wk #4: On my way to becoming a proofreader!

Do I have everything I need?

I’m making progress. Website, check. Social media coming together, check. Continuing to add to my skills, check and check. Great! I’m ready to proofread for clients, right? Crickets…

Guess what? There’s more to research and do.

  • I need a business email, so that was completed when the website went live.
  • If I’m going to work for a client, I need a questionnaire so we can get to know each other and see if we are a good fit for the project.
  • I need an official service contract to spell out the project’s specifics and protect both parties if there’s an issue. (hopefully not)
  • I need a way to bill clients and receive payments.

Yay! More research. (If you don’t love it, editing may not be your thing… just sayin’.) We can find so much with a quick search on the internet. Let’s go! The online proofreading and editing courses had resources to help me get started, but I love what’s available on Louise Harnby’s website. She and Denise Cowle also have a great podcast, and they talk about what to ask a potential client, plus so much more! As you search online, you’ll also find many excellent service contract templates adjustable for each client.

I already had a PayPal account, and it works great to customize an invoice for a client, set up payments, and even send reminders. But other options are available.

Rates. Holy moly! THE most frustrating part of starting my proofreading and editing business. There are too many variables to say that the graphs and charts of average fees, like the Editorial Freelancer’s Association, will be gospel in every situation. (cue Geoffrey Rush in Pirates of the Caribbean.) Lol.

How would I know what to charge if I was just beginning my career? What is a beginner editor worth? Oh, boy. Talk about a controversial can of worms. So… let’s open up that big ‘ol can!

You’ll find many opinions as you research to set your rates. It’s totally up to you what you wish to charge, within reason. You think you’ll set a reasonable, affordable price—maybe. Are you devaluing yourself and your learned skills? But should you set your rates as high as a professional who’s been editing for years? Probably not.

It helps to determine your rates by figuring out your cost of living, and taking your beginner status into consideration. Don’t worry. You’ll find boatloads of information that will contradict, compare, agree, and disagree with every bit of information on rates you can find! (Sorry. That didn’t really help, did it?) The bottom line is freelancers will have varying rates. Do your research and set yours according to your experience and the value you offer your clients.

Before I end today, I want to bring up your ideal client. What do I mean? The person who benefits the most from your specific skills, knowledge, training, and the value you bring. Think in specifics with as many details as possible. Be prepared to know yourself and your ideal client clearly so your skills, experience, written content, and advertising speak directly to them.

If you have a niche, that can mean asking for a higher rate because of your expertise. But you don’t need one. Just know that finding your rates may take time and a few adjustments.

Next week: My first client.

Cheers,

Susan

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