If you have a sharp eye, love critiquing content, and are a stickler for grammar rules, you could make a great income working from home as a freelance editor or proofreader.
Editing and proofreading are both excellent work from home positions because they are very flexible and there is plenty of work to go around.
With millions of websites online and an equally large number of businesses producing content and writers producing books, the need for editors to fine-tune all of this content is staggering.
Behind every writer creating a blog post, magazine article, white paper, or eBook, there is an editor making sure the content is polished and ready for publication.
Working from Home as an Editor: The Basics
Editing is a fantastic work from home job because all you need is a computer and Internet access to do the job.
It’s also a work from home job that you can do on your own time (usually). Generally, you’ll be given an assignment and can then work on that assignment when you’re free to do so (like nap time or early morning). The only caveat to this is that there may be some instances where you need to discuss revisions with a client one-on-one, at which point you might have to schedule time within your day.
Still, the fact that this is a job that requires very little client interaction makes it a great position for busy moms.
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Types of Editing Jobs
The term “editor” can actually encompass a variety of different positions. As an editor, you could work as a copy editor, editorial assistant, proofreader, quality assurance evaluator, and book reviewer.
While these different titles all have varying roles, the end goal for each is the same: to make the content better. As an editor in any capacity, it is your duty to make sure your content is clear, organized, and logical.
If you want to work as an editor or proofreader, here are just some of the types of content you could encounter:
- Blog posts
- Long-form research articles
- Court transcripts
- Self-published novels
- White papers
- User manuals
- Press releases
Editing vs. Proofreading: What’s the Difference?
You’ll notice that I’ve mentioned both editing and proofreading in this article, and while the two are similar, they aren’t interchangeable.
Editing generally involves the big-picture focus of content, and it tends to be more subjective. As an editor, you’ll look for grammar and spelling problems, but you’ll also help a writer create an overall document that is compelling and flows well. This could mean cutting out entire sections of the work or rearranging paragraphs.
Working as a proofreader from home generally means your work has far less scope. As a proofreader, you’d look for typos like spelling and grammar issues. Think of a proofreader as the last set of eyes before a piece of content goes to print.
As you recognize the distinction between editing and proofreading, keep in mind that your clientele might not always understand the difference.
As an editor, you’d naturally be expected to correct any grammar or spelling issues as part and parcel of your work. There will be times, too, when all a client wants is proofreading work, although they may say that they’re looking to hire an editor.
This is where clear communication between you and a client is crucial. If you’re going to start your own freelance editing or proofreading business, spell out beforehand exactly what services you offer and what the client wants you to do.
What Skills Do I Need For Editing or Proofreading Jobs at Home?
You do need to have an excellent command of the English language in order to succeed at this job. While you don’t need to have a college degree, you will find you’re unable to work as an independent contractor for many proofreading companies if you don’t have a higher level of education. Don’t let this stop you – creating your own business and finding your own clients is always a very doable (and often more lucrative) option.
As you work as a proofreader or editor, you’ll find that some clients have preferences as to the style you should use.
Generally, most professional organizations adhere to either the AP Stylebook guidelines or The Chicago Manual of Style.
If you’ll be proofreading for students or academic institutions, you may also need to know the MLA Style Manual. If you want to work as a professional editor, becoming proficient in each of these styles can help elevate your career.
Where Can I Find Proofreader Training?
If you’re looking for proofreading jobs from home but you have no experience, there is a course that can help you.
Proofreading Academy is a proofreading training course designed specifically to help beginners succeed. Within the course, you’ll find modules on the following topics:
- Proofreading and editing
- Basics of Microsoft Word
- Common spelling mistakes
- Common punctuation mistakes
- Other common grammar errors
- Proofreading in practice: style
- Proofreading in practice: academic proofreading
- Referencing and citations
- Advanced Microsoft Word
- Final proofreading assesment
The best part about taking the Proofreading Academy course is their work guarantee. Unlike other proofreading courses, they offer guaranteed freelance proofreader employment with a partner company called Proofed. Taking a course where you know you can find work if you pass successfully is a great incentive, and can calm any fears about paying for training.
Read more about Proofreading Academy in our Proofreading Academy review.
Proofreading Tools to Use to Make the Job Easier
While you don’t need a lot of equipment or special products to work from home as an editor or proofreader, there are several tools that can help you get the job done smarter.
Grammarly is a digital writing tool that makes your work as an editor so much easier. After you download the browser extension, it will automatically check your work as you type. The software spots hundreds of errors, including spelling, grammar, punctuation, irregular verbs, and more.
If you do any writing or editing work online, this software is a must. Click here if you’d like to check it out.
McGraw-Hill’s Proofreading Handbook
If you’re working as a proofreader, you’ll want this handy little book by your side. McGraw-Hill’s Proofreading Handbook has all the tips you need to guide you through the editing and proofreading process.
Working as an Editor or Proofreader
If you’re wondering how to get an editing or proofreading job from home, there are several different approaches you can take to this job.
Like other types of freelance work, you can choose to start your own freelance business and find your own clients. I cover the ins and outs of how to do this here:
You could also choose to work as an independent contractor for an established company. There are pros and cons to both approaches.
Starting your own freelance business might require a lot more work upfront as you find new clients, and then you’d be responsible for direct client interactions afterwords. If you choose to work for an established company, that client interaction is often handled for you.
Still, once you have clients as a freelancer, you usually have the ability to make a lot more money, simply because you’ve cut out the middle man. You may also find stiff competition in trying to get hired as a remote editor or proofreader – many positions are flooded with hundreds of applicants, and only a handful are chosen.
There’s no right or wrong way to go about getting this work from home job. If you are qualified, you’ll find that there’s plenty of work to go around.
Companies that Hire Remote Editors and Proofreaders
While there may not be any openings at the moment, the following companies all hire freelance editors from time to time. Within the group, you’ll find a variety of positions available based on skill and previous experience. If you like the idea of steady work, consider applying as an independent contractor to one of these places.
- American Journal Experts – Hires high-level, expert editors
- Cactus Communications – Hires freelance editors, preferably with experience in the medical and scientific fields
- Cambridge Proofreading Worldwide – Cambridge hires expert editors to cover a wide range of academic subjects
- Edanz Group – Hires experienced scientific and medical editors
- Edit 911 – Only hires editors who have a PhD
- Edit Fast – When you work with Edit Fast, writers can opt to hire you directly or you can work on available projects as you’re able
- Enago – Enago provides academic editing and proofreading services worldwide
- English Trackers – Specializes in hiring professional editors to fine-tune documents written by non-native speakers
- Gramlee – Offers a variety of editing and proofreading services
- Kibin – Kibin offers editing services to students
- Proofread Now – Hires high-quality editors to offer professional services across a variety of fields
- ProofreadingPal – Prefers to hire proofreaders with at least a graduate degree
- Proofreading Services – Offers quick editing and proofreading services for clients across a range of industries
- Polished Paper – Promises first-class editing services for things like journal articles, resumes, novels, and screenplays
- Quality Proofreading Services – UK-based company offering professional editing and proofreading
- Scribbr – Scribbr editors work on academic papers like essays and dissertations
- Scribendi – Scribendi hires professional work-from-home editors to handle a wide variety of client projects
- Wordfirm – In order to work as an independent contractor for Wordfirm you must have a bachelor’s degree and at least 5 years of professional editing experience
- WordsRU – Must have a Master’s degree and some professional editing experience
Editing is of those work-from-home positions where practice really does make perfect. If you’re brand new to this, chances are it will take you a little while before you’re ready for clients.
Most of the companies listed above have a testing process in which qualified applicants must edit a sample document before proceeding to the next round. Take some of these tests just as a gauge for what you know and what the job entails. Use these as a starting point, study with the McGraw-Hill book, and eventually you’ll have honed your skills enough to start your own proofreading job from home.