Work at Home Business Ideas

Transcription Work – The Pros and Cons

Previously we’ve discussed working as a transcriptionist, how to get started as an audio transcriber and how to find transcription jobs, now we’re going to take a look at the nature of the work in general by examining both the positives and the negatives of transcription work.

The good

It’s risk free.

When it comes to finding good, proper work from home jobs that pay real money there are lots of scams to wade through. Transcription isn’t like that, or perhaps more accurately I should say that I haven’t come across any “gurus” out there claiming you can make millions doing it.
It’s also not commission based.

You get paid for exactly the amount you work, no more, no less.
Little to no investment

Like I said you don’t really need a foot pedal to get started though feel free to buy one later on down the line if you think it will make a significant difference. I don’t.

All you really need is a good set of headphones. You don’t need a high powered computer. A 12 year old Pentium 3 running Windows XP could easily do the job though, like I said, you really ought to have the latest version of Office. Consider this an investment for any home business anyway, as it is still the de-facto office suite for the time being – one area where Microsoft are still firmly in control. The actual transcription software itself is free. Click here to know about bitcoin.

Regular work:

There will be droughts from time to time though generally I’ve found the work to be steady enough. And as long as you always deliver good results on time and always make yourself available to take on more work your transcription agency contact(s) will keep coming back with more.

The bad

When I used to tell people about transcription work and explained to them what it was they always thought it sounds like a cushy number. Be under no such assumptions – it isn’t.

The work is hard, you will find yourself working long hours, concentrating intensely and straining to hear words often going rewinding, rewinding, rewinding just to make out one single, solitary sentence.

It takes a lot out of you. You actually start to drift off into another world. You find yourself visualising the room and you subconsciously create images of the protagonists in your mind’s eye. It’s a very insular experience. There’s your ears, your fingers, your screen, and your subconscious imagination. You are completely detached from outside interference (unless your headphones don’t fit over your ears properly) and after a seriously long session you will often find it difficult coming back to the “real world.” A period of “decompression” is often advisable in order to unwind. Go for a walk, watch some trash TV, anything, just to reboot your brain-space.

Starting off you’re probably going to have a really tough time and you’re probably going to find yourself thinking, “I can’t do this!” All I can say is to persevere. Take it from me, it will improve with time. When I started off it took me forever to do just 15 minutes of audio, after a month I was able to do 15 minutes in about 20-25 and the quality of my work had also improved dramatically. That’s not to say there weren’t times when I was close to tears when rushing to meet a seemingly impossible deadline. But to be successful with any venture you have to be able to force yourself to soldier on, to get through it, to ensure you never miss a deadline and then come through stronger than ever. See more at

If you follow the guidelines and provide good work in a timely manner, if you are polite and accommodating and always ready to take on more work you will build up a solid and lasting relationship and will be praised for your work.

Praise is all well and good, though if you’re more concerned with making big bucks you’re not going to like transcription very much. In order to make any real money you’re going to have to take on long projects and work long hours to get them done. As I said it’s often rather exhausting and exasperating work, it can also be very tedious. The spiritual rewards are non-existent (though many legal cases can be interesting just remember you can’t tell anyone!) and the financial gains are consistent with any form of data entry work. Skill sets are important though. You will get paid more for legal than general transcription work, and a good deal more for medical transcription if you can convince your client that you have the necessary aptitude.

Because the frequency of work can fluctuate, even when you’ve built up a good working relationship one should never rely on transcription as their sole source of income. Unless you are in a two-income household it’s really not going to pay the rent.

That said it is an excellent supplemental source of income and a great standby. If you’re a stay-at-home-mom looking to earn a little extra whilst the kids are in school transcription could be just the thing you’re looking for. If you want to work from home full time or set up a virtual assistant practice I would also definitely recommend looking into transcription. You can apply as a freelancer with a transcription company and start bringing in money straight away. Then, as your business begins to grow you can begin to phase it out for more profitable work.

Try to strike a balance between availability and profitability. Cultivate a good working relationship by being available as much as possible and you will be able to maintain a regular revenue stream – the more available you are the more work will be made available whilst at the same time you should look into ways of diversifying the type of work you do.

For example, when I first started off as a virtual assistant I used to get a lot of work from a transcription company and supplemented that with projects I found on freelance websites. By doing this I was always guaranteed two sources of income whilst also having enough time to concentrate on my marketing efforts and other initiatives to build up my long-term client base. After a while I began to move away from transcription towards more profitable jobs, though it was still handy to have that contact at the agency who I always got on well with and I could ring up and ask, “hey things are slow my end, have you anything for me?”

If, like me, you also offer, or want to offer, virtual assistant services be sure to also offer transcription services on your website and other marketing materials as part of your overall list of services, just as I do.

I’ve found the best thing is to be as transparent as possible. Be upfront with your contact at the transcription firm and let them know that you are a VA and that you have other work commitments and you manage other clients’ affairs. They’ll understand. In fact you’re invariably not the only one on their roster who’s a VA or freelancer. If you think it’s not possible to meet your current commitments and take on work apologize, explain and graciously decline, they’ll understand. You want to keep all your clients after all.

Also – and this is really, really important – don’t ever think it’s a good idea to outsource the firms transcription work to someone else. You’ve signed a confidentiality agreement and the last thing you want is legal action.

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