Hopefully, you’ve read my last article: ‘How to Get Your Proofreading Business Online and Start Making Money’ (you can read it here…) where I set out the four ‘Where to start’ steps that will get you there.
The substance of that article was to reassure you that you can make a living as a proofreader by addressing the most common queries that we receive:
In this article, I’ll address Step 1 of our Where to Start list of steps that will give you concrete solutions on your journey to creating your own successful proofreading business.
The bottom line is:
Okay, Step 1. Sign-up with every online freelance proofreading marketplace you can find.
As I mentioned in my last article, signing up with as many online freelance job sites as you can is a great first step and is probably the most cost-effective method of promoting yourself as a proofreader.
The reasons for doing so might seem obvious, but apart from giving yourself some much-needed online exposure as a freelance proofreader, this important first step solidifies the notion that you’re taking this thing seriously and it most definitely gets you in the correct mindset from the get-go.
It’s true that I want you to get to Step 2 (Create Your Proofreading Service Website) as soon as possible but this first step of ‘signing up with every online freelance proofreading marketplace you can find’ is hugely important and one which you should take seriously because this is where you get to dip your toe into the world of marketing, or more specifically, self-promotion.
In this article, I’ll share 30 online websites that are either excellent online marketplaces for freelance proofreaders in their own right, or they’re actual bona fide proofreading and editing websites that employ proofreaders and editors, and accept résumés from freelancers to work for them and their own client base.
Before I get to those, I’d like you to take a pause and resist the temptation to jump in and sign up with some or all of the websites listed below, because it’s worth making the effort to get one of the most important elements of this process right from the outset: Creating your personal profile.
And to be clear, not just any personal profile, you should try to create the most professional, well written personal profile you’ve ever written.
Why? Because a professional, well-written personal profile will form the basis of every single freelance job application, every permanent job application and it will provide the basis of all of your future marketing and self-promotion activities.
A professional, well written personal profile is a mini résumé which can pay huge dividends once you let it loose online.
One of the largest freelance marketplaces online (if not the largest!) is Upwork, and they clearly agree with the need for a well written personal profile and they’ve written an excellent article to illustrate why.
You can read it here: 8+ Tips to Help You Create a Profile That Stands Out
Whilst the article is Upworkcentric, it’s a superb article that tells you exactly what to do and what to include to create a professional, well-written profile. In writing this, Upwork are effectively telling you what to do to be a successful freelancer (proofreader in your case) on the largest online freelance marketplace.
And if your personal profile is good enough for them, it’s going to be good enough for any of the online freelance marketplaces listed below.
Okay, so along with your well-written professional profile, what else do you need to consider before you begin your submissions for online freelance proofreading work?
As with any job application, you would tailor your résumé to play to the strengths of the job requirements to maximize your success. When signing up with freelance marketplace websites, you should do exactly the same with your personal profile.
You’ll save yourself a ton of time, effort and frustration if you do some homework and read up on each company’s requirements (for proofreaders) before applying.
Your profile should play to the strengths and mirror those of the company who you’re signing up with.
Step 1 in a nutshell…
Freelance Marketplace Websites for Proofreaders…
Proofreading and Editing Websites…
This of course is a relatively small selection of websites to ply your trade as a freelance proofreader, and they may not all be suitable for your particular skill set, but they’re a great start!
Step 2. Create a website.
Bye for now.
Full disclosure & disclaimer…
Mike and I are not affiliated in any way with the freelance proofreading websites listed above.
These website links are presented without condition or for personal profit in the hope that, having bought The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course, you can make money proofreading without delay.
A proofreader's guide to grammar
So, as promised in last week’s blog post, I’m going to start looking at some of the ‘tricksier’ aspects of English grammar and providing a proofreader’s perspective on usage and abusage.
Before I start on the elements of grammar itself, I wanted to use this first post to explain what I mean by ‘a proofreader’s perspective’.
Surely it makes no difference whether you’re the originator or proofreader of a sentence. Surely, the same rules apply. Strictly speaking, yes, the same rules apply. But there are qualitative decisions a writer makes with which a proofreader needn’t concern themselves. Remember, you’re a proofreader not an editor. You’re not asking yourself whether or not a sentence is good, you’re checking to make sure it’s correct.
Let’s take a look at the semicolon (I’m going to be talking about this in more detail next week) to illustrate what I mean.
So, a writer is trying to describe the moment in her novel when a particular character realises she has become invisible.
Melissa couldn’t see herself in the mirror because she was invisible.
She then deletes that sentence and writes:
Melissa couldn’t see herself in the mirror. She was invisible.
She then deletes that sentence and writes:
Melissa couldn’t see herself in the mirror; she was invisible.
Happy with this third permutation, she goes on to describe Melissa’s adventures in invisibility.
None of these options is incorrect. The writer’s use of the semicolon in the third version is fine; the semicolon can be used in place of a conjunction. But you might have an opinion on which version is qualitatively better. Me, I like the second option. I think it has more punch.
As a proofreader, my opinion on such matters isn’t relevant. I’ve got a job of work to do. I’m looking for errors. That’s what my client is paying me for. That’s what your client will be paying you for. If you’ve picked up The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course, followed its instruction and taken its advice, you’ll be charging your customer $35 per hour to find errors in their work. You might even be charging more if you’re proofreading in a niche area: science, medicine, law. You might have lots of clients and a stack of proofreading that’s going to keep you in new shoes and good food for the next three months. You haven’t got time to be getting into a discussion with a writer over whether or not a period would serve better than a semicolon in a particular instance.
Don’t get me wrong, if your ambition is to become an editor, proofreading offers a very effective way in. In fact, Chapter 8 of The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course deals, in part, with that transition. But on this website, we really want to focus on how to proofread, how to become a proofreader and how to create and develop your proofreading career or business. Believe me, that’s more than enough to be getting on with.
Let’s go back to our writer, and the adventures of the now invisible Melissa.
Our writer types:
Melissa raises a hand, holds it inches from her face and sees nothing.
She deletes this and decides to go with:
Melissa raises a hand to her face; and sees nothing.
Now, as a proofreader, you have grounds to take issue. The writer has used a semicolon and a conjunction, which is redundant. You only need one or the other. So, put your red pen to work and mark it up.
The writer might come back and say the usage was intentional, that she was trying to create a ‘beat’. That’s her call.
In my opinion, a period would serve better in trying to achieve that effect:
Melissa raises a hand to her face. And sees nothing.
But it’s her call.
The fact remains, you were right to draw attention to this inaccurate use of a semicolon. You were doing your job as a proofreader and you were doing it well.
In a nutshell, as a proofreader you’re concerned with wrong and right, not good-better-best. So, that’s what I mean when I say I’ll be looking at grammar usage and abusage from a proofreader’s perspective.
See you next time, when I’ll be looking at that little winking-eye emoji in a little more depth.
So, you’ve bought the book, got the t-shirt and now you’re ready to put your new-found and hard-earned skills from The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course to good use.
Well stick around and you’ll discover how you how you can save a ton of time and money getting your proofreading business online, even if you’re an online newbie - and much faster than you think!
Throughout your journey, you’ll have no doubt pondered the following:
Well, in short, yes you can, and this short series of articles is where you’ll find everything you need to create, promote and have a successful online proofreading business.
Apart from the tips and ideas included in Mike’s No-Nonsense Proofreading Course (Chapter 9 ‘The Business of Proofreading’) and in his blog, you’ll discover every idea I can think of to help you on your way to becoming a self-employed (paid!) proofreader.
Because this is an important and wide-ranging topic, I’ll break it down into bite-sized chunks which we’ll explore in much greater detail in further posts, which hopefully you won’t find overwhelming.
But first things first…
Where to start…
Step 1. Sign up with every online freelance marketplace you can find.
Step 2. Create a website.
Step 3. Sign up with every appropriate social media channel.
Step 4. Write, post and blog like crazy!
Fair Warning! Step one will definitely help, but the real juice is in steps two, three and four!
OK, let’s cover step one because it won’t hurt.
Signing up with as many online freelance job sites as you can is a great first step and is probably the most cost-effective method of promoting yourself as a proofreader.
Doing so will give you some very important online exposure, but once that’s done then what? Well despite being a great first step, you’re likely to be one of many proofreaders trying to shine in what can often be a very crowded marketplace.
In the No-Nonsense Proofreading Course, Mike includes a comprehensive list of freelance marketing websites where you can register your proofreading business for free.
Whilst this first step may well be cost-effective and worthwhile, it’s unlikely to bring you paid work as a freelance proofreader in a hurry, so my advice for what it’s worth, is to get to Step 2 as soon as you can and set up your own website to promote your own online proofreading business.
If you’re tech and web savvy and have a website already, then you’ll already be familiar with the benefits of having your own website. However, if you’re new to creating and operating a website and are a little daunted at the prospect, then don’t worry, there are numerous low-cost or cost-free simple website-building solutions that are perfect for the online novice.
The benefits of having your own website
The obvious benefit of having your own website is that you’re in complete control of how you communicate with your target audience to sell your products or proofreading services, and rather than hunting down paid proofreading opportunities, you’ll massively increase the chances of those proofreading jobs coming looking for you!
Your own website is where you can blog to your heart's content (content marketing), build your own list of subscribers (email marketing) and provide a shop window for your proofreading business (to actually make money proofreading).
In addition to showcasing your online proofreading business, having your own website provides you with the perfect destination to direct and refer all of your social media posts, and by including the same social media links on your site, make all of you content available to share onward. The perfect win-win.
So, how do you promote your online Proofreading Business?
It goes without saying that, regardless of the skills, the product(s) or the service you’re offering, unless your potential customers know about you, your path to success is likely to be a long and frustrating one.
With that in mind, we’ll focus on one of the most important elements of your new proofreading business: Marketing, or more specifically, digital marketing.
Like any business, unless it’s actively promoted, it’s likely to wither and die, so promoting your proofreading services regularly is key to your online success.
Over the next short series of articles, we’ll delve in and look at how and where you can promote your proofreading business.
Through your own Marketing Channels…
Organic Search Engines…
Write, post and blog like crazy!
Adding relevant content as often as you can to your website will keep it alive and relevant in the eyes of the search engines. This is called content marketing and getting this right will elevate your website up the organic search listings.
This article is content marketing and apart from being very effective for search engine optimization (SEO), it can also play a big part in your social media strategy, in that you can post snippets or tantalising hooks to attract visitors to your site.
So, to summarise; Yes, you can have a successful proofreading business, and creating and promoting your business online is key to achieving that.
Step 1: Sign up with every online freelance marketplace you can find.
Bye for now.
The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course in 2020
We’re almost three weeks into 2020, so I thought I’d better tell you what we have planned for The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course website over the next 49 weeks.
First off, we’re planning to post more proofreading exercises. A lot more. It’s one of the main reasons people visit our proofreading course website, after all.
We’re also going to provide a lot more grammar instruction. Now, I always make the point that The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course doesn’t contain any grammar instruction. Why? Because there’s plenty of grammar instruction available free online. I mean, seriously, there are some fantastic free resources out there. Just Google ‘grammar instruction’ and you’ll be presented with a long list of brilliant websites (there’s Grammar Girl’s ‘Quick and Dirty Tips’ just for starters).
So why would we incorporate grammar instruction into our proofreading course, necessitating an increase in price? The whole point of The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course is to present you with an affordable proofreading course, with the focus being on proofreading method and how to set up and promote your own proofreading business so you can make some money.
All that being said, there’s no reason we can’t add to the pool of grammar advice. I mean, you’re already here on the website, so you might as well find out how to use a semicolon properly while you’re here, right?
So, there will be more grammar instruction, probably focusing on those tricky aspects of grammar that trip people up all the time.
But more importantly than that, we’re going to be giving you a whole heap of guidance on how to set up and promote your proofreading business. To that end, I’d like to introduce you to Jeff Fullerton.
Introducing Jeff Fullerton
Now I’ve known Jeff for over 16 years. We worked together at Shop Direct, the UK’s biggest online and mail-order retailer. We worked in the publishing department of the business, producing (and, in my case, proofreading) literally thousands of pages every year.
When I first started looking at the idea of creating The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course, it was to Jeff I turned for marketing advice as I knew he’d already dipped his toe into the online marketing stream and had already had significant success with a couple of websites. As a result, Jeff and I became business partners.
Jeff has always been there in the background, developing and promoting the website and taking advantage of online marketing opportunities. In 2020, Jeff will be in the background no longer. He’ll be sharing his extensive knowledge of online marketing and business promotion to help you (hand-in-hand with The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course) create and grow your proofreading business.
So, Jeff and I will be splitting blog-writing duties. I will be writing posts on the subject of proofreading, providing you with tips and proofreading exercises. Jeff will be posting on the subject of website creation, content marketing and general business advice.
Together, our ambition is to create the go-to online resource for anyone and everyone who wants to not only learn how to proofread but how to make money proofreading, whether as the owner of their own proofreading business, in full-time employment as a proofreader or as a lucrative side-hustle.
So, that’s it: 2020 in a nutshell for The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course.
But that’s not all. We’ve got a few other irons in the fire, but we’ll talk about those nearer the time. Suffice to say, we have some very exciting plans for the next twelve months!
We’re confident that this is going to be a great year for The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course. And, with our help, this can be the year you launch your own proofreading business or career.
Until next time,
“I am one of those many fools who paid a huge amount of money for a useless course. This book... has opened so many doors for me. I now look on Mike as my mentor as I embark on a career. Thank you Mike.”
Emma Steel, Proofreader and International Structural Editor.
“ I thoroughly enjoyed the course and am so glad that I decided to take it... the whole experience was invaluable. My proofreading service is now well established and your course played no small part in getting it off the ground.”
Hache L. Jones, Proofreader.
“I'd just like to thank you first of all for writing such a great, straight forward eBook, and then going above and beyond what I would even expect as a customer by providing us, completely free of charge, updated versions months later!”
Rachel Gee, Trainee Proofreader.
“What can I say? Worth every penny and then some! God Bless! This a fabulous course.”
Teresa Richardson, Proofreader.
“As someone who has effectively been proofreading for thirty years, I found Mike’s No-Nonsense Proofreading Course an invaluable introduction and a very useful practical guide to many aspects of this discipline. I can wholeheartedly recommend it as the ideal starting point, and much more besides.”
Jeremy Meehan, Proofreader.
My name's Mike Sellars and I'm an experienced proofreader and the author of The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course. Click here to find out more about me.
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“As someone who has been proofreading for 30 years, I found Mike’s course an invaluable introduction and a very useful practical guide to many aspects of the discipline. I can wholeheartedly recommend it.” Jeremy Meehan, Proofreader.
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