Start A Proofreading Business: Plan With The Best Tips And Steps For Success

Are you great at writing or editing? Do you have a knack for perfect grammar? Do you love to read and write?

If yes, then the editing and proofreading business is the one for you. Think about it; you can edit the various blogs, articles, copies, and other written documents and earn a great income.

If you work as a full-time proofreader, you can earn around an average of $22.25 per hour in the USA. At the same time, a freelancer can earn around $15-20 per hour a day. A pretty good income, even if you are planning to start part-time, is a great opportunity.

But, what exactly is proofreading, and what all things should you know before landing in this business?

Well, do not worry; we have curated a complete list of questions, tips, and steps to ease your search before starting the business.

So, let us dive in to know more.

What is proofreading?

Proofreading entails thoroughly checking your writing for typographical problems and flaws in the language, style, grammar, and spelling and correcting them.

It is linked to checking the written document for errors and making it more fluent and easy to understand.

The main skills of the proofreader are as follows:

  • Excellent spelling, grammar, and punctuation skills
  • A keen eye for detail and the capacity to focus for extended periods to work neatly and precisely
  • To appreciate working on your own, you’ll need organizational and time-management abilities to fulfill deadlines.
  • When engaging with clients and authors, you should have strong communication skills.
  • IT abilities
  • understanding of the procedures used to create books, other printed items, and websites

What are the costs involved in starting a proofreading business?

Proofreading can be deemed as one of the businesses that you can start with the least investment. It needs you to have the required skills and knowledge of the language and a basic understanding of the computer, and the idea of reader interest. You can start this business from the table at your home, so no additional setup cost is involved.

The basic cost of starting a proofreading business involves the cost of a laptop or computer, internet connection, and some editing tools in the long run.

If you have the computer or laptop already, you can chop down the cost to just $1000, and you are ready to set up your business, then and there. 

Is there any ongoing expense in the proofreading business?

As far as the proofreading business is concerned, the ongoing expenses are very low. The recurring expenses in the proofreading business are linked to the internet or wi-fi only. So, this is truly a lucrative option in terms of profitability and earning potential.

Apart from that, if you hire a team in the long run, the salary or pay per hour basis will be another ongoing expense for the business.

Which is the best way to charge clients in proofreading business?

The best way to charge the client is proofreading business, depending upon the volume and work you have to a great extent. Say, you can create packages as well as the charge on per hour work or per-page basis. 

The pay per hour will offer you the fees based on the client’s exact amount of time you have worked. On the other hand, you can create packages based on the word count. Say, proofreading for documents of 500-1500 words or 1500-3000 words, and so on. You can charge, say, $3 per page, which is also a great idea for a per-page basis.

Make plans so that you can accommodate a varied category of customers needed for the business expansions.

What are things that you need to know before starting a proofreading business?

Now, if you are planning to start a proofreading business, here are a few things that you should know to ensure a successful run and return:

  • Competition is high.
  • It will take time to build and offer you the required returns.
  • It required a lot of hard work, commitment, and patience.
  • It is not as easy as it seems and requires special skills and knowledge.
  • You need to be ready to offer varied rates to customers, as the one-rate-for-all policy will not work here.
  • Having a keen eye for detail and a great command of the English language is merely the beginning.
  • Quality training is an investment in your future business success, not a waste of money.
  • Marketing is a proactive, rather than a reactive, activity that needs innovative, strategic thought and preparation.
  • “I’ll proofread anything” isn’t a persuasive or professional offer for gaining a potential client’s trust.
  • There are several types of clients, each with its own set of expectations.

So, are you ready to start the proofreading business? If yes, here are the steps that you are required to follow.

Steps To Start A Proofreading Business

You are now aware of things you need to focus on while starting the proofreading business. So, it is time to dive in to know the broad steps that you are required to follow for a successful proofreading business:

1. Brainstorm the business plan

You have all the questions with you and everything you should know before you, so it is time to start brainstorming for the business plan. This is the primary stage and links with creating a broad outline around which the business will work.

The first thing you should know here is whether you are looking to start a freelancing business in proofreading or a company. As far as freelancing is considered, you can start it right away without any licensing or investing, but you need licenses and registrations for a company.

The things that you need to answer at this stage are:

  • Name of the business
  • Nature of business: freelance vs. company
  • Type of business: sole proprietorship vs. LLC
  • Logo of the business
  • Set up the brand image 
  • Need for investment
  • Services and packages
  • Charges and credentials
  • Additional certificate courses, if required any

2. Get the licenses

Now when you have answered all the basic questions linked to the proofreading business, the next step is to move ahead and get all the licenses required for the business. 

You’ll need to be sure you have all of the licenses, permits, and insurance that your local and federal governments require when you start a business. These requirements will vary based on your location, type of business, and organizational structure.

Various state, federal, and municipal business permissions are virtually probably required. Check on the U.S. Small Business Administration website for accurate needs and get the EIN for taxation purposes.

3. Complete financial aspect

Once the licenses and other requirements have been met, it’s time to focus on the company’s financial requirements. It is critical to open a business account for tax considerations.

At the same time, there will be finance requirements that you must meet. Examine the many loans and credit options available on the market and choose the most viable and low-interest alternative to help save money.

For your firm to run securely, you’ll need insurance. Business insurance protects your company’s financial health in the event of a covered loss. General liability insurance is the most common type of insurance required by small businesses.

4. Define the packages, products, and listings

Once you are done with the financial and legal aspects of the business, you are required to move ahead with the defining of packages and listings. Create the package to cater to the customer’s needs.

The main things that you should include in the package are as follows:

  • Hours or pages that you will serve
  • Revisions, if any, included
  • The time that you will require
  • Terms of payment: advance and post
  • Any other service term that you deem necessary

5. Create a website and start marketing

The first step in establishing an online presence is to build a website. Keep it short and straightforward, but make sure to mention all of the things you’re selling. This will enable you to access a larger consumer base and increase revenue.

First, sign up for sites such as Freelancer, Fiverr, and others fr greater customer search.

Starting with social networking is straightforward, free, and pleasant. Determine which channels are acceptable for your business and begin creating a presence there.

Consider email marketing as another cost-effective option. The best part about social media and email marketing is that your customers choose to accept your communications.

6. Analyse and interpret for continuous growth

The proofreading industry is fiercely competitive. You will be expected to continually assess and understand company developments to achieve improved results. Based on the season and other considerations, adjust the items, business listings, and design to leverage the competition.

Seek feedback and reviews to be posted on your website and ask for referrals as well. This is one great way to increase your business and have a better reach. Also, feedback will offer you a greater scope for improvement.

All you need for company success is a continual review.


Proofreading is one of the finest businesses to start with. It offers you the flexibility to learn and earn at the same time. With the broad category of services you can offer, you can start proofreading with the least investment. Allowing you greater flexibility of time and high earning potential, this is one of the finest business options for all.

Like said by Emma Hill, “The first draft is black and white. Editing gives the story color.”, proofreading is fun.

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