Oliver Jarvis has been owner and Managing Director of Global Proofreading and Copy-editing Ltd for 5 years.

The purpose of this blog is to describe how I went from knowing next to nothing about this industry in July 2012 to being the owner of Global Proofreading and Copy-editing Ltd, a company with a dozen full-time employees and a turnover of well into six figures annually.

I would like this to be a form of encouragement or reassurance that no matter how hard this industry is to get into, it actually can be done.


It’s crucial to get yourself a recognised proofreading qualification. The Society for Editors and Proofreaders would be the best organisation for this. They offer a range of courses:

Setting up

You will need an outstanding, professional website; I was lucky enough to have the excellent Urban Element in Witney design mine for me and ensure my SEO was top-notch. They also created our branding (the albatross logo). All of this wasn’t really affordable for someone such as myself just starting out, so I applied for a loan from the Frederick’s Foundation, who provide small short-term loans for start-up or expanding companies:

They set up an initial interview, during which they analyse everything from your credit history to your current spending to your business plan. Once satisfied there is genuine potential for business success they invite you to their headquarters for a ‘Dragon’s Den’-style question and answer session with a panel of around 8 professionals from various walks of life (lawyers, accountants and so on). They generally make a decision on the spot. It was a pleasure to work with the Frederick’s Foundation from start to finish. Give it a go! You never know…

Next step

Once you have your proofreading qualification and your website you are now ready to start looking for work. This is absolutely the most difficult part. Persistence is the key. I contacted publishers, academic journals, magazines, hotel websites, universities, tourist agencies, web-design companies and so on. All over the world. All day every day. And eventually work did start to come in. For 2 years the work was sporadic. One week I would earn perhaps £2000 but then nothing the following week. Then in July this year things really started to take off. We landed a big contract and have enough work for a dozen or so people. Watch this space…

Crucial ingredients:

A recognised proofreading qualification.

A professional-looking website and good SEO

A person you can always contact (in this case myself).

Persistence, patience and tenacity. Do not, under any circumstances, give up!

A strong social media presence; Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn minimum. Keep these updated daily.

A good accountant is also very useful to have on your side!

Well, I think that just about covers it. If you have any questions please feel free to give me a call or send an email to


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