How Making Mistakes Gets Me Hired As a Freelance Proofreader

Freelance Proofreader. Photo Credit – Flickr: jasmeetIf you hire a freelance proofreader to catch your writing mistakes, why would you want one who makes them herself?

It seems counterintuitive.

When I began offering online proofreading services, I was afraid to write anything other than copy on my bare bones (but meticulously crafted) Web site. I thought that the only way to keep my freelance proofreader reputation spotless was to avoid producing content.

The idea that I might make a typo or some sort of grammar error for the public to see was too much to bear.

You’re probably already thinking what took me months to realize.

Q: What mistake is worse for your business than a writing flaw?

A: Invisibility to potential clients.

With a limited online presence, how could I communicate the value of what I offer?

While you want a top-notch freelance proofreader, you also hire a real, imperfect person—which has a number of advantages.

I understand mistakes.

I’m not going to tell you that a typo is going to ruin your career, but you want to make the best impression possible. We’ll work together so that your writing looks effortless.

It’s easy to type “reason” instead of “season,” “cute” instead of “cure,” or “now” instead of “not”—and spell check won’t alert you.

My job isn’t to criticize your document, but to work out any part of the text that is not easily understood. You don’t want your readers to strain to comprehend your point.

I understand criticism.

You put yourself on display when you publish a piece of writing. It’s scary.

However, the criticism that you may receive from a reader is not nearly as tragic as not expressing yourself in the first place.

I’ve been ridiculed in blog post comments for my use of the word “colloquial” and scolded for an incomplete explanation of “passive voice.” (It was complete enough for a minor section of a 500-word blog post, in my opinion; I wasn’t writing a textbook.)

Choose to have a thick skin, brush off the excessively negative remarks, and learn from different opinions.

Perhaps I did need to explain “passive voice” more thoroughly. A freelance proofreader examines potential issues and highlights any questionable sections of your writing before you share your work.

I understand your intentions.

For every error that Reader B points out, I get a new client from Reader A.

It’s the freelance proofreader’s version of “every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings.”

You’ll never impress Reader A if you’re preoccupied with Reader B.

The only factor that inhibits a business from growing is succumbing to an unproductive fear.

I’ve overcome my anxiety of making writing mistakes. Any writing faux pas that I happen to make does not reflect my ability as a freelance proofreader.

When it comes to your documents, I scrutinize over every detail with a fresh set of eyes. If I don’t understand something that makes perfect sense to you, let’s refine your message before your customers, co-workers, or business partners see it.

You have brilliant ideas, but we have to make sure that you don’t just write words; you have to write words that make a solid impact on your audience.

– It’s okay to make writing mistakes, especially when a freelance proofreader is here to fix them! If you have a business writing question that you’d like me to address on the blog, email advice -|at|- revisionfairy -|dot|- com. Subscribe to get new business writing tips each week. –

Freelance ProofreaderStefanie Flaxman created Revision Fairy® Small Business Proofreading Services with your editing needs in mind.

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