One of the Most Asked About Work at Home Careers: Transcription
If I had a dime for every time someone asked me about “working at home doing transcription” – I would be able to vacation in Hawaii for an entire month! It is one of the most talked about and sought after work at home careers. And through the years, I've seen some real shysters try and take money from unsuspecting folks by promising BIG money just by taking their “At Home Transcription Course”. I actually fell for one of these courses myself back in 1991. It was to get a “degree” for “Vet Tech” school. Oh my goodness. It was a joke. I mean… I did the course, I loved it. I worked hard at completing all my lessons and studying. (This was WAY before ONLINE schools.) And I was awarded my degree. But it in no way helped me earn BIG money as a vet tech…. I couldn't even get hired with this so-called degree. I spent $1200 on it… and that was almost 25 years ago… so I'm thinking that translates to at least double, if not triple today for the same “degree”. It ended up just being a workbook. It would be like me going to Barnes and Noble and buying a book on Diabetes for Dummies and then calling myself an expert and trying to get hired at a doctor's office. And though I know pursuing something “medical” (even if it's for animals only) via “home schooling” is outrageous – I fell for it — hook, line and sinker.
So — wait… why am I off on this story? Because of transcription. There are a lot of schools out there promising a career in transcription if you just take their $3000 course or whatever. Listen, nobody can promise you a career. Even the winners of American Idol aren't promised a career. And thousands of dollars out of my pocket or your pocket aren't gonna hand us a career either.
That does NOT change the fact that many of us still want a career in transcription. Especially one from home. Why wouldn't we? It's flexible, in demand and pays well. You also don't have to be on the phone all day with customers or clients. (This is something many work at home job seekers avoid like the plague — they just DO NOT want to do customer service. I get it. I do customer service for a living — and it's not for everyone. But if you love that type of work or are really wanting a job right now…. customer service is a great option. Many hire without experience and offer paid training. You can see the customer service resource page on my site to take a look for yourself.)
So How Do We Get This Career in Transcription?
Again… no one can promise a career. BUT — we can certainly look for ways to ramp up our chances and possibilities for one if we know where to look and we find genuine resources.
That being said — I wanted to seek out an expert. Or at least someone that has done transcription for a living. A real paycheck. For years. This searching has led me to Janet Shaughnessy. And though I could simply run down Janet's life and career… I wanted you to hear from Janet herself. So I asked her my typical “work at home” probing questions — and wanted to share them with you today.
Janet Shaughnessy: Work at Home Transcription Expert
1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into transcription.
My beginning as a work-from-home transcriptionist was born of necessity. My husband became disabled and I needed time to take him to various doctors and hospitals. At the time, I had a high-paying and very high-pressure job at an insurance brokerage. It became impossible to juggle both my career and home life. I had to start thinking seriously about what I could do from home to earn an income. It was sort of a dream of mine anyway, but I never had the chance to pursue it. Life is funny that way. Sometimes, what appears as misfortune ends up to be a blessing in disguise. God is good that way. I already had experience as a medical transcriptionist and had training in shorthand and typing in high school. Who would have thought that skills I learned in high school would end up being the keys to a successful home-based business?
2. As a transcriptionist working from home, can you describe what an average workday is like?
Nope. LOL. There is no average day for me. I might be transcribing, answering emails and offering support to my students, taking care of my mother and/or husband, going to doctors appointments, cleaning the house or doing the laundry. But, my schedule is entirely flexible. Yes, I do work every day, but there is no “schedule” so to speak. I might work in my jammies as soon as I wake up or I might have other things to do and work later in the day or evening. I need that flexibility in my schedule and, thankfully, working from home as a transcriptionist allows me to have it.
3. Many moms at home are on limited budgets and have limited time. Is there opportunity for a transcription career for these women?
Absolutely. Transcription is one of the few areas of real employment that can be done remotely. It's perfect for moms who choose to stay at home with their children. Since we're working from home, there is no overhead and the cost to get started is very low. It's not for everyone though. We have a free introductory course to help people make that determination for themselves. It's better to find out upfront exactly what transcription work entails so that you can make an informed decision as to whether or not it's the right fit for you.
4. I assume transcription can be done from just about anywhere – but is the schedule flexible or are there tight deadlines?
Transcription can be done from anywhere with an internet connection and a computer. A laptop is fine. As I said earlier, the schedule is entirely flexible. Yes, you do have to meet deadlines, but it's up to you when you'll work in order to meet those deadlines. You can take on as little or as much work as you want.
5. Is there software or other “home office” equipment that someone would need to have in order to do transcription? Are there monthly expenses or suggestions on helpful tools?
A computer with an internet connection is needed. I don't recommend doing transcription on an iPad or tablet. Technically, it could be done; but it's an ergonomic disaster in my opinion. We're going to have a generation of hunch-backed people because too many children are hunched over tiny computer screens all day. So, I always suggest a proper desk or work area. It could be your kitchen table as long as you're comfortable and there aren't too many distractions. You'll need transcription software that can be had for free or very cheap. Headphones are needed and a foot pedal is optional. Most, but not all, transcriptionists prefer to use a foot pedal. Most people already have a set of headphones and a foot pedal is inexpensive (around $60).
6. Are there any mistakes, or steps along the way you wish you could change or do over?
I wish I had gotten started sooner! When I think about the time spent in the corporate world and all the Sunday nights that I was miserable thinking about getting up for work the next day, I have to ask myself why I put up with it for so long. I think we have a false sense of security and stay at jobs, or other life situations as well, longer than we should because we fear change. In my case, I was sort of forced into it and I couldn't be happier now that I'm self-employed and working from home.
Other than that, there's just small things like buying software that I didn't really need or spending money ineffectively on marketing that didn't work. Hopefully, my students will not experience any of that because we give them so much training and information in the course. They can learn from my mistakes.
7. If you could give a potential reader wanting to have a career in transcription your biggest secret or tip – what would it be?
I'm not going to give you my biggest secret tip because that's reserved for our students. But, I'll say this. You only fail if you never try. Thomas Edison is quoted as saying, “I didn't fail. I just found 10,000 ways that a light bulb doesn't work.” You've got to trust in yourself. You need to have the desire to learn, become excellent at what you do, and provide great customer service. Those are the foundations to success in the world of transcription…or in anything you want to accomplish in life. A positive mental attitude and the willingness to put in the work required to reach your goals is the key.
Final Thoughts on Transcription Work at Home
First, I want to thank Janet for taking the time to share her experience and insights with us on working at home as a transcriptionist. I always feel like hearing from someone that actually does it is best for all of us.
Second, if you noticed… Janet mentions her “students”. This is exciting for all of us. She's taken her experience, her expertise and created a course that is real and honest. Not only that – but she offers LIFETIME support. And more…. LIFETIME Updates Too! But anything like this is scary. I know that. Hey — you're talking to the person that spent $1200 to be a vet tech and it didn't pan out. If only I had someone back then to guide me, help me and give me the real deal about the impossibility of it! I'm so skid-ish about online courses and schools that I just don't post or speak about them unless I have fully researched it. Janet not only knows what she's talking about, she lives it. And has lived it for years. Not only that… she stands behind what she wants to teach you and share with you. And… she wants to back it up with supporting you and updating you all along the way.
It's still scary though. I know. But she also offers a FREE MINI COURSE. (Love it when stuff like that is offered for those of us that like to dip our toes first!) So if this sounds like something you're interested in… sign up for the mini-course.
If after taking her free Transcribe Anywhere Mini Course, you decide, yep… this is for me! Then you can move on to her Multimedia, self-paced course. It includes video tutorials, worksheets and more. Let Janet guide you with her 30+ years of transcription experience and success.
More info: TRANSCRIBE ANYWHERE