Proofreading is big business. And for good reason. Businesses realize that consumers judge them on everything, including whether or not their marketing materials, content, and other copy have any mistakes.
I mean, think about it, would you really feel 100% confident buying something from a business whose website is riddled with easy-to-spot errors?
It sends a message of laziness, as if they can’t be bothered to double check their work before it’s sent to consumers, like you.
So, to prevent embarrassing mistakes from going to print or being published, lots of businesses, bloggers, and brands seek the help of professional proofreaders. This helps ensure that everything that’s being seen by the public is free of mistakes and leaves a professional impression long after it’s read.
And this is good news for you if you’ve always thought you have what it takes to use your grammar-guru ways to earn extra cash — from anywhere! Today, you can easily start a proofreading hustle or service business you can use to get paid to read all day every day.
What Exactly Does A Proofreader Do Anyway?
Proofreaders concern themselves with spotting errors within text. This can include typos, spelling mistakes, grammar issues, and missing punctuation.
Proofreaders are usually the last ones to read content before it is published, whether in print or online.
Essentially, they go through copy (what you call written text) with a fine-tooth comb to ensure it is 100% error free.
What Doesn’t A Proofreader Do?
A lot of people interchange the terms editing and proofreading, even though they are two very different phases of the writing process.
When editing a text, you look at big-picture stuff. You look at the overall structure of the writing, note poor word choices, disorganized paragraphs, and suggest changes that improve the overall readability. Editors make sure the flow of writing makes sense and content is cohesive from start to finish.
Proofreaders do not concern themselves with these big-picture issues. Instead, they are handed a document AFTER an editor goes over everything. The proofreader is looking for any kind of syntax, grammar, or spelling issues that may be present. A proofreader will not make suggestions to improve the flow, structure, or readability of a text. Period.
Would I Make A Good Proofreader?
It depends. Do you read a lot? If you answered, yes, chances are you’d make a pretty good proofreader too.
Those of us who read a lot, tend to notice errors in writing a lot more easily than non-readers. Plus, heavy readers typically have a natural understanding of grammar and can better spot misspelled words.
If you find yourself reading everything from the back of your conditioner to flyers posted around town and notice seemingly small errors, you’ve got the makings of a professional proofreader.
Who Uses Proofreaders?
Anyone who writes should hire a proofreader. Notice how I use the word should? Well, that’s because not everyone who publishes content uses proofreaders, even though they should.
Take a look at some of these super embarrassing grammar and spelling mistakes that could’ve been avoided by hiring a proofreader:
Apostrophes are important, right?
I’ve never heard of Amercia before. How about you?
I’d like to meet the genious who let this go to print 😉
Even though we text, email, and use social media to communicate less formally with one another, there are still plenty of reasons for proper spelling and complete sentences. And that’s why many people from business to brands hire proofreaders, including:
- Web content creators
- Social Media Marketers
- Small businesses
As a professional proofreader for hire, you can market your services to any number of these writers or pick a more specific niche — the choice is yours. For example, my friend Phon, made a living proofreading romance novels (cool, right?).
What If I Don’t Have Professional Proofreading Experience?
That’s okay. Truth be told, most proofreaders get started with zero prior proofreading experience.
I mean, there aren’t really any colleges or universities that offer degrees in proofreading. Sure, an English degree or something in a similar field may sort of prepared you for proofreading professionally, it’s not the same thing as getting in there and proofreading in real life.
And really, the only way to gain experience is to start small and work your way up to bigger fish.
For example, there are a number of companies that hire proofreaders. Keep in mind, many of them pay low rates. But, if you really want to try your hand at proofreading before going all in, they’re great places to start. Think of those sites as paid proofreading internships.
The more you proofread, the better you’ll get. And the more experience you gain, the better your opportunities as a proofreader for hire. We’ve all got to start somewhere, right?
If you’re really set on the idea of proofreading professionally, I highly recommend obtaining some kind of training.
While it’s not necessary to have a formal education (I started proofreading on Upwork by accident!), having a blueprint to follow can make it super easy to become a paid proofreader quickly.
And the good news is, there are a couple of affordable online options that will prepare you to tackle the world of pro proofreading even when you’re a total newbie.
My personal fave? This free 45-minute workshop over at Proofread Anywhere.
This information-packed session will help you make sense of professional proofreading. It’s hosted by proofreading powerhouse Caitlyn Pyle who knows a thing or two about starting a proofreading hustle from scratch.
By the time it’s over, you’ll be able to determine whether or not you actually have what it takes to go pro.
So go ahead and sign up for the free workshop and get started. You won’t know if you’ve got the chops until you actually try!
Get Paid To Read (It’s Possible!)
If someone asked you, “How would you like to get paid to read?” You’d probably say, “Sign me up!”
And truth be told, you really can make a living as a proofreader. The demand for perfectly polished content and professional copy is made possible by proofreaders, like you.
Remember, you don’t need professional experience or formal education to get started.
But you do need to arm yourself with the knowledge needed to start from scratch and build a career.
Think you have what it takes to go pro? Did you find any errors in this post? Let me know in the comments below!
P.S. This post contains affiliate links. Learn more about my use of them by reading this disclosure statement.
Faith Stewart says
I feel like proofreading gets overlooked by a ton of people, kind of like writing. They think if they do not have a degree related to grammar or English, they can’t get there. I have an accounting degree, but I am a freelance writer. If you are good at what you do, you can turn it into a money maker!
Thanks for the great article;)
Going to try my hand on proofreading to improve my self and become a writer so that I can successfully finish my first book
Great article! I feel like you planted a mistake (prepared), so I don’t feel too bad about pointing it out. Thanks!
I’m not a proofreader, but I’m considering it as a job. I absolutely love to read and read and read 😉. When I am reading i notice mistakes a little to easily. Can I still become a proofreader with just that?
Found a mistake: “Sure, an English degree or something in a similar field may sort OF prepared you for proofreading professionally” – OF should be HAVE
Loved proofreading my students essays and various writings. I was an English Paraprofessional before I became disabled. Love reading romance novels, and just about anything.
I never received a reply. I am currently disabled with MS. I was previously an English Paraprofessional. I proof read my students essays and other material. I am very interested in reading books or novels for an income.
You might want to proof read this article.
Valerie Millin says
Jordan just replied and made an error! He should have had TOO not TO .. easily!
Ashlee Anderson says
Maybe you could do it for me? 😉
Vicky Mariconde says
I did find a couple of errors. Good info though! I will look into it, as I am automatically drawn to errors (previous medical transcriptionist and documentation quality specialist). Thanks much!
Louis Huynh says
Love the content for sure, first got to your blog and love the design alot, always keep up the good work
That’s why many people, from businesses to brands, hire proofreaders, including:
“And that’s why many people from business to brands hire proofreaders, including:”
Ashlee Anderson says
Thanks, Lenora 🙂