Let me be honest with you here (that’s what you’ve come to expect from me anyway!). There’s no trick or magic pill to growing your transcription business — or ANY business, for that matter.
What it takes is plenty of hard work and dedication. If you’re one of the few who is willing to earn their own success, keep reading.
To really grow a transcription business, you need more than just great transcription skills. That’s why we teach our students how to do the work AND how to get the work — because being successful involves so much more than hanging a sign on the door that says “TRANSCRIPTIONIST.” Anyone who tells you otherwise probably isn’t growing a successful business 🙂
So what do you need to grow? I’ve narrowed it down to four keys — check them out!
Key #1 — Always Be Learning
Above anything else, you MUST commit to being a lifelong learner. We are ALL works in progress, and regardless of your age or experience, no one knows it all.
For example, great transcriptionists know language evolves and punctuation rules can change. To have an edge, we need to be on top of those changes. Read books, invest in courses and seminars, follow blogs, visit forums — anything you can get your hands on to improve your skills.
Books are an excellent, low-cost way to keep learning! Here are some of my favorites:
- The Best Punctuation Book, Period. by June Casagrande — Excellent tool for understanding the differences between sets of punctuation rules in different industries. It also sheds light on punctuation as an art, and *GASP* no one knows everything about it 🙂
- The Elephants of Style: A Trunkload of Tips on the Big Issues and Gray Areas of Contemporary American English by Bill Walsh — I love this book for the same reason I love the one above: it acknowledges the gray areas! There’s a reason English classes in school are now called Language Arts (and not Language Sciences).
- A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of Punctuation by Noah Lukeman — I love how this book, again, likens punctuation to art: in particular, a symphony! Lukeman has a knack for helping punctuation make sense in people’s heads, and I especially recommend his book to anyone who struggles with the less common punctuation marks, such as the dash or semicolon.
Key #2 — Get Up to Speed with Marketing
Marketing is an ever-evolving beast. What works one year may not work great the next year. What works in one industry will flounder in another. That’s just life, and we have to grow and change with it if we don’t want to be left behind.
Social media is the most modern tool we have for marketing… but it’s not as simple as just getting on Facebook.
If I had to pick just one social media platform to grow my freelance business, it would be LinkedIn. Fellow super-nerd Melonie Dodaro (author of the #1 best-selling social media book The LinkedIn Code) is the go-to guru for mastering LinkedIn. I even include training videos directly from Melonie in the courses.
Your Marketing Mindset
It’s not just the social media stuff that makes your business grow — it’s your own outlook, too. Having a giving attitude vs. a taking attitude will make a noticeable difference in your business growth. A taking attitude means your primary focus is on YOU: how to get work, how to make money, how to find more clients — all those verbs I italicized are very you-focused. If you make your marketing effort client-focused and adopt a giving attitude, your primary focus will be how to serve your clients, how to help them become better, and how to provide a better experience. See the difference? All client-focused verbs. Clients resonate with someone who wants to help them. It’s a rare trait to see, and clients immediately notice the difference — and love it!
This means when you’re writing content on your LinkedIn profile and website, make sure your language focuses more on the benefits your potential customers/clients would experience by working with you — not on what they can do for you. The focus should always be on them.
Key #3 — Build Your Web Presence
Cold, hard truth: IF YOU HAVE A BUSINESS, YOU NEED A WEBSITE.
True story: I stumbled across a freelance job board that actually forbids people from posting links to their websites within the board because “it’s an unfair advantage to people who don’t have websites.”
If you want to grow a business, there are no excuses for not having a real website. It’s not hard, and it’s not expensive to build a good-looking one. A website adds credibility to your business and to you as a professional. In the online world we live in, it’s really become a common courtesy to have a web presence.
Do I have to pay for it?
You can build free websites that have subdomains (like janetthetranscriptionist.wordpress.com), but bear in mind: these are free for a reason. The subdomain does detract from the professional look, plus you’re left with a very visible ad for the website builder on your page: two things that can be gone completely for a very reasonable cost per year. In fact, a real domain costs between just $6 and $15 per year to own, and hosting is between $4 and $8 per month — that’s less than the cost of a meal at McDonald’s! And in a market where it pays to stand out, I’ll take all the credibility boost I can get. I recommend HostGator for web hosting and domains. You can find a third-party review and comparison of Hostgator here.
Key #4 — Plan for Success… Literally
We’ve all heard the saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
Well, it’s true! One thing I’m really working hard on is to be more mindful about my goals. I’m making it a point to determine one reasonably achievable task to accomplish — each day.
Some examples of my reasonably achievable tasks are:
- Read 50 pages before noon
- Work on ideas for future blog posts
- Make content updates to the courses
Assigning myself just one of these tasks a day helps me avoid becoming a workaholic — there’s no reason I need to force myself to do all three of those tasks in one day. Doing too much too fast can negatively affect my mood and my work quality. If I’m in the zone and I can do all three tasks in one day, great. If I can’t, I’m not going to beat myself up.
Bonus Tip: Have an Eye-Catching Logo
Don’t think a logo is important? There are many businesses we can easily recognize by their logo alone. (Think Nike, Target, Wendy’s, Google, etc.) We are all exposed to thousands of brand messages per day, so it is important your brand stands out! You can always try creating a logo on your own or using a service like Fiverr for a low-cost option.
While building and growing your freelance business is hard work, it’s not impossible! You can be on the fast track to success if you follow these four keys. You can do it!
What are you doing to grow your transcription business? Share in the comments below!