I love being a transcriptionist. I am a naturally curious person who revels in learning new things. Oh, and I really enjoy the fact that I can do so while getting paid to do it. How great is that? Now, don’t get me wrong; I still have to work, and if you aspire to start your own transcription business, so will you. Those are word of truth. Remember, anything worthwhile and honorable in business takes work and effort. No matter what the hucksters may tell you, there are no shortcuts–other than a very lucky and not-so-likely lottery win or Vegas jackpot–to wealth and the easy life. We have to make our own way in this world, but we can, if the desire and ambition is there, do so on our own terms. With those truisms in mind, I set out to start my own business just prior to the pandemic’s genesis in March of 2020.
In my first set of blogs, I already noted my journey, but I will start with April of 2020 as that is when I decided to dive into the 7-Lesson Free Mini-Course through TranscribeAnywhere. For me, it was an easy choice. Being a retired teacher and having had graduate work in curriculum and instruction, I found that the courses were not only interesting, informative, thorough, and well-paced, they were pedagogically sound and structured with the correct balance of theory, instruction, demonstration, and practical work. It is an all-encompassing program that prepares you to go out and set up your own business. TranscribeAnywhere becomes a ‘family’ that you become a part of. One in where you receive continuous support, enjoy rapport with other TA graduates, and with that training, you have the power, influence, and credibility that TranscribeAnywhere carries when you have your certificate in hand. I graduated with my certificate in General Transcription: Theory & Practice on November 21, 2020. I added Legal Transcription: Theory & Practice about a year later–though I have been so busy that I have not had time to complete it just yet.
Shortly after graduating, I had two gigs with a couple of transcription companies and landed a small, temporary client. I now am completely independent, having four of my own private clients. I work when I want, and I take on as much as I want. Since I find the work to be enjoyable and fascinating I do take on quite a bit. But, who is my boss? I stare at him every morning while brushing my teeth in front of my bathroom mirror. I don’t sweat commutes; after all, my commute begins at the edge of my bed, then down the hall to the kitchen where I snatch a cup of coffee and an apple, and then back up a few feet to my home office. My dress code is business comfortable, which could be code for pajamas and slippers on some cold mornings. I take a generous break after a couple of hours, maybe catch up on an around-the-house project, if that is on my daily docket, work a while longer, depending on deadlines. Then my wife and I will go to the gym or pool for exercise for a few hours or meet up with another couple for lunch or cards. After dinner, my wife and I might watch a show or play Maj Jong before I go back to my office to finish up work.
The point is, I have a schedule, but depending on TAT’s (turn around time) and workload, it is fluid. Probably the most important part of planning a schedule is to be both disciplined while being fluid. When you decide to sit down at the desk to work, you focus on the work. I do have a schedule that I plan out based upon my week’s workload. I plan it; it is not mandated by a company boss. I am the boss; I am the employee; therefore, I am both.
Understand something, a caveat if you may, you are probably not going to become a millionaire as a transcriptionist It is not a golden parachute. It takes work; it takes discipline, and it takes dedication. You can make a comfortable living if you invest your time and effort. I retired after 30+ years as a teacher in June of 2018. I was near the top of the pay scale in my district. My business does not replace my salary dollar to dollar in a ledger sense. However, I was commuting 14 miles per day, five days a week. I averaged just for work, about $130 per month in gas, not to mention wear and tear on my vehicle. For a teacher on a roughly 10-month work year, that is about $1300 dollars. At 70 miles per week, 4 weeks per month, and 10 months in the school term, I rounded to 2,500 miles per year for work. That is one less oil change and various other maintenance costs which I came up with a savings of around $300 dollars a year. Since I drive far less miles now, my insurance company lowered my rate $350 per year. My clothing maintenance was not high, but it is much lower now only to the tune of about $100. I spend less on food also. Then because my office in my home is dedicated to work, that is a write-off on my income taxes. The coffee I buy and some of the groceries for lunch is a write-off. My home office space is a write-off, a significant write-off. All of my supplies and equipment for my transcription business are write-offs, and so are the health premiums for my wife and I. We received a refund from both Federal and State of over $3000, most of it due to not only smaller earnings, but also the many write-offs self-employed people enjoy.
Then there are the intangibles that one must consider. First, there is quality of life. While I enjoyed my teaching career immensely, I also had to deal with stress, workplace politics, employee-employer relations, parents, and a lot of paperwork. The hustle and bustle of a regular work week and everything that that entails was something that can consume time, energy, and also cause stress. You are also on a schedule–most likely not one of your own choice–that you must adhere to. Meetings, conferences, paperwork, training, travel, HR issues, workplace politics, issues with colleagues or with employees that you might supervise or managers that you must answer to. All of that disappears when you work for yourself. As a transcriptionist, you will work for yourself; you will be self-employed. Some of you may wish to be an independent contractor with a transcription company or with two or more companies; some of you may elect to only serve your own private clientele, and others might choose a hybrid work model where you might contract with a company while retaining a private client or two. Whatever model you choose for your business, you are the one that decides your schedule. I now only serve my own clients. For me, that is what I chose. I found that that model provides me with the greatest independence.
I hope you are interested in at least taking a peak into transcription as a business. I know that I am happy that I did. This is not a career that you just dive into without training and expect to become successful. It takes more than being a fast typist. You need to acquire the proper training, one with the right balance of theory and practice; one that balances learning the underpinnings and foundations of the industry with practical application and practice as a transcriptionist; one that is of high caliber; one that sets the industry standard. Only one transcription school and training curriculum checks all of those boxes, TranscribeAnywhere. Starting Friday, November 25th, all of the courses: legal, general, and legal/general combo courses are being offered at a 50% discount with our “Black Friday” event. It costs absolutely nothing to first enroll in our free mini-course. By doing that, you will get a thorough introduction to the world of transcription. You will learn about the industry, what you need, the equipment, what it entails, and about how to establish yourself in the business. The free course will also help you to determine if transcription is a good fit for you before you actually lay out money to purchase a full course. Go ahead and click on the link below. Doing that is absolutely free as well. There will be no hard-sell tactics, no BS, no pressure. We are only interested in teaching and training those who are interested in pursuing transcription as a career. If that describes you, we will be thrilled to have you at least take a peak.
Best wishes in all of your endeavors.