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How I Started My Online Editing Business

editing treeI was surprised when I discovered a love of editing. I mean, who loves that? It’s a weird thing to be sure, but I find editing very satisfying and rewarding. I’m meticulous about the English language; bad grammar, spelling mistakes and poor punctuation all bother me. Editing is a way to fix it all and get paid at the same time.

I started editing in our home school. Educating eight kids over 29 years gave me plenty of opportunities to hone my skill and make sure my eight kids could write well. This paid off for them. One daughter won a local writing contest. One son, who at 28, wrote such a glowing cover letter for his resume he was offered an executive position that many people don’t see until they are in their 40s. Another son has launched a successful blog. Yet another son got a promotion at his job as a result of an essay he wrote on his application (which I edited). I knew I had the skill to help people write better, whether through coaching like I’d done with my kids, or by editing.

I wanted to grow my editing business

I wanted to edit for others on a larger scale. I did a few blog posts for friends and landed a few book editing jobs through word of mouth. I also did some bartering with my editing. I scored free Tai Kwon Do lessons for my two youngest sons by editing a children’s book written by their instructor. I wanted to keep expanding.

A couple years ago, my writing-award-winning daughter told me about Fiverr.com (find me at https://www.fiverr.com/triciak) and I joined and offered editing. It took a little while to get noticed, but once I did, business was more regular and is often brisk. Fiverr also gave me a forum to learn from other editors and writers as well as gain some regular clients.

Now, I am expanding past Fiverr. Don’t get me wrong, Fiverr is great and I will continue to offer my editing gigs, but Fiverr does take 20% of every gig. A $5 gig nets me $4. A larger gig, say $100, nets me $80. That 20% adds up fast. It’s not to say $80 is nothing, I’m just acutely aware that I could be making 20% more.

I launched a website for my editing

This year, I launched Edit Master Pro (.pro is now an acceptable top level domain) to expand my editing services past Fiverr and past word of mouth. I specialize in editing blog posts and have a knack for keeping the “voice” of the blogger while cleaning it up for maximum readability.

I like the informality of blog posts, the length works with my schedule and helps me do a fast turn-around. One client simply added me as an admin to his blog and I can edit whenever he texts that a draft is ready. I often publish for him once I edit.

Another client had me clean up her entire website, not just her blog. I am finding more clients on a regular basis, some through word of mouth, some through my current client referrals and some through social media marketing.

Editing has led to related work, including writing opportunities and coaching. One client asked me to write a synopsis of her book I’d edited. I’ll be listed in the book and given credit. I’ve coached writers from age 14-84 and each one has been published as a result.

Some advice

A few things I would advise if you want to start an online editing business:

1. Make your profile friendly. I got several regular clients simply because they liked my profile on Fiverr. I made it professional with a touch of humor and humanity.

2. Keep up on grammar/word changes. Did you know new words are added to official dictionaries every year? An editor in today’s world has to keep up on changes and trends in writing, including new words. I sometimes inform my clients of these changes if the changes apply to their work. For example, I advised an investing blogger that the word cryptocurrency was added to dictionaries this year. Knowing about these changes is vital if I’m going to serve my clients in the best way possible.

3. Be flexible. I prefer one space after a sentence rather than the traditional two spaces. This is a “hot” debate right now in editing and writing circles. However, I lay aside my personal preference if a client requests a different approach. I’ve had clients ask me to retain two spaces and I comply. It’s their document at the end of the day and I work for them, so they get the final say. Some clients have asked me to retain a poorly worded sentence for SEO purposes and I comply. Blogging allows informal writing and a blogger can get away with this for SEO purposes. Flexibility is the name of the game.

4. Know your stuff and know where to look up stuff you don’t know. I subscribe to Grammar Girl’s blog and follow her on Twitter and Facebook. I also subscribe to several writing and editing blogs, including Anne’s About Freelance Writing Blog, so I can learn from them. Even seasoned editors like myself run across troublesome sentences and/or paragraphs that we have to look up, think on and seek advice about. Another one of my sons is an advisor to me; I often consult with him on difficult sentences.

5. Do quality work. At first, this may require you to spend more time than you’d like to spend on a document, but it’s imperative to do quality work with no mistakes. Go over your work more than once and never trust your first edits. I usually go over things twice, but if it’s a difficult document with a lot of changes, I’ll go over it three times to make sure I didn’t overlook something or make some blaring mistake. If you do quality work, your clients will not only tell their colleagues about you, they will come back.

~Tricia Johnson

Tricia Johnson editing mavenTricia Johnson Bio: Raised on a dairy farm in southwest Ohio, I am a domestic abuse survivor who fell in love with writing as a child because it offered an escape from my father’s violent alcoholism.

I am a professional, have raised eight kids who are all bigger than me and am not afraid to tell you the truth about your writing. I home schooled for 29 years and taught them all to write and write well. Some of them have won awards for their writing.

As a writing instructor, I instructed famed author Amanda Hocking, before her fame.
I also instructed famed author Curt Rude.

I mentally correct everything I read, right down to the church bulletin. I’ve been a published author for more than 30 years, including articles in several magazines and publications. Years of living with my brilliant autistic daughter has taught me to never take the English language lightly.

My husband of 38 years and I live near Washington DC and three of our eight kids still live at home.

My books on Amazon:

Writing for Publication
The Poverty of Patriarchy
Tears in a Bottle
Victory Over Violence
Stop the Potty Training Madness

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Thank you, Jane! I’m honored to know you want to share my story.

  • Share away, Jane… just make sure a link to my site is there and I get credit – Anne Wayman | https://www.aboutfreelancewriting.com

  • This whole article is motivating and this will make will feel stronger after reading. I would love to share it with my network.

  • Thank you for your kind words! This is such a joy.

  • Anne Wayman

    I’ll make sure she sees this, Sadhan.

  • Hi Tricia,

    Your online business starting story is really inspiring. I hope it will help by giving necessary recommendations to the freshers who are thinking to start. Best wishes for you.

    Sadhan Pal

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