Bounce Back from Burnout by Working from Home as a Transcriptionist - Joanna’s Story

general transcription how-to and resources student success success interviews work from home freedom Aug 20, 2020

When you are burnt out, stressed out, and undergoing major life transitions, learning a new skill and taking your career on a complete 180 might seem illogical. But that's exactly what happened to Joanna! Let's find out how transcription opened new doors and gave her the flexibility to enjoy her life on her terms.

Can you tell us a little about your background? What did your life look like before Transcribe Anywhere?

Before I took the Transcribe Anywhere: General Transcription Theory and Practice course, I was teaching middle school science. I was burned out and stressed out and didn't have anything left to give to my students. There were some other major changes going on in my life - the end of my 25 year marriage and a kiddo going off to college. I was ready to make a big change, and I wanted to find meaningful work that I enjoyed and could do from home so that I could have a more flexible schedule and take care of myself for a change.

What made you decide to learn transcription?

I read an interview with a graduate of the Transcribe Anywhere general transcription course on a blog, and that piqued my interest. It seemed like something that I could support myself with and that I would enjoy. I had always been good at grammar, was a good typist, and I enjoy learning new things, so I signed up for the free mini-course. With the information that I learned in the mini course, I was convinced that transcription was a good fit for me, so I decided to take the general transcription course and become a transcriptionist after finishing out that school year.

What have been the most valuable things you learned during the course?

The grammar review was critical to my success. The many hours of practicing transcriptions with answer keys helped me to develop a solid understanding of the conventions used for transcription and gave me confidence that I could do transcription well. There were also little things that have been really helpful, such as how to use autocorrect to make shortcuts for typing frequently used words and phrases.

How long did it take you to find your first job? Do you subcontract or have your own clients?

I had my first job within one week of taking the final exam. Through networking with friends and family, I connected with a transcription business owner who needed subcontractors. Many of her clients happen to be a really good fit with my background in science and education. I hope to be doing work for this person for a long time. I am also building up my own business and looking for clients.

What advice would you give anyone thinking about becoming a transcriptionist? 

Take the Transcribe Anywhere general transcription course! Seriously, this course will give you all the skills you need to be a successful transcriptionist. There is a lot to learn in terms of how to make your transcripts accurate and readable. Through the course, you will do a lot of practice transcribing and have the opportunity to get feedback via the answer keys and the staff at TA.

Another consideration for me was making sure I had an ergonomically sound workstation to avoid hip pain and shoulder pain. Make sure you really know what it takes to enjoy and be successful at working from home. For some folks, like me, it is a great fit! I have the discipline and commitment to work daily and not get side-tracked by household matters. I don't miss being around other people at work.

What do you think it takes to be a GOOD transcriptionist? How about a GREAT one?

You have to be really good at grammar and punctuation and you have to be able to listen really closely to recordings to hear all the tiny little words. You have to have good concentration and focus. Occasionally I will have a day where my focus is off and it can really affect my work. Fortunately since I work from home and set my own hours, I can go take and walk or stretch out and reset my brain! Being organized and able to stick to deadlines is also critical. 

To be a great transcriptionist, I think you need a lot of  practice and experience so that you can quickly and accurately type the exact words that a person says into text that is easily readable. You also need to be able to be timely with deadlines and organized with things such as computer files and billing.

What's your favorite thing about being a transcriptionist? What about your least favorite?

I love that I get to learn interesting, new things every time I “go” to work.  And I LOVE that “going” to work means heading to my simple, uncluttered, quiet work space with my dogs trailing along behind. My least favorite part is file management, but I have a system that makes it fairly easy.

What does a typical day look like for you? How do you organize your time?

I like to get up early, feed the animals, go for a walk, and be sitting at my desk ready to work by 8:30 a.m..  Then depending on how much work I have accepted for the week, I will work 4-6 hours, taking frequent breaks to stretch, gaze out the window, or love on the dogs. Some days, if I need to do something else during the day, I may choose to do some work in the evening instead.  I love the flexibility this work gives me. 

When I am actively transcribing, I don't take phone calls or check emails so that I can have focused, uninterrupted time. I tend to stick to a fairly traditional work schedule.  I plan each day first thing in the morning to make sure I work enough hours to meet my deadlines and have time to do any non-work related things on my agenda, such as hiking, taking a dog out for training, working on a quilt - you get the idea. It is so great!

What is the greatest strength that YOU personally bring to your transcription career?

I have extensive background knowledge in science, medicine and education. I tend to work with clients who need someone who knows terminology from those fields or is familiar with things such as research protocols.  

What keeps you awake at night?

Not my work!  Since starting my transcription business, I have had the time and mental energy to start reading a lot again. So often what keeps me awake at night is a good book!

What success moment are you most proud of so far? What is the next goal you are excited to work toward?

So far, I am most proud of the feedback I got on my first transcript. My next goal is to get my own clients.


Thanks so much for sharing your story, Joanna!  You have already achieved success as a transcriptionist and have much more success to look forward to thanks to your work ethic, skill, and enthusiasm. 

If you are looking to build skills to start your own transcription business and are interested in a rewarding, flexible work-from-home job with great pay, check out the free mini-course that Joanna took and get started on your very own journey today.

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