You can indeed find a wealth of information on the internet regarding transcription work. However, not all sources are reputable or trustworthy, some don’t even come from first-hand experience – text is simply recycled to fill a space for an article. As such, many articles or material may be misleading, the information may not be correct or up-to-date. My e-books are updated regularly to ensure the information is current and accurate.
Most guides or e-books are static and not edited regularly. They frequently skim over or do not mention crucial aspects of the industry at all. I provide in depth and only relevant information, giving you an insight into everything you need to know.
I’ve made my guides comprehensive, clear and easy to navigate so that you can flick through, get an overview, and then refer back at any time when you need to.
The methods contained within the e-book are authentic. They are tried and tested, come from my own experience. I’ve included everything I can think of that helped me stay the distance with some of the larger agencies requesting high standards, and soon after launch my own freelance business with several of my own clients (all after only one year). I worked intensively, learning everything I could about the industry so that I could deliver the best service to my clients and other agencies, who I still work with to this day.
I’ve been in business with my own paying clients full-time, with this as my sole source of income since 2011, and have served many clients in industries such as medical, legal, research, individuals, students and charities. If I can do it, you can too!
Good typing skills are obviously essential! You can improve your typing skills by practising online. I make recommendations in the e-books to the best online resources available for free. You can also test your typing speed and accuracy online and I tell you exactly the best place to do this for free and get it certified. More on improving typing speeds and accuracy are mentioned in The Home-Based Typist.
A good knowledge of grammar and English language usage is also essential. Again, this can also easily be improved upon. I recommend the best free or inexpensive resources both online and in printed format to quickly and easily help you understand usage principles that you can add to your growing knowledge!
Initiative! As a freelancer, you will be expected to take care of your own workload, so you will need to be proactive. (More about this a bit further on.)
If you are interested in learning this is the career for you. It may be a huge learning curve, and you will be expected to show initiative. It might seem like hard work – and it is! But think how fresh and rewarding this transition is for those who’ve previously been engaged in jobs of a repetitive nature, with not much in the way of autonomy, flexibility or change. (You wouldn’t expect to just magically step into another career without at least some effort, though, would you?!) You can use your existing skills and transfer them into a new career, gain autonomy, change, variation, flexibility, a boost to your self-esteem and confidence – all while working from home! Amazing!
I can personally attest, it’s 100% been the best thing I have ever done in my working life. It has opened up so many doors for me, provided me with so many opportunities to meet and make connections with lots of new and interesting people – from all over the world and all kinds of professions and backgrounds researching and studying all kinds of topics. I gain so much satisfaction from jobs well done and receiving lots of lovely reviews from satisfied clients, and I do this all from the comfort of my own home. It’s like a dream come true! And you can do it, too.
I wasn’t previously an entrepreneur. I had several jobs I was miserable and undervalued in, with no prospect of promotion or any autonomy over my own workload. I was particularly unhappy in my last position and I believe it gave me the push I needed to use my skills and turn them into something different, to effect change.
I had no previous business experience, but I did have a lot of skill and experience in touch typing and attention to detail from years of working in the medical and legal fields, along with a lifelong interest in English language and grammar and the motivation not to go back to doing what I was doing previously in the 9-5!
As far as business startup costs go, setting up as a transcriber has to be one of the lowest out there. I had little money to invest to begin with. I started with the bare minimum, buying only a foot pedal and software! After a while, I saved money to be able to do other things I needed to to improve my chances of growing my business. There are loads of great resources, low-cost services and free tools you can use to market, grow and support your business. I guide you through many examples of these in depth in the e-book, so you can get a good idea of what might work for you – even if you have very little (or even nothing) monetarily to invest.
“Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still. “– Chinese proverb
As a result of success with my first business, I now own a second business. I’d never have had the confidence to do that if it hadn’t been for my experiences with taking the leap to start up on my own as a freelancer. Who knows where it will lead you? I’ve been part of so many interesting projects and met so many interesting and lovely people.
I want to help others by imparting my knowledge and wisdom. There’s plenty of work to go around for everyone. Transcription work is plentiful and can be well paid, but like everything needs hard work and dedication. But in the end, it’s well worth it for the ability to be able to be flexible, work for yourself – as much or as little as you’d like to – and with no commute!
“Untapped potential is the difference between where a person is now and where he or she can be.”– Bo Bennett
I keep a keen eye on the transcription coaching industry, and I’ve never seen a course that didn’t have similar content to the content I offer within my e-books. Online courses have audio files that you can download. I have included these too, and I direct you to links where you can download sample files. I also provide the transcript fully proofread so you can get an idea of the various different types of format you may be asked to produce (verbatim/non-verbatim styles) and ideally what companies or clients will be looking for, and why – most of which is missing from a lot of the courses.
I explain in The Home-Based Typist in great detail why the transcripts are produced a certain way and how you can easily understand and produce them yourself to a high standard. I also include in my e-book a helpful easy to reference Hit List that you can keep beside you when completing interview files. It chronicles all of the common errors that people make – reminding you to avoid them – and regular things that crop up within transcription that you won’t find inside agency manuals – and certainly almost never from a client!
Most courses are, in my opinion, vastly over-priced and it’s not necessary to spend hundreds (or even thousands – yikes!) on instruction on getting started. All you need is your at-home setup and a few lists of companies hiring, some sensible guidance, then you can apply and get started almost immediately.
You’ve got your software and hardware all set up – great! Now the hard work begins. The software you now have at your fingertips is very sophisticated, but it doesn’t end there – you’ll actually now be expected to know how to use it to get the best out of the audio recording! You’ll soon find that the vast majority of transcription agencies or clients simply don’t have the time or inclination to provide you with perfect quality audio. As a freelancer, you won’t be spoon-fed, and you’ll naturally be expected to sort out any audio issues yourself.
“The absence of any feedback can inadvertently keep you stuck…”
Being a freelancer means you have to take responsibility for your own workload. As a freelancer, you have to impress. There are often no promises that the work will be sent to you in future. It’s not like being formally employed with an employer-employee relationship, where training and leeway is given. You will likely get little to none of this type of dispensation: as a freelancer, you are expected to be established and prepared. The good news is, I can help give you the tools to make sure you have the best possible chance to succeed.
There are a few companies out there who can provide training and guidance, but the type of feedback provided on your work can vary from agency to agency. Sometimes full and accurate feedback is given. Sometimes no feedback is given at all, so you have no idea how you are performing. The absence of any feedback can inadvertently keep you stuck at a certain level, which can detrimentally affect your chances of work elsewhere with another agency.
For example, a company who is keen to get through vast amounts of audio and who have a full team of proofreaders can accept ‘acceptable’ level transcripts or documents. No feedback is provided to you. You then apply to another company for work and they reject you, ripping apart your work which is littered with feedback points. You’re surprised as you incorrectly thought that because you had no complaints about your work previously, everything was okay. Don’t let this happen to you!
It’s fine not to know everything – you don’t have to be an expert, but you do have to have your wits about you. To have a high rate of accuracy, it will require some time and effort, but it’s achievable with the right coaching. I provide you with all of the easy to reference tips and information sheets to keep you on the right track – no matter the style of feedback you are receiving from the company you’re working for. You’ll always have the peace of mind that you’re performing well.
You need to be proactive and make sure that you know what is likely to be expected of you and make sure that you are performing correctly.
I provide a whole section in the e-book to help you align your attitude and adjust expectations to help settling into being a freelancer where you previously have no experience in this area easier – something that is likely to be missing from most guides or courses you will find online. It’s a shame that this is seldom, if ever, mentioned in any of the guides out there claiming to assist new transcribers, as it’s precisely where many people fall down flat – exactly the kind of blow that I can coach you to AVOID!
New transcribers to the arena understandably have no idea what exactly is expected of them and where they now fit into the bigger picture. I dispel a lot of myths and tell you a few hard truths (gently but firmly!) to help you adjust your expectations and get you on the right track for how to deal with potential clients and other agencies you might be liaising with on a regular basis.
It’s a rewarding, flexible career, where you can gain a lot of positive feedback and satisfaction. I can help you get there. The e-book will coach and motivate you to move forward effectively, always making it clear what the natural next steps are, and providing encouragement for any hurdles that you might encounter.
“This e-book is an ideal way to focus your mind on what you need to do when it comes to starting your own transcription business. If you’re just starting out on this road and you need some guidance, this is the ideal book for you.”Review of The Home-Based Typist