How Angela Reinvented Herself with Legal Transcription

success interviews Jul 11, 2018

Slim on finances, long commute, lacking the right skills? These are all things many people would consider immovable roadblocks when considering a career change.

But Angela didn’t.

Today we're getting to know Angela, who went from dead-end jobs to her dream job, and I can’t help but keep smiling as I think about all the ways she has persevered. Some may have thought it would be too hard to keep pursuing her dreams, but she wouldn’t take no for an answer.

I hope you are inspired as you get to know this wonderful Transcribe Anywhere graduate; I know I am!

Q: Welcome to the blog, Angela! Can you tell us a little about your background? What did your life look like before TA?

I'm fifty years young and I live in East Tennessee, about twenty-five miles north of Knoxville in Luttrell, a small community where everyone knows everyone and most are kin to one another. I have been married to my husband, Dean, for almost fourteen years. I have two brothers: Jason, who's forty-six, and Chance, thirty-three, who I raised as my own child. He holds my heart and I believe he is the biggest accomplishment of my life. I have a stepdaughter, Valerie, who is also thirty-three.

I have been a medical transcriptionist for twenty-four years and during that time I have owned a successful transcription company called A&C Transcription, Inc. I'm very active in my church, sing in the choir, help in Bible school each summer, and am the Christmas program director. I love spending time with my family, church family, and friends. I do love to read a good book when I get time. Most people call me a workaholic, but to me, it's not work if you enjoy it. I've always said that my career is my hobby, as I love what I do. I'm looking forward to the next chapter in my life in legal transcription and welcome the challenge.

Q: You know you have the perfect job when it doesn’t feel like you’re working. That’s wonderful! When did you start doing transcription, and what made you decide to learn it?

I started with medical transcription in 1993. I had worked at dead-end jobs for several years. My last job before transcription was at a knitting mill, which I hated, but I needed to have an income so I took what was available at that time.

I always knew my dream job was working at home and owning my own business. I came from a line of entrepreneurs in my family in various fields and I wanted that, too, so I began doing research on various work-at-home jobs and stumbled across transcription. It was like a light bulb came on and I knew that was going to be the career for me. I had been told many times I was a "word warrior" and I was always reading books and anything else I could get my hands on.

To be a transcriptionist, I had one problem: I didn't know how to type. I'm of the age when we didn't have computers and we had to learn on typewriters or word processing machines. I was determined so my best friend let me borrow her typewriter and her typing book that she had from business school, and I taught myself to type.

I had reached the point of typing around forty to fifty words a minute and knew I needed some education on the actual transcription part, so I found a local business college that taught it—and when I say local, it was about an hour away. Still determined, I commuted back and forth five days a week for a year and a half. I knew there were schools that didn't take that long to complete, but I took other classes as well, like bookkeeping, English, pharmacology, and computer classes, knowing I would need that knowledge as well.

Q: Wow! That’s some amazing perseverance you have! In comparison to the challenges you faced, the excuses we often make to not follow our dreams sound like, well, excuses. What was the most challenging part in getting started?

For medical transcription it was money. I was broke. I was barely getting by, just paying what bills I had and nothing extra to put toward school of any kind. Luckily, I was able to apply for assistance through the college and not have to pay for anything until I graduated. That helped me and gave me the stepping-stone I needed to accomplish what I was set out to do.

Getting started with TA: Well, that's easy. After all those years of medical transcription and it falling by the wayside due to electronic medical records, I needed to reinvent myself and I knew I wanted to keep working at home and running my own business. I was afraid I was "too old" to learn anything new or would try and fail at it. I had to do a lot of soul-searching, but realized finally, "Yes, I can do this!" So I bit the bullet and signed up for Janet's course, which was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Q: In an ever-changing world, flexibility is definitely a trait of those who succeed, and you model it so well. What have been the most valuable things you learned during the course?

For me, since I already had the background in transcription, I gained the knowledge I needed on how to transition from medical to legal transcription and all that it entails. For example, formatting, punctuation, etc. Even though both are "transcription," they're like night and day as far as specifications needed for both. I definitely obtained the knowledge I needed through Janet's course.

Q: So as you transitioned from medical to legal transcription, how long did it take you to find your first client? How many clients do you have now?

I already had general and medical clients for many years, as well as a website, my LinkedIn profile, and Facebook setup with A&C Transcription, Inc., so it was just the simple addition of offering legal transcription as well. I had that advantage over someone who is starting brand new. It definitely didn't hurt!

I graduated at the beginning of November 2016 from Transcribe Anywhere and it took a little while to get my first client. I tested for a company that had police investigations, 911 calls, etc., and got the job in February. They really didn't pay very much, but it was a good way to get the legal experience I needed under my belt. While I was working there, I also tested for a court reporting agency and got that job transcribing depositions, hearings, etc. I still subcontract for this company, but I consider my very first legal client was a court reporter from a different state (See my testimonials). Her boss found my LinkedIn page in April of 2017 and my company has been transcribing for her since then. From this connection and by word-of-mouth, A&C gained two more court reporters by the end of that year.

As of this date, A&C Transcription, Inc. has five legal transcription clients and three general transcription clients that we transcribe for on a regular basis. When I say "we," I have hired five legal transcriptionists and three of those are Transcribe Anywhere graduates.

Q: That’s great! Your business has really grown! What advice would you give anyone thinking about becoming a transcriptionist? Is it worth the money for training?

I would tell them if transcription is something they're interested in, do the research. I recommend calling experienced transcriptionists and asking questions to weigh the pros and cons for them as an individual. Although I'm biased, I have yet to find any cons for me.

Before I actually signed up for the Transcribe Anywhere legal course, I checked pricing and I believe that TA is the best "bang for your buck." It gives you all the knowledge you need about the subject and doesn't require you to take other classes that you will never use like many other courses do. If you decide to take Janet's course, you will get out of it what you put into it. Study and practice your typing skills, practice transcribing the actual audio repetitively, and take notes about everything.

Q: “You will get out of it what you put into it.” That is such an important thing to keep in mind before starting anything new, which leads to my next question: What do you think it takes to be a GOOD transcriptionist? How about a GREAT one?

To be a good transcriptionist, I believe accuracy is most important. Speed would be a very close second. What I mean by that is once you get the accuracy down, your speed will improve because you don't have to look up as much. Your brain will have absorbed what you've spent time learning.

To be a great transcriptionist you must be observant. Pay attention to the little things, such as punctuation, em dashes instead of commas, too many spaces between words, formatting, spelling -- the list could go on. This is advice coming from someone who has proofed a lot of people's work and those are some of the things I mark incorrect most often. For example, I had one transcriptionist misspell a word four different ways on the same page. She obviously did not check the spelling. She just guessed. You want to be great? Observing everything will make you a great transcriptionist, I promise.

Q: Great advice. Attention to detail is key! What’s your favorite thing about being a transcriptionist? What about your least favorite?

My favorite would be working from home, being my own boss, and doing something that I love to do.

My least favorite would have to be the long hours you have to put in to meet deadlines, but you get used to those and I really don't think about it anymore.

Q: The work-at-home life really is the dream, isn’t it? What does a typical day look like for you? Anything else you’d like to share about Transcribe Anywhere?

My typical day is really quite simple. I get up around 7:00 a.m., usually walk a mile or two on the treadmill, and then go directly into my office and begin my day, which is usually Monday through Saturday. The end of the day could range from five o'clock to ten o'clock, depending on what volume of work I have. That's about it. I'm a work-driven lady, but my goal for this year is to get my new hires trained with the specs for my clients. Then I'm going to try and cut back my hours a bit -- especially starting with the weekends.

I would like to say that Janet's course, Transcribe Anywhere, was exactly what I needed to move forward in a different direction in transcription. I recommend it highly. Janet is a great person and that always makes things nice. She really cares about her students and she wants everyone to learn and become successful. Thank you, Janet, for the education you’ve provided me.

Our Take

There will always be challenges that come our way when we're starting new things. We can either let them hold us back while we sit around complaining that life isn’t going our way, or we can take the bull by the horns like Angela did and work through those challenges one by one.

What an inspiration!

Your Turn

What roadblocks are you allowing to hold you back? Don’t let them keep you from trying out our free 7-day mini-course!

Still not sure about TA? See what Angela’s clients have said about her work!

I was on the verge of giving up court reporting because I could not find a typist that I could depend on and do a good job for me. I truly was on the brink of giving it all up. And then by the grace of God, I found Angela and her company, A&C Transcription. She has turned my world of court reporting completely around. She is the most accurate and dependable typist I have had the pleasure of working with in years. I no longer stress over getting a job out, even if it's overnight, because I just make a phone call to Angela and the job is taken care of. I've cut my proofreading time down because she and her typist are very accurate and take the same pride in their work as I do. I highly, highly recommend A&C Transcription. She is truly, truly a professional and someone you can depend on to be there for you and do an excellent job.

Dorothy N. Gros, Court Reporter at Associated Court Reporters

I have worked with Angela for eight years and she has always been responsive, professional, quick, and a joy to work with! I highly recommend A&C Transcription!

Laura Madden, Assistant Professor at East Carolina University

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