3 Secrets of Transcriptionists Who Actually Make Money

how-to and resources May 16, 2024

Transcriptionists who actually make money?

Is there such a thing?

If you’ve bought into the myth that transcription is a giant scam, guess again.

After more than 20 years in the transcription industry, I have quite a bit to say on the subject. I have been able to make a very comfortable living as a transcriptionist and as a transcription business owner -- so YES! It is absolutely possible to be a successful transcriptionist, lots of brands and businesses have a use for them, and the work is incredibly rewarding -- but it isn't easy, nor is it a way to get-rich-quick.

(Anyone telling you differently is very likely trying to scam you! There is a plethora of "scammy" transcription-related stuff out there. Learn how to tell what's real vs. what's a scam in this post.)

I'm about to spill the top three secrets every money-making transcriptionist knows. These secrets are what make (or break!) new transcriptionists. If you can master these, your value and earning potential as a transcriptionist is much higher than the gobs of people out there looking for shortcuts.

Secret #1: They Have EXCELLENT Training

Be very cautious of websites claiming you can easily find work as a general transcriptionist without training: that is not the whole truth. You might be able to “do” transcription without training, but no one can do anything WELL without the proper training and practice.

Yes, there are certain skills you may already possess that will help greatly — the ability to type fast is a must — but transcription involves much more than typing.

Here’s just a handful of things you need to know to perform excellent work as a transcriptionist:

  • How to format a transcript for each type of transcription (there’s more than one!)
  • What “time coding” is and how to use it correctly
  • When to use an em dash and when to use an ellipsis
  • How to properly notate sections with poor audio

And then there’s knowing how to market yourself well, but I’ll get to that in a minute. Just know that marketing yourself as a transcriptionist without training will almost certainly guarantee failure. Excellent transcriptionists get hired again and again — and those who take the time to learn, earn!

Secret #2: They are Savvy Marketers

You’ve got to get the word out about your services. This can involve social media, building a website, SEO tactics, applying to various job sites, transcription companies, and lots more. Having excellent marketing skills can increase your exposure to potential clients AND skyrocket your earning potential.

Not a marketer? No problem! The type of marketing needed for transcription is NOT the same as the tactics used in multi-level marketing (yuck!).

Successful savvy marketers realize one thing: they have something worth sharing -- their skills! Remember: people and businesses need your skills. Changing your perspective on how you approach marketing can really help boost your confidence and increase your chances for success. Instead of approaching marketing from a salesperson's standpoint, try to approach it as someone who is providing a needed service -- one that is worth good pay.

Secret #3: They Know Where to Find Higher-Paying Gigs

To get higher-paying work, you need to seek it out. Working for big-box companies doesn’t involve a lot of business-to-business marketing, though.

Many people stick with “big box” transcription companies that pay peanuts and end up quitting, frustrated they can’t make it worth the time spent. Thing is — and almost no one talks about this — in our digital world where almost everything is audio and video, there is a lot of transcription work out there that’s not offered by the big transcription companies, but you have to be skilled and confident enough to seek it out. Otherwise, the poor pay from the bigger companies will severely restrict your earning potential — so much so, you’ll probably quit.

Knowing where to find the jobs that aren’t easily found by the untrained eye can really be the difference between peanuts and payday!

Your Turn!

What "secrets" did I leave out? What other elements are essential for success for people who work from home in general? Leave a comment below!

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