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How to Start a Proofreading Business

The editorial services industry in the United States is enlarging rapidly, with almost 8% increase expected in 2021 to attain $2.7 billion. Proofreaders assess grammar and sentence structure in a wide range of texts, from writings and opinion pieces to webpages and business records, thus the industry is very vast.

But, before you get too enthusiastic, there seems to be a great deal more to proofreading than just sighting errors. Starting a proofreading firm also requires a significant amount of effort. If you’ve been pondering about how to be a freelance proofreader but aren’t certain where to begin, below is a summary of the moves you have to consider before starting a proofreading business.

Steps on How to Start a Proofreading Business

  1. Conduct Market Research

A proofreading company looks for syntax, sentence construction, and keyboard errors in texts, publication articles, media advertising, and business records. Proofreaders offer good “quality checks” without making major modifications to the subject matter.

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However, before you make any substantial investment in this business, it is necessary you evaluate the offerings, pricing, and client testimonials of proofreading options available in the market and online. Always remember that you are hoping to fill a gap in the market. For instance, perhaps the sector lacks a transcript proofreading company or an AP-style proofreader.

a. Who is Your Target Audience?

Everybody who tries to write for the general public and seeks grammar and spelling services is a prospective customer. Editorial teams and publishing houses, writers, entrepreneurs or company public relations clients, site operators, university and even middle school students, ad agency content creators, and small marketing firm operators are just a few examples.

According to Flexjobs.com, the five most important kinds of businesses that frequently recruit freelance proofreaders are:

  • Publishers of newspapers/magazines/books
  • Expert scientific/technical services
  • Employment services
  • Film and video production companies
  • Public relations/advertising services
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b. Is Proofreading Business a Profitable Business?

Yes. With the rise of self-published books, the service has lately managed to pick up in at least one market. Even though traditional editorial connections allow writers to fall back on their publishing houses to handle proofreading duties, individual writers are completely on their own.

Because the proofreading industry is so aggressive, it’s critical that you sculpt out a specialty in which you can successfully compete.

c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?

Your offerings will be determined by your qualifications and experience. You can proofread a wide range of papers. You might provide editing services too. Proofreading, copyediting, line editing, and developmental editing are the four different types of editing.

You should do more studies on the distinctions to know whether you want to be a proofreader or if you would like to avail copyediting or developmental editing services as well.

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d. Who are the Major Competitors?
  • Proofreading Pal
  • PaperTrue
  • Scribbr
  • Scribendi
  • Enago
  • Editage
  • Wordvice
  • Get Proofed
  • Wordy
  • Cambridge Proofreading
 e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Proofreading Business?

Despite the absence of federal or state licensing requirements for proofreading businesses at the moment, these businesses are still required to acquire Local County and state business licenses, as applicable. Also, keep in mind that business policies and guidelines in the United States fluctuate dramatically, so you should always check particular criteria in your state before and after starting your proofreading business.

f. Is There a Franchise for Proofreading Business?

No, there are no franchises in this line of business because almost all proofreaders work as independent entities and have home-based employment. However, as a home-based business, you have the potential to earn more by widening your services and skills. Note that doing so also boosts your opportunities.

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g. What Do You Need to Start a Proofreading Business?
  • Computer system with printer and internet connection
  • Fax machine
  • Proofreading Software
  • Reference material
  • Voice mail or answering machine
  • Office Supplies
  • Technical support
  • A reliable business phone system
  1. Choose a Memorable Business Name

When looking to start a business, before you can begin to file the necessary documents with the constituted authorities or start your website, it is necessary that you come up with a name that you will be recognized with. It is essential that the name you come up with can easily be pronounced, is unique and easily memorable.

Some of the catchy business name ideas suitable for a proofreading business are;

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Creative Proofreading Business Name ideas
  • Classic Proofreading
  • No Error Proofreading
  • Detailed Edit
  • Extensive Inspections
  • Check My Works
  • One Touch Proofreader
  • Proofreading Embassy
  • Proofreading Experts
  • Points and Dots
  • Alpha Touch
  • Systematic Proofreading
  • Editing Pro
  • Proof Work Zone
  • Grammar Works
  • Advanced Proofreading
  • Touch and Go
  • No Regrets Edit
  • Elite Editing Concepts
  • One Stop Proofreading
  • Corrections Expert
  1. Register your Business

a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Proofreading Business?

Business entities come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Select prudently because the legal structure you select for your proofreading business will influence your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements.

It is suggested that fresh entrepreneurs form an LLC because it provides liability coverage and pass-through taxation whilst also being easier to set up than a corporation.

b. List Steps to Form an LLC
  • Select a Name for Your LLC.
  • Save the Articles of Organization.
  • Choose a registered agent.
  • Choose between member and manager management.
  • Make an operating agreement for your LLC.
  • Other tax and regulatory requirements must be met.
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c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Proofreading Business?

While no precise licenses are required to establish a proofreading business, general business registrations may be required. A local business license and an Employer Identification Number are two examples.

d. What Type of Certification is Needed to Open a Proofreading Business?

While certification isn’t required in this industry, it does help to highlight your credentials and raise your income ability. Consider the following certifications:

  • Certified proofreader.
  • Certified copy editorial
  • Certified stylistic editor.
  • Certified structural editor.
  • Certified professional editor.
e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Proofreading Business
  • Service contracts
  • Assumed name certificate
  • Employer Identification Number
  • Operating Agreement
  • Insurance
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f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?

No, you will not have to register for intellectual property protection/trademark because you can kick-start this business without having to sue someone for using your company’s intellectual property.

  1. Do your Cost Analysis and Budgeting

a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Proofreading Business?

A proofreading business can be started for around $2,300. The most expensive items are a computer and a website. If you have them, you’re way ahead of the game. If you need to brush up on your skills, you can enroll in an Udemy online proofreading course for less than $20.

For around $400, you also might enroll in the Proofreading Academy’s 50-hour proofreading program, now known as Nowadays. You can also get help and find work through the Editorial Freelancers Association, which has an annual membership fee of $145.

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b. What are the Cost Involved?
  • Setting up a business name and corporation: $150 – $200
  • Business licenses and permits: $100 – $300
  • Insurance: $100-$300
  • Business cards and brochures: $200 – $300
  • Website setup: $1,000 – $3,000
  • Computer: $800 – $1,600
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Proofreading Business?
  • Permits and licenses
  • Business structure and registration
  • Insurance
  • Renting, renovating, and furnishing a workspace.
  • Software selection.
  • Amount of Employees
  • Marketing and advertising strategy
  • Miscellaneous
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility?

To cut down on costs mostly in the initial phases, you might choose to operate your company from home. However, as your company grows, you might be required to recruit employees. Commercial space for rent in your area can be found on websites such as Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices.

e. What are the Ongoing Expenses for Running a Proofreading Business?

Your sole expenditures will most likely be the money to sustain yourself on a daily basis: rent (if you have an office), car payments (for moving to and from client meetings), and so on.

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f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
  • Chief Executive Officer: $59,340
  • Proofreaders: $57,786
  • Marketing Lead: $46,610
  • Accountant: $41,670
  • Customer Service Executives: $32,780
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Proofreading Business

The next phase is to obtain funding, and there are numerous ways to do so:

  • SBA-guaranteed loans: Through an SBA-guaranteed loan, the Small Business Administration could indeed function as a guarantor, assisting in obtaining that ambiguous bank approval.
  • Government grants: A few economic support initiatives help business owners get started. Visit Grants.gov to find out which ones might be suitable for you.
  • Family and friends: Approach family members and friends for a credit line.
  • Crowdfunding: Websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo provide a moderate alternative wherein funders finance your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding platforms such as Fundable and WeFunder allow various investors to fund your business.
  • Personal: Fund your business with your own money or by selling property or other assets.
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Aside from friends and family, bank and SBA loans are arguably the best options for funding a proofreading business.

  1. Write a Business Plan

a. Executive Summary

Royal Oversights provides editing and writing assistance, as well as proofreading. The firm owner is pursuing new funds for a revitalized promotional strategy, an increased workforce, and a bigger and more powerful foundation for long-term goals including documentation and related materials.

b. Products and Service
  • Proofreading
  • Copyediting
  • Line editing
  • Developmental editing
  • Materials Manufacturing
  • Franchising
c. Mission Statement

Our mission is to offer businesses, governmental organizations, private and public entities, and individuals formatting, composing, proofreading, and skills training. This support is available on a fee-for-service premise and is charged on an hourly basis.

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Vision Statement

Although our central emphasis will remain on editorial and proofreading services, the firm anticipates developing a manufacturing aspect that will enable a diverse span of printed and audio/visual communications aids that will be auctioned to clients and the public at large.

d. Goals and Objectives
  • To establish a customer-focused organization whose main objective is to surpass customers’ expectations.
  • To increase the number of clients by 35% by providing superior service.
  • To guarantee that 40% of our clients return.
  • To establish a self-sustaining home-based business that relies on its own cash flow.
e. Organizational Structure
  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Proofreaders
  • Marketing Lead
  • Accountant
  • Customer Service Executives

Marketing Plan

a. SWOT Analysis
Strengths
  • The owner has prior experience in the industry.
  • High-quality software actually increases the comfort and precision of the service provided.
  • Employee orientation initiative that is very comprehensive.
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Weaknesses
  • Limitations and failure to scale quickly
  • Insufficient marketing budget.
  • It will take a bit of time for a start-up to create brand equity.
Opportunities
  • A fiscally feasible and expanding market
  • The opportunities to expand the practice with more expertise and industry experience.
  • Margin expansion is encouraged.
Threats
  • Editorial and proofreading services are already available.
  • Huge technological advances in speech recognition software for individual users.
  • Outsourcing of services to national companies as a result of enhanced technological advances in Internet technology.
b. How Do Proofreading Businesses Make Money?

A proofreading company generally receives work on an individual basis. Whenever a customer approaches you, you have the option of deciding how you’ll be compensated—hourly, per page, or per word—which might very well differ based on the sort of task, volume, and timeframe to finish the job.

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c. Payment Options
  • Payment via bank transfer
  • Payment with cash
  • Payment via credit cards
  • Payment via online bank transfer
  • Payment via check
  • Payment via mobile money transfer
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies

Use your webpage, social media pages, and in-person operations to raise awareness of your options and establish your reputation. Some ideas are as follows:

  • In-Person Sales – Make your proofreading programs accessible to local businesses.
  • Email marketing/newsletters – Send out emails on a routine basis to clients and potential clients. Make them unique.
  • Create a blog and publish on a continuous basis. Switch up your content and share it across various platforms.
  • Paid social media ads – Select sites that would reach your targeted audience and run targeted ads.
  • Pay-per-click marketing: This entails using Google AdWords to improve search performance.
  • Create a podcast – This makes it possible to connect with your clients on a more personal level.
  • Share client feedback about how your proofreading assisted them.
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Financial Projection

a. How Much Should You Charge for your Service?

That will depend on your area of expertise. Advertising and public relations firms may afford to employ you for $25 per hour. You could earn $3 per page for some service users. When it comes to indie authors, begin charging what the economy will endure. Nevertheless, whatever you charge, aim for a rate of at least $25 per hour!

b. How Much Profit Do Proofreading Business Owners Make a Year?

The average hourly rate for proofreading is $25. You might be capable of charging more than that if you proofread quite complicated or technical papers. Your profit margin should really be around 95%. From your first year or two, you could work 30 hours each week and earn $39,000 per year.

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Let’s assume a 95% margin, this might result in a profit of $37,000. As your company grows, you may be able to work 40 hours per week at $30 per hour. With a yearly income of $62,000, you’d make virtually $60,000 in profit.

c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
  • Business Size
  • Number of Clients
  • Marketing and Customer Retention Strategies
  • Investment
  • Pricing Model
d. What is the Profit Margin of a Proofreading Business Product/Service?

Proofreading services cost an average of $25. You could indeed charge $35 or more for extra sophisticated documents. A profit margin of around 95% is ideal.

e. What is the Sales Forecast?
  • First Fiscal Year (FY1): $180,000
  • Second Fiscal Year (FY2): $281,000
  • Third Fiscal Year (FY3): $430,000
  1. Set Up your Shop/Office

a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for Proofreading Business

When selecting a commercial space, consider the following guidelines:

  • Well-ventilated and comfortable, with plenty of natural light.
  • A lease that is adaptable and can be lengthened as your company grows.
  • Space that is ready to use and does not require any significant renovations or repairs.
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b. What State and City are Best to Open a Proofreading Business?

The location of your firm is significant since it affects taxation, relevant laws, and income. Many folks will enroll their enterprise in the state in which they reside, but if you wish to develop, you should look somewhere else, because some states may offer significant benefits to proofreading businesses.

  • The most populous states for proofreaders are New Hampshire, Delaware, and Connecticut.
  • Wyoming, Alabama, and Florida are the three least popular states for proofreaders.
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate?

Proofreading enterprises necessitate a variety of equipment to assist them to do their jobs effectively. To monitor modifications and make recommendations for their files, you might choose vital editing software such as Microsoft Word and Google Docs.

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Advanced online editors would also boost productivity in your work. Grammarly is an internet spell and grammar checker that just about every proofreader and copy editor ought to have.

  1. Hire Employees

Numerous self-employed proofreaders operate alone, however, if you discover yourself getting overwhelmed with jobs, you can think of expanding your workforce. You may even be able to locate a skilled English major at a nearby college or university who is willing to work 15-20 hours per week for a fair salary.

  1. Launch the Business Proper

After you’ve obtained the requisite gear, hired help, and begun looking for clients, keep in mind that there remains one very important step left in the launch of your proofreading business: finding and trying to join the proper association.

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Remember that entering an association could be an extremely precious asset for a new proofreading business owner because it instantly links you with other industry professionals in the editorial and proofreading industry while also supplying a plethora of other perks.

a. What Makes a Proofreading Business Successful?

A proofreader should be capable of accepting constructive criticism from a writer, publishing company, or other entrepreneurs without enforcing their own concepts, in addition to possessing a solid background and/or degree in English, journalism, or a similar area.

You should be capable of maintaining attention, motivation, and organization all through the editorial process, particularly once projects are becoming lengthy and complicated. Even though you might enjoy the concept of being paid to read, you might not always be reading texts that you enjoy. But, with such a diverse clientele, you’ll not even be frustrated!

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b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Proofreading Business?

Nowadays, the majority of your task will be procured and completed online, as such you will be spending a lot of time behind a computer monitor. Remember that anything you publish online will be viewed as an instance of your writing, as such be cautious.

You would not want to be remembered as the proofreader who makes several typos or spelling errors. Here’s how your period could be divided.

  • Taking care of your internet persona by writing to your blog, participating in social media, and updating/upgrading your business website.
  • Conversing with potential customers, normally online but conceivably by phone or even in person if they are close by.
  • Proofreading your designated resources and responding to client feedback
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c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a Proofreading Business?

Numerous proofreaders have a bachelor’s degree in an appropriate field of study, including English or creative writing. A few have worked extensively as proofreaders for ad agencies, publishing houses, or other organizations that evaluate and integrate a large amount of writing.

Your prior experience with language use will be extremely beneficial. However, other skills required to run this type of business include:

  • Knowledge and experience in business
  • Computer and software knowledge
  • Experience in a medical office
  • People abilities
  • Typing abilities