Freelance Editing: Can You Spot the Mistakes?

freelance editingAre you known as “the friend” who is always correcting other friends grammar?  Do those same friends call you the grammar police when you are out of earshot?  If this is a continuing occurrence, you may want to gift your grammatically challenged friends an enrollment into our Introduction to Grammar course for an early Christmas.  Do you love to read, and find it secretly thrilling to find and highlight typos and grammatical errors that you may stumble upon in a book?  You feel as though you’ve found a little Easter egg when you find an error and wonder how an error that you so easily spotted was missed by the author and the editing team.  Your biggest pet peeve is when people use there instead of their, or your and you’re.  If any of the above are true, you probably have an above average amount of love for the English language.  Freelance editing gives you the freedom to work doing something that you love from virtually any place in the world.  Remember that old saying, “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life”?  So if this sounds even the slightest bit positive to you, quit working at doing something that you weren’t really meant to do, and find out how to get started on the path of becoming a freelance editor.

Your job as an editor will consist of reading through other peoples work, checking for and correcting errors as needed, and sometimes even re-arranging whole sentences and paragraphs to give it more structure.  Grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and document formatting are all among some of the things you will need to check, and correct if necessary, all the while making sure you do not change the context of what has been written.  Your love of the English language unfortunately isn’t enough to make you a successful freelance editor.  You will need some skill and credentials to secure some solid and good paying gigs.  Check out the English Grammar Rules and Support Tricks course to completely grasp the proper placement of that tricky comma.  Let’s take a look at a couple of factors that you should consider as well as some of the requirements you’ll need to have in order to become a freelance editor.

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freelance editingSince you will be working as a freelance editor, your income will depend on the amount of work that you are able to book as well as the amount of time that it takes you to edit the work and get it back to the client.  Begin looking for freelance jobs in the writing section of Craigslist or join freelance writing websites.  Try and avoid sites which may charge you a fee to sign up or take a (large) percentage of your pay as compensation.  If necessary, you can begin on one of those sites, but make sure that you have a right to use and display your work in your own portfolio. Create a website to use as a tool to market yourself and gain prospective clients.  If a website sounds like something you are interested in and would like to learn more about how to get started, check out How to Create Your Own Website course now.

Lastly, don’t be discouraged if it takes you a while to book your first freelance editing job.  Remind yourself that you have to build your brand and the work will come with time.  When the work does begin to come in remember that you are most likely being paid as an independent contractor.  This means that state and local taxes are not being deducted from your paycheck.  You should begin to set aside enough to cover these taxes so that you are not hit with a massive tax bill at the end of the year.  On the upside, you may be eligible to deduct some business expenses.  You should consider enrolling in our Basic Income Tax Preparation course to learn more about what may, and may not be deductible and what you need to do in order to qualify for those deductions.


Update your resume with any applicable skills and begin to put together a portfolio of any work that you have edited.  Now, that of course may be easier said than done.  Have you ever tried to get a job as an unemployed worker?  Seems much harder to do than when you already have a job and are trying to look for a new job, right?  You can look at this situation in sort of the same way.  How are you supposed to begin to build a portfolio of work that you have edited, if you haven’t edited any work?  Well, in this case you can consider asking a friend to write an article or essay for you to edit.  It doesn’t have to be a novel, or a hugely complex article.  It could simply be a three to four paragraph short essay.  It also shouldn’t be too poorly written, you don’t want your first portfolio article to be overly marked up.  Ask them to write something that they would normally consider a final draft.  Then, comes the fun!  Grab your red pen or turn on your Track Changes and start editing away.  Look for spelling mistakes, run on sentences, punctuation errors and formatting mistakes that they may have overlooked.  Check to make sure the same theme runs throughout the paper and that the voice is consistent throughout. Formatting may be tricky since there are different requirements for different styles.  APA and MLA formats for example have different requirements.  Learn them, and learn them well.

Getting freelance work is not always easy, but once you secure work and build your brand you have the freedom to work from virtually anywhere.  Just remember that wherever that anywhere may be, you are still working.  Prioritize your work so that your turn around times aren’t too long which will keep your clients happy.  They are paying you for a service, the better a service you provide, the more likely they are to give you more work.  Don’t waste another minute doing something that you don’t love.  Enroll in our Successful Freelancer course to get started on your path to working for yourself doing something that you love.