Running your own business can be difficult, especially with juggling University studies, but it is also rewarding as well. It is your own personal thing which gives you an outlet for your creativity and normally it is something you enjoy. I have my own proofreading business and it is something that is quite close to me as I really enjoy it.
Often people are put off from starting their own business because they fear that it may not be as successful as they want it to be. This may be the case, but how do you know unless you have tried? I had some doubts originally about my business but as I had been doing proofreading informally for quite a long time (since I was 15) and I decided that I wanted to put my skills to good use in a paid capacity. That is how a lot of businesses start as people realise they have a talent and want to make money out of it. Admittedly the money is a bonus, but proofreading means much more to me, it is an outlet for my abilities and I learn new things simultaneously.
Maybe being a proofreader is not everyone’s cup of tea but I enjoy it and if you want to start your own business then enjoyment should be a key factor in deciding what your business should offer. If you derive satisfaction from what you do, then it can keep you going through lean periods and help you through setbacks. There have been times when things have got too much for me, perhaps when I have had too much or not enough work but I have kept going. Why? The simple answer is because I enjoy it and I know that it is going to enhance my future prospects. As well as looking good on my CV and contributing to my educational practice, it will bring me a modicum of financial stability. I might not make much at the moment (for instance I only charge £2.50 per 1,000 words of each piece of work I proofread) but the amount that I make is gradually increasing as I get more clients and news spreads of my ability.
It might be a cliché, but patience really is a virtue and it is a quality that you need to have in life in general, never mind in running your own business. Naturally, resilience and an ability to respond to adversity are necessary qualities to have in business. You need to keep going when times are hard ad accept rejection. This has happened to me countless times as people have told me they don’t need a proofreader or doubted my abilities. Convincing people to let you offer them a service can be challenging but often it gets easier once you get your first client as you get more people through word of mouth. I would say that I have been moderately successful so far- I have proofread quite a lot of essays and proofread for an agency at Masters and PHD level but there are definitely things I can improve on. However, I have only just started out in my business, things take time and I am much further on upon founding my business.
Diversification and flexibility are also good assets to have. I proofread a wide variety of work on any topic including: essays, dissertations, job applications, CVs and personal statements. Furthermore, the work I proofread ranges from sixth form level to complex PHD theses. I have targeted many streams of advertising and been proactive in trying to get my business out there. I have put posters up in University, Libraries, Cafes, Hairdressers and Community centres, contacted publishers and newspapers, done Facebook campaigns (I have my own page for my business which is called Efficient Editing check it out!), told my friends about it and asked for advice from everyone I know. I am also flexible in meeting tight deadlines and can proofread work for the next day if required. Running your own business definitely needs creativity!
Outside of my business, I have also been flexible in the ways I make money. My mates call me a ‘One man Industry’. I write, proofread, take photos, model, do online surveys, tutor, participate in focus groups, post on social revenue sharing sites, give financial advice… you name it, I do it! In all seriousness though, that is a sure-fire way to make money by doing a lot of different things.
In conclusion, I would always tell anyone to go for it and just start their own business. If you want to do it, just do it! Life’s too short and you will never know unless you try. There are so many positive to having your own business- you never know where it might go.
Sam has his own proofreading business. He charges £2.50 per 1,000 words. He can help with style and content as well as grammatical and formatting issues. Sam has proofread for 6 years and has looked at pieces of work from Undergraduate to PHD level as well as examining CVs, job applications and personal statements. The business has its own Facebook page ‘Efficient Editing’ which you can contact Sam through. You can also get in touch with Sam by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sam is currently on track for a first in his secondary maths teaching degree, where the lowest mark he has achieved is 65.