You have a love for words and wondering if you can make money proofreading online as a side hustle?
Remember the saying “love at first sight”?
That feeling of excitement and nervousness all at the same time…
That is the exact kind of feeling you should have for your side hustle – something that you love, or interested but also has the potential of being profitable.
Today, I’m sharing with you another work from home side hustle opportunity – Proofreading.
Whether you already made up your mind and are looking for more information, or curiously skeptical, I got you here.
Proofreading is a legitimate way to make money online, however it is NOT for everybody.
In this post, I want to share with you all the ins and outs about making money proofreading online, the good, the bad and the ugly.
At any point of reading, if you feel this is NOT for your, please feel free to skip to the end for the alternative option.
I will keep the basics fairly simple because there are plenty of blogs already covering that. What I think you will really benefit from this post, is how to determine whether proofreading is right for YOU.
Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no cost to you.
What is Proofreading?
Proofreading is the last step before anything gets published. A proofreader should catch vocabulary, grammar, formatting, spelling and punctuation errors that may have not been caught during the editing process.
In fact, this short video summarizes it very nicely, so I shall let it do the talking…
What is the difference between proofreading and editing?
Editing is the process prior to proofreading and it is much more involved. A copy-editor helps with the structure, logical flow and rewrite of the content when appropriate. That is why they get paid big money =)
Unlike editing, proofreading is the absolute last process of writing to catch the last few mechanical mistakes.
How much does a proofreader make?
In the UK, the suggested hourly rate is £25.40/hr, according to CIEP (The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading). Whereas, in the US, proofreaders make between $30-35/hr.
For book proofreaders, they typically charge $0.02/word.
Is there a demand for proofreaders?
The short answer is yes.
Over the past few years, with everything becoming digital, there’s been an increasing need for freelance proofreaders. The new surge in demand particularly is from bloggers, self-publishing authors, and student dissertation.
Additionally, post COVID-19, more and more businesses are forced to take online presences, fueling the already increasing need for proofreaders in the digital world.
While there are always people looking for proofreading services, certain niches are in higher demand and more lucrative than others. These niches are technical, medical documents and legal transcripts. As a result, Proofreaders in these niches generally charge a higher rate.
Keep in mind, there might be demand for other niches, but the return may not be as high.
Proofreading fiction might not be the most lucrative (who doesn’t want to make money while reading fiction books?) but a niche within fiction books that can be lucrative is proofing translated foreign fictions.
When a foreign fiction is being translated to English, it may still feel quite “stiff”, proofreaders can add value by modifying those sentences to make it read better.
For this type of work, proofreaders charge around £450-£600 a book.
How to become a freelance proofreader?
To start working as a freelance proofreader, the first step is to figure out what niche you are going into.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “A jack of all trades is a master of none”.
Marketing yourself on specific niches is better than working as a “general proofreader”.
For example, a friend of mine proofreads board game rulebooks and role-playing game books as a paid hobby. Now that’s a niche!
The point is, when you are focusing on building your expertise on a specific area, it’s much easier to establish your authority in that area and attract clients than spreading it too thin.
Once you build your client base, then you can expand your niche to adjacent areas.
To figure out what niche to get into, simply ask yourself what are you knowledgeable AND passionate about? What are you the unofficial expert in?
Please allow me to have a soapbox moment… As this is a side hustle, I strongly advise not getting into the niches that you are knowledgeable about but don’t enjoy doing. Life is too short, you might have already spent half of your life getting a degree and a job doing what you don’t really enjoy doing.
It IS possible to build a side hustle based on your passion and hobby.
How can I make money proofreading online?
There is a long list of market places where you can start making money proofreading online. However, here are the top 5 places many new freelance proofreaders found their early success.
Also don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth.
Let your friends and family know that you are offering proofreading services, and put the word out there on social media. If you have done good work for someone, be sure to get their testimonial so you can build up your portfolio.
What skills do I need to be a proofreader?
Firstly, putting any skills aside, you need to have a love for words and a passion for reading.
In addition, the following skills are essential to make money proofreading online.
- In-depth knowledge of the English language
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills
- Great attention to details
- The ability to meet deadlines
- Familiar with Microsoft Word
Do I need any training to make money proofreading online?
Sorry for a “it depends” type of answer.
Many proofreaders I surveyed did not have any prior training. However, they may already have a couple of language-related degrees or already working in similar fields (For example, one lady was an English teacher who does proofreading on the side). Some have always been the go-to person for proofreading for their family and friends, so they do that for a hobby income.
However, if you have no prior experience, but are truly passionate about proofreading and want to do it as a freelancer, taking a high-quality course will not only give you the technical knowledge but also equip you on the business side as a proofreading freelancer.
A well-known proofreader-turned-to-entrepreneur Caitlin Pyle offers a FREE 76min. workshop that you can discover:
- 5 signs proofreading could be a perfect fit for you
- How proofreading can be your ticket to lifestyle freedom and financial security
- How to attract your ideal proofreading clients
Being a proofreader, does it matter where I live?
Working as a freelance proofreader, you can live anywhere in the world, as long as you are familiar with the different styles of English.
Is making money proofreading online for you?
If you made it this far, you probably already have a good idea whether proofreading is for you or not.
What I can confirm is that
- Proofreading is a definitely legitimate side hustle
- There is increasing demand out there
- Certain niches are more lucrative than others
- Many people do it as a side hustle
- You don’t really need training to start getting work if you already have experience and/or knowledge in related fields
- But if you want to grow proofreading into a proper business, a high quality course will help to fast track that.
Proofreading might be perfect for someone who already has a background in language or already working in related fields.
For example, many English teachers take on proofreading as the perfect side hustle. Or if you have a background in the pharmaceutical, medical, technical or legal sector, you might just have a unique advantage getting into proofreading in those lucrative niches.
With all the above facts in mind, to determine if proofreading is right for you, the ultimate question you need to ask yourself is:
Does it still excite you?
If the answer is still a FAT YES – my friend, I hope you found the confirmation you are looking for to take on a side hustle that follows your passion and expertise.
As a next step, why not take the FREE workshop to investigate the “how” from someone who is already successful?
But if the answer is NO, or less so… Don’t be disheartened, my friend. I truly believe there’s a side hustle that’s right for everyone =)
The alternative side hustles to Proofreading
Let me guess, you were looking at proofreading as a potential side hustle, because you have a passion for language, you may also prefer ways to earn income without being… ermm, SELLSY. (Those gigs that have to sell stuff to your friends and family…)
I get it, because that was me too…
The path I found that was right for me, is affiliate marketing. This could be the perfect alternative for you too.
Affiliate marketing is a way of earning passive income by recommending products and services through your chosen platform, which can be a blog, a website, or social media platforms like YouTube, Pinterest, or Instagram. When customers make a purchase from your link, you make a commission.
With affiliate marketing, you can build your online business around your passion and knowledge, while giving you the flexibility to work where and when you want to, without having to nag your friends and family to buy stuff.
I have joined an all-in-one platform that’s perfect for beginners. Not only it provides WordPress web hosting, step-by-step training, but also provides me with the tools and resources to build an online business.
Here are just some quick wins