I know there are a few professor and academic types on here, so I figured I might ask their opinion.
I often help out my brother and sister with their essays, and one friend of mine in particular who doesn't have the greatest command of written English. I help her with structure, phrasing and wording, and of course spelling and grammar - all things I've been told I'm very good at.
She made a suggestion the other day that caught my fancy, but I've no idea how I would go about it. Her suggestion was that I could offer an essay proofing/editing service to university students, and charge a small fee for helping them with their work. A little side business to my regular work and my writing work.
I wouldn't know where to start with such a thing, though. I have a few moral questions about it, as well as the practical, and I was hoping that you guys might be able to help me out.
- I don't want to get anyone in trouble or cause any perception that they were paying me to write their essay. I would always absolutely refuse if someone came to me with a request like that. But where does a proofing/editing service come in on that moral compass, in your opinion?
- How would I even get started? Should I approach the universities in my city about it or should I leave those alone and go for the flyer/Gumtree option? (Gumtree is the Australian version of Craigslist.)
- What guidelines do you advise me to set? I've been thinking about stuff like "won't accept essays less than three days out from due" or something. And I would still refer anyone with a major writing problem to the Academic Skills Centre at the university.
I have a bachelor's degree that essentially boils down to a major in journalism and a minor in sport. I write for a small local newspaper with greater ambitions. So that's my background, and I know it doesn't look like much. (And I don't think anyone will especially care about my high school English grades.)
The idea has very much caught my attention, but I'd much appreciate any advice anyone has for me.