Is transcribing a good job? Yes, it certainly can be! With the right approach and the right training and contacts, transcription can be a fulfilling and rewarding career. If you want to work as a transcriptionist, you may have already landed the odd gig through freelance job boards, but those sites won’t see you getting rich anytime soon, or even really able to build a sustainable career, other than in a few exceptional cases.
As such, below we’ll walk you through how to excel at selling transcription services, from identifying those who need your expertise to marketing your services in the right way.
How Fast Do You Have to Type to Be a Transcriptionist?
Before we dive into the detail, let’s take a quick reality check. If you want to transcribe for a living, you need certain core skills. Typing speed is one of them. Aim for a typing speed of at least 65-75 words per minute. You’ll also need to have good technical skills, be an attentive listener and deliver outstanding accuracy in terms of spelling and grammar.
When you work for yourself, you also need a range of other talents, from financial admin skills to marketing know-how. The latter is what will help you sell your transcription services.
Where Do You Find Transcription Clients?
Before you can work out the best way to market your services to your clients, you need to identify who those clients are. There is plenty of demand for transcription services. In the US alone, Grand View Research valued the transcription market at USD 19.8 billion in 2019, with a compound annual growth rate of 6.1% from 2020 to 2027. Clearly, there are plenty of companies out there looking to use the services of talented transcribers.
Before you start marketing, research the sectors most likely to need transcriptionists and then a list of companies to target in those industries. Factor in your own expertise while doing this. The legal and medical sectors regularly use transcriptionists, so if you have knowledge or experience that relates to these, so much the better.
The global medical transcription market, for example, is worth USD 16.64 billion, according to Technavio, with 41% of growth over the next five years originating from North America. Market growth is expected to accelerate over the coming years, so pitching your services to companies in this sector could prove lucrative.
As well as creating a hit list of individual companies, note down the names of leading transcription agencies. When you work for yourself, having multiple income streams is always wise, so a mix of direct work and agency work can be ideal.
How Do You Sell Your Transcription Services?
You’ll need to price your services at a rate that’s acceptable to those who buy in transcription and that means you can sustain a decent quality of life based on what you earn. In the UK, Indeed reports that the average transcriptionist salary is £18,997 per year, while various agencies are selling their own services at rates such as £0.54 and £0.56 per minute. Would you prefer to match those rates and pitch directly to companies for the work, or work for less so that the agencies take their cut while doing all the marketing legwork for you?
If you plan to market your transcription service directly to businesses, read up on how to win customers before you start. Some people have a natural aptitude for marketing, but even those who don’t can learn how to do it. The US Small Business Administration has some excellent Marketing 101 resources, including a free 30-minute course, while Sprout Social also has plenty of useful guidance.
Essentially, you need to show businesses how you can help them. Reeling off a list of your own skills isn’t enough – your pitch needs to resonate with the reader and show how you can make their life easier by transcribing for them, as well as why they should rely on you rather than one of your competitors.
If you’re applying to agencies, you’ll need to follow their individual procedures while ensuring that your skills and experience shine through at every interaction.
How to Earn More from Your Transcription Service
Good training is essential. As you establish yourself as an accurate, timely and reliable transcriptionist, there’s plenty of potential to increase your earnings, particularly if you specialise. If you don’t already have legal or medical knowledge, pursuing one of these areas of study/certification can be a good way to up your income.
Ultimately, your profitability will relate directly to the quality of the service that you provide. If you can work fast and deliver accurate transcriptions, it should be perfectly possible to market your service, grow your client base and build a meaningful and profitable career providing transcription services.
Guest blog, Miggy Bondoc, www.tomedes.com