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Tina, Owner/Operator of Pham Transcription Services AND Founder & President of My Office Owl


transcription cassette player

We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!

We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!

Imagine for a moment that you are a home office transcriptionist. You need to check your next job assignment, so you fire up your computer, which is connected to your landline (home phone). You click on the button that dials the local number that connects you to the Internet. That’s right, you literally must call the Internet.

After yelling at any family members in the house, “Do NOT pick up the phone! I’m trying to connect to the Internet,” you listen for those famous beeping and hissing noises as you cross your fingers you don’t get a busy signal. Once you are in, you need to log into your email. As you hear, “You’ve got mail,” you think to yourself, “You’ve got work.” You write down (or print) your work assignment with all the corresponding information and “hang up” on the Internet.

The easy part is over.

Now to prepare your tape machine, making sure you have the right duration of cassette, it’s rewound and ready to go. Once again you threaten your family, “Do NOT pick up the phone! I’m going to be recording my work assignment!” You call into the system and punch in the codes that correspond to your work assignment. Once the audio file is ready to start, you wrap a sock around the speaker end of the headset on the phone, start the audio from within the telephone system, place the headset on the cassette transcription player (which is inside a Tupperware container), press record on the player, and put the lid on the Tupperware box.

Do you even want to know what happens when someone in the house picks up the other line or, worse, when they start dialing, trying to make an outgoing call, before the wrath of a crazy at-home working mom can make her way into the room to hang up that line? I didn’t think so…

After you’ve downloaded the audio (in real time), sometimes having to pause the audio coming from the dial-in service to flip the cassette over, back the audio up a few seconds (all by punching in codes), and then finish the recording on the other side of the cassette, it’s time to transcribe in Word. YES, Microsoft Word did exist by then. Unfortunately, Google search was nowhere near what it is today, so doing research wasn’t as easy as saying, “Hey, Google.” Plus, if you wanted to search the Internet, you first had to call it (and hope that you could get a connection – sometimes it was “busy.”)

Once your work was completed, you called up the Internet and uploaded your work to an FTP site, waited to hear back from the proofer, did your corrections, RINSE AND REPEAT.

If you’ve been a transcriptionist for any length of time, your experience may be a bit different than what I’ve just described, but I think you get the point…

We’ve come a long way, baby!

The barriers to entry into the transcription business (or any at-home/remote jobs for that matter) are FAR fewer than they were nearly 20 years ago. With the advent of high-speed Internet, larger file storage and sharing capabilities, applications and software programs, et cetera, more and more people can work remotely and do so more efficiently and effectively. In fact, approximately 43% of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely (off-site) in 2016*, while 10.1% of all U.S. workers in the U.S. were considered self-employed, 6 in 10 considered unincorporated, based on a 2015 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report.** Further, Consumer Affairs cites a FreshBooks prediction “that the number of self-employed workers in the U.S. will grow to 42 million people by 2010 — up from 15 million this year (2018).***

Are you an employee (W-2) working “off-site” occasionally, or is your employer rather progressive and you work entirely as a remote worker? Maybe you are already self-employed, working for yourself or as a subcontract. Or, this whole idea of working from your home/remotely as a self-employed person intrigues you. Are you’re looking to give up your employment or you’re currently not working a paid job (like a stay-at-home parent) and want to generate an income?

Please feel free to share your story in the comments!

If you would like to know more about becoming a home office transcriptionist, but you’re not sure where to begin, or you’ve already started your business, but you could use some insights and strategies to build your business, you are in the right place! For years, I’ve been adding tips and tricks to my YouTube channel, put out a few blog posts, and have fielded questions that have come in via email, but I want to do more. For a long time now, I’ve wanted to create some type of course/webinar that can compile a singular place to help others and grow our businesses – to learn TOGETHER.

Your input is IMPORTANT! What is it that you’re struggling with? What would you like to know, or what do you think others should know getting started in the transcription business?

PLEASE share your suggestions:

If you can’t think of anything to share, but would like to get updates on what I’m working on so that you can glean from the content, please be sure to sign up:



*New York Times

**Bureau of Labor Statistics

***Consumer Affairs

Speech Class 101 – Scary Shit

It’s been years since I took COM 101 – Public Speaking at UW-Rock County, but I can still remember just how crazy nervous I was speaking in front of the class.  The butterflies, nausea, dizziness, weak in the knees, and that’s all before class even started.  Standing at the front, the professor off to my left, recording the speech, all ears and eyes on me, I can remember being so nervous my voice would quiver and I’d almost be in tears.  Okay, I probably actually shed a tear or two.  I’d be so focused on my voice and how horrible I thought it sounded–the vernacular, not the speech content–that I’d would start to forget the speech itself.

While I’m the type of person who talks way too much, too loud, and laughs even louder, I’m still absolutely petrified of speaking in front of a crowd with all eyes and ears on me.  Taking a public speaking course in college is definitely a great way to START preparing oneself for giving talks in a public forum, but it’s definitely not enough.  I’m in awe of those who give talks, and I really enjoy transcribing a wide variety of them.  It seems like it comes so naturally to those speakers.  But does it?  And are there other ways to be better prepared for public speaking?  YES!!
Recently while transcribing the talks from Camp Digital 2017 in Manchester, many speakers talked about #UpFront.  It was definitely a concept I hadn’t heard of before.  Lauren Currie spoke about it during her talk, and it is a wonderful concept that can easily be implemented in many, if not all, conferences.
The stage layout at Camp Digital included a comfy couch where individuals sat during talks.  While they were still up front with the entire audience facing them, they were able to experience being on stage without the added pressure of having to give a presentation.
“This is something that any keynote speaker at any conference anywhere in the world can do. But you must tell me first because there are brand guidelines. But anyone – anyone can do this. It’s zero percent anxiety, 100% spotlight.” – Lauren Currie
More information can be found on their website,  She explains that “Upfront Sheroes is a confidence network that I run with a few other amazing women. We also work with businesses, so businesses ask us to come into their workplace and help get everybody and their team talking confidently about their product, their service, their journey, why they’re there, and what their work does. It’s something that we don’t talk enough about.” – Lauren Currie
Projects like Up Front are amazing, and I’m very excited to see more Up Front conferences and other similar efforts to promote confidence in public speaking.  Kudos to Camp Digital and Sigma for supporting such a project.
Lauren says it best as, “We need to all speak up, even when your voice shakes, even when it’s really, really scary. We need to get comfortable on stage. We need to get comfortable at including ourselves, so comfortable that we start to enjoy it.”
To watch her entire talk at Camp Digital, Why It’s Time to Share Our Power, go to the Sigma website link here:
If ever the opportunity arises for you to be an Up Front supporter or participant, I’d highly recommend it!  And if you’d like to share any of your Up Front experiences or thoughts about this wonderful concept, please share those in the comments.
If you are a hosting a conference and are considering or are already planning on having your conference talks transcribed, please contact me via email for more information.  Also, if you are a conference talk speaker and having those talks transcribes interests you, please be sure to reach out to your conference manager/host about this wonderful addition.  Transcripts are a wonderful way to be more inclusive to a wider audience.
Thank you,
Tina Pham, Owner/Operator
damn dress better fit

The Damn Dress Better Fit! – A personal journey becomes a business lesson

What if ordering a dress in a smaller size could equate to announcing a launch of a book, a webinar series, or training modules? For me, the dress is forcing me to create a mind shift and strive to achieve a goal that is already preset. The same can be said if an announcement and/or sign-ups were in place for a book, a webinar series, training modules, etc. EVEN IF they hadn’t been completed yet!

Read More →
referral freelance site

Don’t Send a Referral to a Freelance Site

I don’t recommend you send a referral to a freelance site. Let me explain why.

Let’s say you are a client in need of a service: transcription, audio/video editor, graphic design, logo creation, virtual assistant work, et cetera. You are not sure of what company to use or of any solopreneur that might be a good fit for your needs, so you put a job bid out on a freelance site.

In short order, you find a freelancer (on a freelance site) that appears to be a good fit. You go ahead with the agreement and hire them to perform the service. That person performs the service for you and does a GREAT job. You’re excited; it worked out really well.

Your satisfaction likely isn’t coming from the processes and procedures of the freelance site itself, but that of the freelancer and the high quality of work that they had performed. In fact, your satisfaction level was so high that you don’t forget about that freelancer. You might even go back to that freelancer on several occasions to perform the same or similar services.

At some point in the future–whether talking with a colleague, others in a group forum (such as Facebook), or maybe your own client–you become aware that they are also in need of someone to perform that same or similar service and ask whether you can refer them to a person or company. Of course, the first person that pops into your mind is that freelancer who did a GREAT job for you.

PLEASE do not send that referral to the freelance site! Often I hear people say, “Oh, just check out _________” –insert name of freelance site here. Chances are you’re not helping that colleague or client out at all! They will have to go through the same vetting process, weeding through good and bad freelancers until they find one that will deliver consistent, high quality services.

PLEASE do not give that referral the freelancer’s freelance site link! Why? Because, if at all possible, cutting out the third party will not only save the freelancer those extra fees, but you also might save your own colleague or client some fees as well. While some freelance sites only charge the freelancer a fee, there are a few that charge the client too.

I understand that, in some situations, clients and/or freelancers may only want to work through a freelance site, and that’s okay. That’s your choice. But, there are many reasons why it’s a great idea to be able to work with clients directly.

Again, if you are a client and you’ve had a wonderful experience with a freelancer through a freelance site, think twice before you send the referral to the freelance site or to the freelancer through the site link. Please take that extra moment and, if possible, give that referral the freelancer’s website link, direct email address, phone number, or even just point them to the freelancer’s social media page such as Facebook or Twitter.

It’s a great bonus that is not costing you any money, just a little bit of time, and it’s a BIG thank you to that freelancer because you’ll be saving them that extra third party fee. And, in some situations, you’ll be saving your client or colleague a little bit of a fee as well. Referrals are such an important part of building an online community and are very appreciated.

I’d like to say thank you to each and everyone who has sent referrals to me. They are very important and appreciated. Thank you.

Tina – Owner/Operator

Top 3 Lessons Learned Participating in a Dubsmash Challenge

It’s all fun and games… until you learn something.

While participating in a month-long Dubsmash Challenge certainly is a great deal of fun, there are also lessons to be learned about social media and video marketing. In this YouTube video, I briefly cover my top 3 lessons learned and also share a link to the entire compilation of 29 Dubsmash videos. Read More →

Android Locate Ring

How to Locate Your Android Device

How to Locate, Ring, Lock, & Erase Your Android Device – All from a Desktop

Well, crap. You can’t find your phone. Normally you would just use someone else’s phone or maybe the home phone, a landline, to call it – hoping it would ring so that you could find it.  BUT, those options aren’t available. Well, if you’ve heard of “Find My Phone” through Google, you can use your gmail account that’s associated with the phone to locate it on a map, ring it, lock it, or even go so far as to erase the device completely.

Read More →

FTR Player

FTR The Record Player – A Complete Walk Through

FREE Transcription Player Available

FTR Player

Although For The Record has products geared towards the legal industry, included in the many great software programs available on its site is FTR The Record Player, which is completely free to download.  This player is a handy player that offers many great features.  It is also sometimes referred to as The Record Player or FTR Player.

Read More →

Transcription Media Player

Transcription Players Available – Audio/Video Media Players

Transcription Media Players – A Comprehensive List

Getting started in my journey as a work-from-home transcriptionist back in 1999 was a bit tricky for me because I had no formal training (or really any informal training either) and so it was very much a “learn as you go” type of thing. It was suggested to me–by the transcription firm I was doing subcontractor work for–to purchase the Start-Stop kit that included the basic items I would need such as a headset, foot pedal, and software. The cash investment was more than I was willing to pay in order to start in a field that I wasn’t even sure I’d succeed at. Read More →