Here is the latest feature for the self-employment series!
This interview is of Darcy Werkman, a general proofreader.
Let’s get started!
Please tell us about yourself
My name is Darcy Werkman and I am a thirty-five-year-old Canadian. I am a father of four amazing children and a husband to the most incredible wife.
I grew up on a farm in northern Alberta and moved to the “big city” (Calgary) when I was eighteen, where I have lived ever since.
I am a devout Christian, I love American football, and I am addicted to coffee.
What is general proofreading?
General proofreading is a very specific job that covers a wide range of writing genres.
Essentially, a proofreader provides a final look at a document before it gets published to ensure there are no lingering (and embarrassing) errors left in the document.
Why and how did you decide to pursue this career?
When I graduated from high school, I went to university to obtain a degree in Computer Information Sciences. Upon graduating, I soon realized that my passion was simply not in it. So, I started looking for alternatives.
I have always been passionate about writing, so I wanted to find something that allowed me to use that passion.
I started looking online at different types of jobs and I found that proofreading was a real and viable option for me, so I decided to go for it…and I haven’t looked back.
Why did you choose Proofread Anywhere?
Once I chose to begin a career in proofreading, I started doing a lot of research. I spent hours looking for information that would be useful for me.
When I came across Proofread Anywhere, I thought that it would be the perfect opportunity for me to learn all that I needed to know to become a successful proofreader.
How long did it take you to complete the course?
It took me about five months to complete the course.
How long after completing the course did you obtain your first client? Have you made back your investment?
I actually obtained my first client and made back my investment before I even completed the course.
Within a month of starting the course, I had landed several clients and made back more than double my investment.
How much do you make a month? Do you work part time or full time?
I am working part-time right now, but am hoping to go full-time in early 2019. I currently make an average of $2000 a month, but that is increasing every month.
In September, I received contracts from eight clients for a total of $5400.
What are your expenses (business-related expenses)?
I do not have very many expenses related to my business. Since I started my business, I paid for Proofread Anywhere and I bought an iPad. Besides that, the only other expense that is required for my business is an internet connection.
What are your duties? Can you describe a day in your life?
My day can vary greatly, especially since I am currently doing this part-time, but I will describe what I do when I have a full day dedicated to my business.
I begin every day by communicating with my current clients and updating my progress. Then I spend about thirty minutes to an hour looking for potential clients.
After that, I spend the next two or three hours proofreading. After my lunch break, I check my emails to see if any current or potential clients have responded to me and I communicate back if necessary.
Then I spend another three or four hours proofreading.
What is your least favorite part/hardest part of being a general proofreader?
The most difficult part of being a general proofreader is landing clients. The old freelancer adage “feast or famine” is definitely true.
What is your favorite part of being a general proofreader?
I predominantly work with fiction, so my favorite part about proofreading is being able to contribute to the success of some incredible stories.
What traits do you feel are necessary to being a good, successful general proofreader? Which ones are taught and which ones are inherent?
Well, obviously you need to have an in-depth knowledge of the English language in order to be successful as a proofreader. This is something that is taught and is something that a good proofreader will constantly be looking to improve.
Another trait that is good to have is passion for what you are doing. I believe this to be an inherent trait, but I also believe it to be necessary for success.
Other traits that are necessary are being a good communicator, being timely, and always doing what you say you will do.
Do you have any advice for someone considering this career?
Further to my earlier point about having a passion for what you do, I recommend to anyone who wants to be a proofread to focus on a niche that they are passionate about. I love fiction books, especially historical fiction and fantasy, so I focus my attention on that niche, and my passion comes out in my work.
Also, being a freelancer takes commitment. There will be ups and downs in your business, and there will be times when you think you should just give up, but if you work hard and power through that resistance, you can achieve great things.
Any final thoughts?
I absolutely love proofreading and I think it is an amazing career opportunity for anyone who has a passion for the English language.
Darcy Werkman is a proofreader/editor, husband, and dad to four children. He is a devout Christian and a loyal Canadian who loves coffee and football. His passion is to help authors develop their books into something truly inspirational and awe-inspiring. You can find him at: