Make Money Finding Typos

February 12th, 2013 posted by Liz Folger

by Liz Folger

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!


How will a person know if they’d be good at editing and proofing websites?


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!


Do you need an English degree, or any certifications for that matter, to start this business?


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 of motivation.”


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 eBook. 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.


Is it possible to make a full-time income from this business? If so, would it be something that could happen overnight?


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.


How did you decide this was a good business to make money at?


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 market!


What’s the biggest challenge in running this business?


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 websites!


Any last words?


I want to remind everyone that 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 Bizymoms. 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

Liz Folger (18 Posts)

  • Chris McCormick

    I have an interest in this subject. I seem to have that “Gift” of finding typos in almost everything I read. This includes well known websites, adds, apps, and even encyclopedias. I would assume its the way I break down sentences in a different fashion than most people are taught. I find it fun.
    Recently I broke my hand and am on leave from work. I am currently an RF technician, which involves climbing communication towers, so as you could imagine, I cannot climb.
    I am basically a troubleshooter for the top cellular companies. Mainly the ever rising upgrade projects that are currently in high demand. With this recent accident, i have been looking for a little extra cash for my family of four. If you would be inclined to point me in the right direction, It would not go overlooked.

    Thank you and happy holidays,

    Chris McCormick

    • Gary Crossan


  • Apricot

    It’s been at least a year or two that someone, can’t even remember who at this point, told me I should look further into this profession. I notice typos EVERYWHERE, and am astonished each and every time, why professional pieces of work or published texts are not edited better since an average Jane Do like me has the ability to point out their mistakes. I look forward to reading your book Bruce, very shortly, and I hope the gathering is still in existence because I plan to become a new member asap.

    • Ian

      There should be a comma after “book”, otherwise it seems like you’re saying that Bruce is the name of the book that you want to read.

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