Since launching my writing, editing and proofreading business – Penning and Planning – almost 6 months ago, I have worked hard to lay the foundations of my business in order to get paid work as an editor and/or proofreader. I am currently enjoying my busiest month yet, working on a steady stream of varied editing and proofreading projects as well as putting strategies in place to develop my business and potential client reach further. As I am still quite new to the business owning world, I thought I would document transparently how I found and secured the paid editing and proofreading work I have done so far – for my own reflection as well as to share my experiences for other new(er) editors and proofreaders.
I worked with my first proofreading customer before my launch date, during the set-up phase of my business. I completed a free manuscript critique for a local publishing house after meeting and chatting with them at a pop-up business event. The publisher kindly gave me a testimonial in exchange for my report:
‘We found your report was a great length with the included suggestions. The notes were in depth enough for us to make decisions and the report was easy to follow and can be used thoroughly to expand on and prepare for an author meeting.’
How have I secured paying clients?
I secured my first paying clients within 3 weeks of launching Penning and Planning. Whilst setting up my business and immediately after its launch, I invested in and completed the SfEP‘s Introduction to Proofreading course, the PTC‘s Editing Fiction course, and attended all the local training and networking events I could find via Eventbrite and social media. It was meeting great new people at all these events (despite battling social anxiety for a long time!) that led to them asking me to work for them – initially proofreading flyers and editing and proofreading blogs. One of my new contacts then referred me to two local authors who needed help editing and proofreading their debut nonfiction manuscripts and writing synopses for publishers. Both authors and I hit it off in our subsequent consultation meetings and are now working together on an on-going basis as they finish writing their books!
Alongside training and networking, I registered Penning and Planning on FindaProofreader and paid the bargain price of £36 to advertise for a whole year! Potential clients post their jobs on the site which proofreaders are notified of and can respond to. The client then chooses the right fit for their proofreading requirements from the responses they receive. The site is quite basic and posting is quite sporadic but I have already made a return on my investment after securing three clients – one who needed a journal article proofreading and another two who needed academic essays proofreading. Since those initial jobs, all three clients have contacted me again directly for further paid proofreading projects. I ensured I asked for testimonials from these clients and now my 5 star reviews on Find a Proofreader should help secure others!
“Brilliant! Claire comes back within a good, timely fashion, has a good eye and, overall, helped me see simple changes that really improved my essay writing as a BSc student in my final year! Thank you.”
I am very fortunate to not have had to pitch or compete publicly to find the work I have secured so far – during these past 6 months, I have actually been very REactive in response to queries and bookings and opportunities. That’s not to say that I haven’t been PROactive at all because I have! I joined my wonderful weekly writing group in August last year and two fellow members who have recently finished writing their debut novels have just become clients (through absolutely no ‘selling’ on my part!)!
Six months on I still attend a lot of free and paid training and networking events locally (at least two per month), I have produced regular content marketing in the form of two blog series (#SmallBusinessShowcase and #Authors40+), been active on social media, and I have accessed plenty of local business support and guidance (as well as Webinars and Twitter chats and Podcasts). Due to all this, I have directly met or been indirectly introduced to quite a few potential clients, most of whom have now turned into paying clients!
How much have I earned from editing and proofreading so far?
As my business is split into three services, I am lucky enough to be able to earn money from writing as well as editing and proofreading. I also earn additional ‘side-hustle’ incomes from tutoring and exam marking too, but the figures for my editing and proofreading income per month since I launched my business in July 2018 are as follows:
August 2018 – £110
September 2018 – £30
October 2018 – £45
November 2018 – £138
December 2018 – £75
January 2019 – £205
I have absolutely no idea if these figures are typical or unusual for the six month mark in an editing and proofreading business, but I am happy to now be doing more of the work I love (editing and proofreading) and less of the work I either don’t like as much or doesn’t offer as good a rate of pay (tutoring). If I continue on an upwards trajectory, I hope to be able to stop tutoring completely in the future in favour of exciting new endeavours within my business!
How do I plan to secure paying clients in the future?
In order to develop the services I offer and work with more of my ideal clients, I plan to complete the PTC’s Successful Editorial Freelancing course that I have begun, as well as invest in more SfEP, PTC and Novelry editing and proofreading courses with the aim of being listed in professional directories in the future. This will elevate my business by confirming and reinforcing my industry skills and expertise.
I will also continue to attend local (and national) training and networking events throughout 2019 to further build my business knowledge and community in general, whilst paying particular attention to how to market my business effectively via better content marketing. Andrew and Pete are masters at content marketing so I am very much looking forward to learning a lot at Atomicon in March! The first few of this year’s targets are outlined in more detail in Penning and Planning 2019 Goals – Quarter 1!
As I stated, I am still a fairly new business and I am still learning, but I hope this blog helps other editors and/or proofreaders, or aspiring editors and/or proofreaders, who are thinking about dipping their pen in the freelance ink, so to speak!
If you are a fledgling or established editor and/or proofreader, which methods/platforms have you found most effective for securing paid work?