Through Caitlin Pyle Proofreading, launched in 2009, Caitlin Pyle proofreads transcripts for court reporters on her iPad from anywhere in the world. ProofreadAnywhere, of Orlando, Fla. teaches others how to do the same through online courses.
Ah ha moment that led to launching this business: I’d been proofreading for years, and there wasn’t really an Aha! moment with that, as I just kind of fell into it very naturally. But it took years of people asking me to teach them before I realized, Aha! I need to make learning how to do this more accessible than writing everyone mile-long e-mails. ProofreadAnywhere was born soon thereafter.
Ideal customer/target market: People with eagle eyes for spotting errors who want the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world.
First customer or client: I worked as a receptionist in a court reporting office, and my boss at the time figured out I had the “eye” and she gave me a transcript to read. Not long after, I had a couple referrals from our office that I proofread for on the side after I got home from work.
Measuring success: Success is finding freedom and joy in the work you do. I remember the first time I was driving to Target on a Tuesday in the middle of the day how GOOD it felt to not be behind a desk anymore. Or the simple joy I felt throwing in a load of laundry at 8:30 instead of clocking in or sitting in traffic. Those simple joys are evidence of success in my book.
Biggest struggle: Getting over the negative thoughts in my head that what I was good at was “too small”, didn’t mean anything and couldn’t help anyone. The more I’ve networked with people, the more I’ve been able to help them, and those negative thoughts are starting to become more and more positive.
Surprise!: It really surprised me how many people wanted to take my online course. Blew my mind. Just in the first month after launch of the course, I earned almost $8000 from enrollment. Add that to my regular proofreading income and I’ve made over $11,000 in a month. I’ve never made that much money in a month in my life. I’ve loved every minute of it, because I’m doing what I was born to do, plus now all my students are building their own success, and I GET TO WATCH IT HAPPEN!
Promoting business: I seek out bloggers whose audiences want to work from home. I have an affiliate marketing program that offers a generous $75 commission for each new student they send my way via an interview they do with me on their blog/newsletter. Subscriptions and enrollment in our 7-day free email course that teaches people tips on making money as a proofreader have exploded because of these blog interviews. People have really enjoyed the free 7-day course and I get so many ecstatic emails on a daily basis from people who are so excited to have learned about this way to work. It’s really motivating.
Two things you wish you would’ve known: I wish I’d known sooner that it was possible to make a full-time income proofreading transcripts, and I wish I’d known sooner that there were thousands of people out there who want to learn to do exactly what I do. I could’ve helped myself and other people so much sooner!
What keeps you up at night (business-wise!)?: Whew, all the possibilities in life. I just think if I can make a living doing work in which I am truly gifted, what else is possible? I’m really into working online now and growing websites, now that I’ve seen ProofreadAnywhere grow so fast in such a short time. I have such a hard time falling asleep sometimes but it doesn’t bother me, I just let the thoughts flow.
Ever tempted to throw in the towel and just get a job? Never! The mere thought of a job makes me shudder. I read about other people’s jobs in my transcripts sometimes, learn about what they have to do and how much they’re paid and it really makes me appreciate what I have. I try to remember that when I’m feeling overwhelmed and tempted to complain. I’m doing the one thing I was put on Earth to do, and I’m killing it. No complaining allowed.
Biggest goal over the next year: I’d like to continue proofreading and growing ProofreadAnywhere.com, training some of the best proofreaders the court reporting industry has ever seen. I’m going to stay focused on providing excellent support to my students, even if that means hiring more help (I already have a VA and two web guys!).
Pricing/advice on getting it right: Go for quality over quantity if you’re seeking students for a course, like I am. I price my course fee very reasonably — high enough to avoid flippant buyers who aren’t committed, but not so high that it sends people running.
Funding: I really only need an iPad to do my proofreading, and it cost me about $500 to set up all the premium plug-ins, hosting, domain, e-mail, etc. I needed to launch ProofreadAnywhere.com. Working online has its perks super-low overhead!
A few tips specific to your industry: If you’re going to work in proofreading, especially proofreading for court reporters, it’s critical you stay connected and respond to e-mail promptly. If you don’t, or can’t for some reason, you run the risk of appearing unreliable to your clients. Clients (and students) of mine absolutely love how quickly they receive a response from me. I think a prompt response shows you’re really dedicated to what you do. I aim to respond to each e-mail I receive within 4 hours or less, regardless of who it’s from. I want my clients, subscribers, and students to know I’m a real person, not a robot, and that I’m there for them.
Must-read online resource: ProofreadAnywhere.com! And not because it’s mine, but because it’s the only website specifically geared toward proofreading for court reporters. Seriously. Nothing else like it exists. Before I started it, transcript proofreaders lived in the shadows — no one who didn’t proofread transcripts already had any idea it was even a viable career option. I noticed that, and decided to change it. If you want to break into transcript proofreading for court reporters, you should read ProofreadAnywhere.com.
The absolute best part of owning my business is having the privilege to witness my students use what they learn in my course to change their lives for the better.
If I had to start over again, I would have quit my “real job” a lot sooner.
I never imagined turning off my brain at night would be so difficult. SO I QUIT TRYING :-)
If standing on a rooftop facing crowds of aspiring or struggling small business owners, I would shout, “YES, YOU CAN!”