I'm going to freak you out here.
If my kids were in school and I didn't care how my house looked or what anyone ate, I could easily make $5,000 per month proofreading (don't forget to take taxes out of that at the end of the year and it's not as much as it seems like but still a lovely income from home).
I have had INSANE months where I was able to make close to $2,000 proofreading in a month but I wanted to die at the end, only because I have other things going on for income and managing everything gets difficult. I like to have other income streams because proofreading can be feast or famine, usually feast once you get going and get some good reviews and recs. Here's my income report for September, for example.
Here's what I have come up with so far so maybe you can do what I'm doing! The first two I am not familiar with because I just haven't had the time to dive into them. They are reputable sites that ask for a proofreading test or sample, but I hear competition can be fierce, and I'm not about underbidding my services!
2. Upwork (formerly Odesk)
3. Scripted is a great way to find proofreading work but you have to BE ON TOP OF YOUR GAME, as in full-on GRAMMAR NAZI MODE. I did some writing for them and also some proofreading. I was shocked at the great money I was making and had the down payment on my yacht (just kidding!) when they canned me. They seriously culled their proofing pool and I did not make the cut. I was entirely bummed. If you are a better proofer than I am, GO FOR IT!
4. Hunt down people when you see things written wrong! Is your doctor's website WHACK (not in a good way)??? Offer to proofread it for cheap. Did you get a piece of direct mail that had errors? Figure out who to contact and offer your services.
5. Tenrr is a place I gave a shot and got some work but it trickled in. I haven't promoted my proofing there or anything. Knockoff of Fiverr, which I talk about later.
6. Gigbucks is akin to Tenrr. I am only signed up at all of these places because I like putting my chocolate proofreading eggs in lots of different baskets.
7. PeoplePerHour is another place I signed up at for free but nothing came of it. Some of these sites are flooded so you just have to sign up all over the place and wait and promote your services.
8. Remote.com is a place I tried for a hot second but didn't have the patience to keep at it. (It used to be called Outsource.com so if you are looking for info on it, look for that name). I had to pay for credits so I could bid jobs. I did have plenty of credits in the end and the jobs to bid on were picking up, but the competition was fierce. I did get chosen for one job and it went well and I made back what I spent in credits. I was up for another job but they had a zillion and one requirements instead of just the simple proofing and editing I do and I can't focus on jumping through hoops. I like to fix documents and get out. I don't want to get wrangled into trying to write copy or critique what they've done because those things get touchy and subjective. You might have a better experience. I broke my own rule of paying to get jobs so I could basically get the experience to share here!
9. Fiverr is my go-to place since I signed up in April 2013 and the jobs started flooding in. I have a separate post for it because I have so much to say on the topic!
As far as signing up and getting jobs right away, I don't know if I just got lucky or what but people gave a newbie a try and soon I had good reviews coming in and more jobs. I was so busy at one point in 2013 that I was outsourcing, which was a total shit show (I'm going with two words for shit show instead of making it one ... haha!).
I shut down my outsourcing situation and tried to keep up with the work on my own but soon had no life and my kids were eating too much fast food all summer. I got a bad review because I was hurrying through my work and it all went to hell for a while. It picked back up and then I overused Vacation Mode. Just in the last few months have I gotten back on and made a decent income again.
I've done many different gigs on Fiverr besides proofreading so poke around to see what else you can offer. I put my delivery on at least 3 days so that keeps my orders low enough to manage. The main guy who does 24-hour delivery basically works full-time all day long doing small jobs. The client is charged $5 and you receive $4. At first I thought that was robbery but now I realize THEY are finding the clients for me pretty much so I will happily take my $4 for proofreading 1,500 words. I got more orders when my gig was for 2,000 words but it was taking too long to proofread that for $4 with so many non-native English speakers sending projects my way. Those projects just take longer because they require more time and reworking.
*Originally posted 11/8/15