Combine a love of reading with an excellent knowledge of grammar and a passion for accuracy, and you have everything required to successfully start a proofreading business.
A website and a set of business cards should be your first step. On your website, list your services, pricing options, qualifications and relevant experience. Be sure to show samples of your best work. Choose those demonstrating that your proof reading expertise has had a significant impact on a document’s final presentation. Post well written testimonials from your best clients.
Building up clientele
Start in the obvious place – with your friends and colleagues. In the online world, establish a presence on forums and, during discussions, mention your passion for proof reading without appearing ‘spammy’.
Pinning up a few fliers on notice boards where people are in the business of writing, such as universities and colleges, is a great idea. Another is attending writers’ group meetings in your area and handing out your cards. If you have some money to invest, consider advertising on websites that interest writers.
Getting the price right
At first, you may have to offer your services for lower rates than those of your competitors. However, as you develop a client base and your business begins to grow, you can increase prices.
Be careful to advertise your prices as a guide, as this will allow you to determine a final quote according to the hours required to complete a job. After all, ten pages written by a competent writer will be much quicker to proofread than a poorly written page by a non-native English speaker.
Adjust your price according to the time needed to turn the document around. Take into account stress levels, too. If a student needs an essay edited in 24 hours to make the deadline, then charge a higher rate.
When determining the terms of a job, communicate clearly and develop an accurate understanding of your client’s needs. They might be seeking a polished, finished copy of their work or they might prefer comments and corrections written on the original copy.
A great measure of the strength of any proof reading service is its capacity to inspire repeat business. Be diligent in providing high quality output and, as your reputation grows, you’ll soon have more work than you can handle. In turn, this may lead to opportunities for expansion and the possibility of employing a second staff member.