Having an editing side hustle has many benefits. You can make extra money, start your own business, work part-time, and even pave the way towards a new career. What’s great about working in editorial is that you can do it without commuting or using a lot of physical energy. To start, you should enjoy reading, working alone, and have an eye for detail. I’ve helped thousands of people become proofreaders and editors, and in this post, I share seven of my top tips for starting without any previous experience.
Choose An Editorial Skill
What kind of editorial work do you want to do? Proofreading, copyediting, and editing are flexible and can be done from anywhere—all you need is your computer and an internet connection. Here is a breakdown of the different types of editing services you can offer as a freelancer. You can focus on one or all three if you wish. The more services you offer, the better.
Proofreading is the last step of the publishing process and when content is checked for errors in spelling, punctuation, and formatting. Proofreaders provide a surface-only check and are not required to rewrite or reorganize text. Proofreading is less time intensive than the other skills, which allows you to take on more projects per month.
A copy editor looks at content to find errors in consistency, grammar, and facts. They identify style and create style guides for proofreaders to follow. Copyediting also shares some tasks with proofreading, like fixing mistakes in spelling and punctuation. Copyediting is a great skill to learn because it can be paired with both line editing and proofreading, allowing you to make more money.
Line editing is the phase before copyediting. It is also known as stylistic editing or content editing. Line editors, aka stylistic editors and content editors, work with content on a sentence level. Their job is to determine style and to ensure language is clear and flow is logical. They do this by editing and rewriting sentences to maintain a specific tone and to elevate the writer’s voice.
Invest In Professional Training
If you are serious about making extra money with an editing side hustle, it is important that you have professional-level skills. You want to start off strong so you don’t waste time guessing, or even worse, making mistakes on a client’s project.
Going through a professional training program will give you the skills and knowledge to work according to industry standards. You want to meet client expectations and apply your skills to different types of content.
When choosing an editorial training program, make sure that it is taught by an editor with experience and who has a deep understanding of the industry. Whether you want to learn how to proofread, copyedit, or line edit, there are online courses that provide you with the necessary training so you can learn and get your editing side hustle off the ground quickly.
You should also invest in courses that show you how to start and run an editorial business. Knowing how to fix an error is one part of being successful. The other part is knowing how to market yourself, how to manage projects, and how to grow your business. Our courses, High-Level Proofreading And Copyediting Pro, The Art of Line Editing and Advanced Editing And Manuscript Evaluation prepare you with the skills and business lessons you need to thrive.
To build on these seven tips, you can learn my 4-step framework to starting a freelance editorial business. I’ve helped thousands of people become professional proofreaders and editors, and this free masterclass was their starting point.
Sign up and watch the masterclass here.
After you’ve received professional training, you’ll know how the industry works, how to apply your editorial skills to different kinds of content, and how to manage an editorial side hustle. Next, is to gain experience. You can do this by doing pro bono work in exchange for a testimonial and experience.
Another way to gain experience is through paid jobs. This option may take longer, so I recommend doing some work for free to quickly build your experience.
Pick A Niche
Picking a niche allows you to narrow down the kind of content you want to work on. It also helps you target a specific target audience, which hones your marketing strategy. You can choose a niche anytime you are ready, and you can always change it.
Often, proofreaders and editors will work on any kind of content until they discover what they like and don’t like. Or maybe you start your editing side hustle with a specific niche, only to realize that it doesn’t interest you and you want to focus on another niche or niches instead.
To learn more about choosing a niche, check out this blog post for some great, actionable tips.
Start A Social Media Account
Social media is fantastic for launching your editing side hustle. It’s free, you can reach a lot of people quickly, and you can find clients through it. There is a higher ROI in putting time in building a social media presence for your editorial business than there is applying for jobs online where you compete with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of other people.
My advice is to start with one social media account. There are so many social platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter, that it can be overwhelming to manage all at once. It’s best to choose one platform and get comfortable marketing yourself on it before starting another account.
Create A Website
A website is like a virtual storefront for your editorial business. Your site is a place where you direct everyone so they can contact you and learn more about your services. Whether potential clients come from social media, referrals, or an online search, your website should be set up with your business’s information. You don’t need to have a fancy, complicated website, either. A simple, yet informative, one-page site is just as effective.
Market, Market, Market!
Once you have acquired the necessary pro proofreading and editing skills, it’s time to let the world know you’re open for business. Marketing is one of the most important tasks to focus on to grow your editing side hustle. The best way to stay busy is to market yourself consistently so you always have a stream of potential clients contacting you.
When it comes to marketing, the key is to find out where your ideal client hangs out online. With online marketing, you have the flexibility to test marketing strategies. What messaging appeals to people? What brings in the wrong person? Look at your data and refine your approach.
Your Next Steps
Having a side gig allows you to make extra money or to start your own business without having to quit your day job until you’re ready. Following these seven tips for launching your online editing side hustle is essential if you want to reach profitability quickly. I’ve seen my students pack their spare time with proofreading and editing work that is both fulfilling and fruitful. Want to join them? Watch my free masterclass to take your next step!