Start a Proofreading Side Hustle and Turn Markup into Money

Proofreading. It’s a word that might make you think of stern English teachers, red pens, and loads of paperwork. But what if we told you that proofreading could be the key to unlocking a lucrative side hustle? Not only can it help you make some extra money, but it might also be your gateway to a flexible, work-from-home lifestyle where you’re in control. And believe it or not, you could even find online proofreading jobs for beginners!

Why Proofreading?

Why indeed? Proofreading may not seem like the most glamorous job in the world, but it plays a vital role in our content-driven society. It’s the final stop for any written material before it reaches its audience, ensuring the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. From blog posts, novels, and personal finance websites to academic essays, marketing materials, and more, the importance of proofreading spans across various fields.

start a proofreading side business

Proofreading jobs, including freelance proofreading jobs, provide an excellent opportunity for those with an eagle eye for errors. These jobs are perfect for people who have a knack for language, have strong attention to detail, or those who simply can’t resist the urge to spot grammatical errors and spelling mistakes in text. It’s also an excellent opportunity to work at your own pace, in your own hours, and from the comfort of your home.

But remember, there’s more to being a professional proofreader than being a stickler for spelling and grammar. You’ll be tasked with ensuring a text’s readability, style, and tone match its purpose. It’s a task that requires a unique set of proofreading skills, a deep understanding of language, and an unfaltering attention to detail.

In the upcoming sections, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of proofreading jobs, what it takes to start your own proofreading business, the tools you’ll need, and how to build a portfolio that showcases your skills. We’ll also answer questions like “How much money do online proofreaders make?” and “Do I need special skills to make money proofreading?” So, stay tuned as we delve into the world of freelance proofreading career opportunities.

Now, who’s ready to dive into the world of best online proofreading jobs and start their journey towards successful proofreading jobs? Let’s get started!

start a proofreading side business

The Ups and Downs of Freelance Proofreading Jobs

Like any job, freelance proofreading comes with its own set of perks and pitfalls. Let’s sift through some of the most notable ones.

Pros of Freelance Proofreading Jobs

1. Flexibility: The beauty of freelance proofreading jobs is that they allow you to work at your own pace and on your own schedule. Whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, a proofreading career lets you set your own hours. Got a doctor’s appointment? No problem! You’re the boss here, and you make your schedule.

2. Variety: As a freelance proofreader, you’ll come across a vast array of content. One day you could be proofreading an exciting novel, the next, an insightful academic writing, and then a quirky blog post. There’s always something new and exciting to keep your workday interesting.

3. Potential Income: While the money proofreading can vary depending on your expertise and the time you put in, the earning potential can be pretty rewarding. Experienced freelance proofreaders can earn a decent income, and we’ll be discussing more on “how much money do online proofreaders make?” later in the article.

start a proofreading side business

Cons of Online Proofreading Jobs

1. It Can Be Solitary Work: Proofreading requires concentration, which often means working alone for long periods. If you’re someone who thrives on social interaction, this could be a downside.

2. Job Insecurity: As with many freelance jobs, work might not always be consistent. There could be times when there are plenty of job postings, and other times when work is scarce. This inconsistency can lead to income instability, so it’s something to keep in mind when venturing into this side hustle.

3. Startup Costs: While not as high as some other freelance careers, there are some startup costs involved when starting your own proofreading business. This can include investing in a good computer, reliable internet connection, and various proofreading tools, which we will discuss later in the “5 Must-Have Tools for Proofreading Jobs” section.

Like any career, freelance proofreading has its highs and lows. However, if you have a passion for words, a sharp eye for detail, and the willingness to put in the effort, the pros can greatly outweigh the cons. Ready to learn more? Let’s continue on our journey into the world of online proofreading jobs.

start a proofreading side business

A Look Into Different Types of Proofreading Jobs

In the world of freelance proofreading, there’s a whole lot more than just reviewing books or articles. You might be surprised by the variety of niches available to you. Let’s delve into a few key areas.

Ever considered a legal proofreading job? It’s a specialized area of the field where you review legal documents for errors. It’s not as scary as it sounds, promise! Legal proofreaders look over contracts, transcripts, briefs, and other legal documents to make sure they’re accurate and error-free.

Remember, every document that a lawyer or legal professional puts out is a reflection of their competence. Your job as a legal proofreader is to help them maintain a high standard of professionalism. No pressure, right? But it does pay well and it’s a great option if you’re keen on the technicality of law.

Website Content Proofreading

In our digital age, online presence is everything. That’s why website content proofreading is such a critical role. In this job, you’ll proofread website content, blogs, and social media posts for businesses and individuals.

You’ll work on enhancing readability, checking for grammatical errors, and ensuring that the tone of the content matches the brand’s voice. It’s a great option if you have an eye for detail and a flair for adapting to different writing styles.

Other Best Online Proofreading Jobs

1. Academic Proofreading: Help students or researchers polish their theses, dissertations, or research papers. This often involves checking for proper citation and adherence to style guides.

2. Book Proofreading: Got a love for literature? Then book proofreading might be your calling. From novels to self-help guides, your task is to ensure these books are error-free before they hit the shelves.

3. Business Proofreading: This involves checking business reports, proposals, and marketing materials for errors. Businesses need their materials to be polished and professional, and that’s where you come in.

4. Resume Proofreading: Help job seekers make the best first impression by proofreading their resumes and cover letters.

The types of proofreading jobs are as diverse as the written word itself. No matter where your interest lies, there’s a proofreading job for you. If you’re ready to find the best online proofreading jobs that suit your skills and interests, stick around as we guide you on how to kickstart your proofreading side hustle!

start a proofreading side business

Charting Your Course: Starting Your Own Proofreading Business

Do you have dreams of starting your own proofreading business? It’s time to take those dreams from the realm of the “maybe someday” to the reality of now. Let’s walk through the essential steps you need to get your proofreading business off the ground.

Steps to Start a Proofreading Business

1. Hone Your Skills: The first step to start a proofreading business is to develop your proofreading skills. You don’t need a bachelor’s degree in English, but a keen eye for detail, excellent grammar, and a strong understanding of style guides are essential. Consider enrolling in an online proofreading course to sharpen your skills and gain valuable insights into the industry.

2. Define Your Niche: Do you enjoy sifting through academic writing, or are marketing materials more your speed? Determining your niche helps you target your services and makes you more attractive to specific clients.

3. Create a Business Plan: Outline your goals, target market, pricing, marketing strategy, and startup costs. This will be your road map as you build your own proofreading business.

4. Build a Portfolio: As you gain experience, collect samples of your proofreading work. This will demonstrate your skills to potential clients. You can start by offering your services on a volunteer basis or proofreading for personal finance websites or blogs.

5. Market Your Services: Create a professional website to showcase your services and portfolio. Optimize your site for relevant keywords such as “freelance proofreading services” and “online proofreading business” to boost your visibility online.

6. Set Your Rates: Investigate what other proofreaders in your niche charge to ensure your rates are competitive. Remember, as a freelance proofreader, you should charge not just for the time you spend proofreading but also for your administrative and marketing tasks.

7. Get the Tools of the Trade: Invest in tools like Google Docs or Microsoft Word that have built-in proofreading tools, and consider professional-grade software like Grammarly or ProWritingAid.

Potential Hurdles and How to Overcome Them

Finding Clients: One of the biggest challenges in starting a proofreading career is finding your first proofreading job. Utilize job boards and freelance platforms, reach out to your network, and don’t be afraid to pitch directly to companies.

Imposter Syndrome: Starting a new venture can be daunting, and it’s common to doubt your abilities. Remember, every professional proofreader started somewhere. Continue learning, practice regularly, and remind yourself of your successes.

Handling Rejection: Not every potential client will say yes, and that’s okay. Each rejection is a learning opportunity. Ask for feedback, refine your approach, and keep moving forward.

The road to establishing your own proofreading business may seem long, but remember, every step you take is a step towards achieving your dream. If you’re passionate about proofreading and ready to put in the work, there’s no limit to what you can achieve. So, are you ready to start making money proofreading?

start a proofreading side business

Essential Gear: Must-Have Tools for Proofreading Jobs

Imagine stepping into a bakery and discovering there are no mixing bowls, spatulas, or ovens. Sounds impossible, right? It’s the same with online proofreading jobs. Having the right tools is crucial to your success as a proofreader. Let’s explore some must-haves in your proofreading toolbox.

Overview of Essential Tools for Proofreading

Before we delve into the specifics, let’s understand that proofreading is more than spotting spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. It involves understanding the context, ensuring consistency in style and language, and fine-tuning the text to be reader-friendly. Hence, your toolkit should be diverse and robust, helping you to manage these tasks efficiently.

Brief Description and Usage of Each Tool

1. Grammarly: This online proofreading tool checks for more than 250 types of grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and even plagiarism. It’s like having your proofreading pal at your fingertips!

2. Google Docs: This popular word processing tool allows you to edit documents online while saving your work in the cloud. It’s fantastic for collaborative work and has built-in tools to help with proofreading.

3. Microsoft Word: This traditional word processing software has robust proofreading tools, including a spell check, grammar check, and style suggestions.

4. Polished Paper: This editing and proofreading service is excellent for proofreaders who want a second set of eyes on their work. Submit your document, and it will be returned with suggestions and corrections.

5. Hemingway App: This online tool helps make your writing clear and concise, highlighting complex sentences, passive voice, and excessive adverbs. It’s like having a writing coach guiding you to keep your text sharp and clean.

6. A Style Guide: Whether it’s the AP Stylebook, the Chicago Manual of Style, or another trusted guide, this is essential for keeping your work consistent and professional.

Remember, these tools are there to assist you, but they’re no substitute for a skilled proofreader. Keep refining your proofreading skills, and these tools will become even more effective.

start a proofreading side business

Showcasing Your Proofreading Skills: Building a Portfolio for Proofreading Jobs

Imagine walking into an interview without a resume. That’s what applying for online proofreading jobs without a portfolio feels like. Let’s discuss why a strong portfolio is important and how to build one.

Importance of a Strong Portfolio for Getting Proofreading Jobs for Beginners

Your portfolio is your proof of work. It shows potential clients your proofreading skills in action and provides concrete examples of your experience. It can help you stand out from other proofreaders and land those coveted proofreading jobs for beginners.

Steps to Create an Effective Proofreading Portfolio

1. Collect Your Best Work: Start by selecting a variety of pieces that showcase your ability to proofread different types of content.

2. Ask Permission: If the work you’ve proofread isn’t your own, be sure to ask for permission before including it in your portfolio.

3. Provide a Before and After: If possible, show the text before and after your proofreading. This can visually demonstrate the value of your work.

4. Create a Digital Portfolio: Use a platform like LinkedIn, Contently, or even your website to showcase your portfolio. Remember to include relevant keywords like “online proofreader” and “freelance proofreading services” to help potential clients find you.

5. Keep It Updated: As you gain more experience and work on varied projects, keep adding to your portfolio.

6. Promote Your Portfolio: Share your portfolio on your social media profiles, your website, and any job applications.

Remember, building a portfolio takes time. Start small, and as you continue your proofreading career, your portfolio will grow and evolve with you.

start a proofreading side business

The Proofreading Proficiency: Skills Required for Proofreading

So, you’re probably wondering, “Do I need special skills to make money proofreading?” The answer is, “Yes, you absolutely do!” But fret not, they are skills you can learn and hone with time. Let’s delve into what these skills are and how you can acquire them.

Do I Need Special Skills To Make Money Proofreading?

While proofreading may appear to be simply checking for spelling errors and punctuation mishaps, it requires a meticulous eye, an understanding of language nuances, and strong concentration skills. The good news? You can learn and perfect these proofreading skills with practice and the right resources. So, if you’re interested in the world of online proofreading jobs, it’s time to upskill!

Necessary Skills and How to Acquire Them

1. Keen Eye for Detail: Proofreading involves catching tiny errors that could have a big impact on the readability and credibility of a document. Cultivate this skill by reading widely and observing how sentences are constructed, and pay attention to the small details.

2. Excellent Grammar and Language Skills: Being an expert in language usage is crucial. You can enhance your language skills by reading grammar books, using language editing apps, or even taking an online proofreading course.

3. Familiarity with Style Guides: Different industries and companies adhere to different style guides. Being familiar with popular ones like the AP Stylebook or the Chicago Manual of Style will help you provide top-notch editing and proofreading services.

4. Patience and Concentration: Proofreading requires going through text with a fine-tooth comb. Cultivating patience and the ability to concentrate for extended periods is key.

5. Time Management: As a freelance proofreader, you’ll likely be juggling multiple proofreading assignments. Good time management will help you keep on top of all your tasks and meet deadlines.

6. Computer Skills: Being comfortable with word processing software such as Google Docs or Microsoft Word, and proofreading tools is vital in this digital age.

7. Interpersonal Skills: Finally, you’ll often be communicating with clients, so being polite, professional, and clear in your communication is important.

To acquire these skills, consider enrolling in a proofreading course. Sites like Coursera and Udemy offer a plethora of courses designed to help you learn and enhance your proofreading skills. Joining proofreading forums and learning from more experienced proofreaders can also give you valuable insights and practical advice.

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Developing your skills takes time and patience. With consistent effort, you’ll soon find your groove and start making money proofreading. Your proofreading career awaits!

start a proofreading side business

The Earnings Equation: How Much Money Do Online Proofreaders Make?

With the hustle-bustle of life, an extra source of income can bring a sigh of relief. This might have you pondering, “How much money do online proofreaders make?” Let’s break down the dollars and cents in the world of proofreading.

How Much Money Do Online Proofreaders Make?

Earnings in the proofreading world can vary widely. According to Glassdoor, as of 2023, freelance proofreaders in the United States can earn anywhere between $30,000 to $60,000 per year. This figure can go higher if you specialize in a specific field like legal or academic writing proofreading. It’s worth mentioning that the top freelance proofreaders, those who have carved out a niche and built a strong reputation, can earn a six-figure income.

Now, keep in mind these figures are just averages, and individual earnings can fluctuate based on a number of factors. Let’s explore what they are.

Factors Affecting the Earnings of an Online Proofreader

1. Experience: As with many jobs, the more experienced proofreaders generally earn more than beginners. Over time, as you build your skills and reputation, you can increase your rates.

2. Specialization: Proofreaders who specialize in certain fields like legal or medical documents often charge more for their specialized knowledge and skills.

3. Volume of Work: How much you earn also depends on how many proofreading jobs you take on. The more projects you complete, the more money you’ll make.

4. Speed: How quickly you can proofread a document without compromising quality also impacts your earnings. The faster you can work, the more jobs you can take on.

5. Geographical Location: Your location can also affect your earnings. For instance, proofreaders in cities with a higher cost of living may charge more than those in areas where the cost of living is lower.

Remember, building a profitable proofreading career takes time. You might not make a lot of money when you first start out. But don’t get discouraged! Keep honing your proofreading skills, look for proofreading jobs online for beginners, and gradually raise your rates as you gain experience and confidence.

Making money proofreading online is more than possible—it’s a fantastic opportunity that offers flexibility and the chance to grow professionally. It’s time to polish those proofreading skills and start earning!

start a proofreading side business

Wrapping it Up: Proofreading Your Way to Extra Income

So, there we have it – your complete guide to getting your own online proofreading jobs. We’ve covered everything from the pros and cons of online proofreading jobs to the must-have tools for proofreading jobs and how to build an effective portfolio. We’ve also discussed the important skills you need to make money proofreading and took a deep dive into how much online proofreaders make.

Embarking on a proofreading career might seem daunting at first. You’ll have questions: Where do I find online proofreading jobs for beginners? Do I have the right proofreading skills? Can I really start my own proofreading business? But don’t let those uncertainties stop you. Remember, every expert was once a beginner.

A Word of Encouragement for Future Freelance Proofreaders

Proofreading might be the perfect way for you to flex your grammatical prowess and make money online. It’s a world teeming with opportunities, whether you’re looking to make a few extra bucks on the side or aiming to launch a full-time career.

Like any other job, freelance proofreading comes with its share of challenges. But, as the saying goes, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” As you navigate the world of proofreading, remember to stay patient, keep learning, and above all, don’t lose sight of your goal.

I hope this guide inspires you to take that first step into the world of proofreading. And who knows? With a bit of grit and grammar, your online proofreading jobs could turn into a booming online proofreading business! As you embark on this exciting journey, remember to enjoy the process, learn from every proofreading job, and celebrate each victory along the way.

Ready to join the ranks of successful online proofreaders? Go ahead and make that first move. And don’t forget to share your experiences as you venture into the world of freelance proofreading. I can’t wait to hear about your journey!


How do I become a paid proofreader?

To become a paid proofreader, you’ll first need to develop your skills in grammar, punctuation, and attention to detail. This can be achieved through a combination of self-study, online courses, and practice.

Once you’re confident in your proofreading abilities, you can start looking for legitimate proofreading jobs online on various online platforms like UpWork, Freelancer, or specific proofreading sites like ProofreadingPal. Building a solid portfolio of your proofreading assignments is key to attracting more clients and increasing your income.

How much do people get paid to proofread?

The amount you can earn as a proofreader can vary widely based on several factors, including your level of experience, the complexity of the work, and the turnaround time. On average, freelance proofreaders can expect to make anywhere from $15 to $50 per hour.

Is proofreading a good side hustle?

Absolutely! Proofreading is a flexible, scalable, and potentially lucrative side hustle. It allows you to work from anywhere, choose your own hours, and select the types of documents you want to proofread.

start a proofreading side business

Can you be an editor as a side hustle?

Yes, you can certainly be an editor as a side hustle. Similar to proofreading, editing allows for flexibility and the ability to work from anywhere. It can also be more lucrative than proofreading, depending on your experience and the types of documents you’re editing.

What qualifications do I need to be a proofreader?

While there are no strict qualifications required to be a proofreader, having a strong command of the language you’re proofreading in is essential. Other desirable skills include attention to detail, excellent reading comprehension, and knowledge of style guides. Taking a proofreading course can also be helpful in honing these skills.

Do you need certification to be a proofreader?

While not necessary, obtaining a proofreading certification can enhance your credibility and increase your job prospects. There are several online courses and certifications available that can help you improve your skills and demonstrate your competence to potential clients.

Are proofreaders in demand?

Yes, proofreaders are in demand. With the proliferation of online content, businesses, bloggers, and writers all need someone to ensure their work is error-free and polished. The demand is especially high for proofreaders who specialize in particular fields, such as legal or medical proofreading.

Is proofreading a good side job?

Proofreading can be an excellent side job for those who enjoy reading and have a knack for spotting errors. It offers the flexibility to work when and where you want, and the income potential can be quite attractive, especially as you find proofreading jobs that offer you more experience and expertise.

How much can I get paid to proofread?

Payment for proofreading jobs online varies widely depending on your level of experience, the complexity of the document, and the timeframe for completion. On average, freelance proofreaders can expect to earn between $15 and $50 per hour.

Do you need qualifications to be a proofreader?

While a specific degree or certification isn’t required to become a proofreader, having a strong grasp of language, grammar, and punctuation is crucial. Additionally, some specialized fields may require subject-matter knowledge. Many proofreaders find it beneficial to take proofreading courses or workshops to enhance their skills.

How do I get hired as a proofreader?

You can get hired as a proofreader by creating a strong portfolio showcasing your proofreading skills. Find proofreading jobs by applying to job postings on freelancing websites and job boards. It can also be helpful to network with other proofreaders and potential clients.

Is proofreading good money?

Yes, proofreading can be good money, particularly as you gain more experience and become more efficient. Experienced proofreaders can earn anywhere from $15 to $50 per hour, making it a potentially lucrative side hustle or even full-time job.

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