How I Make up to an extra $2,800 a Month with my Proofreading Side Hustle + How You Can Too

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by Tiffany Walking Eagle | 7-minute read

This post may contain affiliate links. Read disclosure here.

I've always been a giant word nerd, and things like spelling and punctuation come naturally to me. I was the resident proofreader in college for my friends and roommates, and I loved it. It wasn't until 2016 that I realized my knack for catching errors could earn money.

Enter Proofread Anywhere, a website founded by Caitlin Pyle to offer courses and resources that teach people seeking things like location independence, flexibility, and financial freedom how to make their desires a reality.

PA offers two types of proofreading courses: General Proofreading: Theory and Practice™ and Transcript Proofreading: Theory and Practice™. Below, I'll give you some information about proofreading, highlight different aspects of each course, and help you decipher if you could turn proofreading into a lucrative side hustle or full-time career!

Click here to visit their website and learn more.

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How I Discovered Proofreading

I came across Caitlin’s story on The Penny Hoarder, and I was fascinated. After being fired from her previous job, she built her own proofreading business, and she made a full-time salary working part-time hours from home with no boss, no 9:00 to 5:00, and zero commute. She was making between $2,400 to $4,000 a month working an average of 20 to 25 hours per week! Now as the founder of Proofread Anywhere, she teaches others to do the same with her proofreading courses.

The thought of ditching my boss and daily commute sounded like heaven, and Caitlin’s story inspired me to give it a try. I decided to dive right in, take her proofreading course, and start my journey toward work-from-home freedom.

Now, on to the courses!

General Proofreading: Theory and Practice (GPTP)

  • Teaches you how to build a business proofreading books, blog posts, and more

  • Easier to learn than transcript proofreading

  • Less technical than transcript proofreading

The course includes:

  • Over 40 lessons in 8 modules

  • 8 grammar-specific worksheets

  • Bonus resource guides for all types of service-provider markets

  • 40+ real-life example jobs

  • Listing in the Self-Publishing School (SPS) Preferred Outsourcer Rolodex

  • Membership in a separate marketing mastermind group specifically for PA General Proofreaders with verified skills

Transcript Proofreading: Theory and Practice (TPTP)

  • Teaches the ins-and-outs of the technical, niche world of proofreading transcripts for court reporters

  • May be easier to get repeat clients

  • Potentially higher earnings

    The course includes:

  • 9 modules comprised of a total of 60 units

  • Quizzes, worksheets, and practice transcripts

  • Written material and instructional videos

  • Membership into an incredibly supportive Facebook community for proofreaders

One thing I'd like to note about transcript proofreading is that court reporters often have specific preferences when it comes to punctuation. Some people have no problem being flexible enough to accommodate their clients' stylistic preferences, but if you thrive sticking to the rules, general proofreading may be a better option for you.

Who these courses are for:

  • People with a meticulous eye for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors

    Are you that person correcting everyone else’s papers, emails, and Facebook posts? Do you roll your eyes when you see errors on signs or websites? Then you, my friend, may have what Caitlin calls eagle eyes, and proofreading could be a great way for you to make money.

  • Self-starters

    Any business owner needs to be able to self-manage and be disciplined in their work, since no one else will be looking over your shoulder or pressing you to get your work done.

  • Those who can stick to deadlines

    The courses are self-paced so you can take as long as you want, but you’ll be working under deadlines as a proofreader.

  • People who want to work for themselves

    If you’re sick of your commute or tired of slaving under a boss, proofreading can be a great business to start. These courses give you all the tools you need to learn how to build a lucrative proofreading hustle, as well as help with your mindset and marketing.

  • Stay-at-home moms, students, wannabe digital nomads…and the list goes on!

    You can proofread literally anywhere with internet. I proofread from my iPad mini 2 as well as my laptop, and I’ve worked from coffee shops, beaches, lobbies, my bed, my couch, and basically anywhere else I want. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, a frequent traveler, or someone looking to make extra money during your lunch break, proofreading is a flexible, lucrative career option that can give you the location and time freedom you crave.

Who they aren’t for:

  • Those who don’t easily spot grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors

    Unfortunately, a knack for catching errors comes naturally and can’t really be taught, so if you have trouble spotting errors, proofreading won’t work for you. But don’t worry! There are plenty of other work-from-home jobs and businesses to choose from; check out some other ideas here.

  • People who need to be managed

    The course is self-paced, so no one will be pushing you to do the work and get it done. Proofreading is the same way, so if you thrive the most under managers and bosses, this might not be for you.

  • People who expect the work to be done for them simply because they pay for a course

    Just like paying for a degree doesn’t guarantee you’ll find work once you graduate, taking a course doesn’t guarantee your success. You have to work to develop your skills, learn the rules and ropes, and proactively market yourself once you graduate. I want to be very up front about the fact that PA does not have a return policy.

Major Pros

  • Lifetime Membership

    Lifetime membership is included in the price of the course. There are no monthly or annual fees, and you can log back in to the course whenever you need a refresher.

  • New Content is Added Frequently

    The courses are frequently updated with valuable content, and you’ll have unfettered access to any and all new content.

  • Marketing Tools

    Plenty of marketing tools are provided, so you aren’t just left to fend for yourself once you graduate. The courses teach valuable marketing tools and methods to help you build your business.

  • Practice

    Tons of practice materials are included such as worksheets, example jobs, and transcripts.

Potential Cons

  • Cost

    These courses are not cheap, and the cost may be intimidating to some. However, when compared to college tuition, the cost is just a small fraction of what a typical semester of college-level education would be, and you’ll acquire skills you can use for a lifetime. If you are consistent and dedicated with your marketing after you finish the course, you can make back your money fast.

What I Love About Proofreading

I cherish being able to work from my bed or the beach if I want to. Just recently, I was able to spend over a month on the east coast visiting a relative in the hospital and helping family out in North Carolina deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. I would have never been able to just up and leave if I had a regular job. I just took my work with me and still had time to visit family due to the flexibility of my work.

How to Find Out If Proofreading is for You

I highly recommend taking the free workshop if you’re interested in GPTP and/or the 7-day proofreading mini course if you’re interested in TPTP. They were created to help potential students determine if proofreading is the right career for them.

Why I Really Started a Proofreading Business

Recently, I was having a profound conversation with a relative (a successful entrepreneur and business owner) about owning a business, and they made a comment that will always stick with me: “You can climb the corporate ladder like a lot of people, and you can certainly achieve success that way. Or, you can build a business and make your own ladder, and it may be a small ladder, but it’s your ladder.”

That’s why I got into proofreading, and that’s why I took this course. I didn’t want to be stuck working for someone else my entire life; I wanted to build a business that was mine, small or not. I wanted to build my own ladder, and I did. Did I get filthy rich? No. Did I make good money? Absolutely, and let me tell you, building my proofreading business has been so rewarding. Proofreading has served as my launchpad into the world of business ownership and online work, and I am forever grateful.

When it’s your ladder, the sky is the limit. No one else is deciding how much you get paid. You set your own rates, and you decide what your goals are and how hard you’re going to work for them. If that scares you just a little and excites you a whole lot, building your own biz could be life-changing.

If you have any other questions about proofreading, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment. I really want to help you make an informed decision about purchasing this course if you decide to, and I’d be more than happy to answer any specific questions you have about the course and working as a proofreader.

I’d also like to note that it took me a couple of years to get to where I am today income-wise. I don’t want you to think that you’ll be making nearly 3 grand a month right off the bat. However, there are people who have done that! Particularly people who are excellent marketers tend to explode their income quickly. I was NOT that great at marketing in the beginning, as it terrified the heck out of me.

Even though I wasn’t very marketing savvy, I got where I am today without much marketing. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools of all.

Anyyyyyway, all this to say, I know it’s easy to see the numbers and instantly be attracted to that, but I want you to know that it’s different for everyone, and results vary based on a variety of factors. Making $2,800 a month fairly quickly is TOTALLY possible, but I don’t want you to assume it’s guaranteed. Make sense? I just want to be honest and also want my readers to have a realistic perspective.