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?

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*New York Times

**Bureau of Labor Statistics

***Consumer Affairs

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