Opportunity Knocks – My Proofreading Business

A recent news story of a misspelled tattoo got me to thinking about an old money-making idea. I went back, did some editing and brought it back.

I have a franchise business plan that will make me obscenely wealthy. Even if it only makes me fabulously well off, it will pay off in enough laughs to make it worth while.

My new business will be a proofreading service for dumb people. Why? Because dumb people insist on using words.

People who wear these caps need our help and have money to pay for it. (public domain via wikipedia)

Every day, dumb people get tattoos, make signs and deliver messages with words that they are not qualified to use. By putting a proofreader in places where dumb people might use words, I will be ready to help protect them from themselves (and rake in the bucks).


Here is how the business, called I Proof You (IPY) will work. Let’s imagine that there is an I Proof You franchise in a tattoo shop. A young man comes in to get some ink. Let’s say he is the young man I ran across the other day. The IPY representative would offer to proofread the text of his design for spelling errors, double meanings and other mistakes which could lead to permanent embarrassment for him.

Because you are a bright person, you might ask “if he is dumb, why would he be smart enough to pay for someone to proofread his tattoo before he gets it?” The answer is simple, IPY’s slogan “Pay us now, or we will work for free later.” What that will come to mean to the potential IPY customer is that, if he chooses not to pay for our service, we will tell him as he leaves the shop what his tattoo really means to people who are literate.

Let’s go further with the example of the young man I recently met. He enters the tattoo shop and is offered a form on which to write the words he plans to have permanently emblazoned on his arm. He gets a chance to pay $50 to have the words proofed. He refuses and gets himself tattooed with the words “No one can’t judge me.” On his way out, IPY works for free, telling him the wording of his new tattoo actually means that everyone is able to judge him. He leaves, knowing he will forever deliver an unintended and opposite message. When he returns for some new ink, he will spend the extra money on IPY.

Signs, Signs…

Sign shops are equally dangerous. I occasionally drive past a video rental shop. Like most good business persons, the owners of the shop had a sign made to let people know where the business is. According to the sign, the name of this shop is Video Bizarre. You and I know that the owners were probably envisioning a bazaar. Bizarre has a completely different meaning. We both can see where IPY could have helped in this unfortunate situation.

My last example of how I Proof You could save someone from a life of embarrassment is in the area of vehicular adornment. I saw a woman recently driving a 1980’s model SUV. It had a plastic bug screen on the front of the hood. She had spent her hard-earned money to have some words painted on that screen. She really needed IPY’s help.

English: Willie Nelson and his guitar "Tr...

Honey Suckle Rose (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Perhaps she was a fan of Willie Nelson and enjoyed the movie he was in back in 1980 called Honeysuckle Rose. It could be that she liked the old jazz standard, also called Honeysuckle Rose. Whichever of those it was that she wanted to show her love of, she delivered a different message. She had paid to have someone very neatly paint on her bug screen the words “Honey Suckle Rose”.

IPY would have been able to tell her that the act of separating the compound word honeysuckle into the two words that compose it changed her message completely. Instead of driving around with a tribute to Willie Nelson’s acting (a strange thing to do) this woman unwittingly displays a three word instructional phrase that had nothing to do with Willie and everything to do with an act between two people named Honey and Rose.

Yeah, the money and the laughs will come. Franchise opportunities now available.

24 Comments on “Opportunity Knocks – My Proofreading Business”

  1. hmmm good idea…when you start selling franchises let me know

  2. When I pass those hotel signs, usually in beach resort towns, advertising “Free Buffett,” I always wonder if anyone is supremely disappointed when they get powdered eggs and mystery meat instead of “Margaritaville.”

  3. Todd Pack says:

    We should form a partnership, because I believe there’s going to be a huge demand in a few years for tattoo removal services, because, at some point, these twentysometimes are going to look their tattoos and think, “What the hell was I thinking?” I also think there’s a buck to be made by translating Chinese or Japanese characters into English, because, let’s face it: These people can’t read Chinese or Japanese. They don’t know if that cool symbol on their back means “courage” or “constipated monkey face.”

  4. Blogdramedy says:

    Well I think I now know what my new tattoo will say…”Approved by IPY.” I can’t think of a better conversation starter. 🙂

  5. Might need to hire someone who is fluent in Chinese and Japanese for the tattoo shops. Then they could be warned if they were getting gibberish from a made up font, what they think it says, or getting a joke to wear forever (like the guy with Noodles). http://hanzismatter.blogspot.com/

  6. Laura says:

    I could have used your services when I got my first real job. Everyone had to wear ID badges, and when I went to get mine, they asked me to make sure my name was spelled correctly. It looked fine to me, until I got back to my work area and my coworkers started to point out something I’d overlooked.

    I got the badge fixed right away, but people called me “Larua” for years.

  7. Great idea! Can I have the Southern Hemisphere franchise?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Dumb people also insist on using spell and grammar check in lieu of proofreading. I derive a great deal of amusement from the result.

  9. We Found Him Captain! says:

    Not only is this a great idea, it is your funniest article yet. I love the one about the Honey Suckle Rose decal. I’m also interested in a franchise.

  10. robincoyle says:

    HAHAHAHA “Dumb people insist on using words.” Brilliant.

  11. Anita Neuman says:

    Ha ha! I have a son who could use your help. Unfortunately, he has no money.

  12. Pie says:

    Can I spearhead a London branch? There’ll be plenty of business this side of the water.

  13. Lea Ault says:

    Reblogged this on a little leaway and commented:
    I love this post – I’m always irritated by misspelling, incorrect usage, and malapropisms. These keep cropping up in published works, by reputable publishing houses, too. I assume the editors are well-paid, why are they using spellcheck instead of actually editing? “Peddling” instead of “pedaling” when we’re discussing cycling, not sales! Oh, those homonyms. They are spellcheck’s kryptonite.

    The Asian calligraphy tattoos – these are pretty, but are the equivalent of the unintentionally hilarious Japanese t-shirt that has sayings in English like, “The secret to happiness is having your own nut sack,” but without the advantage of being removable. You would think a good rule of thumb would be to actually know what it is you are writing on your body. One of my sister’s boyfriends had Japanese kanji up and down one arm. He thought he knew what they meant but he wasn’t sure which character meant what. Permanent body art that he doesn’t even understand? My husband reads kanji and had to tell him what each character meant. He should have told him that it read, “Learn to read Japanese!”

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