Working as a transcriptionist from home is a great way to earn money while still letting you run a house, look after children, or do any other chore or hobby you wish. It can be a full time or part time job, and if you are lucky you can chose to work as much or little as you wish.
Whether you chose to work 9am – 5pm or 1am – 4am there are some important things to keep in mind when working at home;
- This is work. Just because you are in your own house does not mean you can or should take this job lightly. If it needs done today, make sure you do it today. You are at home, but you are also a professional doing a job as well as you can. Friends and family need to recognise that you are ‘at work’ and you cannot let them interrupt you except in case of an emergency, such as a nuclear attack. If you have the space, setting aside a room designated as your ‘office’ is a good way to make this work, and when you are in your office you are not available.
- Set aside times you will work and stick to these. You can even stick them on the the fridge or somewhere else so your family know you are busy.
- If you are just starting out as a transcriptionist, do not buy expensive equipment until you are sure you want to continue doing this job, and that you can get enough work to pay for these items. That said, transcription software, a foot pedal, (sometimes sold as a package) and headphones are all good investments.
- Before taking on specific work, such as medical translations, be sure you either know the terminology or have a reference book/website where you can check out terms and spelling.
- Backup and archive your work, whether in the clouds or on an external USB Flash drive or external hard disk. Unless a client wants work destroyed once it is delivered, keeping files in a safe place is a good idea. Clients may come back for ‘more on that topic’, and having the original will help you. Sometimes a client might lose the work you sent and ask you to send it again.
- When accepting work do not forget to discuss payment and when this will happen. Keep a record of your earnings, even if only for yourself. Remember, you are responsible for paying any due taxes.
A good idea if you struggle to keep to a work routine is to pretend you are your own boss, (you are, but in this case it is intended as, ‘pretend you are two people’). Make yourself a boss who is not understanding. Try explaining why you have not finished the job on time; ‘I started work at 9.00am and went to get a cup of coffee at 9.20 but I dropped the milk and had to clean it up. When I went to get the cloth I saw I had forgotten to put the laundry on, so I did that, and I wanted to wash the bed linen, so I changed the bed.’ The first question, and it is reasonable, is ‘Why go for coffee after only a few minutes work?’ Organise your time well and make sure you can do the job you accepted within the time set.
You need good discipline to work from home, but once you get organised this is a great way to ‘have your cake and eat it’. You can work at night when you can’t sleep and go for a walk on the beach during the day, and it is without transport costs.