How To Get Started As a Proofreader (And Earn Some Money Doing It)

The internet is buzzing with stories of people who are earning money outside their 9-5 job with some kind of side hustle that they work on in their spare time. And if you have a way with words and an eye for grammatical errors then proofreading might be a way for you to be one of these people. However it can be tough to know where to start. is here to help.


To get started as an online proofreader start by proofreading work for your friends to grow your skills and proofreading for others regularly by becoming a proofreader. Then you can consider your next steps and how you want to proceed. This could be by taking a course, launching a business or exploring online proofreading opportunities.


Start Small


You may have big goals and big dreams but the road to achieving them begins with small steps in the right direction. Take some time to think about the small things you could do today to get started. Whether or not you are in education yourself, you probably know someone who is writing essays or reports on a regular basis who might appreciate someone looking over their work. Send them a message asking if you can proofread their next essay. If they say no then try someone else.


Don’t be afraid to offer your services for free when you are first starting. It will give you the opportunity to practice your skills and show your friends how much you can help them with their writing. A friend who has experienced your high quality proofreading for free is more likely to consider your services when you start to charge a fee for your work. They are also more likely to recommend you to others. Some people might pay for a proofreader without seeing their work but far more will pay for a proofreader who has done a great job for them in the past.


Anyone who is doing a large amount of writing could be in need of a helping hand to check and edit their work. Great writing makes an impact and many people struggle to form sentences and paragraphs they are happy with. Make use of social media to let people know that you offering your proofreading services and be open to proofreading all kinds of writing.


You don’t need to be an expert on the topic of an essay, report or blog post to proofread it. The content and facts of a piece of writing are in the hands of the writer. Proofreaders are on the hunt for spelling, grammar and formatting errors. They take a sentence that is awkward and hard to read and make it flow. They bring clarity and simplicity. They make sure you are using colons and semi-colons accurately. They tell you where your footnotes are not formatted correctly. If you have the skills to do this then you can proofread just about anything written in the English language, from a PhD thesis to a report on climate change.


Get involved with is a unique online platform for writers wanting proofreading and proofreaders wanting work. It is the ideal place for proofreaders to refine their skills, get real experience editing a wide range of writing styles and get feedback on their work. Proofreaders on the platform earn credits for reviewing the work of others that they can spend getting their own work proofread. This is the reciprocity of But proofreaders wanting to earn money can also save the credits they earn and, when they have a high enough average star rating, they can transfer these credits into real money.


Anyone can create an account and start the process to become a proofreader. To get started proofreading others’ work and earning credits you first need to proofread/edit two test documents that are verified by r3ciprocity admin. These are called test reviews. This process allows you to become familiar with how the platform works and ensures that everyone who is proofreading documents on is providing good quality and helpful writing support to their peers.


Detailed information on every step of the test review process including top tips on making your proofreading great can be found by reading the following posts on this blog:


How Do You Perform A Test Review on R3ciprocity?


How Do You Upload Your Second Test Review on R3ciprocity?


How Do You Review A Document On R3ciprocity?


After the test review process you will be given the opportunity to proofread the work of other users who upload their writing to the platform for review. You will earn credits for each review you do. For each review you will also get a star rating out of five from the writer of the document and a comment from them about your review. This feedback will let you know what the writer did and didn’t like about the changes you made and will help you improve your proofreading moving forward.


The system is set up to reward the people who consistently provide good quality proofreading for their peers. If you are committed to doing this you will get high star ratings when you review documents and will be able to transfer the credits you earn into real money.


Don’t expect to get rich through The financial rewards of proofreading through the platform won’t ever enable you to quit your day job. But if you want to help others with their writing and earn a little money at the same time do not hesitate to sign up.


Consider your next steps


Once you have found your feet in proofreading and explored all that has to offer for proofreaders it is time to consider your next steps. There is no one-size-fits-all formula to make it as a proofreader. One person might continue to gather a client base, set up a website and in time turn their side hustle into a thriving business. Another might only have time in their schedule to dedicate a few hours a week to proofreading but love how they get to support students and earn some extra money at the same time.


Professional Proofreading?


A possible step forward could be going all-in with your proofreading venture to gain the skills and experience to be a professional proofreader. This is the way to make the most money – working for publishers and other big publications – but also requires the most effort.


If you are just starting out there are accredited courses are available in your area and online from recognized institutions to learn the symbols and techniques used by professional proofreaders. The high standard of quality and precision demanded by publishers make courses that teach the necessary skills rigorous and challenging. Learning any new skill requires commitment and proofreading at this level is no different. A course that will provide you with excellent training and a qualification you can add to your resume will most likely be a financial commitment as well as one of time and energy. But the insight it will give you into the world of professional proofreading will be invaluable.


Online Opportunities


A quick Google search will show you the wide range of online proofreading opportunities available to you. You can apply for specific jobs or join an agency that can help you find work. You might need to provide samples of your work, give references or pass some kind of online proofreading test to access these opportunities.


Do not be discouraged if you don’t find the right opportunity for you straight away. Keep researching what is out there until you find something to pursue. Many sites and jobs will require previous experience but others will not. If you have special skills or interests – such as understanding a foreign language – search more specifically for jobs where your skill is seen as an advantage. If you come across terms you don’t understand then use the vast resource of the internet to fill in the gaps in your knowledge. Read blog posts and books. Focus on what you can do to move closer to your goal rather than how far you have to go.


In your searching you may come across stories of overnight success and easy money in the field of proofreading. Don’t believe all that they tell you. Real success comes from hard work, persistence and taking the small steps forward.


You need no prior experience to become a proofreader. Sign up today to begin your journey as an online proofreader AND get great quality proofreading of your own writing.


For more information about the exciting and innovative r3ciprocity project check out these posts:


Why is a great place to find an online proofreader


Why are we building this proofreading software?


How do you get feedback on your writing in grad school?

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