Are you a quick typist with a great ear? Are you obsessive about attention to detail? Starting a transcription services business might well be the ideal move. That said, to maximise your chances of success, you should engage in some careful planning and strategising before getting started.
Getting the right qualifications
For many transcriptionist jobs, you’ll need just the basics: a good knowledge of English (including spelling, grammar and punctuation), the ability to type at an efficient speed and the aural facility necessary to recording what you hear. However, if you decide to specialise in a specific field, such as medical transcription, then you’ll need particular knowledge.
While an official qualification isn’t necessary, it can definitely help you to learn what you need to know. One convenient way to take such a course is to do it online – that way you can complete it in your own time without the hassle of having to attend a ‘bricks and mortar’ institution. Alternatively, if you prefer face-to-face education, get in touch with your local community college or similar. Medical transcription courses are available at different levels, such as ‘Registered’ and ‘Certified’. If you’re intending on running your own business, you should aim for as high a qualification as possible – that way, you’ll be able to take on pretty much every job that’s thrown at you. Many clients are likely to want to know exactly how well you’re qualified.
Setting yourself up right
Once you’re certified, you should think about investing in some useful equipment. It can make a huge difference to your efficiency and accuracy levels. Clients are often in need of fast turnarounds, so it’s good to be able to deliver them.
Make sure that you have a workspace that’s comfortable and distraction-free. You’ll need a fast, reliable internet connection; an up-to-date computer; a great set of headphones; and, if you really want to work as quickly as possible, a foot pedal, so that you can stop, start, fast-forward and rewind audio files with ease.
Building up clientele
Rather than depending on just one or two clients, try to build up a pool. That way, you’ll have enough work and you’ll even be able to pick and choose between jobs. To market yourself, ensure that you have an appealing website and business cards. Don’t be afraid to cold call – remember that plenty of businesses and individuals are on the lookout for a reliable transcription service.