If you want better work-life balance or are tired of your 9-to-5 job and are looking for something that has more flexibility, you’re going to want to read this interview with Lakeisha Bell Cadogan. Lakeisha found the perfect fit in proofreading and editing since she loved reading and was already the go-to proofreader for family and friends. (I’m sure we’ve all been there at some point!)
In this interview with Lakeisha, you’ll get an insider’s look at what it’s like to run an editorial business at home. Find out how she manages work, marketing, and client communications while overseeing virtual school for her children. Make sure you check out what Lakeisha’s “average” day looks like!
Hi Lakeisha! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Like many, I was a big reader growing up. I vividly remember the day my mom took me to the local library to get my first library card. My mom also remembers that day, but what she recalls is completely different. She remembers spending about two hours chasing my little sister, who was two or three at the time, around the library while I sat on a sofa completely absorbed in a book. I must have really zoned out because I have no recollection of that at all! I went home with about seven books that day. I was a quiet kid and often teased for being a nerd. Since childhood, books have been a constant in my life. I can’t recall a time when I wasn’t reading.
I majored in paralegal studies, which required a ton of reading. I’ll admit that sometimes the material was bone dry, but other times it was very interesting. I’ve read case files that made me laugh out loud as if I was reading a funny novel!
For about fifteen years, I worked as an executive assistant for many different organizations such as government agencies, investment firms, public relations firms, litigation consulting firms, etc. I also had three children during that stretch of time, two sons and a daughter.
What made you decide to get into proofreading and editing?
Prior to this year, I never really thought about proofreading as a job. For years I had been proofreading and editing essays, research papers, letters, etc., for my family and friends. As a corporate executive assistant, proofreading your work and the work of others is simply part of the job. It’s not in the job description but it’s necessary for maintaining your reputation with the people you support.
I was honestly tired of the 9-to-5 life. I really wanted work-life balance and my last corporate job did not provide it. This led me to start researching work-from-home jobs. Proofreading and copyediting seemed like the easiest way for me to get started since I already had the basic skill set.
Can you tell us about your editorial business?
My business name is my full name, Lakeisha Bell Cadogan. I mainly edit fiction, and I enjoy working with independent authors. I haven’t narrowed down a specific niche just yet. But so far, I’ve enjoyed editing thrillers, historical fiction, and wholesome romances.
What do you like best about running a home-based editorial business?
The best part of running an editorial business is the freedom and flexibility I now have. I love being able to structure my days to fit my lifestyle and the needs of my kids, particularly their education. Virtual learning has been a huge adjustment for us. There’s no way I would be able to help them while working a typical 9-to-5 job.
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What do you feel proud of having accomplished since starting your own editorial business?
Having the courage to start a business and stick with it is what I’m most proud of. For many years, I allowed the fear of what people would think hold me back from doing the things that I really wanted to do. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m proud of myself for stepping outside my comfort zone and going after the life that I want for myself and my kids.
How has your editorial business impacted your life?
Being a business owner has forced me to be more courageous. I’m a quiet introvert by nature, so actively reaching out to people and making connections was scary at first. Now I enjoy chatting with new people. What’s funny is that most of the people I’m connecting with are introverts as well, so we naturally vibe with one another.
It’s also had a positive effect on my kids. I now have more time for them and to do things like bake treats. These days there is always something baking in my house. Muffins, fresh bread, cookies, you name it!
What advice do you have for people who are considering getting into proofreading and editing?
Do it! If, like me, you roll your eyes each time you see a grammatical error in a book or a blog post, then proofreading and copyediting could be a great fit for you. Also, take a training course to sharpen your skills. My grandma used to say, “If you’re gonna do something, then you might as well do it the right way the first time!” Being able to spot errors is a great start, but learning the editorial industry will take you much farther in your business journey.
Can you give us a peek at what your typical day is like?
My weekdays are structured around my kids’ school hours. My weekends are much more flexible. I always start my day with a cup of tea and a devotional. These two things are non-negotiable!
The majority of my day consists of sitting with my daughter during her school day. Her lunchtime begins at noon, so around 11:45 am I will make a quick lunch. The boys will grab a bite in between their classes. I use my daughter’s lunch hour to check my planner, send/respond to a few emails, and post and engage on social media.
After lunch, it’s back to virtual class with my daughter for the afternoon session. Keeping a first grader engaged in the afternoon is hard! I purposely do not schedule meetings or do any proofreading/editing until her school day is over at 3:30 pm.
Around 4 pm is when I usually get to work on proofreading/editing projects or marketing my business. I like to listen to a playlist on Spotify to help me focus. By 6 pm I shut things down for the night unless I have a deadline to meet. If that’s the case, then I will put in another hour or so after dinner and getting my little one settled.
How did High-Level Proofreading Pro prepare you for working as a freelance proofreader and copy editor?
High-Level Proofreading Pro is a great course and I’m glad I went into it with an open mind. The first thing I quickly learned is that the rules for proofreading and editing are different from what I learned in English class. Phon is an awesome instructor and coach. The tips she provides with the course material are invaluable.
The course itself is very comprehensive while still being manageable. I loved that it was self-paced so I could take my time and fully absorb a lesson before moving on to the next. The practice activities were perfect for applying what I learned after each module. When I finished the course, I really felt like I could do this and do it well. I was excited to start my freelance journey.
About Lakeisha Bell Cadogan
Lakeisha Bell Cadogan is a freelance proofreader and copy editor. She loves working with independent fiction authors and helping them give their readers a great reading experience. She also enjoys working in the historical fiction and fantasy/magical realism genres, but is always open to new opportunities. You can visit her site: https://lakeishabellcadogan.com and follow her @editsbylbc on Instagram.