Darcy Peltz, an accredited proofreader and freelance writer, shed tears of pure, uncontrollable, joy the evening of February 22nd when she received this uplifting message from an Upwork client: “I just think you’re the best thing since baked bread.” Darcy had been working closely with a budding author for almost a month, proofreading pages of her delightful, soon-to-be self-published, romance novel.
And now, she is receiving the greatest feedback of her life. Only a year ago, however, Darcy was struggling to maintain her family life while working a full-time job at a retail store. Frustration, sleep deprivation, and constant stress, filled her days while she burned up physical, and emotional, energy trying to keep pace with the demands of school, a high-pressure job, and the responsibilities around her house as well. Now, she doesn’t have to leave her house at all! That’s right. Darcy is gleefully working from the comfort of her own home offering superb editorial services to clients throughout Canada and the United States.
Starting up a comfortable home-business in only a year’s time is impressive enough. But her story grows even more spectacular from there. Darcy is not an “ordinary” editorial expert. In actuality, she labours under the wait of having no peripheral vision. As you can imagine, this interfered with her ability to study in “traditional” school environments.
But this didn’t stop her from receiving a college diploma in freelance writing. Thanks to Darcy being a champion saver, she invested $1000 towards her education with the International School of Canada along with $700 towards an extra online proofreading course she discovered elsewhere. Darcy became highly knowledgeable about document editing, publishing, proofreading, journalism, and much more.
She is also on the road to conventionally publishing an Urban Fantasy novel under a pseudonym. When people ask her if she feels regretful about not finding her career sooner, she simply puts on a wry smile and replies, “Everyone achieves their goals in their own time and at their own pace. It is YOUR journey and YOUR path. Never let anyone tell you how, and how soon, you should be crossing it.”
Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?
My name is Darcy Peltz. I have been interested (and a part of) the writing community all my life, especially during my teenage years, when I would often immerse myself in fantasy novels, as youthful people often do to escape reality. In my case, reading classic sagas such as The Lord of the Rings and The Dream Hunter allowed me to explore my own imagination.
I was never a popular young woman because my lack of peripheral vision (which occurred before I was a year-old) made me a social outcast. When I reflect on my high school career, I realize that a lot of my schoolmates probably did understand what I was going through at the time.
They just wanted to pretend that they didn’t in order to keep up appearances. It wasn’t the right thing to do back then— but I understand why they did it. This realization has helped me come to terms with a lot of the bullying that I experienced in the past and has allowed me to live life as my true self.
In fact, if I hadn’t been given the cold shoulder by the other pupils, I never would have discovered theatre. I remember being literally dragged to our school’s drama teacher in the ninth-grade by an acquaintance. Before I could say anything, she told him, “Darcy wants to join the drama group.” I wanted to argue with her but was to shy to bother.
But as it turned out, I was given the opportunity to perform a one-person act at the Speech Arts and Drama festival along with school performances as well. All the techniques I learned through theatre allowed me to survive seven-years of retail and countless job interviews over the years.
As for my business, I started it a year ago in early May. I had received my diploma for freelance writing in October and completed my proofreading training a few months later. Learning to proofread was difficult at first, until I found a way to navigate software that accommodated for my vision loss. Once I completed my course, I immediately started building my website and making myself available to freelance communities such as Upwork and Fiverr.
The way my business runs outside of freelance websites is simple. Clients send me documents through my business email, I check their work for grammar, punctuation, echo words, syntax, and formatting errors; mark them up with Microsoft Word track changes and send everything back to them. Once my clients are satisfied with the work that has been done, I send them an easy-to-pay invoice through the Freshbooks program.
The great thing about proofreading is that projects can be completed in multiple ways. You can pay for the whole project up front, pay per milestone or even pay per hour. Paying per milestone is usually the most popular method for people who need large projects done. Listed prices are not always carved in stone either. I often give discounts to first-time clients.
Where did the idea for DP Proofreading Services come from?
Well, ever since I was thirteen-years-old, I dreamed of working from home and being my own boss. When I was nineteen, I started researching, and hunting, for ways to make this happen. I went through many options such as, Dog Daycare, Affiliate Marketing, and Interior Decorating — although that option doesn’t always allow you to work from home.
I finally discovered proofreading in 2019 when I decided to take a freelance writing course through the International School of Canada. I really wanted to learn how to write a book. I wasn’t planning on having a career in the editorial industry, but I fell head-over-heals in love with the art of writing. After doing some brief research on freelance writing careers, I discovered proofreading, which was a much better-paced, and lucrative, choice for me.
As for the name, DP Proofreading, I have always been a huge fan of alliteration. And as it happens, my last name starts with the letter “P!”
What is the one piece of advice you still remember and that has practically changed your life?
Three years ago, before I started my freelance writing course, I was petrified. I had little to no self-confidence back then, and the very idea of writing a book paralyzed me with fear. No one in my immediate family had ever attempted to write a novel, so they didn’t really have any advice to give. I was recently unemployed at the time and wasn’t feeling very good about myself. I was in tears for days, thinking that I would never accomplish my goals and live a happy fulfilled life.
That is until I accidentally came across (actor) Sean Astin’s profile on Cameo.com. Feeling in desperate need for support (and Sean is my favorite actor in the whole world), I decided to ask him for a pep-talk video through the Cameo website. After submitting the information, I took a long shower, expecting to receive the video within seven days or so.
Forty-five minutes later, I received an email message with the video inside! Mr. Astin had many nice, and supportive things to say, but this one piece of advice stuck in my mind, “Relax! We’re all going to die; it has to happen.” Believe it or not — that is the best piece of advice I had ever received!
All through my college training, I was reminded to always keep my targeted audience in mind and to remember that writing is hard and not everyone will succeed at being published or receive recognition of being published. But I was never told to relax and just enjoy what I’m doing in the moment! Or in simpler terms— to stop obsessing! Which, unfortunately, is something I have a bad habit of doing.
Not only was this good advice, but it really did change my life. I completed my course, became a professional in the editorial field, as well as a mentor to beginner writers, and started writing the first draft of my novel. I hope, and pray, that I eventually will be published — just so I can give Mr. Astin a copy of my book as a thank you for changing my life for the better!
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I highly recommend the book Digital Marketing Strategy: An integrated approach to online marketing by Simon Kingsnorth. Mr. Kingsnorth explains, in great detail, the power of having an excellent online marketing strategy, and how to implement the methods.
This is awesome information for both beginner and experienced entrepreneurs. For as we all know, there is no point in trying to run a business that no one can find!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Siterubix.com. This powerful web hosting platform keeps two versions of your website always running at top-speed and optimizes your content behind the scenes. The technology protects you from spam, hackers, and malware that most websites are susceptible to as well. Site Rubix also has exceptional 24/7 customer service. If you have a problem with your site, you can receive a response quickly. Most of the time, they fix the problem for you without you lifting a finger!
I work on my website quite frequently, updating my blog and social media links. I rarely ever worry about my website crashing, running slowly, or becoming accidentally corrupted when new plugins are installed. And in the rare cases that there is a problem — it is usually fixed in a matter of minutes.
How do you achieve work-life balance?
Once I started receiving wonderful clients, achieving a work-life balance was easy. Most of my client-projects (such as proofreading novels) take at least a week to complete. This allows me to decide how/when I wish to start work, how long I need to work in order to meet the deadline and when I should take breaks. When all these wishes are crossed off my list, I am able to work smoothly from the comfort of my home-office while keeping track of everything that goes on at home.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?
Wow. If I had a time machine, I would actually go back to my childhood. Everything in my life has been leading up to this moment. I wouldn’t dare change a thing. Instead, I would tell the younger version of myself that although she is going to struggle, she is also going to make a difference in the world before she is even thirty-years-old.
I would tell her that she is going to become a mentor to future authors, and that she is going to receive amazing advice from her favorite actor that inspires her to take action towards her success. I have always believed that everything happens for a reason. And from what I have experienced so far — this theory appears to be true.
What advice would you give to a newbie in the Proofreading field?
Once you submit a proposal through websites like Upwork, forget about it. The process of applying for a proofreading job is like applying for any other job online. Except most of the job postings are not displayed by big companies. The vast majority of them are posted by students and self-publishers. This means that it can take a while before you receive your first interview. Be patient. Just keep submitting proposals as often as you can. Clients will contact you eventually.
Also, once you land a client, try not to worry about receiving a handful of new ones right away. Take your time to build a relationship with the client you have. If they are impressed with you, they will leave you an awesome review, which intern, will entice more writers to interview you.
Can our readers get in touch with you?
Of course, they can! I very much enjoy hearing from other home-business owners, authors, potential clients, or anyone else who might be interested in connecting. I make myself easily accessible to others through my Website and Social Media.
I can also be contacted directly at [email protected]
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