Side Hustles

Proofreading Side Hustles

Proofreading has emerged as a popular side hustle in today’s gig economy, offering individuals a low-stress, flexible way to supplement their income. As the demand for error-free writing increases in the digital world, proofreading opportunities are available to those with a keen eye for detail and a strong command of language. Whether you are a teacher, college student, or 9-to-5 professional, venturing into proofreading as a side hustle can be a great way to improve your financial situation.

In order to excel in proofreading, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of grammar, punctuation, and spelling, as well as the ability to identify word usage errors and inconsistencies in style guides. With a wide range of online resources, it’s now easier than ever to start your proofreading journey, find clients, and grow your business. Success stories from those who have turned their side hustle into a lucrative career are just a testament to the potential this opportunity holds.

Key Takeaways

  • Proofreading is a flexible, low-stress side hustle with ample opportunities for growth.
  • Developing a solid understanding of grammar, punctuation, and spelling is crucial for success.
  • The digital age offers various resources to start, manage, and grow a proofreading business.

Understanding Proofreading

Skills Required

Proofreading is a crucial skill that requires a strong foundation in language and communication. To be an efficient proofreader, one needs to possess the following skills:

  • Grammar: A comprehensive understanding of the rules of grammar is essential for identifying and correcting errors.
  • Punctuation: Proper punctuation usage enhances readability and clarity; thus, a proofreader must be adept at applying punctuation marks accurately.
  • Spelling: Mastery of spelling is a must for spotting and rectifying typos or incorrect word usage.
  • Attention to detail: Being eagle-eyed and meticulous is vital for detecting errors and inconsistencies within a text.
  • Communication: Effective communication skills allow proofreaders to convey suggestions and edits to clients or team members clearly.

Roles and Responsibilities

A proofreader’s primary responsibility is to ensure that written content is error-free and polished. Their key roles and responsibilities include:

  1. Reviewing documents: Proofreaders meticulously review documents, including articles, blog posts, manuscripts, and more, to identify and correct errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
  2. Checking for consistency: They ensure that the document’s structure, formatting, and style are consistent throughout, adhering to the client’s or company’s guidelines.
  3. Collaborating with writers and editors: Proofreaders often work closely with writers and editors to discuss edits, make suggestions for improvement, and ensure the final product meets the desired quality standards.
  4. Maintaining deadlines: In the publishing and content creation industries, deadlines are crucial. Therefore, proofreaders need to work efficiently and quickly to meet the required timelines.
  5. Staying updated: As language rules and style guidelines can evolve over time, proofreaders must be proactive in staying informed and adapting their skills accordingly.

Getting Started

Required Training

To start a proofreading side hustle, it’s essential to have a solid foundation in proofreading skills, including grammar, punctuation, spelling, and capitalization. While some individuals may have a natural aptitude for these skills, many opt for training courses to improve their proficiency. There are numerous online courses and workshops that can help you develop your proofreading abilities and prepare for this side hustle.


Although certification is not mandatory for a proofreading side hustle, obtaining one can showcase your expertise, lend credibility, and enhance your marketability. Several organizations offer proofreading certifications, with courses ranging from introductory to advanced levels. By obtaining a certification, you demonstrate your commitment to maintaining high professional standards and staying up-to-date in the field.

Style Guides

One key aspect of proofreading is becoming acquainted with various style guides, such as The Chicago Manual of Style and The Associated Press Stylebook. Each style guide has specific rules and guidelines pertaining to grammar, formatting, and citation, among others. As a proofreader, you will need to adhere to the appropriate style guide based on the type of content you are reviewing. Familiarizing yourself with these guides is crucial to success in your proofreading side hustle, as it ensures consistency and accuracy in the documents you proofread.

Finding Clients

Freelance Platforms

One effective way to find clients for your proofreading side hustle is by creating profiles on freelance platforms such as UpworkFiverrFreelancerGuru, and PeoplePerHour. These marketplaces connect freelancers like you with clients who are looking for the services you offer. To increase your chances of getting hired, make sure to:

  • Complete your profile with a professional photo and detailed information about your skills
  • Build a portfolio demonstrating your proofreading experience
  • Craft compelling proposals when bidding for projects
  • Request and showcase positive feedback from previous clients

Social Media

Social media platforms, particularly LinkedIn, can be a valuable tool for reaching potential clients. To effectively use social media for networking and sourcing clients:

  • Optimize your profile by highlighting your proofreading expertise and experience
  • Share relevant content related to proofreading and the freelance industry
  • Join and participate in groups focused on freelance work, writing, editing, and proofreading
  • Connect and engage with people in your target market by commenting on their posts and offering your services when appropriate


In addition to online platforms, networking can help secure clients for your proofreading side hustle. To increase your chances of finding proofreading jobs through networking, consider:

  • Attending local events or conferences related to writing, editing, or your specific niche
  • Joining professional associations related to proofreading, writing, or editing
  • Collaborating with other freelancers or industry professionals who may refer work to you
  • Reaching out to friends, family, or acquaintances who might need your services or know someone who does

By utilizing freelance platforms, social media, and networking, you can effectively find clients for your proofreading side hustle and grow your business.

Setting Your Rates

Pricing Factors

When setting your rates for a proofreading side hustle, several factors can impact the amount you charge. It’s essential to consider the following aspects before determining your pricing:

  1. Experience: As a beginner proofreader, your rates may be lower than someone who has years of experience in the field. As you gain more proficiency, you’ll be able to command higher rates.
  2. Scope of work: The level of complexity in the documents you’re proofreading might affect the rate you set. If the material is highly technical, you may charge more than for standard, non-specialized work.
  3. Market rates: Research the current rates other proofreaders charge to make sure you’re competitive with your pricing. Expectations can vary based on location and industry, so be informed about the appropriate rates in your region.

Determining Your Rates

There are several ways to set your rates as a proofreader:

  • Hourly rates: This method charges clients based on the number of hours you spend proofreading their work. According to the Editorial Freelancers Association, the average hourly rate for proofreaders is $30 to $35, while experienced proofreaders might charge $20 to $45 per hour.
  • Flat fees: Charging a flat fee per project ensures you have a specific income for each job, making it easier to manage your time and schedule. However, ensure you accurately estimate the amount of work involved in a project to avoid underpricing yourself.
  • Monthly retainers: A retainer is a flat monthly fee agreed upon by you and the client. This approach can provide a consistent income and make it easier to allocate other client work. Remember that retainers should be priced competitively so that both parties find the agreement fair.

To determine which method works best for you, weigh the pros and cons of each approach according to your personal preferences, workload, and goals. Establishing your rates based on these factors ensures that your proofreading side hustle remains profitable and sustainable.

Tools and Resources

A successful proofreading side hustle requires the use of certain tools and resources to ensure the delivery of accurate and efficient work. In this section, we will focus on three main categories: Proofreading Software, Reference Materials, and Online Resources.

Proofreading Software

In order to efficiently identify and correct errors, proofreaders typically rely on software that can assist them in their tasks. One popular tool is Microsoft Word, which offers an extensive array of grammar and spell check features to help make your work as accurate as possible. Other proofreading software includes Grammarly, Hemingway Editor, and ProWritingAid, which further aid in detecting grammar, punctuation, and style errors.

Reference Materials

In addition to proofreading software, access to reliable reference materials can greatly improve the quality of your work. For instance, always having a dictionary at hand can help you verify the meanings, spellings, or proper usage of words. Whether you prefer physical or digital editions, dictionaries like Merriam-Webster, Oxford, or Cambridge are indispensable tools for proofreaders.

Moreover, grammar guides and style manuals can also be helpful in ensuring that your work adheres to the appropriate rules and conventions. Some widely used resources are The Chicago Manual of Style, The Associated Press Stylebook, and Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style.

Online Resources

Lastly, various online resources can contribute to your success in a proofreading side hustle. One such option is Proofread Anywhere, a platform that offers comprehensive proofreading courses and resources to help you develop your skills and grow your business. Additionally, you can utilize forums, webinars, and blogs that provide valuable tips and insights from experienced proofreaders.

Other practical online resources include websites like Purdue OWL and Grammar Girl, which offer free grammar lessons and guides to help bolster your proofreading abilities. By regularly engaging with these resources, you can stay up-to-date with language trends and developments, ultimately fostering growth and success in your proofreading side hustle.

Online Resources

Building Your Brand

Creating a Portfolio

A key component to building a successful proofreading side hustle is creating a portfolio that showcases your skills and expertise in the field. Start by curating a collection of your past proofreading tasks where you have made significant improvements to the text. If you are new to the field, consider offering your services pro bono to friends or family members and use their testimonials in your portfolio.

Your portfolio should include a range of examples highlighting your ability to handle diverse subject matters and writing styles. By showcasing your versatile skills, you will be better positioned to attract clients from various niches.

Marketing Your Services

To draw attention to your proofreading services, you need to market effectively. Begin by creating a professional website that highlights your services, experience, and pricing structures. Be sure to optimize your website for search engines, in order to maximize its visibility to potential clients.

Next, establish a strong presence on social media platforms, focusing on those frequented by your target audience. Utilize these platforms to share helpful proofreading tips, articles, and testimonials, emphasizing your expertise in the field. Additionally, consider joining online forums and groups related to proofreading, editing, and writing to network with potential clients and other professionals in the industry.

Participate in relevant networking events and consider collaborations with other businesses to increase your exposure. Offer special promotions or introductory discounts to attract new clients and build a loyal customer base.

Remember, a successful brand in the proofreading side hustle is built on a foundation of confidence, knowledge, and professionalism. By creating a solid portfolio and effectively marketing your services, you can position yourself as a trusted proofreading expert and attract clients in various niches.

Managing Your Side Hustle

Time Management

Managing a proofreading side hustle requires efficient time management. As with any business, it’s crucial to set realistic goals and allocate sufficient time for each client. Create a schedule that accommodates your full-time job, side hustle, and personal life. Prioritize tasks and establish deadlines to stay on track.

To maintain productivity, consider the following time management tips:

  • Set aside specific hours for your proofreading side hustle
  • Break projects into smaller tasks with intermediate deadlines
  • Use productivity tools, like timers and to-do lists, to stay organized
  • Regularly re-assess and adjust your schedule as needed

Balancing Work and Life

A successful proofreading side hustle demands a healthy work-life balance. Taking on a flexible side business can be both rewarding and challenging, so it’s vital to establish boundaries between your professional and personal life. Achieving balance helps prevent burnout and maintain the quality of your work.

Here are some strategies to help balance your proofreading side hustle with your personal life:

  • Designate a workspace dedicated to your side hustle, separate from your personal space
  • Communicate your schedule and availability to clients, setting expectations for response times
  • Take breaks and allocate time for self-care and relaxation
  • Ensure you’re not over-committing to projects, and maintain a reasonable workload

By effectively managing your time and sustaining a work-life balance, you can successfully run a proofreading side hustle and reap its benefits.

Growing Your Proofreading Business

Expanding Your Services

As your experience in the proofreading industry grows, it’s essential to consider expanding the range of services you offer. Diversifying your services allows you to cater to a broader range of clients and enhances your potential to make money. For example, you might decide to provide copyediting, line editing, or even content writing services along with proofreading. By offering a variety of services, you can attract clients with different needs and establish yourself as a pro in the field.

Stay up-to-date with industry trends and continuously improve your skillset. This may involve taking courses, attending workshops, or joining industry-related groups and forums. Demonstrating your commitment to professional development will make you more attractive to prospective clients and help you grow your network.

Reinvesting Your Earnings

To achieve steady growth in your proofreading business, consider reinvesting a portion of your earnings back into it. Reinvesting can take various forms, such as upgrading your equipment, investing in marketing efforts, or enrolling in relevant courses to sharpen your skills.

Expenses like these are essential for building a successful business and attracting more clients. Moreover, reinvesting in your business can enable you to develop passive income streams by outsourcing some tasks or creating resources clients can purchase.

By focusing on expanding your services and strategically reinvesting your earnings, you will witness consistent growth and increased revenue in your proofreading business. Moreover, this approach will solidify your reputation as a knowledgeable and reliable professional in the industry.

Success Stories

Case Studies

Eucharia Remy-Kingsley

Eucharia Remy-Kingsley started a proofreading side hustle as a registered nurse. Combining her medical experience with her love for reading and grammar, she successfully ventured into the freelance market, specifically in the high-paying medical industry niche1.

Tori Gellino

Tori Gellino earns upwards of $1,000 per month through her proofreading side hustle. She has expert knowledge on spotting typos and offers advice on finding clients and maximizing income2.


Maria, an accountant, transitioned from her main profession into transcript proofreading. Within just ten weeks, she earned an extra $3,000 through her proofreading side hustle3.

Lessons Learned

Perseverance: In all these cases, perseverance played a significant role in the success of these proofreaders. They followed their passion and put in the required effort to excel in their respective niches.

Budget: Tori Gellino’s advice on maximizing income includes being mindful of one’s budget and ensuring that spending on necessary resources is aligned with earning potential2.

Masterclass: There are various masterclasses and courses available for aspiring proofreaders to acquire or improve their skills. Patti, another accountant-turned-transcript proofreader, benefited from these resources to become successful in her side hustle3.


  1. Get Inspired By These Proofreading Side Hustle Case Studies – Edit Republic 
  2. Got Grammar? One Proofreading Expert Shares How She Gets Paid to Spot Typos  2
  3. 12 People Earning Extra Money from Their Proofreading Side Hustle  2

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best websites to find proofreading jobs?

There are several websites where you can find online proofreading jobs. Some of the top platforms include:

  1. Upwork
  2. Fiverr
  3. FlexJobs
  4. LinkedIn
  5. Scribendi
  7. EditFast

These websites offer various opportunities for both beginners and experienced proofreaders.

What skills do I need to become a successful proofreader?

To become a successful proofreader, you need:

  1. Strong command of the English language
  2. Attention to detail
  3. Familiarity with style guides (such as APA, MLA, and Chicago)
  4. Time management skills
  5. Basic understanding of Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or similar text editors
  6. Good communication skills

By developing these skills, you can increase your chances of success in the proofreading field.

Is it possible to make a living from proofreading as a side job?

Yes, it is possible to make a living from proofreading as a side job. Many people use this side hustle to supplement their income or achieve financial goals. It may take some time to build up a client base and gain experience, but with dedication and hard work, it is possible to make a steady income from proofreading.

How much can I expect to earn as a beginner proofreader?

As a beginner proofreader, you can expect to earn around $15 to $25 per hour. Your earnings will depend on factors like the specific job, your experience, and the client’s budget. As you gain experience and develop your skills, your earning potential can increase over time.

What resources can help me improve my proofreading skills?

There are several resources available to help you improve your proofreading skills:

  1. Online courses (such as Proofread Anywhere or Udemy)
  2. Books on proofreading techniques and style guides
  3. Blogs and websites dedicated to proofreading and editing (such as Edit Republic and The Grammar Girl)
  4. Joining professional associations (such as the Editorial Freelancers Association)

By utilizing these resources, you can enhance your proofreading skills and increase your marketability.

Are there any freelance platforms specifically for proofreaders?

While there are no platforms exclusively for proofreaders, several freelance marketplaces cater to writing, editing, and proofreading jobs. Platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, and FlexJobs have dedicated categories for proofreading jobs, making it easy for proofreaders to find work. You can create a profile on these platforms and showcase your skills to attract potential clients.

Kevin Martin

Kevin is an ambitious entrepreneur that is obsessed with all things related to finance. From a young age, Kevin has always been involved with side hustles ranging from online selling to freelance work. Over the years, Kevin graduated from side hustles and started launching multiple online and offline businesses. Kevin is a serial entrepreneur who loves starting new businesses and exploring all things related to business and finance. He is constantly looking for new ways to save money, invest money, and create income streams.