Day in the life of a freelance proofreader

A Day in the Life of a Freelance Proofreader

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Do you wish you could work from home, but you’re not sure what kind of job you could do? Are you the kind of person who can spot errors from a mile off? If so, maybe you might be suited to setting up your own proofreading business.

For years I wanted to start a business and work for myself from home. Since I started my proofreading business, I feel like I’m living the dream!

Related Content: The Ultimate Guide to Setting Up a Freelance Proofreading Business

Are you curious about what a proofreader does all day? This post will give you a glimpse into a typical day in the life of a freelance proofreader who works from home.

Morning

8:00 AM – Time to wake up. I’m not an early riser. I prefer to stay up late. So being my own boss definitely suits me. I don’t have to rush to be at an office for a certain time. I always have breakfast in bed, while checking emails and doing Facebook promotion for my latest blog post.

Although I strongly believe in getting properly dressed when you work from home as it gets you into the right frame of mind for working, I also like to ease myself into the day, so I take my time and do a few noncritical tasks while sitting in bed.

Mid-morning

9:00 AM – I get dressed and move to my desk.  I check my planner before I begin to see if there are any deadlines that I need to meet that day or if I’m expecting to receive something from a regular client.

If I’m working on a book-length project, I map out a plan and decide how many words I would like to proofread by lunchtime. Then I roughly follow the Pomodoro technique to keep me focused. The Pomodoro technique involves setting a timer for 25 minutes and focusing on a specific task for this entire time. When the time is up, you take a 5-minute break and then repeat the process as many times as you need.

I do it a little bit differently. I set a timer for one hour. After an hour, I take a 5- or 10-minute break and then repeat the process until it’s time for lunch.

Lunchtime

12:30 PM – Time for lunch. I usually take quite a long lunch break. That’s one of the perks of being self-employed. I can take time during the day to run errands, go for a walk, or just take a break if I need it.

Lunch is usually pretty simple, like soup or a sandwich.

While I eat, I watch YouTube videos or an episode of a TV series.

Some days I need to run errands like go to the library to collect or return books or go to the bank.




Early afternoon

2:30 PM – After lunch, I return to my desk and get back to work.

I will often have smaller ad-hoc jobs that I need to fit in around a book-length project. I like to tackle these in the afternoon unless I have a deadline to meet. Having a variety of different projects to work on keeps me interested in my work.

Sometimes I work from my local library if the construction noises outside my apartment become too loud for me to concentrate or if I just fancy a change of scenery. I recommend investing in some earplugs (these are my favorite brand) or noise-canceling headphones if you find it difficult to concentrate. Proofreading requires absolute concentration so that you don’t skip over errors.

Late afternoon

5:00 PM – A few months ago, I started blogging on my business website to drive more traffic to my site. I try to work on my blog for an hour every day as I see it as a crucial part of my marketing strategy. I batch my tasks so that I avoid being distracted by too many different things. For example, one evening I will focus on writing a blog post, the next evening I will focus on creating the graphics for that post, etc.

6:00 PM – I spend about 30 minutes a day promoting my blog posts on Pinterest. I use a manual pinning strategy that I learned from a course called Pinteresting Strategies. Carly, the course creator, believes that Pinterest rewards people who actually use the site rather than just using schedulers to pin. After implementing the tips in the course, my page views have more than doubled with most of my traffic coming from Pinterest.

6:30 PM – I start preparing dinner. I try to plan our meals for the week at the weekend so that I don’t have to worry about what we’re going to eat every day. Usually, I make extra portions so that I only have to cook from scratch every second day.

We recently got a slow cooker, so I’ve been experimenting with that. I love being able to throw everything into the slow cooker in the morning and just forget about it until it’s dinnertime. And the meat is always so tender and delicious! We really enjoy this BBQ pulled beef recipe.

Evening

7:30 PM – After dinner, I like to just relax and catch up on a few episodes of a TV show like Suits or Grace and Frankie.

8:30 PM – I also like to keep my skills up to date, so I’ll often spend an hour or two studying. At the moment, I’m working on refreshing my grammar knowledge with Grammar Lion.

If you’re interested in becoming a proofreader, I recommend that you look into the Proofread Anywhere General Proofreading: Theory and Practice course. This is an online, self-paced course that you can easily fit around your other commitments. It gives you the opportunity to get lots of proofreading practice and includes a module on marketing and setting up a website. There’s also a graded exam with the Ignite Plus option. Passing this gave me the confidence to set up my business.

Read my review of the General Proofread course here. 

Related Content: Is Proofread Anywhere Legit? Interview with Caitlin Pyle

I keep my phone beside me at all times so that I can respond quickly to any emails from clients or potential clients.

If I need to, I can work any time of day (or night). If a client needs me to do a rush job, I can stay up a bit later to complete it. The fact that I work from home makes it easier to get stuff done whenever and wherever I can.

Update: I used to answer emails immediately at the very beginning of my business, but now that my business is more established, I have strict work hours so I can maintain a good work-life balance.

Nighttime

11:00 PM to Midnight – I start winding down at this time. I might watch a couple of YouTube videos to relax. (Although, I’ve read that you should avoid screens late at night!)

Sometimes I’ll get into bed and read a few chapters of a book. I’m currently reading Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty. I love all her books!

Related Content: 15 Essential Reference Books for Proofreaders

So there you have it, a day in the life of a freelance proofreader. Not every day is the same. Some days I’ll spend more time promoting my services or fixing something on my website if I don’t have any pressing projects to work on. I really love the flexibility and freedom working from home gives me, and it’s a pleasure to do work that I enjoy!

Think you have to be glued to your desk in your home office all day? Think again! You can proofread from anywhere!

Are you a freelancer as well? How do you spend your day?

Curious about what a freelance proofreader does all day? Do they just sit around in their pajamas all day reading books? Here's a typical day in the life of a freelance proofreader.