I spent years as an unsuccessful freelancer before switching gears to a full-time editing job. I had a passion for writing and…just about nothing else I needed to run this complicated and competitive business.
A lot of people jump into freelancing just as blindly as I did — I don’t recommend it. While the leap into self-employment is a commendable one, you’ll be in much better shape if you take a little time to learn how to run a business first.
I also recommend expanding your marketable skills beyond just writing. If you love words — and reading! — proofreading is a smart way to bolster your business between writing gigs.
Freelancing and marketing expert Caitlin Pyle created Proofread Anywhere to help anyone get set up for success as a proofreading freelancer. Through this online course, she packages the skills and tools you need to perfect your craft and run your business, so you can enjoy the freelance life without all that floundering at the start.
I’ve been a professional editor for years, and I’m not kidding: Writing this Proofread Anywhere review made me want to start a proofreading business.
Wondering how to become a proofreader?
Pyle started proofreading academic papers while in college and turned it into her main money-maker through court transcript editing in 2012. A couple years later, she shared her secrets about how to become a proofreader through the Proofread Anywhere blog and launched courses to help others start proofreading businesses of their own.
In proofreading, Pyle has tapped into a brilliant, easily overlooked niche for freelance writers and editors. It’s a perfect, simple way for wordy folks with a keen eye to find a steady stream of work that doesn’t sap the creative energy you want to reserve for personal projects. But how many of us have thought to make a career of it? Or know how?
Proofread Anywhere’s most popular course, “General Proofreading: Theory and Practice,” is a lot more than the name suggests. It’ll teach you to spot errors and place commas, sure. But it also teaches you how to start, market and run a successful freelance proofreading business. That, in my opinion, is the course’s greatest appeal.
Who can start a proofreading business?
Proofreading is a solid foundation for any writer or editor launching a freelance business.
If you’re serious about making a living this way, the Proofread Anywhere course is a good fit. You’ll spend some modules learning the vital skills you need to actually proofread (‘hem, anywhere). But as many modules are about how to find jobs and clients, build your business, and survive as a freelancer. Those are skills you can transfer to any freelance work you do; proofreading is just a smart entry point.
The course’s attention to the details of starting a business — right down to doing your taxes and staying focused while working from home — make the normally intimidating leap into running your own business seem seriously do-able.
Proofread Anywhere: Course details
Here’s what I got when I registered for the General Proofreading course.
A series of educational modules
- Proofreading methods and practice
- How to market your skills
- How to find jobs and manage your relationships with clients
- How to (sanely) navigate your new life as a freelancer
Each proofreading lesson comes with a worksheet and answer key so you can practice what you’ve learned. The course also includes a Proofreading Practice section, where you can download tons of essays to put your proofing skills to work. Students can purchase tutoring sessions with a Proofread Anywhere graduate for additional guidance.
Facebook group for support
So you don’t feel alone while you make the transition to business owner — no biggie — the course includes access to an exclusive Facebook group. Join to network with fellow budding proofreaders.
Another workshop and work book “Money Mindset Transformation”
Proofread Anywhere sells this workshop and workbook as a standalone on the site for $97, but you’ll get it included for free with the General Proofreading course. It’s all about easing your adjustment to the freelancing mindset.
Pros and cons
Some people might consider this a drawback, but I love it: Most of the modules are text-only.
We’re word people! I don’t love watching videos online; I like to read, where I can consume content at my own pace, easily review information, search for information, and copy and paste notes.
The course pages are also mobile-friendly, so everything is easy to read anywhere you’d read a book on your phone or tablet — on a commute, during your lunch break, before bed or early mornings. If you prefer audio, you could use a text-to-speech feature to have your device read it aloud while you drive or do housework.
I understand some users might be disappointed by the lack of media in the course. Online courses at this price point generally include mostly video or audio lessons that give you a more classroom-like experience.
I didn’t balk at the price, though, because of the value of what you learn through the course. You’ll quickly earn back the investment once you launch a proofreading business, which I can attest as an experienced freelancer and pro editor, the course truly sets you up to do (and its sparse competition in the learn-to-proofread business does not.)
Plus, video tutorials and visuals are included where they can aid a lesson, such as in sections on how to use Microsoft, Adobe and Google tools to proofread. This course just skips the lectures common to online courses.
I have one picky design complaint: Because the whole thing is text-based, I’d love a “next” button at the bottom of each module, so I could make my way through modules more smoothly. As is, I have to scroll to the top of the page to select the next module.
Note that the grammar and punctuation “rules” you’ll learn through the course are based on “Chicago Manual of Style,” so you’ll be best set up for book proofreading. If you want to take on clients in other genres, such as academia or journalism, familiarize yourself with the industry’s style guide, and be careful to note differences against what you learn through this course.
How much does Proofread Anywhere cost?
The basic “Ignite” level of the course, which includes everything above, costs $497.
The “Ignite Plus” level is $597 and additionally includes access to an exclusive marketing mastermind group and a hand-graded final exam.
Is Proofread Anywhere legit?
I recommend you consider this course if you’re serious about starting a freelance business. If you’re not sure whether proofreading is the right business for you, start with Proofread Anywhere’s free 76-minute workshop to see what the gig’s all about, plus five signs it could be a perfect fit for you.
Bottom line of our Proofread Anywhere review: Proofreading is a smart way to bolster your freelance career, but you need more than your writing skills to do it successfully. Proofread Anywhere’s courses help you hone both your eagle eye and your business acumen to set up shop in an in-demand profession.
The course is a worthwhile investment if you’re ready to strike out on your own in the business of words.
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