How to Set Up a Proofreading and Editing Service

Sunday, 30 June, 2013

in Online Jobs

Do you find errors on every web page you read? Do these errors make you cross?

It seems as though 8 out of 10 pages have spelling and grammar mistakes that make me cringe. Eliminating these mistakes could double sales on an e-marketing site according to the BBC.

There is a definite need for freelance proofreading and editing services to correct all the articles being written for blogs and commercial sites.

Could You Be a Freelance Proof Reader?

Yes you could!

If you are a native English speaker, can read quickly and spot simple English spelling and grammar errors then you have the necessary skills to fix 90% of online errors. The errors you would be editing out are the simple ones that you learnt at age 12: It’s not rocket science.

How Do You Find Editing Work?

You can find low-paying editing jobs on freelance sites, but I advise you to use a different strategy; the 5 Currencies strategy:

  • Use Your Time wisely
  • Grow Your Knowledge – Learn about proofreading and editing
  • Grow your Reputation – Help other people on forums and by answering their questions
  • Grow Your Contact List – The more people you help the more will be willing to help you
  • Earn Money – Some of the people you have helped will pay you for your proofreading and editing services

If you follow this method you will have an ever-increasing number of clients and will not need to work so hard at finding work. The clients will be willing to pay more than they would at oDesk or Freelancer.com because they know you and trust you; they know that you put your reputation on the line with every piece of work you do, they respect that.

Set Up a Website

You must set up a website. This is easy to do using WordPress, but you will need to buy a .com domain name, the shorter the better.

You can list the types of work you do and include testimonials on your site, which will give you added credibility and will give new clients more confidence about employing you.

How Do You Get Testimonials?

You must ask every satisfied client for a testimonial. Nobody will refuse because it’s how the system works. A testimonial takes them 10 minutes to write, but increases their worth as a client in your eyes.

What does Your Client Actually Want You to Do?

Clients normally talk about proofreading when they really mean that they need the article editing. Make sure you understand what your client needs you to do and price the job accordingly. Most clients want you to fix any and all problems that an article has; they do not want to employ separate editors, line editors and proof readers, they just want one person who will do everything.

Some will want to see a breakdown of what you have done; others just want to see the finished copy. You need to make sure your client is happy, so be sure you understand what he is expecting, so you can deliver it.

How Do You Price a Job?

There are many factors that will influence your quote for a proofreading job:

  • How busy you are
  • How much you want the job
  • How well you know the client
  • How urgently the work needs to be done
  • How much editing the piece requires

You need to earn a living wage so do not try to compete on price with people who promise to proofread 10 articles for $10. You will be competing mainly on quality.

Make sure that you always see an article before you quote a price. There is much more work involved in editing a piece by a non-native English speaking writer than there is that of an English writer with a BA in English Literature.

How Long Will the Job Take You?

It will take you at least 2 days to edit a 1000 word article to professional standards that you can stake your reputation on. This is because you need to revisit your work the day after completion, before you send it off.

So, Could You Start a Proofreading Business?

You have seen how easy it is. It will take time to establish your reputation and gain a good list of clients, but these clients will always come back to you for future projects.

Your expenses are minimal, just your Internet connection and an accountant . . . What are you waiting for? Start today by reading more about proofreading and editing.

References
Spelling mistakes ‘cost millions’ in lost online sales

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 B.E. Long July 6, 2013 at 23:13

Very insightful! Lots of information stated concisely! Thank for sharing!

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2 E.D. Omale May 13, 2015 at 13:35

quite encouraging and informative piece, I want to start this business, however i do not know the level demand that exist here in my country. i however find your article quite encouraging and i am willing to try

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3 Phil May 20, 2015 at 14:52

Good on you Daniel.
I hope it works out. If you need any help, just ask.

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4 Rosalind November 5, 2015 at 05:55

Thanks for this information. I have been thinking about starting an editing business. Your insights have moved me closer to that goal.

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5 Saara December 3, 2015 at 18:27

Hi Phil, I found this article encouraging as I am thinking about starting an online editing business myself. The inspiration came from a couple of my friends who constantly ask me to proofread their dissertations, presentations and other works. I am not a Lit major, however I am a fiction writer and poet, which is the reason people mostly come to me for help. I am concerned about online revenue generation, fraud and a possible and easy way of collecting money from the customers. Questions like when do I ask for money and how? Can you help in this regard?

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6 Phil December 3, 2015 at 18:40

Hi Sarah
I will write an article on this over the next few days – It needs more than a couple of sentences I will send you a link when it is done – thanks for raising such an important issue.

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7 Ranga Zulu May 4, 2016 at 16:44

I used to do freelance work and then decided to start an editing and proofreading website. So after a google search i cam across this very helpful article which encourage me to setup up my website http://www.2ndopinionsupport.com so far its going well and we have recruited other professionals to help with workload.

Thank you for writing the article.

Reply

8 Phil May 25, 2016 at 10:13

Hi Rangu
Thanks for letting me know. I’m glad you found the article helpful

Phil

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