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Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Home Transcriptionist?
So, youíve been poking around on the Internet looking for a way to earn money working from home. Youíre sick of your boss, your commute, your life-sucking job and want to work on your own terms. Youíve done a little research and decided that you have a computer and can type, so transcription is maybe the way to go.
First, you should know that there is no magic pill. It does take time, effort, belief in yourself and perseverance.
When I started applying for transcription positions and bidding on jobs, it took a solid two months before I landed a single $40 job. Granted, I was working full time and didnít have a lot of time to devote to my search. But I canít tell you how many times over the span of that two months that I considered giving up. Happy as I am now that I stuck with it, I could have easily given up and walked away from my work-at-home dream forever.
But you can do it. You just have to be realistic about your strengths, willing to work through your weaknesses, and have the ďsticktoitivenessĒ to hang in there even when think youíll never get where you want to be.
I canít stress enough the importance of being honest with yourself. In taking the leap into working for yourself, you have to know that you are the only part of the puzzle that matters.
Any prospective employer would gauge your suitability for a position based on your abilities and personality. As your own prospective employer, you must do the same. Transcription, and more importantly working for yourself, isnít for everyone.
There are two things you have to consider: If transcription is the right work-at-home job for you and if working at home suits your personality. In this article, weíll cover what you need to be a transcriptionist.
The absolute most important skill you need to become a transcriptionist is a good ear. You have to have the ability to actually hear and understand what the person is saying. If you donít have that then Iím sorry, transcription isnít for you. Your typing speed, English skills, and dedication just donít matter if you canít hear what youíre supposed to be transcribing.
A good example of this is if you decide to try your hand at medical transcription or accept clients from other regions or countries. Accents vary widely, even within the same country. It does take good hearing and brain processing power to be able to understand what theyíre saying.
You may also receive ďbadĒ audio. Although thanks to new technology most sound files are crystal clear, there may be some background noise or distortion. Unless the sound quality is so bad that you just canít transcribe it, you have to be able to understand the voices and translate them to print.
Ask yourself these questions:
o When you watch the news, do you sometimes have a hard time making out what someone with a different accent is saying?
o If a friend calls you from their cell phone and the connection is fuzzy, can you make out their voice most of the time?
You need a good grasp of English. Although most word processing programs come with spelling and grammar checkers, you canít rely solely on them.
What about typing speed? It doesnít really matter. Youíll get faster as you type more. I type 120 wpm. Iíve hired people who typed 30 wpm and were up to 50 or even 70 after just a couple of months. You make a higher hourly rate if you type faster, but accuracy will get you more (and steadier) work.
My point is that you can type 75 or 50 or five words per minute. Once you have the added incentive of more dollars, and once you actually start typing consistently, that number will rise. If it only rises to 25 wpm and itís still worth it to you to transcribe from home, then your typing skills are exactly where you need them to be.
Office Equipment. Yes, you need some. Not a lot. If youíre going to start seeking jobs through job listing services or transcription companies, 99 percent of those jobs are going to be digital audio files. You wonít need a dictation machine, or really even a foot pedal. You will need a high-speed Internet connection, transcription software and a word processing program.
Lastly, you must understand that you will not get rich as a transcriptionist. If you start a transcription company and market it successfully, along with all the headaches you will also have the potential to earn a six-figure salary. However, especially when youíre starting out, itís unlikely that you will earn more than an absolute high end of $50,000 a year working full time with overtime.
A more realistic first-year goal would be $5,000 to $15,000, depending on how much you work. Only you can decide the number of hours youíll work and the level of income you need.
Because even the real, brick-and-mortar companies that hire over the Internet will hire you as an independent contractor, there are also other considerations such as self-employment taxes and insurance that I will cover later in the book. For now, letís move on to whether or not working at home suits your personality.
In this article, Iíve tried to cover the challenges youíll face as your own boss. Look for my other article, ĒDo You Have What it Takes to be a Home Transcriptionist?Ē for the nitty-gritty on the skills you need to be a successful at-home transcriptionist. If youíd like to get a better idea of your own skills, you can download a free preview chapter of my book, Transcribing for Dollars, with self-assessment questionnaires and a transcription test at www.TranscribefromHome.com.
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