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How to Become a Freelance Proofreader Online

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Proofreading is such a great way to earn income. 

Pretty much all proofreaders work online. Most are freelancers. Proofreaders have total flexibility as far as when and where they work. They also make a very healthy income. 

Personally, I have done proofreading as a freelance side hustle and found it to be a very enjoyable way to work. 

This is such a great freelance career, you may wonder why would anyone not want to know how to become a proofreader online?

Well, like anything, proofreading is not for everyone. You need the right skills and characteristics to enjoy it and be good at it. You also really need to know what you’re doing. If after you read this post, you decide that proofreading is a good fit for you, that is great. You’re going to really like it.  

Now I’ll share what I know about proofreading so you can learn how to become a freelance proofreader online.

Woman on iPad learning how to become a proofreading online

Proofreading definition:

Proofreading means carefully looking for and correcting errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation and sometimes formatting in written or digital documents.

What exactly do proofreaders proofread?

Proofreaders can be hired to proofread almost anything, including:

  • books
  • ebooks
  • research papers
  • court transcripts
  • website content
  • business letters
  • contracts
  • magazines

+ many more types of print and digital documents.

How much do proofreaders make?

Most proofreaders who proofread online are paid by the hour. Here are the average income for proofreaders in five different countries, according to PayScale.

The United States – 19.47 U.S. dollars an hour (49,736 a year)

Australia – 28.51 Australian dollars an hour (60K a year)

United Kingdom – 19.44 British pounds an hour (22,854K a year)

Canada – 20 Canadian dollars an hour (49,977 a year)

India – 391.49 Rupees an hour (357K a year)

Philippines -146.98 Philippine pesos an hour (271K a year)

What types of proofreading are there?

There are several different types of proofreading.

  • general proofreading
  • court transcript proofreading
  • academic proofreading
  • business proofreading
  • print media proofreading
  • bilingual proofreading

What qualifications do you need to be a proofreader?

This is a very good question. Proofreaders need certain innate qualities as well as certain acquired skills.

While you definitely need to have certain skills to be a freelance proofreader online, you don’t necessarily need to have the innate qualities. Having them does help, though.

Innate qualities that proofreaders possess are:

  • a love of reading
  • a love of words
  • skill at error spotting
  • being detail oriented

Acquired skills that proofreaders possess are:

  • excellent spelling, grammar and punctuation
  • native or complete fluency of the language you are proofreading
  • familiarity with certain jargon such as medical, legal or engineering jargon

Related reading: 10 proofreading tips

What can I find good proofreading courses?

You definitely should know how to proofread on a professional level before you start offering your services as a freelance proofreader. Fortunately, there are many proofreading courses out there such as those on SkillShare and Udemy. Most of these offer general proofreading training.

The most comprehensive proofreading courses, taken by thousands of successful proofreaders, are the Proofread Anywhere online courses. They offer two different types of proofreading courses: a general proofreading course, and a court transcript proofreading course.

The right training can set you on the path to have as much proofreading online work as you want or need. You’ll also be able to set your rates to match your high level of skill. So be careful in what course or courses you choose.

How can I find proofreading online jobs?

Maybe you want to earn money proofreading from home. Maybe you want to travel the world and earn money while you’re traveling. Maybe you want to move to another country and earn money proofreading from there. When you’re a freelance proofreader  you’ll be working on the internet, so you can work anywhere you want.

One way to find proofreading online jobs is by talking to people you know. If you personally know anyone who uses proofreaders – or could use a proofreader- contact them and offer your services.

A few of the professionals who hire proofreaders are:

  • Writers
  • Bloggers
  • Court Reporters

There are also lots of places online where you can find general proofreading jobs, including business and academic proofreading. A few places where you can find general proofreading jobs are:

Court transcript proofreaders find their clients in different ways than general proofreaders. To find court transcript proofreading jobs you would reach out directly to court reporters and offer to proofread their transcripts. You can find court reporters by contacting:

  • court reporting firms
  • courthouses
  • state court reporting associations

Conclusion of How to Become a Proofreader Online     Pinterest image for how to become a proofreader online

Freelance proofreading online is an awesome way to work for yourself full time or part time if you have the right qualities and skills. Are you reading to learn more? You’ll get a good idea of what the Proofread Anywhere general proofreading and court transcript proofreading courses are signing up for their free workshop here.



(This updated post was originally published on July 30, 2020.)

Cover image by PourquoiPas

Sabina Lohr is a lifelong freelancer turned entrepreneur who created World of Freelancers to help others discover how to work for themselves online and live the freelance lifestyle. She’s always really enjoyed the freedom that freelancing brings, including several years on and off of working online while traveling and living abroad.

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