KUCHING: Lynn’s Proofreading and Writing Services offers proofreading and editing services for documents in English.
Started as a small business in a Facebook page dated back in 2010, it is now gaining popularity.
“There are two reasons why I started the business. First of all, English is my first language, so reading and writing English comes naturally to me. Hence, I was looking for a business where I could apply my skills profitably,” said Evelyn Gan, during a recent interview.
Gan also explained that flexible working hours allowed her the freedom to pursue other interests in life like sports, travelling, and time with family and friends.
“Secondly, with a flexible workplace, I can work at any convenient location as long as there is Internet access. I find this kind of business model saves time and cost. Flexibility in this type of work arrangements I believe enhances productivity,” said Gan.
The business did not involved any physical office block or shop. It is an online business providing both English proofreading and editing services.
“I specialise in editing articles and writings such as those of students working towards their PhDs and Master’s degrees,” explained Gan.
Her clients were mainly from universities and other institutions of higher learning in Malaysia. However, she did have some clients from other countries like Singapore, the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan.
Journal and conference papers in various fields of studies namely engineering, agriculture, economics, finance, social science and management were also in the portfolio. These papers were largely written by academicians and researchers who were the specialists in the above mentioned fields, she elaborated.
“Besides the journals and conference papers mentioned, project reports, letters, websites and other business documents of corporate clients are also in the portfolio,” added Gan.
When asked on the nature of business, she mentioned that the proofreading and editing process encompass steps: correcting grammatical and spelling errors, replacing inappropriate words and phrases with suitable ones, restructuring sentences or ideas into a more fluent and readable format.
“Basically the document is corrected, restructured and rearranged where necessary. The purpose is to help the reader understand and focus on the relevant information as intended by the writer.
“Many times good judgement is needed to assess when to make changes without altering the original meaning and ideas of the writers,” explained Gan.
An important policy in this business is confidentiality. Information about clients and the content of documents would not be revealed to a third party unless with the clients’ consent.
Her target market was anyone who needed to improve the quality of any documents written in English. Since this was an online business model, international clients could gain access to the services provided.
Magazine editing was another target area of her service. Presently, she is one of the sub-editors for a leading national golf news magazine – The ClubHouse. This monthly publication is distributed to all the golf clubs nationwide.
Regarding on the number of clients, she said it was hard to keep track of the number of clients.
“There are busy and slow periods throughout the year. However, there is always a continuous flow of inquiries from people all over the world and I have been kept busy every month throughout the year,” said Gan.
She explained that, “For the past year I have been busy every month and sometimes there are a few jobs lined up. Most of the clients are understanding, giving ample time for the completion of their work as they know the quality of the service provided.”
“Many new clients come to know about my business through their friends who have used my services. My portfolio, rates and clients’ reviews are displayed on web site. It also serves as a platform for interaction with my existing and potential clients,” she added.
According to her, the core requirement of this business was intellectual capital. Other assets needed included high-speed internet connections, Smartphone with 3G broadband, notebook computers and relevant language-based software. She also mentioned that the total initial cost was in the region of RM10,000.
Asked about her competitors, she mentioned that she was aware of other competitors providing similar services in cyber space, both from Malaysia and other countries. However, through the prompt delivery of quality services, she had built a good rapport with her existing clients who in turn recommended their friends to use her services.
“In fact, many of my clients keep coming back whenever they require article editing. I hope, over time, to develop a strong brand in proofreading and editing, especially a niche in the academic and corporate segments,” explained Gan.
Most of the services currently are for academic dissertations. Conference and journal papers were the next most frequently edited documents. These writings were usually for the purpose of presentation in international conferences or publications in professional journals.
Regarding her future business, she hoped to expand further into the corporate sector, providing services in improving the language of annual reports, company websites, marketing brochures and other business documents.
“Being able to meet deadlines, giving quality services and having friendly and open communications with clients are some strategies used that hopefully will increase the stream of business in the future,” added Gan.