Location Independent Jobs: Copy-Editing, a Bumping Networking Road

Turner Holland, Location Independent Jobs

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Location Independent Jobs: Copy Editing Marketing

“So what area are you in…?

“What’s your field…?

“Oh very, very interesting…those studies on non-parallel methodologies and their inverse affect on categorical, non-linear small-medium enterprise in China’s Zxjixcuiufdifhong province.”

These were my opening lines. Something to that effect anyway. I was attending one of the many conferences for the academic elite and aspiring PhD candidates held all over the world for one of my location independent jobs. Academics go to these conferences to share their papers and collaborate on the latest and greatest research in their fields (and getting a free trip paid by their Universities of course). I needed more clients for my copy-editing business, – one of the many location independent jobs possible – and marketing myself online for “English editing”, “proofreading”, or anything some guy in a bathrobe living in his parent’s basement can do seemed like an uphill battle. Who can trust people online anyway? Anyone can be a self-proclaimed expert of anything. I can tap dance while smoking a cigarette and humming the Man! I Feel Like a Woman – but does that make me a world famous headlining act? Who knows, but I needed an out-off-the-box kind of approach. Something that others were unwilling to do or hadn’t thought of. That was the correct course. Or so I thought.

“So what iz dee reason dat you aree heree at the confernze?”

“Oh I am just checking up on some clients I have here. And also learning more about the publishing process. It is always helpful to know more about the reviewing process and have a better understanding of what academics have to go through to get their work in journals.”

“Jes. Dez is very true. So you help review author’s documents?”

“Yes – but I focus on editing the English for non-native speakers.”

“Wow. Dez is perfect. Really, there are a lot of peeeeople here who can uzee such a service. Myself included.”

“Great. So will you hire me?”


It was a strange phenomenon really. An entire room – nay – rooms full of people who could potentially use my expertise (not the humming and dancing bit as much), yet the responses, while positive and interested, were definitely not the let-me-pull out-my-checkbook-and-get-this-man-a-cigar-sort.

But I guess that is the rub. Unless you are the only one selling water in a desert and the guy crawling to you has both a thirst and a Master Card in that moment – you must boil like a lizard as you wait for the dying guy to realize his dire situation. All was not lost yet however. I still had the meet and greet boat cruise.

The cruise had potential. Two hours of hob-knobbing on the high seas (old, dirty port) with sophisticated cocktails (cheap champagne and stale beer) put me in my element. With a drink in hand, my innate ability to shamelessly plug myself into any conversation would surely be what I needed to get back on track. I am part chameleon, part conversational ninja with a glass of Jack, and this was going to be a networking dream.

However, the dream turned out to be more of a slow, awkward never-ending nightmare as my “brilliant out-of-the-box marketing idea” unraveled before my eyes. I was trapped between two insurmountable ironies – the people who needed my services the most either had no money (young academics) or had such terrible English to begin with it would be like poking my eyeballs out trying to fix their papers (academics coming from countries that speak something Latin-y). However, the conversations at least improved greatly from no longer talking about academia and the future of research to the weather.

But what the fuck. It ain’t all bad. I got to chat up the cute Dutch girls wearing the traditional garb serving coffee– and I am a sucker for chicks in clogs. I got to hear a bunch of riveting presentations on organizational methodologies in non-uniform based research. I got to practice making small talk with the charming, academic conversationalists about their hobbies and aspirations (making more research). And learned that I can still make it through a marathon of monotone lectures about subjects I do not give a shit about with a horrific hangover for a questionable goal. Ah college, the glory years.

Maybe there are other location independent jobs which require less…torture. Or not. On to the next conference…