If you’re curious about starting an editorial business so you can work as a proofreader or copy editor, you’ll want to read this interview I had with Nadia Willie. Nadia, who is based in Kingston, Jamaica, owns a busy editorial and content company that serves local and global clients.
She’s also a graduate of my course, High-Level Proofreading Pro. Keep reading to get a peek at Nadia’s business and to see what her average day is like. I hope you enjoy the interview!
Hi Nadia! Can you tell us about yourself? Were you a big reader growing up?
Reading has been the one constant of my entire life. I was an enthusiastic reader as a child. My parents fed me books every chance they got, and I loved it — staying up all night to finish a book and choosing an Enid Blyton novel over a movie any day. In high school, I would sit on the floor of the library with books all around me. Books were my safe space, but more specifically, novels, as I loved stories. I fell in love with authors who could build a story from nothing or start a story with such a thought-provoking line.
“Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday; I can’t be sure.”
BOOM. Albert Camus blew my mind with his first lines of The Stranger. How do you not want to read that book after reading that first line?!
Anybody can tell a story, but the magic is in how the story is told.
What made you decide to get into proofreading and copyediting?
It took me a while to get here. It started with my obsession for finding mistakes in everything. I found I was the person everyone sent their essays or emails to before they pressed Send. My family is teeming with entrepreneurs, and they encouraged me to build a career around the only thing I’ve ever been supremely passionate about — my innate word skills. I love to write, but I find that I enjoy editing even more as it puts me in a space to restructure thoughts in a way that improves the feel and flow of content.
Can you tell us about your editorial business, The Scrutineer?
The Scrutineer is a remote technology-based content house founded to change the way people think about content. The aim is to create and refine content at a professional level but, more importantly, enable individuals and businesses to improve the quality of their communication. We offer writing, proofreading, and editing services.
Where are you based?
We are based in Kingston, Jamaica, but my clients and team members are located all over the globe.
Can you tell us about your work with local businesses?
Work with local businesses has been amazing. Most are traditional clients — research companies, businesses who need to develop and curate web and marketing content, etc. But, as businesses realize more and more the importance of content delivery, especially in our new normal, new partnerships have formed.
Some of my clients are publishers, business consultancy organizations, ad agencies, and other editorial companies. I’d encourage persons to not only look at clients as businesses who consume proofreading and editing services but, wherever possible, partner with businesses in the industry to complement and deliver services that support quality content.
What kind of content do you work on?
Everything. I’m lucky to have a business model that supports almost every content type. I have an awesome team, and each member has expertise with a different content type — academic, technical, marketing, media, lifestyle content, etc. So when a client requests a particular type of content, the business can usually support it.
How do you market yourself to local clients?
I have been fortunate to have my business thrive mostly on referrals. Once you deliver quality work and excellent customer service, you will almost always have return business. Otherwise, I have mostly used direct marketing campaigns to reach my target market.
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What do you like best about running an editorial business?
It’s right up my alley. I’m passionate about words; I love what I do, and it doesn’t feel forced. I’m doing for people what novels do for me — delivering content in a way that is easy to consume and many times enjoyable. I love to hear from my clients, “that’s exactly what I wanted to say!”.
What advice do you have for people who are considering proofreading and copyediting?
Don’t hesitate. If you are that person that always finds the mistake most people miss, grit your teeth when you see a misspelled word, or check your email 50 times for errors, then this is quite likely something you should pursue. Go with your gut.
Get trained. Sure, your innate ability will help, but I can assure you there is still so much you don’t know. English is such an eclectic language that you will find you are always learning. If you are going to do this professionally, then do it well. Complete a course, online studies, or research to hone your skills.
Would you recommend High-Level Proofreading Pro to people who would like to start working as proofreaders and copy editors?
I would definitely recommend High-Level Proofreading Pro to anyone interested in working as a freelance proofreader or copy editor. I still use the resources of the [course] today. The course was challenging yet manageable, and I loved that it was self-paced. It gave me a chance to master each module before moving on to the next.
Can you give us a peek at what your typical day is like?
A typical day in the life of The Scrutineer is very time-boxed, but not usually stressful. I generally have a very early check-in with 1 or 2 team members in the morning before my day gets started. We chat about deliverables, strategy, blockers, or issues that need to be resolved with content or a client. Then, I get to work.
I work remotely, and so does my team, so it’s easy to manage my day without having to worry about commuting, getting to meetings, etc. Generally, during the day, I have team or client meetings or email responses to get done. Early afternoon, when things have quieted, is my sweet spot to do some writing/proofreading/editing.
Usually I put on headphones, ensure I have a snack and something to drink close by, put my phone on silent, and get to work. I tap out early in the night on most days unless I have a major job that takes me into the wee hours.
A professionally trained proofreader and copy editor, Nadia has helped many writers bring their story to life. From a young age, she was obsessed with the English language, partly due to being raised by educators. An avid reader and writer, Nadia is always seeking ways to use her command of the language and is passionate not only about good stories but, more importantly, how stories are told. Over the years, she has gained an in-depth understanding of an array of formats, voices, audiences, and mediums. She believes that great editing goes beyond grammar and syntax, and involves a genuine investment in her client’s business or personal brand. It was out of this passion that The Scrutineer was born.