Three years ago, I wanted to learn how to become a freelance editor with no experience, as the idea of working from any location in the world from my laptop really appealed to me.
I had heard about freelance editors and how they got paid to correct grammar errors in written text, but I had no idea how to get started.
I didn’t have any experience in the editing industry (I worked in a bank for 8 years), and when I googled editing jobs, they all required experience.
Do not worry, I am here to share how to become a freelance editor with no experience. I did it, so you can too.
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What is Editing?
An editor refines and corrects the text of written material to ensure it is refined and polished.
The corrections may include amending the grammar, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure and to ensure the written text flows properly and corresponds within in-house style guidelines.
Essentially, you spot typos and errors, correct them and then get paid for it!
This type of job requires you to be a bit of a grammar lover, have great attention to detail, as well as an ability to focus on written text for long periods.
What’s the difference between a proofreader and an editor?
This may be a question you may have when you are learning how to become a freelance editor with no experience.
A proofreader identifies more basic and surface-level errors such as misspellings, incorrect punctuation, etc.
An editor tackles more in-depth issues such as language, tone clarity, and sentence constructions.
Both are normally used interchangeably but you can charge more for editing work as it takes more time.
What is a FREELANCE editor?
A freelance editor does the same work but instead of being hired as an employee of a company and getting a monthly salary at the end. You can pick and choose editing projects and decide what to charge.
I started my remote working journey, as a freelance editor as I wanted to pick and choose WHEN I worked, from any location in the world.
How to Become a Freelance Editor with No Experience
1. Use Grammarly
I started learning how to become a freelance editor with no experience, without Grammarly. But I wished it existed when I started!
It’s a lifesaver!
Grammarly is a FREE editing tool that does light proofreading on any written text. It will spot the spelling errors and grammar mistakes, amazing eh!
Nowadays, whenever I write an article or I am commissioned for an editing job, I ALWAYS submit the text to Grammarly.
It’s FREE and will save you lots of time spotting errors.
2. Sign up to a Freelance Editing Course
I always say the best investment you can make is in your brain.
The fastest way to learn how to become a freelance editor with no experience is to do a course,
The Proofread Anywhere course helps you transition into a full-time proofreader/editor and run it as a well-paid business.
The Proofread Anywhere course begins with proofreading basics and then goes on to share advanced proofreading methods, how and where to find jobs, what rate to set and common mistakes to avoid.
Caitlin is the lady who runs the course and she has been a proofreader since 2007. She turned her love for proofreading into a full-time job and now helps others do the same.
The Proofread Anywhere course is packed with 40+ lessons in 8 modules, grammar-specific worksheets, and real-life example jobs.
After passing with 90% or higher on the final exam you will receive a Certificate of Completion and access to the Self-Publishing School Preferred Outsourcer Rolodex.
Ps; Caitlin is offering a FREE Proofreading workshop that will help you learn the basic skills and decide on whether freelance editing is for you.
3. Get some work samples
When you apply for jobs, many will specify that they need some work samples.
But how can you have work samples when you have never worked as an editor? It’s like the chicken before the egg argument!
Here is the solution:
Create free or discounted samples
When I started learning how to become a freelance editor with no experience, I offered to edit the documents of friends and family for free.
CVs, university theses, work reports, you name it. Just read through, and edit, then save it as a sample.
Tip- You need at least 3 samples before you apply for editing jobs
4. Use Microsoft tracker and comments
Here is an essential tip I learned when I wanted to know how to become a freelance editor with no experience.
When you start creating a work sample, MAKE SURE you use Microsoft Tracker and comments to show HOW you edit and the before and after result.
Microsoft Tracker allows you to show all the changes you have made to an edited document.
Here is a great video on how to use Microsoft tracker and comments.
5. Set up a website
Once you have some work samples, now it’s time to look professional.
Have a website that describes who you are and displays your work samples is a great way to convincing potential clients that you are experienced, credible and worth their money.
You can say: ‘You can review my editing samples on my professional website aishapreece.com’
If setting up a website scares you, here is a step by step tutorial on how you can set a website up for $3.95 a month.
6. Niche down
Providing an editing service in a specific area will make it easier to find clients and you will get paid more (the same way a surgeon is paid more than a doctor).
Potential clients will google search terms like ‘book/ novel editing’, or ‘thesis/essay editing’, not general terms like ‘editing services’.
Focus on being an expert in one area.
But you may be thinking… I have no experience, I don’t know which area to specialize in!
That’s fine, what do you enjoy editing, and what are your work samples related to, start with that, you can always change your niche later.
So, as an example. you could niche down into academic editing, book editing, web editing, newspaper and magazine editing.
It’s the best way you can earn more when you are learning how to become a freelance editor with no experience.
7. Join editing and writing Facebook groups
Facebook groups are a great way to learn from experts and search for other opportunities.
Here are some examples below but a simple search for ‘editing groups’, in your FB groups will share loads.
8. Join freelance work platforms
By now, you should know how to become a freelance editor with no experience, so it’s time to start applying for jobs.
There are lots of freelance work platforms out there where you can input ‘editing jobs’, in the search term.
Here are 21 freelance work platforms where you can search for freelance editing jobs.
9. Apply for editing jobs on job boards
Specific editing job boards will advertise editing jobs for you to apply to. Here are some below:
10. Apply for editing jobs on editing websites
A really good way of finding jobs when you want to know how to become a freelance editor with no experience, is to apply for jobs on editing websites.
You can also apply to specific editing websites below:
- Proofreading Malaysia
- Proofreading Services
- Sibia Proofreading
- Polished Paper
Alternatively, you can also check out this article which shares 15 more editing sites you can apply to.
11. Join editing societies
Having a group of likeminded people, you can learn from and share problems with is crucial on your journey of how to become a freelance editor with no experience.
The ACES Society for Editing costs $75/year, and it provides you with a fantastic community of fellow editors and tips on how to improve your work.
You can also join the Editorial Freelancers Association(EFA) which costs much more ($180 annually), but you get additional perks such as group health insurance.
Well there you have it, hopefully you have learned how to become a freelance editor with no experience.
If you want a more in-depth detailed guide on what to charge and how to deal with common issues, please read:
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