This post may be sponsored or may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission, at no additional cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Read the full disclosure.
If you’ve been looking to break-free from your 9-5 job and start working from home, then becoming a proofreader should be your dream.
Proofreading is a highly profitable home-based business and can potentially replace your normal day job sooner than you’d expect.
In fact, it was no different for Beth Wojiski, who previously worked at many jobs until she stumbled upon freelance proofreading – which completely changed the game.
In this interview, Beth gets candid about her journey, how to be a good proofreader and how to start a proofreading business from home.
If that sounds interesting, let’s hop into it.
How To Start A Proofreading Business: Interview With Beth Wojiski
1. Hi Beth, please tell us a bit about yourself and what was your life like before getting into proofreading?
I am writer, editor, and proofreader based in Pittsburgh. In my spare time, I’m an avid mystery reader and knitter, and I write a blog about staying positive in a negative world: Positively b.e.e.
In my past career life, I was many things: legal secretary, tech worker, and filmmaker, to name a few.
When I happened upon the PA course, I was working as a contractor at Google, training machine learning algorithms and documenting processes. It was a lot of fun to work there, and the work was really interesting, but it was time for a change.
2. When did you start proofreading and what motivated you to become one?
What motivated me was reading the umpteenth book with horrible errors in it.
It was really getting frustrating to pay for a book—either traditionally published or self-published, it didn’t seem to matter—and trip over really basic errors that a proofreader would have caught.
It occurred to me that in nearly every job I’ve held, I’ve been the unofficial team proofreader or editor, so it seemed a natural progression to seek out training in the field and take it from there.
I kind of hemmed and hawed about launching my business, though, until a local author/entrepreneur gave me a much-needed kick during a workshop by asking:
“If today were your last day here, what would you regret?”
And I realized I would regret not taking the leap and starting my own business.
From that point on, I was absolutely committed, told everyone in the workshop and in my life about my goals, and here we are. 🙂
3. What kind of tasks do you do on a daily basis as a proofreader?
There is no typical day for me; each one is different! On any given day, I might do some work on whatever project or manuscript I’m working on, as well as do a little bit of client and marketing outreach, organize business records, write for my blog, or brainstorm my next project.
What I like about my life now, thanks to being able to work from home, is the ability to take midday appointments for doctors, mechanics, or contractors, and work around that.
It’s also nice being able to go work in the park, at the library, or in a coffee shop, too! When you work in a traditional 9-5 job, you don’t always have that kind of flexibility.
4. How did you go from desire to ACTUALLY making it happen? What helped you along the way?
I registered for the Proofread Anywhere course and jumped in with both feet! Not only did I thoroughly work my way through the course materials, I regularly participated in the online student forums, which offer further opportunities for learning.
The support from PA staff and other students and encouragement from my husband during moments of self-doubt all kept me going!
Once I graduated the course, I built my website, printed up some business cards, and started carrying them everywhere I went.
Much of my business was helped by creating good relationships with people and having the attitude of wanting to help them with their writing.
5. Tell us about the course. What was the most valuable thing that you learned from it? Were you able to acquire new skills and knowledge?
The course has several modules, from an introduction to the field of proofreading, to detailed grammar, spelling, and punctuation lessons and exercises, to marketing information, to resources to help you succeed once you launch your freelance career.
If you wish to be tested on your knowledge and earn a certificate of completion, they have an option for that.
The course definitely highlighted some weaknesses for me (hyphens!) and helped me strengthen them, and I really knew nothing about marketing or building a website before this course, so that information was handy, too.
But more than that, I think the most valuable thing I learned was about how your mindset will set you up for success. If you’re going to start your own business, you have to have a certain “stick-to-itiveness” to keep you going during difficult times.
Getting into the right mindset helps a lot!
Learn how to start a proofreading business by taking this 76-minute FREE workshop.
6. How long did it take you to make your first dollar after completing the course?
I made my first dollar within a few weeks of launching my website.
Some people want to know how long until they’ll make enough to pay off the course. For me, I think it was about three months; I know some people have paid it off sooner than that.
7. What advice would you give anyone thinking about enrolling in the course?
I encourage people to be open to new ways of doing things. When you enroll, use the course as an opportunity to try out all the different ways one can do this job.
Let go of preconceived notions and pay attention to what people who work in the field share with you in the student forums.
Also, enjoy getting to know your fellow classmates! I’ve made solid friendships with people who were once students with me and are now professional colleagues.
It’s a really supportive environment, and the camaraderie is great!
8. According to you, how much can a new proofreader expect to earn in their first 6 months?
I don’t think there is a standard answer to this. Everyone is different! I’d advise people to keep their expectations healthy about income when they’re first starting out, though.
This isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, but with solid marketing and hard work, you can start setting financial goals and meeting them.
Some people make a part-time income proofreading on the side to either pay down debt or save for a goal; others make more of a full-time income.
9. What kind of skills and mindset one must have to become a proofreader?
Beside having a great grasp of grammar, spelling, and punctuation, being able to research an answer is important.
You aren’t going to memorize everything, and proofreaders often have to look things up. Get comfortable with that idea. Communication skills are also important for client and expectation management.
For mindset, find your “why”: why are you doing this? Who are you doing it for? What does your future look like as a freelance proofreader? Knowing these answers before you start will help you as you go.
10. Lastly, what is the #1 tip you would like to give to those wanting to become a proofreader?
Get some training in the field! Don’t just assume that because you’re “a natural” with grammar that you can successfully market yourself and make money as a proofreader.
Before this course, I thought I knew what I was doing grammar-wise, but taking the course opened my eyes to what my weaknesses were so I could strengthen them. By seeking out quality training, you are investing in yourself and your future.
A big thanks to Beth for sharing her story with us. I completely agree with what she says, especially the advice of networking and building friendships with people in the same field.
If you’re curious to know how to start a proofreading business, then here’s your chance to get into this 76-minute FREE workshop by Caitlin Pyle that’ll help you get started right away.
Taking this free class allows you to test the waters and see if proofreading is the right fit for you. I highly recommend jumping on this.
What are your thoughts on Beth’s success? Do you have any questions for her? Shoot them in the comments. 🙂