029 · How to Become an Online Proofreader or Editor

If you have good grammar skills and an eye for detail, becoming an online proofreader might be an interesting opportunity for you. For all types of content, from websites to novels and Instagram posts, there are always people looking for an editor or a proofreader. Most creators want to make sure they’re presenting their best work, and making their content error-free is continually important.

It’s important to note that just speaking or writing the language you plan on editing in isn’t enough. Editing and proofreading takes skill and knowledge (and sometimes a healthy dose of Googling) in order to give your clients what you promise. The good news is anyone with a desire to learn can become a freelance proofreader or editor online.

What is editing and proofreading?

Editing and proofreading are very similar tasks. Proofreading refers to reading content and fixing small errors like punctuation mistakes and minor spelling errors only. While editing does include these things, it dives a bit deeper into the content’s meaning and structure too. As an editor, you’re expected to give feedback as well.

If you’re offering proofreading services, you’ll tend to charge less. Editing takes more time and effort, so you can charge a little more. The service you offer can depend on a lot of things including the depth of your knowledge of grammar and writing and how much time you have.

Types of Content You Can Proofread/Edit

It’s entirely possible that you can work on any type of writing. It’s likely you’ll edit or proofread one or more of the following:

  • Blogs posts
  • Novels/Novellas/Short Stories
  • How-To books
  • Website content such as “About Me” sections, contact pages, introductions, etc.
  • Descriptions
  • Scripts
  • Etc.

The genres you can edit may vary as well:

  • Historical fiction
  • Sci-fi/Fantasy
  • Sports and leisure
  • Finance
  • Medical
  • Politics
  • Etc.

How to Find Clients

Working online allows you to access many different platforms on which you can find clients. You can cold call website owners, which takes a lot of time and effort, and if you’re not a pushy person, you might not get many clients this way.

Another option would be making your own website and promoting it through tools like Google Ads or Facebook Ads, which will allow clients to come to you.

A really popular option is you can use one of the many freelancing websites available. Many of these platforms charge a fee to use their site, but usually it’s worth it. While there are many more than what’s listed below, it’s important to do your own research and find the platform that speaks to you if you go that route.

  • Fiverr: This platform is based on the idea that services cost $5, but this was back when they started, oh an eon or so ago (it hasn’t been that long… I think). Now, you can offer your services for whatever price you think is fair. There are also ways to “level up”, which can allow you to offer more services and up your prices as you grow.

    Fiverr allows you to offer your services, and clients can find you and buy your gig. It’s a simple process, but you don’t have to search for your work. If your profile isn’t engaging or current, it can be difficult to secure clients.

  • UpWork: This platform is almost the reverse of Fiverr. Unlike Fiverr, UpWork puts the clients in command, allowing them to share their project specifications, their timeline, and their budget, and freelancers vie for the job. There seems to me more competition on this platform because of this, but if you are skilled at selling your services, then it might be a good option for you.

  • PeoplePerHour: Similar to the others, this site allows you to offer services. You’ll be lumped into a pool with other freelancers, hoping to get jobs.

Tips for getting started on Fiverr

As Fiverr seems to be one of the most popular platforms, here are a few tips to make your profile stand out amongst the many other proofreaders and editors already on the platform.

  • People need to know that you’re an actual person. In this day and age, there are so many scammers that there is inherent distrust online. It’s important to show your personality, show your credentials, and even make a short video to introduce your services and yourself to the community. Many clients will appreciate this.

  • Start small. While editors and proofreaders in corporations can make upwards of $35 an hour, you’re not going to be able to get that right away on this platform. Many people will offer their services based on word count. Do competitor research to see what the going rate is for those newer to the platform. (Usually you can tell who is newer by the amount of reviews they have.) Go along with their starting prices, but make sure you follow the first tip to stand out, so you get the clients and not them. =)

  • Be prepared to demonstrate your skills. Many times clients won’t be sure of your services, no matter how much experience you have, so some may request samples of your editing and proofreading. Do it! Doing samples will allow you to see how you work together, which can save you both time and money.

    Fiverr works on star ratings, and you need to have good reviews to keep your place in the search. You want your clients to be happy with your service, and doing a sample allows you to “weed out” people who aren’t right for you too.

Some Helpful Editing and Proofreading Tools

While many editors and proofreaders are skilled and proficient, they are just human, so using grammar tools and spellcheck is not a bad idea. If you’re shaky on grammar or just nervous about completing your first gig, then using one or more of the following can put your mind at ease:

Conclusion

With online editing and proofreading, you can literally work anywhere in the world as long as you have internet (and if you’re like me, access to a good breve). Freelancing on sites like Fiverr can give you flexibility, but you also have to be willing to put in the work to make yourself successful. Starting out can take time, but as you become more experienced and earn client trust, you can make a living off it. Make sure to present yourself well and have the skills and knowledge to back it up.

EcoTips

Environmental and climate change issues are more than ever at the heart of the concerns of this 21st century, which is why I am proposing a few ideas that will enable you to limit the negative impact that the implementation of this idea could have.

These solutions that I suggest are sometimes largely insufficient to compensate for these negative impacts, such as carbon offsetting. Unfortunately, there is not always an ideal and 100% efficient solution, far from it. And if you have others, please do not hesitate to share them in the comments below.

You will definitely need a computer or some other device that connects to the internet. Rather than buying a new computer, try to use the one you have for as long as possible and upgrade parts to avoid most waste (adding RAM or an SSD).

Choose a brand that honors the environment in their production and possibly donates to environmental charities. You might also consider using search engines and sites that are carbon neutral as well. Using a laptop versus a tower can also save energy (and money!).

If you’re traveling while freelancing, try to use trains or public transports instead of your own car.

And recycle all the coffee cups you get along the way!

Pros

  • Work from home or anywhere and usually anytime.
  • Set your own hours.
  • You get to read some pretty interesting and entertaining material and get paid for it.

Cons

  • There is a lot of competition, so you have to make yourself stand out.
  • It might be difficult to get your first customers.
Disclaimer, please read this

Legal and administrative aspects of the ideas you'll find on Sweekr are rarely discussed because they vary greatly depending on the country you live in. I would advise you to check with your local adminitration before starting any business. Keep in mind that if you make money, the state will ask for "its share" in order to guarantee the proper functioning of schools, hospitals and other public services. Therefore, you will probably have to acquire a micro-entrepreneur status, or any other similar.

Please also note that there are currently NO affiliate links on Sweekr! This means that NO commission is charged when you make a purchase from any of the sites recommended here. Some links are optimized for performance testing only, and each recommendation reflects the opinions or evaluations of the writer of this article. And be sure you'll be notified if (and when) this situation ever changes.

This article could be completed or improved with your help. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any question, a relevant remark, a feedback, additional information or spotted any error.Go to comments

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