||Column van work-at-home expert Liz Folger
Make Money Finding Typos
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 editing and proofing websites?
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. In my eBook, I suggest a few ways to obtain proofreading and
editing experience and to get some kind of certification. 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
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, startup 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. Both capabilities are discussed in the
Setting up your own Web page is a good idea, and that's where you might
start running up some costs (not necessarily though, and the eBook talks
about that topic too). 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, wo
uld 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-1990s, 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. Until people pick up my eBook and start their own
businesses, that is. But there's plenty of room for all of us in this
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. In my eBook in the chapter
titled My Most Effective Marketing Technique, I describe ways the
prospective website editor can go about defining their niche to really get
the business going.
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
Liz: Any last words?
Bruce: I want to remind everyone that Bizymoms.com offers a Proofreading
chat every Monday evening at 7pm EST. All are welcome to come in and discuss
this fascinating business. We talk about both website and regular,
manuscript-based, proofreading and editing. We also welcome questions and
comments on the Freelance Proofreading message board under Biz Ideas on
For more information on how you can make money proofing websites you can
purchase Bruce's ebook, "Bizy's Guide To Website Editing and Proofreading"