How To Make Money With A Proofreading Side Hustle

Are you looking for a flexible, rewarding side hustle that allows you to put your keen eye for detail and language proficiency to good use?

Look no further than proofreading! This popular side gig provides an opportunity for those with exceptional grammar skills and comprehensive knowledge of style guides to make extra money on their own schedule.

Whether you’re a teacher, college student, or someone working the 9-to-5 grind, proofreading offers a convenient way to boost your income while helping others perfect their written work.

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How To Make Money With A Proofreading Side Hustle 7

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What is a Proofreading Side Hustle?

A proofreading side hustle refers to the act of earning additional income by offering your proofreading services as a freelancer outside your regular job or responsibilities.

This opportunity allows individuals with exceptional language skills, attention to detail, and knowledge of grammar conventions to make extra money while working on their own terms.

The concept revolves around taking advantage of the ever-growing need for well-written content across various industries in today’s digital age.

As businesses increasingly utilize online platforms to expand their reach and build credibility, the demand for skilled proofreaders who can polish written materials before publication rises exponentially.

When you become a proofreader, you will proofread written work, such as books, academic papers, and websites where you will be looking for errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling and other language-related mistakes.

According to Indeed, the average pay for a professional proofreader in the US is $21 per hour.

A proofreader is different from an editor because an editor’s job is to manage the material, review story ideas, and decide what will be published. They can alter the overall structure of the material, suggest new titles, and revise it for publication.

Benefits of Proofreading as a Side Hustle

One of the primary advantages of a proofreading side hustle is its flexibility, allowing you to manage your own schedule and earn extra money alongside other commitments such as a full-time job or school.

This makes it an attractive option for teachers, college students, or professionals seeking additional income.

A proofreading side hustle also enables you to develop valuable transferable skills such as attention to detail, language proficiency, and knowledge of style guides.

As these essential abilities improve with experience and training courses (like the general proofreading course), the rates you charge can increase over time.

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Skills and Qualifications Required for Proofreading

To succeed as a proofreader, you’ll need a few qualities (and credentials) to get started:

Attention to Detail

Attention to detail is a crucial skill for any proofreader looking to thrive in their side hustle. This means being able to spot even the smallest errors, such as typos, punctuation mistakes, and inconsistencies within the text.

Cultivating this ability can ultimately lead to higher quality results for clients and help build a solid reputation in the industry.

For example, let’s say you’re reviewing an article on personal finance websites, failing to catch small yet significant errors could potentially mislead readers or distort important facts from your client’s message.

Language Proficiency

As a proofreader, having strong language proficiency is vital. You need to be fluent in the language you are working with and have excellent grammar skills to ensure that the final document is polished and error-free.

proofreaders need language profeciency

As a proofreader, you must also have a thorough understanding of the language’s structure, including sentence composition and proper word usage.

Having advanced language proficiency can lead to more job opportunities as a proofreader because clients want someone who has superior grammatical knowledge, spelling expertise, and punctuation mastery.

For instance, you wouldn’t want your resume reviewed by someone who doesn’t speak the same language as you or one who struggles with basic grammar rules.

Comprehensive Grammar Knowledge

As a proofreader, having a good grasp of grammar is crucial ensures that the final copy is free from grammatical errors. It involves an understanding of the rules of language and how to utilize them appropriately in writing.

You can acquire the skillset through formal education or by simply investing time into practicing writing frequently. Many proofreading jobs require candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree in English or a related field.

Additionally, possessing good grammar enables you to catch even small mistakes like misplaced commas or apostrophes, ensuring that written materials are professional-looking and error-free.

Proper Knowledge of Style Guides

To be a successful proofreader, you need proper knowledge of style guides.

Style guides are manuals that provide guidelines for language usage, citation formats, and formatting styles. There are several popular style guides such as MLA (Modern Language Association), APA (American Psychological Association), and The Chicago Manual of Style.

For example, if you’re proofreading an academic paper or thesis, knowing the specific rules outlined in the chosen style guide is essential to ensure that all citations and references meet the requirements.

Similarly, if you’re proofreading marketing materials or website content for a business client, understanding their preferred style guide will help maintain brand consistency throughout all their communication channels.

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How to Start a Proofreading Side Hustle

Starting a proofreading side hustle is relatively simple, so let’s discuss the process and what you need to do to start making money:

Building a Portfolio

If you want to be chosen for online proofreading jobs, you need a strong portfolio that will prove your credibility and gain the trust of potential clients as a proofreader.

To build a successful portfolio, you should start by showcasing your best work in a variety of formats be it academic papers, blog posts, or business documents.

Building a Portfolio for proofreading business

If you are just starting out and don’t have past samples of work, consider offering to proofread for free or at a discounted rate to gain experience and examples of your work. Once you have a few of these under your belt, you can then start showcasing them.

Remember that maintaining an updated and professional-looking online presence can help attract more clients.

One way to do that is by creating a website that showcases your skills and experience as a proofreader much like photographers and graphic designers showcase their work. When you build your brand, it will be easier for potential clients to find you through search engines like Google.

Set Competitive Rates

As you set your rates as a proofreader, you have to strike the right balance between affordability and profitability.

It can be tempting to set prices far too low in hopes of attracting more clients, but this approach may end up hurting you in the long run because you will come across as incompetent.

To determine competitive rates, research what other proofreaders are charging for similar work and consider factors like your level of expertise and experience.

Also, make sure to communicate clearly with potential clients about your pricing structure upfront so they know what to expect from working with you.

Find Clients

The best way to find freelance proofreading jobs is via websites like UpWork, Freelancer, Fiverr, among others. That’s because clients go to those sites when looking for freelancers.

To stand out to clients as a proofreader, you must learn how to craft a profile on the respective platform and apply for proofreading jobs. For example, if you are on UpWork, you should master how to write an UpWork cover letter to improve your odds of getting work.

Outside these platforms, you can find work but you will have to learn how to market your services effectively. One effective way is to use social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to network and connect with professionals who may need your services.

The best way to find freelance proofreading jobs is via websites like upwork and freelancer

Social media platforms are a great way to market your proofreading services and find potential clients because posting about your proofreading business on social media can help increase visibility and attract new clients.

One effective strategy on social media is to post tips or helpful content related to writing and proofreading that will capture the attention of potential clients. You could also join writing groups or communities and offer your services as a proofreader.

Another approach would be to create a website or blog where you can showcase your portfolio of work samples, qualifications, testimonials from previous clients, and the range of services you offer.

Besides finding clients on the internet, you can find them offline. You can do that by reaching out directly to organizations such as publishers, self-publishing authors or educators who might also lead you towards new opportunities.

Another important aspect of effective marketing we cannot go without mentioning is building relationships with current and past clients because they can lead you to new clients.

Ensure that you communicate clearly and promptly with clients throughout the process, and don’t be afraid to ask for feedback or testimonials which can be used on your website or in promotional materials.

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Best Online Platforms For Finding Proofreading Jobs

Here are some of the best online platforms for finding a variety of proofreading jobs:


Fiverr is an online platform that connects freelancers with businesses or individuals looking for their services. It’s a great place to find proofreading jobs and start building your portfolio as a proofreader.


To get started, create an account on Fiverr, set up your profile, and showcase your skills as a proofreader.

One of the advantages of using Fiverr is the range of opportunities it offers for freelance proofreaders – from one-time projects to long-term collaborations with clients.

Fiverr is a great source of proofreading jobs for beginners because there is a low barrier to entry. As long as you create a great profile, you can find online proofreading jobs.

Then by honing your craft through various Fiverr client engagements, you can gradually increase your rates while establishing yourself professionally in this field.

From my experience, the pay can be a bit low with offers starting at $5. That being said, it is a nice place to gain experience as an entry-level proofreader.


If you want to make money proofreading, FlexJobs is a reliable platform for finding legitimate proofreading jobs online.

They specialize in listings for work-from-home positions, which makes it perfect for individuals looking to start a proofreading side hustle from home. This makes it perfect for moms and dads who want to find online proofreading jobs.

flexjobs for proofreaders

You can filter your search based on job type (part-time or full-time), level of experience required, and the industry you want to work in.

FlexJobs offers various opportunities that range from academic editing to legal document review, so you’re likely to find something suitable regardless of your background or skill set.

Plus, their vetting process ensures that all jobs listed are legitimate and provides a sense of security when applying for positions.

It is great for both entry-level and experienced freelancers.

You have to pay a monthly fee but it can be advantageous if you can afford it because it thins out the competition for jobs.

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Freelancer will connect you with clients all over the world who are looking for freelance proofreaders. website for proofreading jobs

You can create a profile that showcases your skills, experience, and pricing structure to attract potential clients. The advantage of using these platforms is the convenience they offer in finding work, handling payments, and managing your projects.

If you have previous proofreading experience or are confident in your language proficiency, you can start getting paid as soon as possible.


Upwork is a platform for all kinds of online jobs as well as some of the best online proofreading jobs because most clients know that they are likely to find a proofreader there.

Upwork is a platform for the best online proofreading jobs

It is popular because it has a relatively low barrier to entry and it is user-friendly. You can start taking on proofreading jobs without experience but you’ll most likely start with the low-paying ones.

The downside of Upwork is that due to its size, there is a lot of competition for proofreading jobs particularly at the entry level so freelancers tend to undercut themselves to outbid each other. Upwork also deducts 20% of your pay.

Having said that, there are high-paying proofreading jobs for highly skilled proofreaders.

As you gain more experience, you can get more high-paying jobs because you showcase your experience and credentials.

Polished Paper

If you are an experienced proofreader, Polished Paper is worth checking out. It is pretty strict on finding the best editors and they screen rigorously to ensure that.

As you apply to join their pool of professional proofreaders, you have to sit a test and do an interview in addition to providing your résumé.

In the end, it is worth it because once you start working on the platform, they pay well.

Edit Fast

Edit Fast is a platform for freelance proofreaders and editors because it is filled with opportunities for work.

Registering for work is quite straightforward as you are required to sign up, sit a test, and sign an agreement.

The only downside is that they deduct a huge cut on your payments.


Scribendi is a Canadian company that offers editing and proofreading jobs for online proofreaders.

You need to meet certain qualifications to sign up for Scribendi and they only take native English speakers with a university degree. You also need to have 3 years of experience and be able to proofread at least 1,000 words per hour.

One thing you will like about Scribendi is that they offer proofreading courses and they have a forum for freelancers to discuss their affairs.

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Cambridge Proofreading

Cambridge Proofreading is a reputable online platform for finding English proofreading jobs. They offer a wide range of services, including proofreading, editing, and translation solutions.

Only native English speakers from the US and UK qualify to work for them.

The company also requires its proofreaders to hold advanced qualifications from leading global universities.

Cambridge Proofreading

The company caters to various types of clients such as businesses, individuals, and academics. Cambridge Proofreading has built its reputation on offering fast turnaround times while maintaining high-quality work at affordable rates.

As one of the best online platforms for freelancers looking for proofreading jobs or those aspiring to start their own proofreading side hustle, Cambridge Proofreading provides an excellent opportunity to earn money even without prior experience.

Proofreading Services

Proofreading Services is one of the best platforms for people looking for freelance proofreading services. It has a great interface and it pays well.


Scribbr is great for both beginner and experienced proofreaders as long as you can handle the screening process, which can be brutal. It focuses on helping students perfect their theses and dissertations.

Scribbr more than compensates for its arduous screening process by paying you well.


Gramlee has well-paying jobs from the entry level to experienced proofreaders. The more experienced and skilled you are, you access the high-paid gigs.

Proofreading Pal

If you are a graduate student looking for an online proofreading job, Proofreading Pal is perfect. They tend to go for proofreaders with a degree and they are pretty strict about it.

The upside is that they pay quite well thus justifying the barriers to entry they have imposed.

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Success Tips For A Proofreading Side Hustle

From our experience, here are some success tips that will help you to become a successful proofreader:

Utilize Proofreading Tools

Make use of tools that make your proofreading work easier. There are some essential tools that you should consider using even when you have to spend some money on them because, in the end, they are worth it. They include:

  • Grammarly: For freelance proofreaders, Grammarly is arguably the best tool for identifying grammatical mistakes. It has suggestions to help with the editing process and also has a plagiarism checker.Grammarly is arguably the best tool for identifying grammatical mistakesYou can adjust the grammar checker for a variety of audiences, intents, and formality options.You can adjust the grammar checker for a variety of audiences, intents, and formality options. You can use it for free but you’d be missing out on some of its most useful features. In my experience, it is worth paying for.
  • Microsoft Editor: Editor is a writing tool that uses artificial intelligence to improve your writing. The free version does handles basic checks but a paid subscription unlocks other features, including formal language, vocabulary suggestions, clarity, conciseness, plagiarism checking, and others.Microsoft Editor is a writing tool that uses artificial intelligence to improve your writingIt is easily integrated with Microsoft word and in the new versions of the word processor, it comes with the package.
  • Spellchecker: Spellchecker checks your text for typos and grammar mistakes making it a great tool for proofreading.
  • Bartleby Write: Bartleby is an editing tool that has the features you’d associate with the standard grammar-checking tool. It has a grammar and spell checker and a plagiarism detector to help improve your writing process. We found Bartleby Write to be ideal for essay writing because it has a citation tool and essay templates. It is designed for coursework and research.
  • Ginger: Ginger is a great tool for checking grammar and it is often the preferred choice for editors dealing with complicated texts.Ginger is a great tool for checking grammarIt is also capable of paraphrasing text, which can come in handy if you are generating content with an AI like Agility or Jasper. It is also good for refining your own writing.

Grammarly is arguably the best tool for your online proofreading business because from my experience, it offers the most comprehensive feature package. It has plugins for your word processor as well as web browser.

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Take a Proofreading Course

You should consider taking a proofreading course to be a successful professional proofreader. When you take a good course, you improve your basic proofreading skills and are able to attract more clients.

Some courses issue you a certificate when you complete them. Having a certificate to bolster your resume lets your clients know that you are qualified, which can work in your favor when competing for jobs in a saturated marketplace.

You can also command more money confidently because you know you deliver high quality work.

Besides that, a proofreading course familiarizes you with style guides, which you need to be conversant with for some of jobs. You will test your skills with many documents to find the areas that you are good at and those that need improvement.

Keep Your Credentials Up To Date

You have to keep your credentials up to date if you want to be successful in the proofreading business. Clients are looking for someone who is knowledgeable and experienced, so ensure that you stay current with industry standards and trends.

In addition to enhancing your skills set, when you keep your credentials up to date, you can sometimes stand out from the competition when applying for jobs.

It shows that you’re committed to learning and growing as a proofreader, which can lead to more clients and higher-paying gigs over time.

Establish Good Working Relationships

Build good working relationships with clients to have a successful proofreading side hustle. Communication and professionalism are key elements in maintaining positive relationships.

For example, it’s important to clearly communicate your availability and preferred means of communication at the outset of any project.

Establishing proper boundaries will also help you maintain healthy working relationships.

As you gain more experience and positive reviews from satisfied clients, your earning potential increases too.

Manage Your Time Effectively

You have to manage your time effectively when running a proofreading side hustle.

You’ll have to balance your regular job or personal commitments with your proofreading work, which means that you need to find a way to allocate the appropriate amount of time for both.

One way to manage your time efficiently as a proofreader is by creating a schedule that works for you. Take into consideration factors such as workload, deadlines, and availability while drafting your schedule.

Next, learn how to stick with the schedule and avoid distractions during working hours where possible.

Research shows that effective management of time can lead to increased productivity and overall performance.

Maintain a Healthy Work-life Balance

As with many side hustles, with the added responsibility, you should learn how to maintain a healthy work-life balance while pursuing a proofreading side hustle.

This means setting clear boundaries and taking time for yourself outside of work hours.

One way to do this is by creating a schedule that allows for breaks and leisure activities.

Since proofreading can be done online or from home, it comes with an additional layer of flexibility when it comes to managing your workload.

Taking advantage of this flexibility can help you achieve a more balanced lifestyle, allowing you to still have time for family, friends, hobbies, and self-care practices.

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Common Pitfalls to Avoid in Proofreading

Here are common mistakes that proofreaders often fall prey to that you should avoid to have a successful career:

Relying too Much on Automated Software

While automated software can be a helpful tool in proofreading, relying too heavily on it can lead to mistakes.

For example, grammar-checking software may not recognize contextual errors and can misunderstand the intended meaning of the text.

Additionally, spelling and punctuation errors may slip through even the most advanced software due to their limitations.

It’s important for proofreaders to understand that they are responsible for catching all of these errors themselves rather than solely relying on tech solutions.

Incomplete Proofreading

One of the most common pitfalls to avoid in proofreading is incomplete proofreading. This occurs when you only check portions of a document, leaving other parts unchecked.

Incomplete proofreading can result in errors being left uncorrected, damaging your reputation as a professional proofreader and potentially costing you clients or jobs.

To prevent incomplete proofreading, use techniques like reading aloud or taking short breaks between edits to refresh your focus. Setting clear boundaries with clients about turnaround times and workload can also help ensure that you have sufficient time for thorough checks.

Remember: quality work will result in satisfied customers who may return for future business or refer you to others.

Ignoring Contextual Details

One common pitfall in proofreading is ignoring contextual details. This means focusing too much on correcting individual words, phrases or sentences and not considering the broader context of the document.

Proofreading means ensuring that a text reads smoothly and that its meaning is clear to the reader. Therefore, it’s important to understand the intention behind each sentence and paragraph before making any corrections.

For instance, if you’re proofreading a medical article, unfamiliar technical terms may be used which requires comprehensive research and understanding of their usage or context within that field.

As a proofreader, you should always pay attention not only to grammatical accuracy but also stylistic consistency throughout an entire document by considering every component such as font type, formatting (paragraphs are structured correctly), capitalization rules, numbering systems (bullet points versus numbered lists), punctuation marks (commas vs periods), spelling and phrasing errors while also taking into account how all these components contribute towards conveying the intended message clearly.


In conclusion, a proofreading side hustle can be a lucrative way to earn extra income while still maintaining control of your schedule.

With the right skills, qualifications, and marketing strategies in place, anyone can start their own proofreading business from home.

Freelance platforms offer many opportunities for finding clients and building your portfolio. That being said, you need to invest time in honing your skills as a proofreader and staying up-to-date with industry trends.

Before you leave

If you’re tired of scams and want a real solution for making money online check out my no.1 recommendation.

It’s helped me earn over $300,000 in the last 12 months alone:

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(This is a 100% free training)

How To Make Money With A Proofreading Side Hustle 7

David Fortune has been the editor since 2019. He is an expert at writing content on stock advisory services, side hustles, reviewing online business opportunities and many more topics. You can learn more about David on our about us page.

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