If you want to work from home proofreading online, you should know that you don’t need to have any previous experience to start. It’s also considered the easiest form of editing because it is a surface check of content. That is, you aren’t required to dive deep and rearrange or rewrite content. Proofreading is the last step of the publishing and content creation process. It’s the final chance to find and correct any errors in spelling, punctuation or formatting before hitting publish.
Clean, flawless content is important because it can strongly impact business. If a writer publishes a messy, poor-quality book, it can negatively influence sales and reviews. If an entrepreneur has a website full of mistakes, it’ll make them look unprofessional. Proofreading will improve quality and help maintain a brand’s image.
There’s a misconception that you have to be a grammar expert to be a copy editor. The truth is, you don’t. Copyediting is considered Next Level proofreading because it has a lot of tasks in common with proofreading and it is a skill that can be taught even if you’ve never copyedited before.
In the publishing process, text is copyedited BEFORE it is proofread. The copy editor is often working with more raw text and has a deeper technical approach than proofreading that requires meticulous attention to details while also looking at the bigger picture.
This means that copy editors make sure what was written on page 1 is consistent with what’s written on page 40. They also make sure the writer’s message and voice comes across clearly. Copy editors do a lot of research, and it’s not uncommon to become practically an expert on specific topics.
Since proofreading and copyediting are so similar, I always encourage people to learn both skills. They can be learned simultaneously, and the benefit is that copyediting pays more than proofreading, so you can work from home on more projects. This is what I teach students in my editorial training program, High-Level Proofreading Pro, and how they run their at-home editorial businesses.
If you want to learn more about what proofreading and copyediting involve, and how they’re different, check out this post.
Proofreading And Copyediting Are Low-Stress Ways To Work From Home
Freelance proofreading and copyediting don’t require a lot of equipment aside from your computer, and they’re flexible enough that you can do them on your lunch break, in the evenings or on weekends, or even while the kids are at soccer. I can’t tell you how many projects I’ve completed by working in short spurts of spare time between school pickups, extracurricular activities, and while dinner is in the oven.
As long as you manage your deadlines and client communications, you can create a nice workflow that gives you more freedom and flexibility to enjoy your life.
You Don’t Need A Degree To Start
Trust me — you don’t! I know because I work for some of the biggest book publishers in the world, and I don’t have an English degree. You also don’t need to have accreditation, a special certificate, or membership in an association to start making money as a proofreader or copy editor.
Why? That’s because the proofreading industry isn’t regulated by a governing force. You also don’t need to go to college and get your degree to work in editorial. However, you absolutely should be properly trained so you are aware of the market, know industry standards, and can meet client expectations.
I also want to point out that you don’t have to be a grammar expert or know all the rules of the English language. That’s impossible! Some of my friends have been proofreading and editing for over 30 years, and I’ve been doing it for over 20, and we still look things up.
Ready to work from home proofreading and copyediting?
Sign up here to watch our free masterclass on how to start proofreading and copyediting online. You’ll learn how to start and what it takes to succeed.
Skills You Need To Work From Home Reading Online
You must have an eye for detail.
This is important because you must be able to catch little things like extra spaces that most people would miss.
An excellent command of English.
You should recognize bad grammar, and can correct basic spelling and punctuation errors without much effort. For example, can you spot the error in this sentence?
Yesterday, he ran onto the street and yells at the cars.
If you noticed that it contains both past and present tense, then you’re correct. The sentence should read:
Yesterday, he ran onto the street and yelled at the cars.
A love of reading.
This is a no-brainer since proofreading and copyediting involve a ton of reading. You should be able to sit quietly for an extended period of time and be able to focus on words on a screen.
You need to care about quality.
Anyone can take a project and run it through Spell Check or Grammarly and claim they’ve “proofread” it. That is definitely not proofreading or copyediting. If you don’t care, then you won’t be able to preserve a client’s style or maintain a brand’s message.
The ability to market yourself.
Fixing content is only a small part of the process. You’ve got to be willing to market your services! If you don’t know how, you can learn, which I also teach in my program. No one will know who you are or what you do if you don’t get out there.
Some Tips For Launching Your Editorial Business.
Freelancing can seem daunting, but I’ve learned that if you set yourself up for success by building a strong foundation, then things will be much easier for you. Here are some tips for you to follow:
1. Create a freelance business plan
Writing your business plan, whether it’s full time or a side hustle will help you stay committed and give you direction. Setting your goals also gives you motivation. Here are some questions to answer when writing your business plan:
- Do you have a niche you want to focus on or will you proofread any kind of content?
- What kind of clients do you want to work for? Self-published writers? Entrepreneurs?
- What kind of marketing will you do?
- How much will you charge? And how: by hour, project, or word?
- How much money do you want to bring in a month?
2. Create an online presence
You have to get your name out there, and having your own website is like your virtual business card. You don’t need anything fancy. In fact, a simple, professional-looking site is preferred. You can create one using platforms like Squarespace, WordPress, or Wix.
You can also create profiles on online freelance job platforms like Upwork or Freelancer. These sites allow you to create profiles and apply to jobs for free, but they do take a percentage of your earnings. Keep in mind that these sites can be competitive, and the key is to stay persistent and to apply to jobs ASAP.
3. Use social media
To build on your online presence, you need to be seen, and you can do that with social media. It’s free marketing! Create profiles for your business on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Let people know who you are and what you do in your bio, and connect with people in an authentic, non-spammy way.
4. Be committed
Remember that you need to be committed when it comes to building a business that allows you to work from home. Be patient and don’t give up. It’s natural to be worried you won’t find work, but if you consistently put in the time and effort, your hard work will pay off.
Jessica Berry, who is a graduate of High-Level Proofreading Pro, says “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.” You can read about how Jessica started working at home as a proofreader and copy editor here.
Proofreading and copyediting can be very fulfilling ways to work from home. One valuable aspect of those two skills that I want to stress is that they’re lifelong skills. They’re transferable skills that can be applied to any industry. Whether it’s medical, government, publishing, or business, they all require the same proofreading and copyediting skills. So what do you think? Are you ready to work from home reading online?