Whether you’re just starting out and wondering how to secure that first paying job, or you’re more established and looking to fill a hole in your diary or further develop your business, here are ten ideas to help you find proofreading work.
1. Mine your existing contacts. Let them know what you’re doing and what sort of work you’re looking for. Ask them to share your details with anyone who might be interested in your services.
2. Write a speculative letter or email. Get in touch with potential clients and let them know what you can offer them. It goes without saying that you should check that your correspondence is going to the correct person in the organisation.
3. Go to a local SfEP group meeting. The SfEP has 38 local groups and you can find your nearest meeting on the SfEP website. Talk with your local colleagues about what projects you’re working on and what sort of projects might be of interest in the future. Although this may not yield immediate gains, a colleague may remember that you have a particular expertise and refer potential clients on to you if they are unable to take on a project.
4. Network at other local business groups. Go to local business events and find out who might be looking for a proofreader. Prepare a simple sentence that describes what you do and why you could be useful. Don’t forget to take your business cards.
5. Add your details to the SfEP Associates Available list. Associates of the SfEP can add a listing to the list of Associates Available for work, which is updated every fortnight. Any member of the SfEP can access the list and contact associates if they have surplus work and want to subcontract it out.
6. Add an entry to the SfEP Directory of Editorial Services. If you’re an ordinary or advanced member of the SfEP you can add your details to the SfEP Directory of Editorial Services. This is a searchable database available to anyone looking for a professional editor, proofreader or editorial project manager.
7. Keep an eye out for jobs on the SfEPAnnounce mailer. Vacancies are often posted on the SfEPAnnounce email. The vacancies can also be found on the SfEPAnnounce forum page.
8. Check out the SfEP Marketplace online forum. SfEP members can also post and respond to job offers and other requests for help on specific projects via the SfEP Marketplace forum.
9. Sign up to directories. Some proofreaders have found work after signing up to websites such as findaproofreader.com.
10. Check out freelance job boards. There is a wealth of freelance job boards, such as peopleperhour.com, where you can either list your services or search for anyone looking for a proofreader. Some people find it useful to plug a gap in their schedule or to build up experience or a client base. But it’s probably not the best bet for a sustainable work flow and rates can vary hugely.
For more information about finding work as a freelance proofreader, visit our website and look at our FAQs.
We also sell some useful guides in our online shop, including:
If you have any suggestions for other ways to find work, feel free to add a comment below.
Joanna Bowery is the SfEP social media manager. As well as looking after the SfEP’s Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts and the SfEP blog, she offers freelance marketing, PR, writing and proofreading services operating as Cosmic Frog. Jo is an associate of the SfEP and a Chartered Marketer. She is active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.
This article was proofread by SfEP associate Anna Black.
The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the SfEP.