I struck the jackpot today in response to a nice little ad in the “writing/editing” section of the Craig’s List site of a major U.S. city. The ad read as follows :
Seeking Work at Home Transcriptionists (Home-based)
Compensation: $x.xx-$x.xx per audio minute
XXXXXXXX, a online only transcription company is seeking work at home general, legal, and medical transcriptionists. You can check out details here: http://www.xxxxxxxxx.com. No resumes please.
We need people who are extremely accurate, fast transcriptionists who are interested in doing regular work online for transcription and editing/reviewing of transcripts. We have a steady stream of transcription projects so there is always work available.
We pay $x.xx-$x.xx per audio minute depending on the quality of the work. We pay weekly via PayPal for all work that you’ve completed. We have a support team to help you out with any questions. We are trying to make it easy for anyone who is interested in transcribing and wants to work flexibly and from home.
So please feel free to apply if you are interested here: http://www.xxxxxxx.com.
As an online marketing guru of sorts (amongst other things) I found the refreshing thing about this opportunity to be that, as opposed to many of the other ads you regularly encounter on Craig’s List, this company had streamlined the recruiting process so that it was very clear and easy for the prospect to move from the ad directly to their main site, through the well laid out informational pages, to the application page, and finally through the application. By the end of the process I felt confident that I had done everything necessary on my end, and that they had done everything on their end as well.
Their web site is clear and to the point. There is no unnecessary information, which in the modern internet marketing world is the key to success. That is, give people the information they need and guide them clearly through the action process so that they naturally end up performing the desired end action (i.e. converting) which is to the ultimate benefit of both parties.
After completing the application – which involved a short transcription test done right on the site and taking only 30 minutes – I took another hour to go through almost all of the remaining pages of the site. Not being sure as to if, or when, they might respond, I left a few pages to work through over the next day or two.
I did some more of my routine online work and upon rising in the morning there was, to my great surprise and pleasure, an email from one of their support representatives informing me that my application had been accepted. They provided a link to the page where I was to register for access to the online system. It took less than five minutes to register, and I was then in the system browsing through the current available jobs and ready to accept a project at any time.
I decided to proceed cautiously, as I didn’t want to take on a first project which I was not confident about completing properly. Luckily, these standard online database systems allow you to listen to the audio file of a prospective project before you accept, so that you can feel more confident about what will be involved in the work. The system also provides information on the total time (in minutes) of the file, the deadline (number of hours within which to complete the project), along with the pay and information about the type of transcription/edit required (ex. “edit for clarity” vs “verbatim” – with or without time code).
Since I already had some freelance editing work coming in from another company at the time (although only ~ 3-4 files to edit per week) it was not absolutely vital to start work immediately. So I decided to at least take a day or two to listen to the roughly 10 files which were currently available on the system to get a feel for the range of audio content that was on offer.
As the job posts were organized into two separate sections (“transcription jobs” and “editing jobs”) I decided that editing would be less challenging, and I would be more likely to complete the jobs properly (especially since I was already working as an editor). It just so happens that on that night there were no “editing jobs” available on the board. So, I settled for evaluating the several “transcribing jobs” which were up, but each of them were intimidating. They were all similar, and so it seemed like they were batch files from an ongoing project account. Each were roughly thirty minutes long and set in a classroom setting with multiple speaker, often unclear audio and Spanish language mixed in the the English. Any seasoned transcriber will agree that this is a difficult mix.
I decided to pass on those for the time being. Reflecting on it now, that was the first (and one of the most basic) learning experiences I had. That is, the process of judging a prospective project before you decide to accept it. With experience, and getting to know your skills and capabilities better – and developing them – this fundamental assessment process becomes easier. As a result you can pick more appropriate projects which will not overwhelm you, and which you will actually ENJOY work on.
More on this process later. For now, it was time to get some sleep and revel in a good day’s work, and my formal initiation into the transcription world.