I see it all the time: folks who have side hustles or passions who want to figure out how they can make a living working from home. My advice is always the same: find out a secondary talent, other than your primary passion, and get even better at it – even so that you can make an income from doing it.
And if you’re a type-A personality like me, then entry level proofreading jobs online may be right up your alley.
Working in an entry level position doesn’t necessarily mean that you would be working a part-time or ill-paid job; in fact, working as a remote proofreader can be quite lucrative, especially if you’re working this job in addition to working another one, or in the case of you owning your own business.
If you’re a stickler for proper grammar usage and can proofread in your sleep, then this may be the perfect job for you! Read on to discover how to implement a new career role in this arena.
No Proofreading Experience? No Problem.
To be a remote proofreader, you really don’t need to be certified – heck, you don’t even need to be certified in most writing functions to call yourself a writer!
And you may have more experience than you think. Have you worked as an administrative assistant and proofread emails for your boss? Or, maybe you're newly out of college and have your English class still fresh in your mind.
If these or similar examples apply to you, proofreading might be a viable option for a work at home career.
Build out your website, and start small – even platforms like Fiverr could be useful to a proofreader who’s just starting out.
Whenever regular Joes talk to me about freelancing, they usually suggest that I check out Upwork, a service I’m very familiar with.
However, since I’ve been a paid, professional writer for over 12 years, I’ve already found that Upwork isn’t the best fit for me (though I have heard that some freelancers make their living solely off of the website – and it’s a good living, at that!). I’ve found it’s more suited to folks just starting out as freelancers, which could be the perfect fit for you, dear Reader!
Where To Find Entry Level Proofreading And Editing Jobs Online
There are several other platforms out there that are available for remote, entry-level proofreaders to hop onto and see if they can drum up some new clients.
Some of my personal favorites include: Scribe Writing, Edit Fast, and ProofreadingServices.com. All have competitive pay and flexible hours – in particular, ProofreadingServices.com jobs are available to anyone who passes the 20-minute application test.
Then, of course, there’s the old-fashioned way, which is to use the aforementioned services (like Upwork or Fiverr), or to simply use Craigslist.
My trick to using Craigslist to find work is to look for remote work in cities with a higher standard of living – cities like San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, etc.
Even if you live in a small town, if a company in San Francisco likes you and thinks that they’re getting Small Town USA pay rates, they could meet your hourly minimum at the very least and feel like they’re getting a great deal (while you feel like you’re getting paid what you’re worth!).
Some of the previously mentioned companies may prefer experienced proofreaders, but never fear — that’s why we’ve compiled an additional list of companies that hire entry-level proofreaders (to help you out if you’re truly starting from scratch!):
- Babbletype – Read Babbletype Review – The team at Babbletype is looking for native English speakers only for transcription editing projects (which kind of goes without saying for most of these companies), but aren’t “looking for perfection.”
- Guru – I’ll be honest — Guru is a lot like Fiverr or Upwork; which isn’t to say that there isn’t any value in it, because there certainly is! Again, especially if you’re just starting out, this may be a good option to get your name out there and build up a reputation for being reliable and good at what you do. Payment varies based on your own rates.
- Indeed – Much like LinkedIn, Craigslist, or any other job board, Indeed is inundated with the same jobs you will see on the aforementioned; however, even though the competition may be higher, simply because of the fact that so many people use these types of online platforms to look for jobs, it doesn’t mean that you can’t find viable proofreading jobs on these boards. I find a lot of my regular client work on job boards, or in niche-based social media groups.
- PeoplePerHour – This is another general job-board-type of website (again, much like Fiverr), but it can work out really well for some job seekers! This is a startup that’s been around for a minute, so you’ll likely be able to find work. Payment also varies based on your own rates.
- Proofreading Pal – To work for this company, you do need to have a college degree, or be in the process of obtaining one. However, you don’t necessarily have to have the work experience that many proofreaders have. The website claims that editors can earn anywhere from $500 – $3,000 per month.
- SmartBrief – This company will often have openings for freelance, remote copy editors, but they must have at least three years of experience. However, any experience level at five years and under is considered “entry level,” so take three years with a grain of salt. Some companies — especially if they’re hard-pressed to find good people — will bend their own rules a bit to get a valuable editor in the door. It doesn’t always happen, but it can! Editors with SmartBrief make around $50,000 a year (according to Glassdoor).
- LifeTips – This company edits content produced by freelancers. The website boasts salaried work and full medical benefits – so, that’s definitely a plus! They do ask for a resume, but no specific experience or educational requirements are mentioned.
- Scribbr – Read Scribbr Review – While this website does say you need a bachelor's degree plus some “experience editing academic texts,” it appears that editing your own academic papers in college may count as experience, so give this one a try for sure.
Additionally, I always suggest reaching out to people on LinkedIn to gain insight and feedback on how you can break into the profession.
Find proofreaders whose career trajectories you admire, send them a LinkedIn connection request, and ask if you can have 10 minutes to pick their brains. Networking in any industry never hurts! I believe that before you can journey out on your own, you should learn from the best.
Also, these networking conversations could turn into job opportunities, especially if you’re talking to a decision-maker on a director (or even a managerial) level.
Don’t be afraid to ask the person you’re speaking with if their company is hiring; folks like hiring people they can put a name, face, and voice to, so don’t be shy!
Would you rather work for yourself as a proofreader and make MORE money?
Working for yourself is usually the most profitable route to take because you can set your own rates and seek out higher-paying clients. You'll likely earn more doing this than you would if you were applying for entry level proofreading jobs online such as those listed above.
If you'd like some guidance in getting started, we recommend checking out this free 45-minute workshop explaining how to go about starting your own freelance general proofreading side hustle from home.
Originally published on February 18, 2019. Updated and republished on December 11, 2020.