I received a great comment on my last post that I wrote about why you should hire a proofreader. I had a lot to say in response so I thought I’d just write another post about it.
Here is Stan Faryna‘s comment:
“A proof reader is a very good idea. The global market rate ranges from one to two cents per word. Theoretically, that’s about what the market would bear. But finding an intelligent proof reader may be difficult.
I worked with a proof reader for about three months at a flat rate of $200/month for roughly 20,000 words/month with a 24 hour turn around for up to 1,500 words. I retained her with a 3 month advance. She had 10 other clients. She was retired. So it was a nice add to her social security check revenue.
At the end of the 3 months, she kinda up and disappeared. Don’t know what happened to her. She didn’t leave me hanging in the sense that she served her three months. But I didn’t like that she disappeared. I was worried about her. Her Facebook and Twitter account were deleted.
Anyway, that kind of behavior makes me nervous considering the intellectual property and deep confidentiality involved with most of my business documents. How should we discern that a proof reader is trustworthy and reliable?”
Stan brought up a lot of great points. In this fickle world of online business anyone could be here today and gone the next be they blogger, proofreader or online business coach. You may have run into a situation such as Stan’s before. Here are my suggestions for hiring a reliable proofreader or any other kind of virtual assistant.
Referrals. Get referrals from others and ask them who they’ve used. Start spreading the word in your circle that you’re looking for a proofreader. Contact the ones who received glowing recommendations. Word of mouth is the best way to find a dependable person.
Screen Them. You can have a conversation with the person you’re interested in hiring about working together long-term to get an idea if they’ll be sticking around. While it’s no guarantee that they won’t close up shop and take off, at least you’ve made it clear that you’re looking for a long-term partnership.
Confidentiality Clause. If you’re working with confidential materials, my good proofreading friend Paula Kiger recommends having both parties sign a confidentiality clause. It can be a simple document created to specify what is to be done with the material after the project–or your business relationship–has ended. You can decide if things should be deleted, shredded, returned or retained for a one year period. This way you will both be clear on where you stand with divulging information and what to do with personal documents, passwords, etc.
Communicate Often. Keeping in touch with each other on a regular basis will help to ensure that the work is being done and that your proofreader is still there. You can even check in with each other in between projects. Any good virtual assistant will pop in to say hello if they haven’t heard from you in a while. It’s also okay to get a little personal. I’m not saying you need to discuss “boxers or briefs.” However, having a bit of a personal relationship really helps the business relationship in this kind of situation when you’re working online and the chances are that you’ll never meet.
Developing these kinds of relationships is my favorite part of what I do. Has anyone had an experience like Stan’s? Does anyone have a story to share about a good working relationship they’ve had with a VA? Please feel free to add something in the comments that I haven’t touched on as well.