Working for a Company vs. Working Solo
As with many careers, there is no one prescribed route for becoming a proofreader. You might begin by proofreading for friends and then start your own company, or you might find yourself proofreading as part of your job and take those transferrable skills to the bank. Broadly, though, there are two paths: working for a company or working for yourself.
Neither is necessarily better: it’s a matter of personal choice and we can’t tell you what’s best for you. What we can do, however, is look at the pros and cons of each so that you can make an informed choice.
Working for a Company
First of all, there are different kinds of companies. Some are easier to get into than others. For instance, publishing houses do not often advertise proofreading posts. That’s not to say you’ll never get work with companies such as these. But you may need to be proactive and build a reputation first.
Online proofreading companies, meanwhile, are usually looking for new freelancers, but most will expect you to complete a test and/or to have relevant experience and qualifications.
Once you are on a company’s books there are several things to consider. The first is that each company will have a certain way of working. Whether you are formally employed or working freelance, you will have to adhere to their rules and follow their processes. This might mean doing things in a way that you find counterintuitive, but it is important that you do what is required. To do otherwise would be unprofessional and could damage your reputation.
A company will also either pay you a salary or take a portion of your payment per word rather than allowing you to set your own rates. This may work out as more or less than you could earn by yourself, depending on your rates and how much work you are able to find.
Another issue is that, particularly if the company specialises in one thing, you might have to roll with its busy and not-so-busy periods. However, being attached to a company is likely to bring in a higher volume of work more quickly than working alone at the beginning of your career.
Finally, the difference between working for yourself or for someone else could mean the difference between working set hours in an office and setting your own hours at home.
Working for Yourself
As a solo freelance proofreader you can set your own rules. You choose your rates, you decide when to work and when not to, you can refuse jobs if they are lost causes or drop clients if they are timewasters. But it’s all on you.
You promote yourself. You decide whether to pay for training. You create and run your website, work email and schedule. You have to go looking for work. If you do this well, you might build up a solid client base that gives you regular work, but it’s not easy to reach this stage.
Of course, there is a middle ground. Many proofreaders get by on a mixture of solo freelance work and work with online proofreading companies. In some ways, this offers the best of both worlds: a balance of freedom and security.
Becoming A Proofreader
Only you can decide what fits best with your needs and your life. Whether you choose to work for yourself or for a company, our comprehensive proofreading course will take you from complete beginner to confident, trained professional. Sign up for a free trial today.