Today, we're going to hear from Transcribe Anywhere graduate, Araceli, who will describe her journey from stay-at-home mom to freelance transcriptionist. Because she's works as a freelancer, she's been able to adapt to her changing home life situation and adjust her work schedule on her own terms. A nine-to-five job simply can't accommodate a balanced work/life schedule and help us redefine what success is to us at any given moment in time. Take it away, Araceli!
"I was a stay-at-home mom from 2012 until 2018, when my youngest started school. And, as all mothers can surely attest to, this changed everything. I knew that I wanted to start working, but I also still wanted to be home for my kids when they needed me. With this in mind, I began my hunt for work that I could do only while my kids were in school. I laugh now at how impossible this sounds. Let’s see. What job would allow me to work from home but only on weekdays, only half the day, and not on weekends and holidays? In my search, I came upon transcribing. This seemed a perfect fit because I felt that I had a very strong command of the English language and was a natural with grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary. I knew that I could type and spell and format a sentence fairly well. But I also knew that I had no idea about anything else regarding transcription. Basically, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I needed training. If I was going to do this, I was going to do this right. I was dutifully neck deep in research when I came upon Transcribe Anywhere. After reading every article and review I could find about the course, I took the plunge, purchased it, and was immediately humbled.
The General Transcription course taught me the art of the spoken word. Sure, I knew how to type out a proper sentence, but who actually speaks like that? Spoiler alert, the answer is no one does! I was taught how to make bad grammar look good, how to make it easy to read, and how to hear ev-er-y-thing. You have a recorded meeting where six different people discuss, sometimes simultaneously, a new drug being tested? I can type that out for you. You need a transcript of your podcast that can be edited to also be uploaded to your blog? I can do that too. You need me to type out a police interview and include every word and partial word the victim says? No problem. It took me 10 months to complete the General Transcription course and 3 attempts to pass the final. But completing this beast of a course gave me the confidence necessary to begin my job hunt. I was working within two weeks.
My first contract was with a company that I was connected to through another TA alum. This network of graduates has proven to be indispensable in my career. The connections I have made and the help and connections I, in turn, have been able to offer others was a surprise and is truly a blessing in this field. Initially, I was willing to work with anyone who would have me. But, after a few months and much experience, I became more discerning with who I contracted with. I knew my worth and was unwilling to sell myself short. I also began looking for my own personal clients.
So my idea of success shifted. I created a website, a style guide, and a contract I was comfortable with, all with the help of the TA course. I sent out hundreds of emails to potential clients trying to sell myself and was rewarded with a handful of willing takers. After negotiations and trial runs, I ended up locking down two clients. I was still working as a contractor with two companies during this time, as well, to fill in the space between. I was working only while my kids were in school, roughly 8:00 to 2:00, had weekends off, and was still mommy when one of my kids got sick. I was as part-time as it got and was exactly where I wanted to be. I had achieved my goal and all in less than a year of completing the course. Then COVID hit.
So my idea of success shifted. I had my kids at home full time now. So I cut out the contract work and focused solely on my clients. Then my clients’ work got hit, and they had to stop their podcasts, thus ending all my client work. So I switched back to contract work, of which there was plenty. In between remote schooling my kids and working, I continued looking for more work, well, not necessarily more, but better-paying work. Having more experience grows not only your skills but also your confidence. And, since my time was more limited than ever, I was determined to find work that would match my worth. And I found it. With the COVID shutdowns, there was more remote work available than ever and, therefore, more need for transcriptionists. I contracted with three new companies and found that I liked the stability that contracting offered me. I told them how much I could work in a day, and they gave me exactly the amount of work I needed. Perfect. Next goal achieved. Then my kids went back to in-person school.
So my idea of success shifted. I settled in with these three companies, increased the time I was able to work, and even asked for -- and got -- a couple of pay increases. I was happy where I was. I felt valued and was earning enough money to be of use to my household budget. However, I never stopped looking at what was out there. I kept in touch with the TA alumni and kept an eye on HireATranscriptionist.com. These two ways are how I came to find the current companies I contract with. I applied at the first and was hired on after passing their test and interviewing with the owner. When I contacted the second company, I was told they were full and not hiring anymore at that moment. “No problem,” I said, “but please keep me in mind for the future, and here is my resume for reference.” After they took a look at my resume, they decided to go ahead and let me test. I passed and was hired on a week after. I am sure that my experience with TA was what sealed the deal.
So my idea of success shifted again. I am making three times the amount of money I was making right after graduating. I still work strictly on a part-time basis. In fact, my kids are out of school for summer right now, so I had to cut my workload in half. I have taken two vacations this summer with my family and am contributing greatly to our finances while splurging a bit on myself every now and then. This is my idea of success. I am happy where I am, more so than I believed possible. However, I know this is not the end. I have a plan for my future to grow my company and eventually retire my husband. Why not? I have no doubt I can achieve that goal as well.
I owe so much to Janet and the Transcribe Anywhere course and the family of graduates. I try to give back as much as possible. I at least owe them that much."
What separates a ho-hum transcriptionist from an excellent one? Is there even a demand for transcription? Who hires transcriptionists?
Can anyone be a transcriptionist?
Get the answers to all these questions and more by enrolling in my free introductory course, Transcription Foundations.
For our legal transcription mini-course, click here.