How to Become a Proofreader Online: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners


Do you have an eye for spotting typos and an irresistible urge to fix them? If so, this ultimate guide to becoming a freelance proofreader online will show you how to earn extra money from home with your proofreading skills.

Can You Really Earn Money Proofreading Online?

I wondered the same thing a couple of years ago when I started my freelance editing and proofreading business called Keep Calm Write On.

Freelance proofreading and editing were some of the first ways I earned money after leaving my job in education to become a stay-at-home mom.

Since starting Keep Calm Write On, so many people have asked about how to become a proofreader. So I gathered all the resources you need to start freelance proofreading online.

The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Proofreader

First, let’s get clear about a few key concepts:

  • What is a proofreader vs an editor
  • How to know if you’d be a good proofreader
  • How to become a freelance proofreader with loads of clients
  • The tools you need to start proofreading

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Please check out my full disclosure for more info.

Step 1. What Does A Proofreader Do?

A proofreader checks documents for typos, misspellings, inconsistencies, and grammar mistakes. Proofreaders will take content that is already written and give it the final check to fix mistakes so it is error-free upon publication.

Proofreaders can earn money to review anything that has written content, such as:

  • novels
  • textbooks
  • children’s books
  • online or university course content
  • website pages
  • blog posts
  • presentations and slides
  • newspapers
  • magazines
  • pamphlets
  • legal documents
  • transcripts
  • court reports
  • podcast notes
  • resumes
  • scholarship essays

Step 2. The Difference Between An Editor vs. Proofreader

The average person confuses an editor and a proofreader, using them interchangeably. In reality, they are different. When it comes to publishing a book, there are several different levels of editing that happen before a proofreader looks at a book.

Editor: While I won’t go into all the nitty-gritty of the different types of editing, the important thing to know is that editors handle the big-picture and overall flow. They reorganize chapters, delete paragraphs, and change the wording to improve how sentences flow and sound.

Proofreaders: The final polish is done by proofreaders. They are the last people to look at something to fix typos, punctuation mistakes, and grammar errors that slipped through the cracks before something is published.

Step 3. How Much Money Does A Proofreader Earn Per Hour?

Below are the survey results from the freelance proofreaders I interviewed about how much they typically earn per hour.

how much does a proofreader make per hour survey results

The amount of money a proofreader makes varies. From my experience and interviews with other freelance proofreaders, you can expect to make between $25-$44 per hour as a proofreader.

  • Many book proofreaders charge $.02 per word
  • Charging $25-$45 per hour is common
  • Freelance proofreaders can increase rates after gaining more experience

If you choose a proofreading niche like proofreading court transcripts, you can earn more per hour.

Step 4. What Are The Necessary Skills To Become A Proofreader?

While grammar and business skills can be taught, there are some things you need naturally in order to become a proofreader. The most important proofreading skills are:

  • In-depth knowledge of the English language
  • Excellent written and oral communication
  • Meticulous
  • Meet deadlines
  • Familiar with Microsoft Word

So if you have all of those skills, becoming a freelance proofreader might be perfect for you.

Step 5. What Are The Pros of Freelance Proofreading?

When I was desperate to become a stay-at-home mom but needed to make money for my family too, freelance editing, writing, and virtual assistance was the answer to my prayers. There are many perks of freelancing you don’t get with a traditional job.

If you learn how to become a proofreader, you will enjoy more:

  • FREEDOM – to be home with your kids, leave your 9-to-5 job, and work with who you want, when you want, where you want
  • FLEXIBILITY – to work when it fits best in your schedule
  • FINANCIAL SECURITY – side hustles can help you to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck, get rid of debt, take family vacations, and have extra fun money

Plus, proofreading is something you naturally do for free anyway. Why not get paid for those incredible eagle eyes you were blessed with?

Note: If you find a typo in this post (or any post) please send me an email at Val [at] TheCommonCentsClub [dot] com. Proofing your own work is the hardest!

Step 6. What Are The Cons of Freelance Proofreading?

Although freelancing, being your own boss, and making money from home are truly awesome, the downsides are:

  • RECURRING CLIENTS Finding retainer clients can be challenging as a proofreader unless you find someone who has recurring work for you each month. My Free Resource Library has 8 Proven Ways to Find Clients Happy to Pay You. Sign up to access it at the end of the post.
  • INCOME CAP – There seems to be a cap on the hourly rate people are willing to pay for proofreading. It’s hard to earn more than $50 an hour proofreading alone, so you may need to add additional services like blog, copy, or ghostwriting to earn more per hour.

The more experienced you become in your craft and the more efficiently you work, the higher your income will be.

Step 7. How Do You Find Freelance Proofreading Jobs?

If you’ve decided you’re ready to make money as a proofreader, you are probably wondering where you find proofreading jobs?

FlexJobs is one of the best places I’ve found to find proofreading jobs online.

When I searched “proofread” there were 456 job results. There was a mix of remote and local, freelance and employee, part-time, full-time, and temporary jobs. So there’s a great chance you’ll find exactly the type of proofreading job you’re looking for on FlexJobs.

FlexJobs is great because:

  1. LEGITIMATE JOBS – They screen the job listings to make sure they are legitimate.
  2. EASY TO USE – You can find exactly what you’re looking for fast (e.g., 100% remote, flexible schedule, part-time).
  3. SUPPORT – Real, friendly people on the customer service team.
  4. SATISFACTION GUARANTEE – Get a refund within 30 days if you are unhappy with the service.

The downside of FlexJobs is the investment of $14.95 per month to access these superior services to find work-from-home jobs.

Limited Time Promotion! 50% Off If You Use Promo Code: JOBS

It’s likely you will earn your money back when you land your first job. Remember, it’s risk-free to join too because of their money-back guarantee and ability to cancel anytime.

More Proofreading Job Listings and Guides

You’ll definitely want to check out the ultimate guide to finding freelance editing jobs to learn more about creative places to find freelance jobs.

Further, here are more online proofreading job listings:

  • Indeed has job listings for proofreaders here
  • Upwork has freelance proofreading jobs here
  • Utilize LinkedIn to find proofreading jobs here
  • Scribendi hires editors and proofreaders here

You can also network with anyone who would need proofreaders, such as bloggers, authors, and business owners who create important documents like tax documents, court reports, and product manuals.

Step 8. Get Training To Learn How To Become A Proofreader

Extra training to become a proofreader is optional and depends on your background knowledge.

You used to need an expensive 4-year degree in English or Journalism to work as an editor or proofreader. But many people don’t know that becoming a proofreader no longer requires such a heavy time or financial investment.

All you really need to become a proofreader with no prior experience is:

  • 1-2 months to get the proofreading training online
  • Less than $600 for all the training you need

How so?

Invest in a legitimate Online Proofreading Course to learn how to make money proofreading from home.

Free Proofreading Workshop

If you’ve made it this far and you’re looking for more information, don’t miss this free video training right now about how to start a proofreading side hustle online.

Step 9. Enroll in a Comprehensive Proofreading Course: General Proofreading: Theory and Practice

Many new proofreaders want to refresh their skills and boost their confidence before putting themselves out there as a freelance proofreader.

The most popular and comprehensive course to learn how to become a proofreader from home is General Proofreading: Theory and Practice by Caitlyn Pyle.

The General Proofreading course is packed with valuable information that will:

  • boost your proofreading skills so you can proof confidently
  • teach you all about finding clients and running a freelance business

Here’s a sneak peek inside the course:

proofread anywhere general proofreading course sneak peek

What’s Included in the Proofread Anywhere Course

In over 40 lessons, you will learn:

  • the essential grammar skills you need and practice tests to make sure you have it down
  • proofreading niches and how to grow your income the fastest
  • how to research grammar questions you’re not sure about
  • how to set your rates
  • the tax stuff you need to know as a freelance proofreader
  • where to find your first clients
  • how to bill clients
  • how to pitch clients and write proposals
  • how to set up a website to advertise your proofreading services
  • and how to be flexible and work with client’s preferences

Then for a final stamp of approval, if you go with the Ignite Plus version of the General Proofreading course, you’ll get to prove your worthiness to become a certified proofreader with a final exam.

The exam is hand-graded and you need to score at least 90% to pass. If you invest in yourself to learn the skills that can earn you money proofreading, I highly recommend this extra add-on.

Perhaps the most valuable part is the Facebook Community.

As a student of the best proofreading course online, sometimes called the Proofread Anywhere course, you get exclusive access to a Facebook Community that is only for you and your fellow proofreading students.

Facebook communities are super valuable because they provide:

  • Fast and accurate answers to all of your questions
  • Support and encouragement if you face a challenge
  • Help from those who are just a couple steps ahead of you

The Course Downside

The one downside I have for this course is that it’s text-based. Although those interested in proofreading typically enjoy reading, I am also a visual learner and enjoy video courses.

Ultimately, this proofreading course is the best I’ve found. Hence, it is an excellent value for anyone serious about learning how to make money as a proofreader.

So if you are ready to make extra money working from home as a proofreader, the fastest way to stop thinking about it and actually get started is the General Proofreading course.

Step 10. Smother Your Scarcity Money Mindset

If you’re hesitant about investing in a course or think I’m off-my-rocker for recommending such a thing, I completely, 100% get it.

The first time I saw a price tag of an online course I had sticker shock. The frugal part of me pinched my wallet as tightly as possible.

Fast forward two years, and I drop money on online courses regularly. It’s the only way I’ve built a successful work-at-home mom lifestyle for my family. To make this change in my income, I had to smother my scarcity mindset and switch to a money mindset of abundance.

I realized if I follow the steps that are laid out for me in a course, I will earn my money back within a few months AND have new skills with the ability to keep earning more money for the rest of my life.

You, my friend, are no different.

Step 11. Start Proofreading!

After you get through the workshop and course, you’ll be well on your way to making money on your own schedule as a freelance proofreader. You’ll help others make their writing shine by fixing typo after typo, and proudly returning work to clients even better than it was.

They’ll be grateful for your work, you’ll be happy to help, and your bank account will continue to grow.

Can you see it already?

Bonus: What Tools Can Help You Become a Well-Paid Proofreader?

Below are additional resources that can help you start a successful proofreading side hustle from home:

Proofreading & Editing Tools

Proofreading & Editing Books

Freelance Proofreading & Editing Resources

Now You Know How To Become A Freelance Proofreader

Ultimately, if you have a natural eye for spotting typos and you know how to fix them, you have a valuable skill that people need and will pay for. If you’re confident in your proofreading abilities, then you just need to work on the business side of finding freelance proofreading jobs.

If you need a refresher on grammar rules or you’re not sure exactly how to start the online business part and find clients online, that’s where Caitlin from Proofread Anywhere comes in to fill in the gaps.

The best way to become a proofreader if you need more guidance than this post is to follow Caitlin’s lead. She earned $43,000 her first year proofreading online part-time, and she breaks it down step-by-step, so you can do the same.

The Proofread Anywhere course and training is for you if you want to learn:

  • the most important grammar rules you will run into as a freelance proofreader
  • how to turn your proofreading skill into a legitimate work-from-home business
  • how to make more money and create a flexible freelancer lifestyle

If you’re not ready for her full course yet but want to see if Proofreading is a good fit for you, tap the button below to see if there are still available seats in her FREE video training.

Discover 8 Places to Find People Who Will Hire You as a Proofreader in my Free Resource Library. Sign Up Below.

Find typos all the time? Learn How to Become a Proofreader Online and Work From Home with this Step-by-Step guide to Freelance Proofreading for Beginners.

Val Breit

Val Breit empowers women to create a life they love with simple money hacks and productivity tips. Once buried in debt, stuck in a stressful 9-to-5 job, she hated that money stood in the way of her dream to be a stay-at-home mom. After getting intentional with how she spent her money and time, Val and her husband paid off $60,000 in debt. Now she is blessed to be a work-from-home mom, earning a full-time income online, doing work she loves.

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