Every Man Wants To Be Free, Until He Has To Do The Things Men Must Do To Free Themselves! I freed myself from the gilded cage of faux “Job Security” because it has never existed for anyone I have ever known. I work for myself. My good name and reputation are the only things I have ever needed for true job security.
Being a Freelancer and Digital Nomad isn’t just for people traveling the world. I know quite a few successful people who work from home and use the internet as a secondary, supplemental, or only source of income.
Earlier, I touched on internet-based careers when I talked about things to do on the dull break between Christmas and New Years Eve when I told you to “Prepare to get fired!” A few people commented but even more emailed me on what it is that I do, how I got into it, and, of course, whether or not it’s lucrative.
How I got started…
I started by editing my friend’s online dating profiles. Most of the men I hang around with are adventurous, accomplished, and well spoken.
Yet most of them could not translate that into a quick, concise few paragraphs.
That’s when I started to rearrange the words, stick to the truth, and reintroduce them online. I had so much success that I started doing it for both men and women I know. Then, I started to look into editing more complex things, for money.
I quickly realized that editing books, essays, and papers, are complex, complete with a steep learning curve. Just like anything else worth doing. Here are the steps I took to sharpen my skills so that I could be competitive:
I didn’t stop with these; this is just where I started.
- The Subversive Copy Editor: Advice from Chicago (or, How to Negotiate Good Relationships with Your Writers, Your Colleagues, and Yourself) Written by Carol Seller
- What my rates should be was the first question I had to tackle after putting myself out into the world as a professional Editor and Proofreader. The EFA (Editorial Freelancers Association) is not something I am a member of, but did a great job teaching me what my fee schedule can be based on.
- How to write a contract was an area that I knew I needed help in. It needed to be simple enough for everyone to understand, yet capture all the details of what is expected of me. Jeannette de Beauvoir shared her contract template with me, and anyone else who wanted to model themselves after hers.
If you aren’t interested in Editing, Copyediting, and proofreading then go out and find resources written by professionals that can help you to translate what it is that you do into something you can do online. If you need help, ask me. Just leave your questions below. I have clients in nearly every field and I don’t mind helping.
What I do…
I started The P.E.E.R Circle (Professional English Education Resources) just before moving to China a few years ago. I never openly advertised and operated strictly on personal references. I edited anything people needed to have reviewed. Resumes were and still are what are in demand the most.
I talk with every client to make sure that we both understand our goals, expectations, and agree on what’s written in the contract.
Then I read the piece with no expectations and no desire to correct anything. I just write notes on anything that seems like it’s inconsistent, confusing, or grammatically incorrect.
After that, I go back with my pen and make every correction I can find, and make sure to note why I corrected it that way.
Then, I read it again.
I read the piece, again, with no expectations and no desire to correct anything. I just write more notes on anything that seems like it’s inconsistent, confusing, or grammatically incorrect.
I repeat that process over and over until I can’t find a single problem left.
After that, I email a copy to the client, with the understanding that this is simply the first draft. I ask them to read it over and tell me if it still has the feel and flow they originally intended.
If the answer is “No”, I go back and adjust the writing until it’s closer to what they want.
I repeat this process until the client is satisfied that I have given them what they wanted and I am satisfied that it is still with all the academic parameters of correct English.
The Money Part…
Remember the list of EFA fees I posted a link to earlier here? That’s how I started, and how I advise you too as well. Now I am at a point where I know how to adjust my rates on a per contract basis.
One of my biggest leaps was realizing that I am far better off accepting contracts that pay a flat fee opposed to per hour. I don’t take nearly as long to read and review an article as I did when I first started.
In the past, there was no way besides LinkedIn for clients to endorse me. Now I exclusively route my clients to my UpWork profile. It’s an excellent resource and my clients can start to leave feedback about me there.
If you have any questions on things I didn’t go deep enough into, leave a question here. Alternatively, I am open to any suggestions or advice on how I could be better at what it is that I do, please tell me!
Every Man Wants To Be Free, Until He Has To Do The Things Men Must Do To Free Themselves! ~Watt
Also, be sure to read How To Write, it’s very relevant!
Quick hat-tip to Robert at 30 Days To X, he just did an informative article on How To Teach Yourself Copywriting. It’s worth reading for a different take on working online.