How to Become a Transcriptionist: Expert Interview with Janet Shaughnessy


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One of the great things about the internet is that it’s opened up a ton of new opportunities for earning a living while at home or even while traveling.

It’s easier than ever to make money from home. So long as you are willing to put the work in.

One of these great work at home (or work anywhere) setups is to become a transcriptionist.

I recently had the chance to interview Janet Shaughnessy of Transcribe Anywhere, who explains how this work from home opportunity may be a possibility for you.

Janet is the queen of all things transcription and has some awesome advice to share with us based on her experience throughout her years in the industry.

Let’s dig in!

Hi Janet! Let’s Start From The Very Beginning. Where Are You From? Where Were You Born And Raised?

I was born and raised in New York. I’ve traveled and lived in other places, but I’m back here in New York.

Home is where family lives. I have three brothers and my husband has four sisters.

With all of our nieces and nephews, it’s a big crew and we love them all.


When And How Did You First Hear Of The Possibility Of Working From Home?

I began working from home when my husband became disabled. I asked myself what skills I had that would allow me to work from home and voila – transcription.

I learned to transcribe in high school, the old-timey way using shorthand and typewriters.

My skills changed as technology changed and we now use audio and video recordings and special software to produce our transcripts.


How many hours a day do you put into transcribing? Do you get overwhelmed sometimes?

I work a lot, but my focus now is more on training than actually transcribing myself. Of course, I still do both.

I never feel overwhelmed because I love what I do. I’m excited to get started every day.


How flexible is this type of work? Is it ideal for moms, dads, as a side gig, full-time, those who like to work while traveling, etc.?

As self-employed transcriptionists, we decide when, where, and how often we work.

Some prefer to work part-time and others choose to go big and grow their businesses like I did.

We can work from anywhere with a laptop and an internet connection.


Related: Avoid Becoming a Victim of Work-From-Home Scams

What’s the demand like for transcription worldwide? Is the demand expected to increase in the next decade

The demand is huge and continues to grow. With all of the audio and video content being produced, the need will only continue to grow.


What kind of habits and mindset helped make you successful?

First, you have to love what you do. Not everyone is cut out to be a transcriptionist.

The ability to work independently and enjoy working alone is critical.

You have to be self-motivated and self-directed. It’s important to know that it takes commitment to training and practice in order to succeed and to know that we never stop learning.


What’s the earning potential for this type of work? As a beginner and as an expert

The national average for general transcriptionists if $58K/per year. For legal transcriptionists, it’s $65K.

That’s an average and it’s for full-time work. Some will earn more and some will earn less.

Expect to earn less when starting out. Your income will increase as your skills and clientele build.


Who is not a good fit for transcription? For those who are a good fit, how would you recommend they get started?

Besides having the ability to type, which is an easy skill to learn, one must have a firm grasp of English grammar and punctuation.

We teach it in our courses and I believe it’s the most challenging aspect for almost all students.

If you’re not committed to working hard and learning new skills, you won’t succeed. If you’re not self-motivated, you won’t succeed.

If you’re a social butterfly and love going to a j-o-b (ugh! for me), then you probably won’t be happy working remotely.

For those who have the correct mindset and are willing to learn, enroll in a course, and get started.


Read also:


Tell us a bit about the courses that you offer.

We offer courses in general and legal transcription. General transcription covers any industry other than legal and medical.

Legal transcription involves transcribing for attorneys, courts, law enforcement, etc.

I no longer offer services or training in medical transcription. The demand, along with the pay, for medical transcriptionists has decreased dramatically with the adoption of the electronic medical record.

In fact, I can’t believe that courses are still being offered in that specialty and people are being fooled to believe that it’s still a viable option. It’s not.

Although I began my career as a medical transcriptionist, I stopped offering those services years ago and I don’t teach it.

If anyone takes one piece of advice from me, let it be this: Don’t waste your time or money training to become a medical transcriptionist.


Lastly, what tips do you have for those who would like to start their own work-at-home business?

We give our students all of the training and resources needed to land their first transcription job(s) and begin working from home.

I can’t stress enough how important training is. Many of our students find us after taking a transcription test and failing.

It’s not as easy as being a great typist and you can’t know what you just don’t know.

If someone is wanting to learn more about becoming a Transcriptionist what is their next step?

Check out our free mini-courses to learn whether or not transcription is the right fit for you.


My Final Thoughts

Like any job or business, this will have a learning curve but if you want to start working from home, becoming a transcriptionist may be the right fit for you.

FREEBIE!!  Janet also offers a free mini-courses to learn about a career in transcription.

Free General Transcription Mini-Course

Free Legal Transcription Mini-Course










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