3 must-do steps to start your general proofreading business

General proofreading, General Proofreading FAQs, Proofreading

You already know you’re good at catching typos and grammar errors! So what’s the next step to turn those grammar skills of yours into a successful general proofreading business so you can proof books, blog posts, websites, social media posts, emails, and more for some serious cash?

Here are three must-do steps to start your general proofreading business.

1. Know how to proofread like a pro

Beyond marking up typos and grammar errors, you also have to know

  • Which resources to use when proofing, such as dictionaries, grammar manuals, and online references;
  • How to research accurately (If you don’t know something, do you know where to go to look it up? Are you willing to do that?);
  • How to use a variety of proofreading software depending on what type of file your client wants you to proof in;
  • How to work with client preferences. Not every client likes to be by the book. Sometimes they like to use punctuation marks differently than the Chicago Manual of Style says to. It’s your job to work with those preferences to preserve their writing style while still keeping it readable.

2️. Set up your proofreading business

Many hopeful proofreaders skip this part and run right into trying to get clients. However, skipping this step is setting yourself up for failure. If you don’t know how to run your business well, you will become overwhelmed and discouraged, and your clients will quickly sense your disorganization and lose confidence in you. So before you start advertising your services as a general proofreader, you should 

  • Set up your rates, turnaround time, and terms of service. This way you’re prepared when someone asks your rates and is ready to book with you.
  • Know how to create contracts and invoices. This way your client and you can sign a contract agreeing on your rates and then you can bill them when your work is done.
  • Keep your business organized. This way you can keep track of all your proofreading work, contracts, invoices, and emails so nothing gets lost, forgotten, or turned in late.

3️. Get clients

To some this is the most intimidating part, but it doesn’t have to be! Marketing doesn’t have to feel icky or spammy or like you’re constantly bugging people for something they don’t want. Find your ideal clients, the ones you’re excited to work with and the ones who are excited to work with you. Hang out where they are and show them how you are the best proofreader for them and how organized and ready to go you are and that you have the skills you need to be amazing for them. You’re providing a valuable service to your clients, and they’ll be fortunate to work with you!  

Bonus step: Get started!

I talk to a lot of people who dream about starting their own general proofreading business. They’re excellent at grammar and spelling and are always catching errors…but they never get started. If you’ve learned these three steps and are ready, then do the thing! Open your business doors and start working. The world needs you and your personality, work ethic, and skills. So go be awesome, proofreader!

If would like help with knowing how to proofread, how to set up your business, and how to get clients, you’re in the perfect spot. I cover all three steps (and more) inside The General Proofreading Guides!

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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.