Career opportunities are very sparse in the world of proofreading. It is terribly hard to become a writer, and even though it is not as difficult to become a proofreader, it is almost as difficult as being a writer. The advantage you have with being a proofreader is that there is more work out there for you than there is as a writer. But, your deadlines as a proofreader are often short, and it takes a lot of patience and discipline to be able to apply yourself 100% to every sentence you check.
1 – Start your own proofreading business
This is one of the more difficult ways you may gain a career in proofreading, but at least it is one you can start right away. You still have to solicit work from clients and you still have to struggle, but you will have a base of operations, i.e. a brand that you may build up and create a reputation. It is a long and drawn out slog, but if you can cultivate a good and branded business then you will do alright. It is easier if you buy a business that has already built up a brand and even better if you can get a few employees under you, but you need the budget to be able to do that.
2 – Join with a professional proofreading company by soliciting them
Simply solicit other proofreading companies to get a job. It isn’t as difficult as you think. Most of the successful ones are on Google, so simply go down the results and send them an email asking for a job. Search for ones in your local area and maybe you will be able to work within the company instead of working remotely.
3 – Do not be a freelancer unless you are part of a proofreading circle
Being a freelance proofreader is the hardest. It is harder than being a freelance writer. Your deadlines are so short when you are a proofreader that you are always limited as to how much work you can take on at one time. You are also going to experience massive dry patches where you are scratching around for work, and when it does come you can only take on a small amount. With a proofreading circle you are joined by other proofreaders. You can take on bigger projects and share out the excess that you cannot do. The other proofreaders do the same so that none of you experience dry spells and none of you have to turn down work for being too busy.
4 – Target a very specific group of people and solicit them for work
There are more than you think. Here are just a few demographics you can target with your proofreading business, freelance efforts or employed efforts:
Many would like their work proofreading quickly. They are not looking for a perfect post; they would prefer a situation where they write what they want very quickly and have someone else post it after checking it so they do not have to.
They need their work checking and editing so that it demonstrates a higher use and understanding of English.
They need their work checking before it is sent off to publishers.
They may need large edits as times change and their work needs updating. They may also require their work to be checked before being sent off to proofreaders.
They need their work checking to the level of a high school student, as that is what Google requires of online content.
Writers selling on online markets
There are many online marketplaces that have very strict grammar rules. A proofreader may improve the writer’s content so that it is accepted onto the marketplace.
Marketing messages need to be perfect and copywriters will often check their work and still hire a proofreader to be doubly sure that what they are publishing is perfect.
They need to get a point across, but it may be skewered by any form of written mistake. They do not pay much, but will value a reliable proofreader that is available almost all the time.
5 – Ask client if you may use them as a reference when apply for work
If you start from the bottom and have to do a little freelance work, then build a good relationship with your clients and when you have finished your job you should tell them that you will be apply to work for bigger proofreading companies in the future and ask if they would be happy to give you a reference. Simply tell them that you are going to put their project on your portfolio. You are not going to disclose details of the project, you are just going to enter their project into your portfolio to show that you have experience, and ask if they would like to give you a reference.
You can add the short testimonial into your portfolio. You should then keep the email address of the client. Do not put their email address onto your portfolio because the last thing you want to do is give a company your contacts. Simply show the company your log/portfolio of experience and if they want to contact any on the list then you hand over the email addresses for those specific ones so that the company may contact them and check the testimonial/reference they gave you.