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Imagine never worrying about money again…
Imagine having the freedom to set your own schedule…
And imagine creating a life that prioritizes what’s important to you…
Don’t restrict yourself to just imagining these things. You can make them a reality by mastering new skills and using them to help people.
With the stress of balancing a corporate job with taking care of her husband starting to take its toll on Janet, she started looking for ways to earn money from home using skills she already had. Enter transcription! Her transcription business took off and led her to create Transcribe Anywhere, a course that helps people learn how to earn money from home as transcriptionists.
Janet Shaughnessy is the queen of all things transcription and has some excellent advice to share with us based on firsthand experience throughout her years in the industry. She doesn’t just talk the talk; she walks the walk!
Take it away, Janet!
Q: Hi, Janet! Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started in transcription.
I first began my work-at-home career in transcription when my husband became disabled and no longer able to work. I needed more time away from my corporate job to take care of him and, frankly, the stress of it all was taking its toll on me — mentally, physically, and emotionally.
After a few false starts trying to make a living from home (selling MLM products anyone?), I sat myself down and asked myself, “What skills do I have that will allow me to work from home?” Bingo! Transcription! I already had experience as a medical transcriptionist and was hired by the first company I tested with. I was so excited and happy to finally be able to work from home, a long-held dream of mine, even before my husband got sick.
Later I branched out into general and legal transcription and started taking on my own clients. Soon, I was hiring others to help me with my overflow work. That was the beginning of my transcription company, Zoom Transcription Services. I found that I needed to train or retrain even those with experience after I hired them. All of my notes and training material went through several iterations, finally becoming the multi-media online course, Transcribe Anywhere.
Q: That’s awesome that you were able to use your skills to support your family. What exactly does a transcriptionist do?
Transcriptionists turn recorded audio and video into text documents.
Q: What’s the difference between general transcription and legal transcription?
General transcription includes all industries other than medical and legal. Legal transcriptionists work in the legal arena and provide services to courts, lawyers, court reporters, law enforcement and others.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about being a transcriptionist?
My absolute favorite thing about being a transcriptionist is the freedom that it affords me. I work according to my own schedule. I choose when, where, and how often I work. And I have more time to spend with family and friends and do the things I enjoy in life.
Q: Freedom! What more could we ask for? What are the biggest challenges transcriptionists face? Does your course help future transcriptionists overcome those obstacles?
I’ve learned through training others that the biggest obstacle isn’t the mechanics of how to transcribe or even finding work. The biggest obstacle is mastery of English grammar and punctuation. We cover it very extensively in our courses.
Q: How flexible is this type of work? Can you do it part-time or is it only a full-time job?
Flexibility is one of the main reasons why we do what we do. Whether to work full time or part-time is entirely up to the individual and their specific needs.
Q: Is this a remote job? Can you work from home or anywhere in the world?
Absolutely! Hence our name: Transcribe Anywhere. As long as you have a computer (laptop is fine) with a reliable internet connection, you can work from anywhere.
Q: Are transcriptionists still in demand these days? What kind of clients do transcriptionists work with?
Transcriptionists are very much in demand and the need is actually growing. There’s so much audio and video content being produced these days by all types of individuals and professionals. We literally work in every industry.
Q: I can vouch for the fact that transcriptionists are still needed. I’ve personally hired several transcriptionists to transcribe interviews I’ve done. How much can a transcriptionist earn?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average, general transcriptionists earn $58K/year and legal transcriptionists earn $65K/year. That’s an average. Some will earn more and some will earn less. It’s also for full time and not everyone wants to work full time.
Someone just starting out should expect to earn less. It takes time to build skills and your clientele.
Q: Wow! It sounds like a lucrative work-at-home business option. What kind of person is normally most successful as a transcriptionist?
Someone who has a sincere desire to work from home (or anywhere) and is happy working alone. I also don’t recommend my courses to anyone who isn’t a native English speaker. The English language is extremely difficult to master, especially when it comes to grammar and punctuation. Even those of us who grew up speaking the language find it challenging.
This statement isn’t meant to insult anyone who isn’t a native English speaker. It’s just beyond the scope of our training to teach ESL learners. There are some who can do it, but I’d never want to disappoint anyone.
Q: What are the startup costs for this kind of work?
The startup costs are surprisingly low when compared to starting any other type of business. You need a computer with an internet connection, which most already have, along with word processing software. In addition, you’ll need transcription equipment and training. Our training is extremely affordable and we offer payment plans. We also have exclusive student discounts on equipment. All told, one should expect to spend between $600–$800. We offer payment plans as well to help folks get started.
Q: Thanks for sharing that. It’s good to know what to expect. Do you need ANY training to become a transcriptionist?
100% yes. The ability to type isn’t the only skill required to produce quality transcripts. It takes training and practice to become proficient.
Q: I couldn’t agree more. I’m a huge proponent of learning how to do a job properly before approaching potential clients. You only get one chance to make a first impression! Are there any other tips you have for people who want to work from home as a transcriptionist?
Prepare and commit to training and practice. Without it, you might find work working for very low-paying companies who don’t care about quality. That’s not the market we serve. Truly qualified transcriptionists are recognized and paid well for their skills.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know I’m all about using your skills to help people solve their problems. There’s huge demand out there for transcriptionists from bloggers to business owners to podcasters. Even I regularly hire transcriptionists! So if you’re willing to learn the skill, you’ll have no shortage of clients.
Want to learn more about online transcription? Level 1 of Transcribe Anywhere’s General Transcription: Theory and Practice course is included in Work-At-Home School.
Work-At-Home School is closed for enrollment right now, but if you can’t wait to get started with transcription, Janet offers a FREE 7-day mini-course that will teach you more about what transcription is, who uses transcriptionists, and why you shouldn’t believe any myths you’ve heard about transcription!
Can’t wait a whole 7 days?! Check out Janet’s free e-book The Truth About Transcription.