How To Become a Proofreader With No Experience (Ultimate Guide)

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Do you know you can earn $20-$70 an hour just by doing proofreading?

Now, you might think, what’s proofreading and how you can do the same? Can you do it full time and what qualifications you need as a Proofreader?

Well, I have discussed everything in this detailed post sharing the exact steps, tools, and resources needed to become a Freelance Proofreader.

If you are looking for great work from home job as a mom, student or just looking to add an extra source of income, then Proofreading is one of the best online jobs.

How to become a Freelance Proofreader

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STEP1: Know Everything About Proofreading

What is Proofreading?

A guy doing Proofreading

Proofreading is a process where Proofreaders check & fix grammatical, punctuation, spelling, typo errors from a written document.

It is the last step in the editing process after which the copies are printed, published or submitted.

The copies include novels, textbooks, children’s books, online or university course content, website pages, blog posts, presentations, newspapers, magazines, ads, pamphlets, legal documents, transcripts, court reports, podcast pages, resumes, scholarship essays, and so on.

Difference Between Proofreading And Editing?

Chart showing difference between Editing & Proofreading

If you think Proofreading and Editing are the same, then you’re totally wrong.

Mainly, Proofreading deals with grammatical, typo, spelling, punctuation errors, whereas Editing deals with the overall quality.

It includes:

  • correcting the structure to improve its flow.
  • improving the clarity of sentences.
  • quality of evidence and analysis.
  • enhancing language use.

How Much Does a Proofreader Make?

Proofreader income

A common Proofreader charges from anywhere between $25-$45 an hour whereas an experienced proofreader goes up to $50-$70.

Greg Ioannou, an experienced Proofreader, makes a minimum of $50 per hour for proofreading 3000 words.

Quora comment related to Proofreading

Usually, the earning depends on.

  • Experience
  • Type of document (general or legal) you’re proofreading.

The higher the experience you have, the better you will earn. And if you are proofreading legal document like a court transcript, you get paid more. That’s because it’s more difficult & requires a good knowledge of legal terminologies.

STEP 2: Know The Skills Required For Proofreading

I know proofreading sounds like an easy job, but actually, it’s not that easy.

There are several things you should know before trying your hands on it. If you lack these skills, you may find it hard to proofread that could affect your deadlines.

Here are the skills you must really focus on:

  • You must have good focusing power and close attention to detail.
  • The ability to not get distracted easily.
  • A meticulous eye for details where you can spot errors quickly.
  • You must have excellent grammar knowledge, know when to use punctuation & capitalization rules.
  • You should know conventions in native languages. For example, an English proofreader must know the difference between British, American, Canadian, Australian & Indian English.
  • You must know the rules of any style guide you’re working with.
  • Most importantly, you should enjoy proofreading and have an urge to always improve yourself.

STEP 3: Understand All the Pros and Cons

Pros of Proofreading Jobs

  • Work on your own schedule, which gives you more flexibility.
  • Spend more time with your friends & families as it gives you a lot of freedom.
  • You can do it alongside your day job as an extra source of income.
  • It’s a remote job which means you can do it from any part of the world.

Cons of Proofreading Jobs

Every job has a good and bad side & Proofreading is no different.

The following are some common cons you’ll face being a Proofreader.

  • At some point, you’ll face a scarcity of jobs while working with Online Proofreading companies. That’s why it’s always a good idea to join at least 3 companies to have a continuous flow of jobs.
  • Freelance Proofreaders may face difficulty in finding clients. This is the most difficult part where you need to find & turn your clients into a permanent customer to get recurring work every month.
  • Being a beginner, you won’t make enough money because you don’t have enough experience.

STEP 4: Tools For Proofreading

Tools are a must for proofreading jobs because it makes your work quite easy and faster.

It helps you find and fix all the errors in real time with a single click. Thus, you can save a lot of time instead of reading and figuring out on your own.

When you are proofreading faster, you can complete your projects in time and therefore, you can take more jobs. This results in better earning, and who doesn’t need that?

However it doesn’t mean you have to completely rely on them because at the end of the day, human eyes are more accurate.

Here is the list of basic tools you should have.

1. Pro Writing Aid

Pro Writing Aid tool

Pro Writing aid comprises a grammar checker, style editor and editing tool designed to correct English writing.

If bad grammar is your weakness & you find it hard to detect, Pro Writing Aid can save a lot of time.

Here are the few benefits of using this tool.

  • It automatically suggests 1000s of style improvements to make sentences short and concise.
  • This tool finds out repetitiveness, vague wording, sentence length variation, over-dependence on adverbs, passive voice, over-complicated sentence constructions, and so on.
  • Fixes correct spelling and grammatical mistakes.
  • It has an in-built word explorer and contextual thesaurus helping you to find the perfect words for your sentences to make your point.

You can click here to use their free trial.

2. Grammarly Free Grammar & Spell Checker

Grammarly is a browser add-on that detects grammatical errors in real-time.

The free version only supports spelling and grammatical correction, whereas the paid one offers.

  • Advanced checks for punctuation, grammar, context, and sentence structure.
  • Vocabulary enhancement suggestions.
  • Genre-specific writing style checks.
  • Plagiarism detector that checks over 16 billion web pages.

I use a combination of Grammarly & Pro Writing Aid to detect most of the errors.

Click Here to Download the Free Version

3. Some Additional Resources

STEP 5: Learn From The Experts

To learn all the tricks and trade of Proofreading, you can enroll in online proofreading courses.

From step-by-step guides to full-blown courses by professionals, you can get everything by paying a price.

But what if you aren’t sure about the skill? What if you get bored after sometime? This could mean you might waste your money.

In such time, spending your money on a skill you aren’t confident about is not a good idea.

If you consider yourself in the same boat, I have a useful resource especially for sorting out this problem.

1. 76-Minute Free Workshop on Proofreading

This is a free workshop created by Caitlin from She teaches you exactly how to transform your passion for words and reading into a thriving proofreading business in just 30 days.

When you join her workshop, you will learn:

  • 5 signs Proofreading could be a perfect fit for you.
  • How proofreading can give you lifestyle freedom & financial security.
  • An easy way to attract your ideal proofreading clients & much more.

If you are someone who’s confused regarding Proofreading & couldn’t decide whether you should really go for it? Then you must definitely take this free workshop to have a clear picture in your mind.

Caitlin is a pro in proofreading who made over $33,000 in a year just by doing this.

She knows what does it take to become a full-time proofreader and how can you set-up your own Proofreading business.

So, I find no reason to avoid this workshop if I want to be a proofreader. As a bonus, it’s free knowledge, which isn’t bad. Right?

2. A Free Skillshare Course on Proofreading

Skillshare Proofreading Course

If you have been an avid reader of my blog, then you know I always suggest Skillshare courses.

…Do you know why?

Because you can watch amazing video courses for free.

A quick search on Skillshare and BAM, you will most likely find a course.

While writing the article, I did a quick search and found a good course on Proofreading.

I have gone through the full course which took me an hour and I really find it helpful for beginners. There is a lot of good information you should know as a beginner.

Now, the course is actually not free, as it’s a paid course for people who already have an account on Skillshare.

However, if you haven’t registered yet? You can use my link to sign-up to get a 2-months free subscription, eventually making this course free for you.

Moreover, you can also take many more premium courses with this subscription before 60 days.

The only thing you should remember is to cancel this plan before it expires, as you may get charged afterwards.

Step 6: Practice, Practice & Practice

You must have heard that “Practice makes a man perfect” & that’s exactly what you need to do.

Nobody becomes a great proofreader by taking a course. I mean courses are there to share knowledge and techniques. But practice makes you a pro.

Even if you take the best course out there & you aren’t practicing, you won’t become a good proofreader you dreamt to be.

It is like Football where you know all the rules of the game but you won’t be a good player until and unless you practice. The same goes for Proofreading.

That’s why when you complete any course, start practicing it until you are confident enough to offer your services.

To make things easier, I am sharing a few links where you can practice by taking online tests.

Click the link, read the rules, and begin.

Step 7: Offer Your Proofreading Service

Being a Proofreader, you can offer your service in three ways.

  • Join Online Proofreading companies
  • Offer via. Freelance websites
  • Start your own Proofreading Business

1. Join Online Proofreading Companies

This is the easiest way to get Proofreading jobs as a beginner because you don’t need any experience.

Though some companies ask for it, a few of them won’t. Being a beginner, you should join these companies to gain some experience that will help you in the future.

The joining procedure involves taking up a preliminary test comprises multiple-choice questions.

All the questions are grammar-based, so you won’t have any problem if your grammar is strong. Once you complete, the last step involves proofreading a small file.

Though, it may look difficult at first, but you can easily clear them if you know the basics. I highly recommend the above Skillshare course to learn basic proofreading.

Once you are confident enough, here is a list of 15 companies where you can apply for Proofreading jobs.

2. Register With Freelance Websites

Online proofreading companies are good for beginners because you don’t need any experience to get started.

But after spending a few months and gaining experience, you should switch your gears to Freelance websites.

This is the place where clients and freelancers interact. Clients post their requirement, and then several freelancers bid for the job.

Among different freelancers, Clients choose the one whose proposal is most resonating and thus, he/she gets the job.

Most of the time, they choose only experienced ones because they trust their quality. If you want to become successful with such sites as a proofreader, you should have some experience.

Also, you should know the right way to use Freelance websites which include building a great portfolio, creating an effective bid proposal and much more.

It may seem overwhelming, but you can easily learn them by checking out this course, teaching you how to have a Proofreader career on Upwork.

Apart from this, you can also take Caitlin’s course that dives deep into Proofreading.

Once you are ready to offer your service, you can join these websites.

3. Start Your Own Proofreading Business

Freelance websites and online companies both have a problem that affects your earning, and that problem is commission.

Usually, both of them take a percentage of your earning affecting your overall income.

It’s quite saddening working hard for a long time and not even getting paid fully.

In such a case, starting your own Freelance Proofreading business is the best option.

Although, there are some initial investments like creating a website but it’s under $100 and you can earn it back when your business flourishes. You can keep 100% of your earning instead of 60% or 70%.

However, to begin, you should have all the knowledge regarding how to market your service, where to find clients, how to set-up & run your business and much more. Else, you will only have a website with no clients.

That’s the reason I have seen a lot of success with ProofreadAnywhere course teaching you everything you need to know.

It has over 40 modules along with full-support materials. You can also join their Facebook community where you can interact and discuss your problem with other proofreaders.

Overall, I highly recommend if you’re planning to start your own Proofreading business.

Final Thought – How to become a Proofreader

So, this is the basic roadmap to becoming a Professional Proofreader.

If you only want to do proofreading as a side hustle, I prefer you to join Online companies and freelance websites.

But, if you want to do it full time, you should really know how to set-up and run your own Proofreading business.

For this, the resources I shared will really help you in guiding the right direction. Now it’s your turn to let me know whether you want to do it part-time or full-time?

Proofreading business
Proofreading business
Proofreading business
Proofreading business

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