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By Kaliannah Shirah

I'm often asked how someone can, not only establish, but also succeed as a home-based transcriptionist. This is a difficult question to answer - even after more than 14 years in the business. There are so many different factors to consider, not the least of which includes YOUR experience, training/education, skills and "homebase" (area of the country you operate from) as well as your specialty.

My first advice to you is to obtain the necessary skills from an educational program or on-the-job training. You cannot market your services and/or expect to earn a salary with inferior skills - or no skills at all.

Secondly, after you're gained the necessary skills, you should learn to market your services. Even the most highly trained Transcriptionists cannot succeed in the "business" without effectively marketing their services - which can prove to be a real challenge, but not insurmountable!

No matter what your level of training, education, skills and ability - below are a few basic steps to get you started:

1. Determine a business name - something catchy that is easy to remember while summing up the "heart" of your business. Register your business name and obtain a business license (optional). While registration isn't a necessity, it screams professionalism.

2. Arrange financing if needed. In addition to the traditional small business loan, there are numerous (and very competitive) contests for new business grants - as well as companies and organization who offer venture capital, such as:

a. Isabella Capital - http://www.fundisabella.com
b. Viridian Capital - http://www.viridiancapital.com
c. Women Angels - http://www.womenangels.net
d. Small Business Administration http://www.sba.gov/financing

3. Draft a well-organized, effective business plan one that clearly states your purposes, goals and why your services would be chosen over local competition. Great tips plus free email counseling can be requested from the Service Corp of Retired Executives (SCORE), http://www.score.org.

4. Home-Office area. Whether your home-office is a converted guestroom, garage apartment or a sectioned off area in your living room -- this area should be off-limits to kids, spouses, parents and nosey friends. It should be cozy, relaxing and quiet -- a refuge where you can concentrate entirely on the transcription project at hand.

5. Launch an Online Advertising Campaign (WorldWide). Invest in a domain name and banner-free hosting. GoDaddy.com offers domain names for only $8.95 per year - one of the most cost effective prices I've found yet. There are numerous hosting companies that offer basic packages for as little as .99 per month - just visit your favorite search engine, such as http://www.google.com, for a list of them.

6. Launch a Local Advertising Campaign. Send professionally printed postcards to private and public corporations, law firms and physician practices that may be interested in your services. My personal opinion is that busy office managers are more apt to look at, and possibly save, a postcard advertising your services than a lengthy letter of introduction.

7. Once you've acquired a domain name and hosting, develop a simple, yet functional website to compliment your services. I recommend limiting your information to two pages detailing: a description of services, skills and qualifications, email and mailing addresses, fax and phone numbers.

An Online Resume is also a good idea. An online resume is simply an electronic version of your traditional resume - no bells, whistles or cutesy graphics. Be sure to include an email address and phone number.

8. Submit email queries and complete online applications. National transcription companies may not always post their openings - so email them! The worse they can say is, "no thanks." If the company has an online application be sure to follow their application procedures - for instance, some require you copy & paste your resume into a designated box, still others require you send your resume via email attachment.

9. Send your press release to local newspapers - and the chamber of commerce. If your city has an official website, they may "highlight" a hometown entrepreneur - that could be you!

10. And, finally, organize your home-office space while you're waiting for the projects to flow in! And, flow in they will! Just be patient, continue marketing - and above all, don't give up!


Copyright 2002, Kaliannah Shirah. All Rights Reserved. Kali is a freelance writer for several on/offline publications, specializing in work at home career guidance for women. She also pens romances and short stories. Visit her website to download *original* free electronic books. http://www.kaliannah.com.

How to Start & Run A Profitable Home-Based Transcription Business,
ISBN 0-9734286-0-0


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