Looking for a stay at home mom job that will let you work at home, use your skills, and make extra money to supplement your income? Transcription jobs are a flexible way to make money from home without selling products and little experience is needed to get started!
Transcription jobs include general transcription, medical or legal transcription. While
Transcription Job Description
What does a transcriptionist do? Transcription is a service that converts speech into a written document. Transcription services are used by the medical field, legal field, and general purposes like business meetings, video transcription (think YouTube or Vimeo), lectures, and any other meeting that would require speech converted into a written document. Medical or legal transcription typically requires a certification or prior experience, general transcription is a growing field with many beginner transcription job opportunities. A transcriptionist listens to the audio and types the audio into a document.
Life as a Transcriptionist
What makes transcription a great job for moms or anyone who wants to work from home? This job is a flexible way to work from home or anywhere! You get to choose your hours and even work as much or as little as you want.
Today I have an interview from Laura Quartey, a transcriptionist, small business owner at Q Transcription, and mom to 3 kids! She is sharing what life is like as stay at home mom who is growing a transcription business so she can stay home with her kids.
#1 Tell us about yourself, your family, and how many hours you’re working on your transcription business.
I’ve been doing transcription for a little over two years now. I started learning transcription when I was about six months pregnant with my first child because I knew I wanted to be able to stay home with him as much as possible after he was born. I’ve been an occupational therapist for over ten years, which is a career I still absolutely love, but transcription lets me stay home with my babies all week and then I just do some therapy on the weekends.
My husband, Sam, and I have a 2-year-old son, Thaddeus, a 10-month old daughter, Eden, and Baby #3 is due in two months! So we definitely have our hands full!
Currently, I work on my transcription business about 20-25 hours per week. I’m usually up at 5:00 AM every day and get in a solid 3 hours of work before the kids are up, and then I work again for a couple of hours in the afternoon while they’re napping. Occasionally I’ll work in the evenings, but I try to save that time to hang out with my husband.
#2 What’s your work at home mom schedule look like?
I’ve found that I have to be super organized because I utilize every moment that my kids are sleeping to do transcription, since it’s not something that can be done while they’re awake. So I have to make sure that I get everything else accomplished when they’re up!
My son is only two but he’s a great little helper with household chores. I think it’s good that he gets to participate in those things and see what goes into keeping a home up nicely. It doesn’t just happen magically while they’re sleeping! When my kids are up, we divide our time between playing, chores, and running errands.
#3 What do you need to get started as a transcriptionist?
Attention to detail is the first thing! While I do think this is something you can cultivate if you don’t have it, it definitely helps if it’s a skill you already have.
You need a computer – I use a desktop which I think is much better for spending hours at a computer every day, but I used a laptop when I first got started. It served me just fine until I started to really build my business more.
You also need high-quality headphones (that doesn’t have to mean expensive – my noise-canceling headphones were about $50 on Amazon).
Most transcriptionists will also say you need a food pedal – it’s not absolutely necessary, but it definitely helps. A foot pedal lets you control the playback of the audio you’re transcribing with your foot so that you’re not using your hands to start/stop/rewind.
You also absolutely MUST have a good grasp of punctuation. It can be really hard to punctuate the way people speak in real life sometimes, so you need to know how to format sentences so that they read well, even when the way people talk doesn’t make a ton of sense!
Also you need a good working knowledge of Microsoft Word.
Finally, you need a transcription software that enables easy playback of your audio material. There are a variety of softwares out there – the most popular one is Express Scribe.
#4 Is transcription easy?
Easy is such a relative term! I’ve dabbled in blogging before and for me, personally, I’m much more suited to typing exactly what I hear on an audio file than I am with writing creatively.
It all depends on what your skills are! Sometimes you get a really easy audio file with just one or two speakers who talk nice and slow and don’t use any technical terms that you have to look up. Those files are a piece of cake! Then you can get a focus group with ten or more people who all want to talk over one another and can’t articulate a thought clearly. Those files are a lot more time-consuming and challenging.
I’d definitely say that transcription is both a skill and an art that takes time and practice to be able to do well.
#5 How much does transcription pay?
The pay range for transcription varies hugely.
Within the legal field of transcription, pay rate is usually on a per-page basis. Legal documents will have stipulations as to how many lines of text there are and how many characters on each line, and then you’re paid per typewritten page.
Most other transcription is paid per-audio-minute. This is my personal preference because I know when I take a 60-minute file, for example, exactly how much my per-minute rate is and how much I’ll charge the client. Transcription pay starting out can be quite low but I’ve been able to raise my rates as my skills have improved.
My personal opinion is that if you’re looking to do this as a part time job, as a mom, this won’t offer an income that you can live on. I wouldn’t be able to afford my mortgage, health insurance, etc. solely from doing transcription 25 hours per week. What it does do, however, is provide a fantastic supplement to my husband’s full time income and allow us to have a lot more freedom and flexibility in our budget and save more.
SIDE NOTE: Some research on Glassdoor shows that remote transcriptionist jobs can earn between $15 per hour to $25 per hour depending on experience and speed of transcription.
#6 How long did it take to find your first transcription job?
I found my first transcription job working as a subcontractor for a transcription company within one month after completing the Transcribe Anywhere course. Other jobs followed rapidly. After completing the course, I found myself able to pass the short transcription test that most companies require, without significant difficulty. I was very well-prepared to find work!
#7 On your website, you offer editing and proofreading services, does this help you land more jobs?
While I haven’t had anyone say outright that this is a contributing factor to them deciding to work with me, I think people definitely feel more confident working with someone who has that attention to detail as far as finding and fixing typos and making sure a final document looks professional. I do offer editing to some of my clients, who appreciate that I can take the sometimes-garbled verbalizations that are just normal in conversation, and rearrange the sentence structure so that it reads well.
#8 What’s the difference between working for transcription companies versus starting your own business?
When you’re a subcontractor, you make less money, but you also don’t have to find your own clients or deal as much with the “business” side of things. They assign work to you and you do it and get paid for it. Pretty straightforward. Starting my own business, the biggest challenge has been finding clients. Marketing is something I didn’t know how to do before, and I’m constantly learning more about it. As a business owner, I’m in charge of finding clients, keeping them happy, and managing all the financial implications of business. I think both options are good, and it just depends on how much you have time for and what your goals are for yourself!
#9 When did you take the Transcribe Anywhere course?
I started the course in January of 2017 and finished it in June of 2017.
How long did it take you to complete the course?
I took about six months to finish the course. I was still working full time, and I intentionally didn’t want to hurry my way through. I’m sure it could be done faster if desired, but that pace worked well for me.
#10 Any pros or cons to the Transcribe Anywhere course?
I honestly can’t think of any cons to the course. It’s very well-designed, with clear, concise information in bite-sized modules so it’s easy to digest. The class creator, Janet, and her assistant, Marsha, are super available for troubleshooting and answering questions, and they also have a great Facebook group for TA students which offers a lot of support. After completing the class, I felt extremely well-prepared to work as a transcriptionist.
The one caveat I will add, which I don’t feel is a con, but something people may need to be aware of, is that this course does not offer job placement. I’ve had people ask me that before, so I think it’s something that people probably commonly wonder. They don’t find you work afterwards or guarantee that you can work with them/for them or anything like that. What they do is give you all the tools and training you need to go out and find work for yourself.
#11 Any other advice you have for someone looking to get started in transcription?
If you’re thinking about this field, I’d recommend brushing up on your typing speed and your punctuation. Take an honest look about whether you’d like a job that requires solitude and silence. This isn’t the type of thing where you can lounge at the computer with a snack and your music playing in the background. You need to be okay with working in silence, sitting for long periods of time at a computer, and listening intently to audio that you won’t always find interesting or compelling. This isn’t to scare anyone off!
Transcription has been so wonderful for me in that it has allowed me the flexibility to stay home with my kids while bringing in a great supplemental income. Transcribe Anywhere also offers a free mini-course that provides a lot of introductory information to anyone who’s thinking about pursuing this, so that’s a good option, too.
Transcribe Anywhere is the course that Laura completed to get her transcription business off the ground! They not only teach how to become a transcriptionist, but they also teach you how to start your own freelance transcription business.
The online course is very thorough in providing you with modules, practice transcribing audio, and quizzes. They include how to set up your own website and how to find your first client. This course really covers every aspect of starting your own business as a transcriber!
You can also take the FREE Mini-Course to get a better idea of what you will learn in Transcribe Anywhere.
Online Transcription Jobs for Beginners
This list is a good start for beginners who are interested in online transcription. You will be required to take a short test by most companies. You should take some time to practice before taking the test, so you can get an idea of how fast your are as a beginner.
SIDE NOTE: Most companies that hire beginners do not pay very well. If you take a job with a lower paying company, use your work as an opportunity to develop your transcription experience. Anything below $45 – $50 per audio hour is considered a lower paying job.
TranscribeMe offers 10 second audio files that can be transcribed whenever you want with no deadlines. There is a short test you will need to pass before you can start working with TranscribeMe.
Pay is $20 per audio hour. Paid weekly through Paypal.
Quicktate is a transcription company that transcribes mostly voicemails. They require a short skills test, but they do hire beginner transcribers!
iDictate is apart of the Quicktate business, but you have to be promoted from Quicktate to work with them.
Quicktate pays $0.01 per 4 words. iDictate pays $0.02 per 4 words. They pay weekly through Paypal.
Rev offers a variety of assignments that you can work as much or as little as you want. First you will need to pass a short skills test.
Rev pays $24 to $39 per audio hour. They pay weekly through Paypal.
Just like the previous companies, you will need to complete a short skills test before working with Tigerfish.
Tigerfish is different from the other companies listed above because they require that you use transcription software and a foot pedal. The company doesn’t share pay rates or how many projects are available until you apply.
Crowdsurf is a transcription company that transcribes audio for the hearing impaired. They host their work on Amazon Mechanical Turk, so you will need to create an account with them before signing up.
They pay is about $0.05 per every 15 seconds of audio hour transcribed. You can cash at any time to a Paypal account as long as you have at least $1 in your account.