The written word makes the world go round. It's what businesses, associations and organizations of every description use to educate their target audiences, potential clients and existing customers. The problem is that most people view any sort of writing assignment with the sort of dread reserved for high school civics term papers, and if they do manage to crank out written material, their grammar and spelling may be less than perfect. We've all been to restaurants where there are glaring typos in the menus, or received brochures with myriad spelling mistakes. That's where you come in. If you're an all-star at spelling, punctuation and grammar, starting a business as a proofreader could be the business for you. You can proof direct-mail pieces, annual reports, product information pamphlets, press released, grant proposals, mail order catalogs, marketing materials, menus and more. The advantages to this business are that you're always working on something different, each project gets wrapped up fairly quickly and there's no time for tedium.
Your clients can come from all walks of life, including businesses and nonprofit organizations. Solicit projects by networking in professional and trade organizations'especially in fields where you already have experience'and by asking for work and/or references from present or former colleagues and employers. Establish relationships with graphic designers, public relations agencies, and printers who can refer their clients to you.
All that's really necessary is a computer, a laser printer and a fax machine. You should also have a good word-processing software, and a reference library including a heavy-duty dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia and style guides.