Friday, 19 February 2016

Proofreaders: how to get started on a small budget

Many people have to start out strapped for cash, but it's not impossible.
Get started now. There's a lot to sort out and much of it can be done while you are still studying.
  1. Get some work. Try: http://www.proofessor.co.uk/jobs/    
The pay is low (this is relative to earnings in the UK), but you may be good enough to do this work (you have to pass a test first). It will give you valuable experience and something to put on your website as 'projects completed'.
  1. Work out what you are going to call your business. It’s important that you choose a name that will inspire confidence in people, indicate what work you do, and is easy to remember. Make sure it will also stand the test of time as life and circumstances do change.
  2. Think of a strapline to place under your name. What do you stand for? It can be descriptive, like eBay’s “The world’s online marketplace” or you can try to build an emotional connection like Avis “we try harder”. Here are some famous ones to give you ideas: http://newsdrilldigital.com/?p=127
  3. Decide on your colour scheme. Make it simple and use colours that express your ethos. People tend to trust blue, but have a look on the web at what other proofreaders' websites look like and see which look the most professional, as inspiration. Here’s a good one: http://www.louiseharnbyproofreader.com/
Try this for inspiration: https://color.adobe.com/create/color-wheel/
  1. Then, decide on the fonts you will use in all your correspondence, logos, website, blog, social media, etc, as far as possible. Use one for body text, and the same or a complementary one for your headings. Check this out: http://www.writing-skills.com/best-fonts-for-business-documents/
Here are some classic ones:

GEORGIA & VERDANA
HELVETICA (BOLD) & GARAMOND

Make sure they are available in your print and web media: http://www.w3schools.com/cssref/css_websafe_fonts.asp
  1. Set up a dedicated email address (make sure it includes your business name), and create your email signature using your colours and fonts. Make sure you include a link to your website, your blog, social networks etc.
http://emailsignaturerescue.com/what-makes-a-good-email-signature
  1. If you think you need a logo and you are good with graphics, or have a friend who is, make a logo to add to this. Or, try a service like this: http://www.logogarden.com/
But, you could simply use a beautiful font to make your business name into a logo, as in this one: http://www.louiseharnbyproofreader.com/
  1. Then, go to the social networks that you already have and set them up to promote your business, using the colours (and logo) and fonts you have chosen. Don't try to set up with every social network out there at once. Just the ones you already have, for now.
  2. Buy a domain name. You can get them quite cheaply on Godaddy.com, but shop around. It shouldn't cost much more than a takeout meal to buy one for two years.
  3. Set up a free website (including hosting) on Weebly or Wix. They are really easy to do. If you haven't the money to buy a domain name, you don't need one to start with, but your business name will include Weebly or Wix in it. You can always add a domain name at a later stage.
  4. Set up a free blog using Blogger or WordPress (I recommend WordPress). Use your colours and fonts as far as possible and write a blog post or two.
  5. Once you have done all this and are happy with your look, get some business cards.
Try these:

http://www.vistaprint.co.uk/lp/fbc/ab-bundle-nonav-new-dynamic.aspx  
http://www.easyprint.co.uk/businesscards-free/?gclid=CjwKEAjw4PCfBRCz966N9pvJ4GASJAAEdM_Kk5QKDcR1ZU2ghxc1k570_AsTzLuFbWwKwhvh4iwucBoC7X3w_wcB

The delivery cost is quite high, but it's still cheap enough and better than making your own on Word.
See this: http://shawngraham.me/blog/what-should-be-on-a-business-card-for-small-businesses
  1. Using Word, you can make flyers and either print them yourself, or get them printed (Word - New - Flyers etc).
Now, you are ready to go:
  • Take your business cards to the local chamber of commerce meetings
  • Put flyers up in the local shop
  • Send emails (using your new business email) to all your friends and contacts, explaining what you do.
  • Post on your social network pages what you are doing.
  • Write blog posts.
  • Talk to people when you're out walking the dog.
  • Make sure you always carry business cards with you - put some in all your coats and jeans pockets.
  • Join SfeP as soon as you can afford it. But, it's not vital at this stage. Certainly, look at it once you start getting some interest from your advertising efforts.
And, keep trying to get work, even if it's unpaid. Find websites that need editing (there are plenty!). Offer them free editing in return for testimonials that you can put on your website. No one will know you weren't paid for them.

I hope that helps and gets you on the road to success.

Another important thing:

Act successful and success will come to you.

Make sure you look successful and always be professional in how you dress, how you speak and how you write.

Good luck!

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