This content may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. However, I only recommend products or services that I genuinely like and trust.
As a graduate of Proofread Anywhere’s General Proofreading course, I often receive emails from aspiring proofreaders wanting to know more about the course and its creator, Caitlin Pyle.
I’ve already written a review of the General Proofreading course, but I thought it would be a good idea for me to interview Caitlin personally to try to answer some of the questions I get asked.
I think one of the best ways to decide if a course is the right fit for you is to get to know the course creator. It’s a good way to verify if the course is legit and not a scam.
So without further ado, here’s my interview with Caitlin Pyle.
1. Hi, Caitlin! Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into proofreading?
I’ve been proofreading since I was in college — seems like forever ago now! I studied abroad for a semester in Germany, and while I was there, I helped other students by proofreading their theses and other essays. I loved using my natural word nerd skills to help other people!
After college, I got a job working as a receptionist for a court reporting agency, earning $12/hour. As time went on, I started proofreading court transcripts for this agency. Eventually, I was brutally fired from that job for working on my own things during company time. They were right to fire me, but it was a HUGE shock at the time. Now though I’m happy it happened because I wouldn’t have started Proofread Anywhere if it hadn’t.
After this, I studied to be a personal trainer, but I kept proofreading for court reporters on the side. It just didn’t occur to me that I could make a full-time income from proofreading — until I started earning more from proofreading than I was from personal training. I decided to make proofreading my full-time gig.
People I knew kept asking me how I was making money proofreading, so I started ProofreadAnywhere.com in 2014 to share my knowledge. Now I get to help others start and grow their freelance proofreading businesses!
2. What do proofreaders do and how is it different from editing?
Proofreaders should be the final eyes on a project — not the first or even the second. A proofreader is looking for items that have been missed in previous editorial passes. They check written content for typos, double words (“the the “if if,” etc.), transposed words, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and formatting issues.
They do not rewrite sentences. That’s a copyeditor’s job. A copyeditor checks for correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar, but they also rewrite, reword, and rearrange content. They can’t focus on copyediting AND proofreading simultaneously, so having both a copyeditor and a proofreader is important.
3. What kind of skills/tools does a good proofreader need?
Eagle eyes! A proofreader needs to have insanely good attention to detail and actually enjoy looking for errors. If you tend to skim as you read or the little details aren’t important to you, then proofreading is probably not the work-at-home job for you.
It’s important to have some natural ability for spotting errors in writing. You can improve your skills through training, but if you don’t have some natural ability, you may struggle with the work.
You must have great communication skills and the ability to meet deadlines. Proofreading is a business, so you must be professional.
In terms of tools, you’ll need a laptop, proofreading software like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, internet access, and reference books for proofreaders.
4. Is there a demand for proofreaders?
Definitely! Thanks to the rise in self-publishing, the number of books being published every year has skyrocketed. Not to mention the number of blog posts that are published every single second. Anyone who publishes content needs to hire a proofreader.
Yes, there are lots of proofreaders already working, but not all of them are doing a good job. Many people out there think that being good at English in school qualifies them as an excellent proofreader. It’s not a simple as that. You have no idea how much language changes over time and how many bad habits you pick up over the years.
The best way to ensure you can do a good job is to invest in some training. This way, you get lots of practice and get to hone your eagle eyes without risking your reputation. If you commit to honing your skills and providing the highest quality service you can, you’ll have no trouble getting repeat clients.
5. What kind of training is required to be a successful proofreader?
Technically, there’s no official certification for proofreaders in the United States. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get any training though!
Not surprisingly, people who hire proofreaders expect a high standard of work from them. Mistakes aren’t forgiven as easily as they would be in other industries. That’s why it’s so important to invest in training to make sure your skills are up to scratch.
6. Tell us a bit about your General Proofreading: Theory and Practice course.
Certainly! The General Proofreading: Theory and Practice course includes
- 40+ lessons in 8 modules, including 10 grammar and punctuation worksheets
- 40 practice essays so you can test your skills
- a detailed marketing module that will show you how to set up your website, how to set your rates, and how to get clients
The course is available at two levels — Ignite and Ignite Plus.
With Ignite, you get lifetime access to the course.
With Ignite Plus, you get lifetime access to the course as well as the opportunity to take a hand-graded exam to verify your skills. If you pass the exam, you get
- access to an exclusive marketing mastermind group for graduates,
- a certificate of completion that you can display on your website, and
- a listing on Self-Publishing School’s Preferred Outsourcer Rolodex.
The course material was designed to not only show you how to proofread properly but also how to set up your business and how to market your business to find clients.
7. How long does it take to get your first client after completing the course?
This is completely dependant on you. Work isn’t going to just fall into your lap. You need to proactively market your business to get clients. I know how overwhelming marketing can feel when you’re starting a new business though, so I cover exactly how to get clients in my General Proofreading course.
If you take the Ignite Plus option and pass the exam, you also get added to a Marketing Mastermind Facebook group, where you can trade ideas with fellow graduates. I love the community we’ve built up there!
8. How much money do online proofreaders earn?
Don’t shoot me for saying this, but… it depends! It depends on your skill level, your speed, and the rate you set. You can increase your rate over time by improving your knowledge and becoming more efficient in your process.
You’re not going to get rich quickly, but you can earn a very comfortable living. To give you an idea of what it’s possible to earn, I earned $43,000 a year as a proofreader — and that was from working part-time hours. I usually worked between 20–25 hours a week.
Note from Catherine: According to ZipRecruiter, a proofreader in the United States can earn an average of $58,737 per year or $28/hour (as at September 21, 2019).
9. Can I work from home as a proofreader?
Yes! Proofreading is the perfect work-at-home job. It’s an extremely flexible job, so you can do it as a full-time job or a side hustle. You can set your schedule around your other priorities like family, pets, and hobbies. No more strict 9–5 schedule if that’s not what you want.
10. What are the challenges that aspiring proofreaders typically face?
Fear and self-doubt. It’s totally understandable not to feel confident when you’re starting something new, but the best way to build confidence is to practice. Practice makes progress! Honing your skills as a proofreader by taking a course, working through all the modules, seeing what grammar and punctuation rules you’re a bit rusty on, and working to improve your knowledge of those rules will boost your confidence.
11. What advice would you give to those who are just getting started?
Stick with it! Sometimes things take longer than you think they will. A course is harder than you thought. You don’t find your first client immediately after starting your business. These things take time, but please, please don’t give up! Persevere! Keep taking small steps every day for your business, and eventually, those steps will lead to lasting success.
Caitlin, thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions for me! In my opinion as a former student, Proofread Anywhere is legit. I loved taking the General Proofreading course and happily recommend it to anyone who wants to earn money from home as a proofreader.
If this interview piqued your interest in proofreading from home, check out Caitlin’s free workshop to see if it’s the right fit for you.
FREE Ultimate Guide to Starting a Freelance Proofreading Business
Learn exactly what you need to do to set up a proofreading business
Subscribe to my newsletter to receive regular updates and get access to the free guide.