Having many transcription clients is a great problem to have. More work means more money, right? But sometimes staying organized can be a challenge. Thankfully, there are resources you can use to help keep track of deadlines, formats, or anything else floating around in your head. If you find yourself disorganized and overwhelmed, keep reading for information on some helpful tools to organize your transcription business including the pros and cons of each.
Years before the newest smartphone was released, people were using an old standby: pen and paper. These can be handy if you need to jot something down quickly that comes to mind. Have a separate page or two for each of your clients, and in this space, write down any important information relating to formats, preferences, style sheets, and even your checklist.
Pros: There’s no learning curve for good ol’ pen and paper. This is also extremely economical, as notebooks and pens are very inexpensive especially during back-to-school specials.
Cons: Since you work at a computer, it’s often easier to use something that’s already at your fingertips. If you have to take the time to look away from your work rather than just pulling up some organizing software, it can be tedious and an inefficient use of time.
This is a step up from the pen-and-paper system. You can open up your Notepad application (Windows), Notes (Mac), Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or any other word-processing software you use. Do the same with this as you would with pen and paper: create a separate document for each client with all of their related information.
Pros: Like pen and paper, this is also a simple system. Just open a document, save your information, and keep it on your computer. You have the added efficiency of being able to pull it up easily and keep it running in the background so you can access it with a few clicks of the mouse. Make sure you name the file something you will remember or that makes sense with your business.
Cons: Why should you be careful with the file name? Well, it’s possible for a word-processing document to get lost in the shuffle, so to speak. What if you forget which folder you saved it in or what you named the file to begin with? That can cause some panic, especially if your search turns up nothing. So be careful with what you name your file and where you store it on your computer.
There are some excellent apps available that can make your life much easier when you're juggling multiple transcription clients. One tool that comes to mind is Trello. Trello is a web-based app that is used specifically for project management. You can organize each client or project into boards, kind of like a virtual whiteboard. From there, you can break down your projects for different clients into tasks and see what you’ve done and what you have left to do. Trello is just one example, though. Evernote, Basecamp, Microsoft Outlook, and Microsoft Project are others you can use.
Pros: These tools often have apps you can download on your smartphone in addition to web access on your computer. Are you at the point of hiring people to work on your team? You can also use these apps in your virtual office and collaborate with your teammates to see what projects everyone is working on and how they’re coming along.
Cons: While being your own boss is nice, having these apps on your phone can be a blessing and a curse. It can be tempting to always check your app when sometimes you just need to step away. Also, while Trello and Evernote are free, others do come at a cost. You will have to determine what would be the best use of your money. But if they save you time and headaches, then it would likely be worth the expense.
Getting more clients is certainly exciting. But along with that excitement comes the added stress of making sure you stay on top of all the work. Using some of the tools listed above can help you become a successful and busy transcriptionist!
Do you have a favorite app or method that helps you organize your transcription business? We would love to hear about them in the comments below!
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