It has come to my attention that very many people are getting into freelance working and specifically on the transcription side of things. Transcription is one career that can be really fun and lucrative if you approach it the right way. Seeing that it only needs very limited skills, anyone and everyone are in a position to do it.
It is important to get into transcription, knowing very well what is expected of you, and what you need to know to at least navigate easily when the work starts flowing in. When I started transcription, no one really told me I would work on audio files with different accents from all over the world. I saw this really great opportunity to make money, and I jumped into it without thinking much of it. My typing speed is quite impeccable, so that was one less thing to worry about, and seeing that I have excellent attention to detail and a strong work ethic, I knew transcription wouldn’t really pose a challenge to me.
Five months in I couldn’t really tell if I was making progress or not. The work was there but the money not so much. No one had told me that as a beginner transcriber, I needed to create a rapport of outstanding work before I can start seeing the big buck. You don’t have to go through all that because I will outline some of the most important factors, you need to note if you are considering starting out on transcription.
So, who Is a transcriber? A transcriber is a professional typist who listens to recorded or live audio files and converts them into a text format. These audio files can fall into different genres and that determines the transcription that an individual is taking on. It might be general, medical, legal, financial, or even business transcription.
Below are some important factors to consider as you try to get your foot in the door for a transcription career.
1. Ask yourself whether transcription is for you.
Just like in any other profession, being a transcriber means you need to be very professional and skillful in order to take on any audio and create impressive and conclusive transcripts. Transcription requires accuracy, discretion, confidentiality, and the ability to work quickly and efficiently while meeting deadlines and producing transcripts that are of the highest quality. So before starting out it is important to ask yourself if this is a profession for you if you can deliver to the best degree possible if you even like transcription as a profession or you are just doing it for the sake of it. These questions will help you determine your Why for wanting to take on transcription as a profession and you will be surprised by the answer you come up with.
2. What Skills Do I Need?
Just like myself, in the beginning, I only thought transcription entailed me being a great typist and only that. Fast forward I have realized that there are a lot of soft skills that go into making someone a great transcriber. Typing is one of them but it is not the only one. When starting out, research the unique skills that are needed to be a transcriber. You will notice that as much as transcription needs an individual who has a high typing speed, they must also maintain accuracy and efficiency while still meeting deadlines. Professionalism is another skill you need to horn, regardless of whether you are your own boss or not, it goes a long way into ensuring longevity for your transcription career.
3. What Are the Benefits of Working from Home?
People get excited when they find out that as transcribers, they will have an option to either work from home or from an office. They don’t really know what working from home entails and some advantages and disadvantages of working from home. I have worked from home for over 2 years and I can tell you for sure it has not the most pleasant thing for me seeing that I thrive in human interactions and being in an office space works best for me. There are a lot of benefits like saving money, working from the comfort of your house, planning your time, and whatnot but you realize that there are also disadvantages like being overwhelmed, walking long hours, not being able to meet deadlines because of distractions, etc. Be sure to look into this as you start out.
4. Earning Potential
If you have this notion that you will start your transcription journey and start earning top dollar, I would like to burst your bubble because that is not the case. Eventually, transcription grows to be a lucrative career but just like many other careers, you must start somewhere. Depending on your skill level and expertise, you can expect to earn anywhere from $20 to $45 an hour as an at-home transcriber. As a beginner, you need to push yourself and step up for you to earn such amounts. Also, creating a good rapport with your clients will ensure you get called back for jobs and the more you work the more money you make.
5. Career Opportunities
Everybody wants to grow in their careers and this only happens if you put in the work and uphold professionalism. There are a lot of career opportunities in the transcription career but they won’t present themselves to you on a silver platter. You need to go out there and look for them yourself. Regardless of whether you choose to be in the legal, medical, business, or corporate industries, the opportunities in transcription are many and you will definitely find them in all these industries. As long as you are good at what you do then you can go out there and change the world a transcript at a time.
6. Becoming A Transcriber.
If you take all the factors I have mentioned above into consideration and you are still interested in being a transcriber, it is important to learn how to become a good sort after transcriber. This means that you need to know and understand the requirements of this job that you want to take on. What does it entail, what skills should you develop and where you can go get trained on these skills, etc. Once you get the right training, apply for a certificate that will make you a certified transcriber. This will come in handy when you look for job opportunities and will assure your clients that you are a dependable individual in the transcription career.
7. Where Do I Look for a Job?
So, you want to be a transcriber; you have researched the advantages and disadvantages of being one, got trained, and attained levels of a certified transcriber, what next? You should research where to get transcription jobs. There are so many transcription websites that offer transcription jobs and so missing jobs is not really an option in transcription. Apart from the websites, you can provide your information to local professional groups, like the Chamber of Commerce. Ask professionals you transcribe to refer other people to you. One thing you need to note is that transcription highly depends on word of mouth and the more your rapport speaks well of your work, the more referrals you will get.
8. How Do I Pay Taxes?
A lot of freelance workers and not only transcribers have a tendency of evading taxes and you shouldn’t fall in that category. It is very important to pay your taxes and avoid any issues in the future. So how to pay taxes as a home-based worker, should be one factor you look into when starting out as a transcriber. You will be responsible for your own taxes. This means keeping highly detailed records and planning for payment on a quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis. Always be accurate and honest with your income.
9. What Equipment Will I Need?
When working in an office, your employer will definitely provide all the essential tools that you will need to make your transcription job worthwhile but when working from home you should be able to look for and collect all these tools by yourself. This means that you need to educate yourself on what you need and how to use the tools themselves. You will need a personal computer and this might be a laptop or a desktop, you will need a recording system and a printer, and other office equipment. You will want a comfortable desk and chair that makes working long hours tolerable. You must also get good headphones and speech to word software that you can use to make your work less cumbersome.
10. Can Transcription Be a Side Job?
Last but not least, ask yourself whether transcription can be a side job or how people love to call them a side hustle. You might work a 9 to 5 and just want to take on a side hustle to increase your income. Finding out before you get in if it can be a side hustle for you will be important so that you avoid getting into contracts with clients, that you can’t really deliver on.
All these factors will come in handy for you as you try the waters in the transcription world. Better to know than to be sorry once you are in deeper.