We had the good fortune of connecting with Heather Pendley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Heather, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I’d never thought of running my own business until my husband began worrying about retirement. Since I wanted to move back to my (more expensive) hometown when he retired, I starting considering how I could work remotely. I hold a degree in accounting and worked in banking for 15 years, but it wasn’t my passion, so bookkeeping was out. I first found online work typing up closed captions for the hearing impaired. About a year later, I recalled what I had loved when I was younger: reading and writing. Accounting colleagues had told me I had an eye for errors, so I took a basic proofreading course, then added copyediting which, after a year or two, gave me a nice part-time income. I was on a plane when I offered my card to my seatmate, a PhD who was writing a book. She asked if I’d ever considering indexing, since there was a plethora of copyeditors but not so many indexers. I was intrigued and joined ASI (the American Society of Indexers), took the course, and added indexing to my proofreading and copyediting services. I also learned how to embed indexes and use various software programs to facilitate my new offerings. I then became a member of the EFA (Editorial Freelancer’s Association); this year I was elected as a Member at Large. Now, I have all the clients I want and, while choosing to working part-time, am earning about half of my husband’s six-figure, full-time income. He has been with the same company for 24 years. I really enjoy editing and indexing, and the 100% positive feedback from my clients proves I’m doing something right. As long as I have an internet connection, I can work from anywhere and plan on doing so until my eyes give out. firstname.lastname@example.org PendleysProEditing.com
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My business, Pendley’s Pro Editing & Indexing, offers copy/line editing, proofreading, and indexing. Most people think back-of-the-book indexes are written by computers, but they’re not. A human has to interpret the author’s thoughts into words and phrases that a reader is likely to search for. I write indexes for both printed and electronic books, where the index is hyperlinked directly to the portion of text it refers to. A good index is a roadmap for the book; an inadequate index is a disservice to both the author and the reader. Copy editing is vital to the success and professionalism of any book; typos and poor grammar are stumbling blocks to a reader and can immediately discredit an author. I ensure consistency, correctness, and continuity in the works I edit. Proofreading is the final check for missed errors before publishing and should not be skipped. An extra set of eyes on a book ensures the work is as close to perfect as possible. Because I’ve always excelled in spelling and grammar, deciding to start my business wasn’t difficult. However, finding work took a lot of time. I scoured Facebook, LinkedIn, and job lists for months to find clients. Now, more than half of my projects are from repeat clients and referrals. As an introvert, I have a hard time tooting my own horn, so marketing wasn’t my favorite thing to do. I’ve found posting grammar tips and funny word nerd memes on social media, as well as being listed on various professional sites, gives my business attention painlessly. I am most proud of my clients’ comments about my work. “Above and beyond” is the praise I hear most; I love what I do and it’s reflected in my diligent efforts. It confirms my decision to go into this business was a good one. Pendley’s Pro Editing & Indexing is a certified woman-owned small business.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The top 10 things I’d take my bestie to do/see is: spend a day at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, swim at La Jolla beach, go thrift shopping, check out Palomar Mountain, see a ball game at Petco Park, visit Balboa Park museums and botanical garden, have dinner in Old Town, play at the Children’s Museum in San Diego or Escondido (if she brought kids), walk Crystal Pier, and hike Three Sisters Falls
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Without the support of my family, ex-coworker Faye (a great cheerleader), and the professional organizations I belong to (ACES: The Society for Editing; the Editorial Freelancers Association, and the American Indexing Society), I would not enjoy the success that I do.
Other: https://www.the-efa.org/memberinfo/heather-pendley-19907/ https://www.asindexing.org/find-an-indexer/asi-indexer-locator/?sho=HPendley https://aceseditors.org/resources/for-hire/heather-pendley-20170707-232825 https://heatherpendley.naiwe.com/professional-profile/ https://sdpen.com/member-profiles/pendley-heather/