Starting a business takes time and when you’re already busy, spending time on your business can feel selfish. Shouldn’t you be spending that time with your kids, your significant other, family, friends, and unfinished house projects instead?

Inside this episode, I share why learning a new skill, building your side hustle, and getting clients aren’t selfish — and why it’s actually selfish if you don’t go after your goals. 

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Intro: This is The Proofreading Business podcast with Elizabeth Wiegner. For more, visit

Elizabeth Wiegner: If you already have a very full schedule, it can feel like adding on a proofreading business and taking time for your proofreading side hustle -- that can feel kind of selfish actually because you’re taking time to work on something for you.

It’s your business, and especially if you’re a parent with kids or you’re a caregiver or you work at a job that’s very serving to others or you have a very servant’s heart where you love to be there to help others, taking time to work on your proofreading business -- that can almost make you feel guilty about it. Like is this something that I should be doing? Because it does take time to start a business.

It takes time to learn how to proofread, how to set up and manage your business. It takes time to go out and get clients. And then it takes time to actually do the work because setting up your business doesn’t automatically mean that you get money. It means that, when you get a job from a client, then you take time to proofread it. You invoice. You wrap up the client communication, and then you get paid for all of your jobs. So it’s not just, I’m starting my business and magically here’s all this money. There is time that goes into it once you have your business set up as well.

And when you have an already busy life, adding something else to it, especially something that’s for you, when you say it’s your business -- it has your name on it -- it can feel selfish. And so you may be wondering, is it worth it to start my own business because I’m feeling kind of guilty about it. Why should I prioritize this time to start my business when I have a lot of other things to do, when I have a lot of other people I’m responsible for or that are looking up to me or that need my time?

And the short answer to that is no. Starting a side hustle is absolutely not selfish, but I’m not just going to give you the short answer. I’m going to give you the reasons why so that you can feel more comfortable, at ease so that you don’t have that guilty feeling of you’re spending time on you to work on your business because, when you run a business and you are a proofreader, it’s not just you. You’re helping a lot of other people too, and because you’re helping others, it naturally then isn’t selfish.

So when you’re thinking about making time to work on your business, to learn it, to set it up, to get clients, to actually do the work of proofreading, you have to think long term. It’s not something where, if you just think in the here and now of everything that you have on your plate, everything that you need to do, everybody who needs you, if you think just about that right there, it’s going to seem too much to add a proofreading business on top of everything else that you do.

That’s why you have to think down the road: Why is it that I am working on this right now? What, in the future, is going to be better because of what I’m doing now? And this is one thing inside my transcript proofreading course, inside the welcome material, some of the very first things I have my students do is to actually sit down and think about why they want to be a transcript proofreader.

It could be multiple reasons why, but really get down, not just I think it would be fun to have more free time, or it would be great to make money. But really get down into why do I want to make more money? Why do I want to have more free time? And some of my students have shared insight or a private community. They’ve said, you know, I got to that part of the welcome material, and I almost skipped over it because I felt like it was just a filler, like Elizabeth was just putting something in here just to give us something to do before we got on to the meat of actually naming our business and learning how to proofread and all the fun stuff that goes into learning how to be a proofreader.

And the students who took time to share that said, but I actually took time to sit down and go through the exercises and the worksheet that Elizabeth gave inside the course, and I found out that I have a purpose for why I’m doing this. It gets-- it gave me extra motivation to keep showing up, and it showed me where I was going, what to look forward to.

And they said I know now that when things -- when I have days when I might not want to sit down and work on it, it sounds good to do something else, or I feel like somebody else is pulling me to do something else here, I have my reasons, my whys for continuing on and getting my business set up and working on it because when you’re in the nitty gritty, in the thick of it all, learning how to set up your business, and you’re working on marketing and you have a million other things that you need to do, it’s really easy to let your business kind of fall to the wayside because it’s something new. It’s something you added in, and it’s really easy to start thinking about, well, it’s not that important, or maybe I’m just being too selfish and I’m not prioritizing my time correctly.

But when you take time at the beginning to think long term about why you want this in the future, how your business will affect your life in the future, it will show you how prioritizing it now isn’t selfish. You don’t have to feel guilty about it. There is a reason for why you’re doing it. And so thinking long term will help you feel more confident, more comfortable, less guilty about the time that you’re spending on it now because there’s lots of benefits to owning your own business that extend beyond just you and saying, hey, I have my own business.

So some of them are -- I mean, you can work whenever you want, and you can work wherever you want. That time flexibility is one of the biggest things that I hear people say they want, why they want to be proofreaders. It’s one of the big reasons why I became one is to just be able to -- instead of being stuck on a 9-to-5 schedule, I can work whenever is convenient for me, whenever it’s convenient for my family, whenever it’s convenient for anybody else that I come into contact with that I’m involved with in my life.

I can work around those with my business. I’m not stuck to a boss telling me you have to be here from this time to this time. You can take your lunch at this time. This is when you can get permission to have vacation time. I have that kind of flexibility.

And I can also work wherever I want. I love that part too so that I don’t have a commute driving into an office to sit in a cubicle. I can sit in my office or on the couch. I’ve proofread in the plane, in the car. You can proofread wherever you want. So that’s some of the things that I love about owning my own business.

Those may be things for you about your proofreading business that are why you really want to have it and how it affects others because, when you are in control of your time and when you can work, then you have time to spend with -- like if you’re a parent, then you can make sure you have time to spend with your kids.

You can take them to school, drop them off. Or if you homeschool, you have time during the day to spend with them on that. You can take them to the park. You can -- when you want, instead of just waiting on when you get home from work, you can make sure you’re there for all their activities, the play that they’re in or their piano recital or their sports. You don’t have to worry about taking time off and wondering how you’re going to balance your work and your kids and just that little bit of time that you have at the end of the day.

It can also be you can work wherever you want. I mentioned taking your kids to the park on your own schedule. You just take your proofreading with you, sit there while they’re playing. You’re sitting there proofreading. I mean, there’s just -- that’s just an example. There are plenty of other reasons.

But you can think about, okay, I can proofread when I want and where I want. How does that affect my family? How does that affect the people that I know around me? And it’s positive for you. You can work when your brain works best. You can -- if you’re a morning person or a night person or a right-in-the-middle-of-the-day person, you can work then. But it also is convenient for and helpful for other people around you too.

And because you’re in control of your schedule, you’re in control of where you work, you’re also in control of who you work with. So if you currently have some very challenging coworkers, and we’ve all had them -- sometimes more than others -- that can really affect your mood. Or if you have a really stressful job where you just have a lot of expectations and just a lot on your plate, too much at work, a boss that doesn’t understand, or there’s not enough people working there, and so you have more responsibilities. Or you just have a very high-stress, high-demand job anyways.

You’re stressed at work, and when you come home, that affects everything around you too. And when you’re doing something that you love like proofreading when you can work where you want and when you want, you’re happier. And when you’re happier, that affects every single person you come in contact with. It affects your kids. It affects your spouse. It affects your friends. It affects the people that you come into contact with at the grocery store.

When you’re happier, not only do you feel better -- it’s a positive benefit for you too -- but it’s a benefit to everyone around you. So being in control of your side hustle, the way you make money, doesn’t just affect you. So when you’re starting your business, you’re not doing something that is only for you. Yes, it is for you in the sense of you will have that freedom and flexibility, and you’ll be happier.

And it also is for others too. Everybody you come in contact with will benefit because of the new way that you can -- you’re in control of your life. And you’re also influencing the clients that you work with too. For instance, my absolute favorite type of proofreading is transcript proofreading, and you’re affecting so many people as a transcript proofreader in a really good way because when you’re producing transcripts and you’re working with your court reporter clients, not only are you helping your court reporters with their work, you’re also influencing everybody who reads a really well-done transcript. You’re influencing the judge or the attorneys or their clients. And that touches a lot of people right there.

And then even just coming back to your client yourself that you’re working with, so the court reporter if you’re a transcript proofreader, my court reporter clients have said how much better their life is because I am able to be a proofreader for them. And it gives them time in their schedule by sending the work to me. They get it off their plate. Then they have time to sleep more or spend more time with their grandkids or just have -- feel better about their life, feel more confident when they send work in.

And so how you do in your job is affecting other people too. And because my court reporter is sleeping better or because they have more time to spend with their grandkids, that then affects everybody around them too. So you have a huge ripple effect when you decide to start your proofreading business and help others because it’s not just you. Yes, it is your business. Yes, you benefit directly because you’re making money. You’re doing it on your terms. But it’s not selfish because it’s touching so many other people too, and that is such an amazing feeling to know that you’re doing something on your terms.

And you’re also helping others too. And so when you think about it that way, the benefits of having your own business and those long-term benefits of you’re putting in the work now to start up your business, what it’s going to influence down the road, you and all the other people your business are going to touch, it’s not selfish to start your own business. In fact, it’s selfish to not start your business because think about all those people that you won’t be able to influence.

Think about the life that you are going to continue living that’s just the way it is right now, and you’re bypassing starting your own transcript proofreading business because, well, maybe it feels selfish to spend more time setting it up right now. But in the long run, it doesn’t take forever to set up your business.

Some of my students have done it in a couple months. Some of them have taken longer. It just depends on what your schedule is and how much time you have for it. But the time that you put in now influences -- I mean, it just makes a huge impact down the road for how much more flexibility, enjoyment, happiness, benefits that you have down the road.

So if you’re thinking about starting your transcript proofreading business or you’re in it right now and you’re thinking, oh, this is so much work. I’m just feeling like it’s taking away from other things that I usually do right now. I encourage you to stay focused and to either get going or to keep going because if you keep waiting or you keep dragging your feet or you quit making proofreading a priority, it will take longer to get to those long-term goals that you have, the goals that will benefit you, that will benefit your family, your friends, your church, any connections that you have that will benefit your clients and then their family and so on and so forth.

If you keep dragging your feet, if you keep feeling like this won’t work because it’s taking time away from other things, then it’s going to take you even longer to get to those goals. And that’s what’s ultimately really selfish. And if your main goal of coming into is, well, I don’t -- I feel guilty about using my time on me with this business right now, refocus it as I’m going to get in, and I’m going to put as much effort into this as possible, I’m going to focus. I’m going to use my time wisely.

Inside the course, I have everything that you need to know to learn how to be a transcript proofreader, and I check -- not only just here’s how to learn what you need to know, but I also have checklists and assignments so that you can apply what you’ve learned and then go out and do that so that way you can get your business going.

If you’re dragging your feet and taking time checking things off, you’re really just wasting time on that ultimate end goal that you have, whereas if you get in, you focus, and you go, you’re going to be that much closer. You’re going to get there that much faster than if you sit -- held yourself back by thinking, well, I’m just not -- this isn’t the right use of my time because it’s all for me. You really are benefiting more people when you sit down, you focus, and you work on getting your business built up.

You know, I mentioned kids as one of the reasons why sometimes it holds parents back from starting a business, especially moms because they have this feeling of, I need to be there with my kids, and it’s selfish to take time for me. That’s a really common feeling among moms, understandably, right? Your kids are your life.

Well, some of my grads are -- lots of them -- are moms, and some of them have been able, with their business, to benefit their relationship with their children so much more because they buckled down, got their business started, and now, because they have a successful transcript proofreading business, it helps them actually be able to spend more time with their children and have more opportunities for them.

For example, of my grads, she worked a full-time job and started her transcript proofreading business up, and she homeschooled her daughter, which talk about a full plate. Well, she was able to just recently quit her full-time job and focus completely on proofreading. And now she is able to be at home with her daughter all the time.

I have another grad. She had a lot of summer activities that she wanted to sign her kids up for so that they had a really full, exciting summer ahead of them, and she was able to afford those activities because of her proofreading side hustle that she had.

I don’t have kids, but one way that my proofreading business has been able to help others is I love to rescue animals. And one of my rescue dogs, I’ve had to take to the vet I don’t know how many times, and the flexibility to just be able to jump in the car and take her there whenever she needed it because we live in the middle of just about nowhere, and driving anywhere -- shopping, vet, wherever -- takes a while. And being able to put her in the car, take her there, and make sure that she got the care she needed that I could afford because I had a proofreading side hustle and because I had that flexibility to just get up and go has been so good.

There’s just -- there’s lots of different ways that a proofreading side hustle can be flexible to allow your life to be easier, not just your life but everybody’s around you whether you have kids or furry kids or just being happier and more content and being -- feeling empowered and confident.

One of my grads who, she quit her job shortly after joining my course, and she had a baby, and she said being able to stay at home with her child instead of having to put him in daycare has made all the difference and has taken such a level of stress off of her to be at home in control of her own business, in control of her schedule with the clients that she wants to work with, and she gets to be there with her baby as he grows up. And you just -- you can’t put a price tag on that. And she also said on top of that, just the confidence to know that I’m able to do that is everything.

And that confidence, the knowing that you own your own business and have the ability to make money off of skills that you have, that empowering feeling influences, touches everything in your life.

So as you’re thinking about starting your business or if you’re in the middle of it, learning and just -- you’re in the thick of it right now, think about why you want to start your proofreading business. Think about all the positive ways that it can affect you going forward and not just you but everybody around you.

And then write it down. Write down what the reasons are, why you want to start, and then write down how it’s going to help everybody in your life that’s important to you because when you can see why you’re doing it and then how it will help others too, it will help you realize -- it will help you not feel -- it will help show you that you are doing the right thing by working on your proofreading business.

It will show you it’s the opposite of being selfish. You’re continuing to help others because of the business that you’re going to get started as a proofreader.

Want to learn more about transcript proofreading? Then check out my free workshop, Is Transcript Proofreading the Right Money-Making Business for Me? It’s less than an hour, and it answers lots of FAQs around transcript proofreading so you can decide if this is the perfect side hustle for you. You can check it out on

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Meet Elizabeth

Elizabeth Wiegner is a work-from-home proofreader and business coach who teaches other readers and typo fixers how to build a life of freedom as a proofreader. Her energy, love, and personalized support are second to none in the proofreading world.