Everyone has a passion for something. And there are those among you who, when reading a letter, a book, an advertisement, or a website, can find spelling and grammatical errors without even thinking twice. You were born with a gift, and believe it or not, this gift/passion can be used to earn cash.
If you’ve spent any time on the Internet, you know more and more Web pages come online everyday. And you’ve seen that those pages hold a great number of errors that practically scream for a proofreader’s attention. Bruce Noeske decided to make use of his talent for proofing and editing websites, and figured out a way to make money as a result. I was able to ask Bruce how he got started and if this was a business others could start. Wait till you hear what he had to say!
Liz: How will a person know if they’d be good at website editing and proofing?
Bruce: Anybody who spots errors in writing everywhere they look would be a good match for this career. People who are known as the official or unofficial proofreader of others’ writing at work, school, or home would enjoy editing and proofreading websites. Those who search the newspaper for typos are a natural for this position. And I’m sure many people have come across websites that just hurt their eyes, and wondered if anything could be done about it. For some people, editing and proofreading come naturally. For others it’s a challenge. But if you get a real kick out of finding the errors that others miss, you’ll love being a website editor!
Liz: Do you need an English degree, or any certifications for that matter, to start this business?
Bruce: Absolutely not! You need a good grasp of the English language, but that can be learned without a degree. For many, it’s a gift. My own degree is in Human Resources Management, quite a far cry from English or Journalism. It’s nice to be able to present some credentials to prospective clients, but not an absolute necessity. The only certification that’s really required is a “certification of motivation.”
Liz: How much does it cost to get a business like this started? Can it be started for under $100?
Bruce: One could easily launch their own home-based website editing and proofreading business for under $100, as long as we make a few assumptions. The first and most obvious needs would be a computer with an Internet connection. As long as you can surf the Web, you can edit the Web. If we start calculating at that point, then yes, start up costs can be below $100.
A few good reference books such as a dictionary and style manual are required. Besides those, you’ll need a box of red pens, highlighters, and plenty of paper if you choose to print and mark up errors on paper. Of course, those last items are not necessary if you decide to do all the editing in your word processor.
Setting up your own Web page is a good idea, and that’s where you might start running up some costs (not necessarily though). But bottom line? When I started my business, I already had a computer, Internet connection, and some dictionaries. So my cash outlay was in the neighborhood of, well, zero dollars.
Liz: Is it possible to make a full-time income from this business? If so, would it be something that could happen overnight?
Bruce: Full-time income? Yes. Overnight? No. A good editor can make a very good income. To turn this job into a real moneymaker, you need to do a LOT of marketing and that takes time, some studying, a bit of trial-and-error, and a lot of motivation. But with millions of error-laden websites out there in cyberspace, there are plenty of opportunities for the serious website editor to find business.
Liz: How did you decide this was a good business to make money at?
Bruce: Since I first began exploring the Internet in the mid-1990’s, I’ve watched in astonishment as more and more businesses established their Web presence without regard to the less-than-professional image they were presenting to the world. I believe that’s because many small- to medium-sized businesses see the Internet as a way to advertise, but they don ’t have the expertise to do their own editing. I saw the opportunity to offer them my services as a freelance editor, and my business took off from there. The Internet is still growing at a phenomenal rate, and I just can’t keep up with all the potential business out there. I’m only half-kidding because realistically, there just aren’t that many website editors, so I don ’t have much competition.
Liz: What’s the biggest challenge in running this business?
Bruce: Establishing a niche! Liz, you always emphasize finding your niche, and I’m in complete agreement! If a home-business owner really wants to succeed, they have to define their own niche; really focus it down. When I first started out, I targeted any and all websites. No niche there; it was way too broad. Not surprisingly, I didn’t get very much business either. I tightened my target market down slightly and did a little better, but I was still too unfocused. It wasn’t until I found a way to market my talents to a very specific group of website owners that I became recognized as somewhat of an expert and my business became successful.
The best thing about operating within a niche is that all it takes is one satisfied customer to get the ball rolling. One success will lead to another, and so on until it really begins to snowball. You’ve heard the expression, “Success breeds success.” Well, it’s really true. My own business is now at the point where I have as much work as I can handle, and can get more anytime I want just by continuing down my list of targeted websites!
Recommended Books on How to Make Money with Website Editing:
- Make Money Editing From Home
- 102 Ways to Earn Money Writing 1,500 Words or Less: The Ultimate Freelancer’s Guide
- Copyediting and Proofreading For Dummies
- Writing for Quick Cash: Turn Your Way with Words into Real Money
- 88 Money-Making Writing Jobs
- Careers for Writers & Others Who Have a Way with Words
Liz Folger is the founder of http://www.bizymoms.com . Bizymoms.com is the leading online resource for work-from-home ideas. The site offers home-based business start-up kits, online classes, e-books, chats and enthusiastic support for moms who want to have it all a family and a career. Visit http://www.bizymoms.com for more information.