Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve probably heard the term “side hustle” used in the media, or read about it in articles and blog posts. It’s more than just a trend, though, as many people are looking for ways to make extra money, and also to find joy outside of their day jobs.
In this post, I’ll discuss how you can start a proofreading side hustle.
What Is A Side Hustle?
A side hustle is basically a business you have to make extra money on top of your regular 9 to 5. It can be services you offer, like proofreading, or products you sell.
It can be done in the evenings after work, on the weekends, or whenever you have spare time. Keep in mind that side hustles require commitment and perseverance in order to be successful.
A side hustle can be something you’re passionate about and are already skilled at, or it can be a skill that you learn. For example, many people take their creative skills and set up Etsy shops where they sell their crafts or designs.
Sometimes side hustles take off and grow into successful ventures. Did you know that Apple started off as a side project for founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak while they worked for other tech companies?
Why Have A Side Hustle?
Is it something anyone can do? And why would you consider having one?
The truth is that these days many people aren’t making enough income from one job to make ends meet or to maintain their quality of life. For many, a full-time job barely covers the necessities like rent, food, and utilities. So if you want to have money for new clothes, medication, or toys for your kids, a side hustle can make a difference.
It’s not always about the money, though. They also allow people to find joy from work that they might not find in their current job.
People who love to read have started side hustles as writers, bloggers, editors, and proofreaders. When I had a corporate job, I had proofreading and writing side hustles that allowed me to be creative.
There are many benefits to starting a side hustle:
- Pay off debts sooner
- Spend time doing something you truly enjoy
- Become an expert in a specific niche
- Diversify your income stream
- Expand your network by connecting with people you wouldn’t normally
- Stimulate your mind with new experiences and skills
- Build your confidence
If you want to learn more about making money with a proofreading side hustle, grab a FREE copy of our eBook, Winning with Words: The Ultimate Guide to Freelance Proofreading and Copyediting.
Proofreading As A Side Hustle
Do you have a knack for spotting errors in text? Do you have a great command of the English language?
If so, then you’re an excellent candidate for proofreading. Proofreading is a flexible, low-stress side hustle that you can balance with your full-time job.
A lot of my students want to start proofreading because they love to read and have a sharp eye for detail.
I think those are excellent reasons. Proofreading takes something you’re passionate about and allows you to make money from it without having to invest years of education and training. Also, how many of you are already proofreading for free for friends and family? Why not make money off it, right?
Is A Proofreading Side Hustle For You?
It’s important for you to understand the industry and what clients expect. That’s why I offer free online masterclasses to educate you on certain aspects of proofreading and copyediting.
If you want to learn how you can start a proofreading side hustle, I’m holding a FREE masterclass on proofreading, copyediting, business and marketing.
You can register now by clicking here.
Here’s why proofreading makes a great side hustle:
- It’s a lifelong skill that can be applied to any industry
- It doesn’t require an English degree or special certification
- Can be done from anywhere offline
- You set your own hours
- It doesn’t require a lot of equipment or tools
Skills You Need To Work As A Proofreader
Like I mentioned before, you don’t need a degree or certification to find work as a proofreader. However, you do need to be trained in practical proofreading skills. Here’s a list of the skills you need to start freelance proofreading:
1. An excellent command of English
You need to be aware of the context and intent of the content you’re working on, and know if it’s presented clearly. That means you can recognize obvious grammatical errors, know the basics of punctuation, and can navigate through reference texts.
For example, you recognize when a writer has used both past tense and present tense in the same sentence. Your process will be much faster and smoother if you know how to correct the obvious errors without having to check with style guides or dictionaries.
Business Skills Every Proofreader Must Know
How To Make A Living As A Proofreader
12 Editorial Resources I Use For Proofreading
How To Be A Proofreader Without A Degree
2. An eye for detail
You need to be able to spot inconsistencies such as if the writer has capitalized a word in a previous paragraph but doesn’t in another. Or you notice when a word is missing from a sentence, which is a common mistake. For example, can you easily spot the missing word in the following sentence?
He walked into the room and sat the chair.
Correct: He walked into the room and sat on the chair.
3. Be trained in proofreading skills
It’s important to be trained in the art of proofreading. It’s not as simple as correcting typos, and while it may be described as catching surface errors, there are deeper considerations to take into account.
Proofreaders must know how to recognize and maintain a writer’s voice, follow style guides, and work within context. There are also practical skills to know like working with editing programs and using proofreaders’ marks.
Training programs that teach you how to work on various kinds of content, like my course High-Level Proofreading And Copyediting Pro, are invaluable.
4. A love of reading
This sounds obvious, but you must love to read, since proofreading is basically reading and fixing the errors you come across. Even when you don’t find the project you’re working on interesting or the writer’s style isn’t compelling, you have to be able to stay engaged and focused.
5. The ability and willingness to market yourself
When starting a side hustle, think of yourself as an entrepreneur. You’re in charge of research, finding work, delivering your projects on time, communicating with clients, and being paid for your services. Being able to market yourself is key to getting work, and with social media it doesn’t have to cost you a penny.
What You Need To Start
Part of why proofreading makes such a great side hustle is because there’s very little start-up cost involved. To get started you need:
- An internet connection
- A computer
- Access to online or print resources
- Guide on managing a business or side hustle
You can read this post I wrote on how to work from anywhere as a proofreader for more information on what else you need.
After having worked as a proofreader for 16 years (10 of those as a freelancer) I can tell you that proofreading has only gotten easier. It really is a skill that develops and refines with time, and can become second nature to you.
I’ve proofread full-time and as a side hustle, and it’s helped me pay off debt, make ends meet, and work from home so I can raise my son. I’ve been able to work on different types of content within various industries without a problem.
If you have a gift with language and want to start bringing in extra money on the side, do you think you could try proofreading? Share in the comments below!
15 thoughts on “Start A Proofreading Side Hustle”
I was worried I’d have to invest a lot of money, but it looks like it’s pretty affordable to get going.
Great info! I’ll have to look into that!
Interesting! I always spot errors, but know how hard it is to read over your own work when writing a book. It is quite tedious! I may hire a proofreader 😉
This is a great idea! And goodness knows there are plenty of people out there who could use a proofreader…
Super interested! I am a high school English teacher and this sounds like excellent summer work!
Nice to meet you, Lori! Yes, it would be a great way to make money during the summer. There’s something special when you can sit outside in the sun, read, and get lost in a story. 😉
I’m in the same position as Lori! I’ve been teaching high school English and journalism for over 20 years, a d just became a single parent. I really need something that still challenges me but fits a schedule that allows me to be around for my kids more often.
I understand! Proofreading and editing were perfect when my son was young because it was so flexible. And you know how it is… You’re interrupted every 10 minutes lol. We have quite a few parents who have made it work perfectly with family life. Have you checked out our interviews yet? I recommend these ones with LaToya, Lakeisha, and Sandra.
I am SO interested, I can’t stand it! Most of my life I have corrected what I read in my head, and wonder how the authors get away with it. I would not publish a lot of what I read, especially on the internet. I think that is a niche that I would like to fill.
That’s so great to hear, Linda! I love hearing from someone who loves language 🙂
I was an executive secretary for years before purchasing my own business. I would love to find out more information on this Art Of Proofreading opportunity.
Hi Linda! You can go to the top menu bar and sign up for our free training and masterclasses to learn more. 🙂
I have always been told I should do this for a living. As a side hustle, this would be amazing! I’m always finding mistakes or misspelled words, even in texts and my family and friends always ask me to read things before they mail it or even post it to social media! I would love to do this, just not sure on how to get started!
Hi Yvonne! Proofreading and copyediting make the best side hustles because they’re such flexible skills. I actually have a free masterclass on starting an editorial side hustle that you can sign up to watch here.