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Freelancer of the Month March 2014 – Sarah Nisbet

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The Freelancer of the Month feature is back after a six-month hiatus! This time we caught up with proofreader and copy-editor Sarah Nisbet of Inkshed Editorial who very kindly shared her proofreading experiences and insights with us.

Hi Sarah! Please can you tell us a little bit about the nature of your business?

I specialise in proofreading and light copy-editing, but I am also able to offer content writing. My non-fiction subject areas are humanities, such as history, archaeology and education; when working with fiction I am happy with most genres, including children’s and young adults’ books. However, the subject areas that I work within are growing all the time, and I love learning about topics that are new to me: for example, some of my recent clients include companies and individuals involved in business, branding and digital media.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a freelancer.

I have worked within different professions since leaving university (many years ago … nope, I’m not saying how many), my favourites being archaeology, teaching and library work. I decided that the time was right to do something that I had been thinking about for a while: learn how to proofread. I felt that my eye for detail and my love of reading would stand me in good stead – but as I soon found out, there is more to it than that! The course that I did taught me about the processes involved in proofreading, and by the end of it I felt confident that I could offer a professional, flexible service to a variety of clients. Although I believed I had achieved a lot in completing my course there were plenty more challenges to come, as going ‘live’ brought its own learning curve. It’s been a rollercoaster ride, but I haven’t looked back – not even once!

 What do you enjoy most about running your own business?

Where to start? I love the job, so to be earning a living from it is wonderful – as is having happy clients: it really is a fantastic feeling to know that clients are pleased with the work I have done for them. Also I feel very lucky that I get the chance to work with a variety of subject matter from day to day (for example, I might start the week with proofreading a history book and end it with writing or editing a press release). I’m pretty good at motivating myself and I’m really enjoying being my own boss and growing my own business; in fact I think that it’s my ideal scenario and something that I should have tried earlier! On the practical side of things, as I have a young family the fact that I can work flexible hours, from home, is yet another plus.

What are the downsides to working for yourself, if any, and how do you overcome them?

As I work from home, distractions can be a downside: phone calls, knocks on the door, noisy offspring, demanding pets … these can make it difficult to concentrate. Earplugs are a must!

How do you go about promoting your business/finding clients?

While I was still on my training course I looked into the best ways of marketing my business: I took inspiration from the way that others in the same profession went about this, and made contact with other proofreaders and copy-editors, through joining the Society for Proofreaders and Editors (SfEP) and forums, such as Gpuss.com. The freelance community is such a friendly, generous one and people are often more than happy to share useful information. I also read lots and lots of books about all aspects of becoming a freelance. My initial campaign involved building a website, inkshededitorial.com; creating a social media presence on several sites (including LinkedIn and Twitter); contacting publishers (speculative phone calls, followed by emails); and, of course, joining Find a Proofreader – a very wise move! I have been pretty busy, so my marketing tactics since then have mainly involved expanding on the above.

What is your most treasured work-related possession?

Until recently, I would have said my lovely, trusty and essential laptop (I’m saying that, in case it’s listening!) but … my new A2-sized whiteboard is a close second. Some of my colleagues recommended buying one – and they were not wrong. It charts my aims for each week and makes me feel very, very organised.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working with words?

Spending time with my family and friends; enjoying books, films, music, and walks. If I had more time, I would work on researching my family history, which is something I started some time ago, but haven’t made much progress with recently.

What’s your favourite book?

In terms of fiction, there are just too many wonderful books to choose from, although ‘Pure’ by Andrew Miller and ‘Any Human Heart’ by William Boyd are favourites from the last year or so, and if I had an all-time top ten, I’m sure they would be in it. My favourite non-fiction book is ‘Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable’.

Have you got any advice for aspiring freelancers?

I am still at a reasonably early stage in my freelance career, but this advice is based on my experience so far:

  • go for it!
  • believe in yourself and your abilities;
  • be ready to learn – and to keep learning;
  • be focussed, flexible and forward-thinking, when it comes to finding work;
  • get to know other freelance professionals in your field, as it’s always good to have colleagues to talk to whether socially, or for practical support;
  • there might be some setbacks along the way, but don’t be put off by them (in fact, try to learn from them);
  • … oh, and you might want to buy some earplugs. :)

Sarah Nisbet, Inkshed EditorialSarah Nisbet is a freelance proofreader and copy-editor based in Littlehampton, West Sussex, and her business is called Inkshed Editorial. For more information on Sarah’s services, please visit her website or click here to view her Find a Proofreader listing.

17/03/2014 |

Testimonials

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Anyone can claim to offer a great service, but at Find a Proofreader we believe it’s fairer to let the customers do the talking. Here’s a list of recent testimonials from our advertisers and end users. If you advertise on the site and are happy with the service, or if you’ve found a freelancer via us and were pleased with the process, please let us know so that we can add you to the page!

 

“The work I have secured through your website has allowed my business to grow. It’s a great way to find new business and make contacts so thank you.”

Lyndsay Hill, The Brown Fox Bureau, UK

 

“Adding my profile to ‘Find a Proofreader’ has proved to be the wisest business investment I have made. Within a matter of weeks, the advertisement had more than paid for itself. Since then, I have gained regular clients as a direct result of my entry in the directory, as well as taking on some interesting, one-off projects related to my specialisms. Creating and uploading a listing is simple and straightforward, and it is good to know that Nick and his team are there to answer any questions. I would strongly recommend ‘Find a Proofreader’ to any editorial freelancer who is serious about marketing their business in the most professional and effective way available.”

Marion Adams – Proofreader, UK

 

“I just wanted to say a quick thanks for the service you are providing. I often miss out on jobs being in Australia but the few I have got have been great.  I remember one guy got my quote just after awarding his manuscript to another and so he emailed me later and asked if I would like to do another book for him.  I have now done three and he will be returning to me.

I also have my name down for university assignments and for a publishing house which helps disadvantaged people.  These are all contacts I would never have had the chance to get otherwise.

So, a very big thanks from this freelancer in Australia and keep up the good work.”

Debbie, Get It Right Proofreading Services, Australia

 

“Thanks to my listing with you I have picked up two regular clients who are keeping me more than busy!”

Claire Mawdsley, UK

 

“Hi, thanks for your wonderful service. I have found what I want.”

William Law, UK

 

“This service really works. I had 20+ quotes in under an hour. Thanks to all for replying.”

Mr Kinrade, UK

 

“I just want to say a big THANK YOU for your superb service. You have assisted me in finding a proofreader and now I have found one.”

Mariny Abdul Ghani, Malaysia

 

“Find a Proofreader is one of the best services of its kind, and it really helped me establish a client base when I started my proofreading business.”  

Tim Rutherford-Johnson, Red Pen, Blue Pen, UK

 

“Find a Proofreader has quickly established itself as one of the most active directories for editorial freelancers. It’s not unusual to get the opportunity to quote on a job for a prospective client several times a week, and sometimes several times a day.”

Louise Harnby, Louise Harnby | Proofreader, UK

 

“I recently listed my business on ‘Find a Proofreader’. The number of opportunities emailed to me is impressive. ‘Find a Proofreader’ has become the best-value-for-money site for listing an editing or proofreading business.”

Wendy Monaghan, Wendy Monaghan Editing Services, Australia

 

“I have been registered with Find a Proofreader for just a few months, and I am delighted with the amount of work I have received through the service. It allows me to play to my strengths, which is always a bonus.” 

Ruth Durbridge, ProofRed, UK

 

“Within two days of signing up with Find a Proofreader, they had helped me land myself a proofreading job. They provide a helpful service for freelance proofreaders and it is more than worth the yearly fee. It’s an excellent way of topping up your weekly workload or finding some part-time proofreading. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the site to any other editors.”

Caroline Tremble, CT Proofreading, UK

 

“For me, one of the most noticeable benefits of advertising my company on Find a Proofreader is that the directory feels live and current. We are listed on numerous directories that have all been of use for exposure, but they seem to give the advertiser nothing more for their money other than a standard listing and potential clients need choose who to contact. However, Find a Proofreader is regularly communicating with its advertisers – whether that’s a request to quote on a job (so you only need to bid if you are available), an update on what’s new on the website or articles of interest, not to mention the updates via Facebook and Twitter. This offers a far more superior service than other, more expensive, directories. I have every confidence that the team at Find a Proofreader will continue to grow and develop the website; they clearly understand what is involved in offering proofreading as a service and also website SEO and development.”

Kelly Owen, Ultimate Proof Limited, UK

 

“Within a week of finishing my profile on Find a Proofreader, I was asked to carry out a job for which I had quoted. This resulted in a good fee many times the amount of the annual subscription, so you have one happy advertiser here! Nick and the team are obviously keeping on top of the marketing for us. This is a great service, and I’m glad it was recommended to me, and I believe my clients are as happy.”

Johanna Robinson, Ascribe Editing, UK

 

“Listing my business on ‘Find a Proofreader’ was a great move as it’s a really cost-effective way of generating business. It delivers a very efficient service with enquiries emailed through on a regular basis and I’ve been lucky enough to gain new customers as a result. Definitely one of the best marketing decisions I’ve made.”

Chris Gorman, Chris Gorman Proofreading Service, UK

 

“The obvious financial benefits of my membership to Find a Proofreader have been two-fold: clients have contacted me via my listing on the Find a Proofreader site and I have gained new clients from the ‘Get A Quote’ system. However, other benefits have been more personal. Proofreading can be a lonely business but the site has enabled me to connect with other proofreading professionals for support and to create work-sharing arrangements, meaning that FaP is fast becoming an important part of my proofreading business.”

Stephanie Hitch, Legal, Academic and Business Proofreader, UK

 

“I never hesitate in recommending Find a Proofreader to other freelances. Since registering, I have received direct offers of work from clients who have found me on the directory, as well as jobs from clients using the Get a Quote service. Furthermore, Nick and the team are friendly, approachable and clearly very knowledgeable about all aspects of freelancing. I have no doubt that this makes it an even more positive experience for freelances and potential clients – thank you, guys!”  

Sarah Nisbet, Inkshed Editorial, UK

31/08/2012 |
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