Monthly Archives: November 2014

Cheap, Fast, Good — Pick Two

 cheap fast good

  1. Fast & Good: Not going to be cheap
  2. Good & Cheap: It’s going to take longer
  3. Fast & Cheap: Won’t be good
  4. Good, Fast, & Cheap: Won’t happen

When I first started my transcription business, I had it in my mind that I was going to offer a superior transcription service for amazing prices (aka cheap) and send the transcript to my clients quickly (within 24-48 hours).

Needless to say, that didn’t last very long.

At first, I didn’t have many clients, so when something came in for transcription, I did have the time to go ahead and work on it immediately. I was able to send the final transcript along within hours. It was of extreme high-quality and my clients loved me for it, of course.

As I got busier, I realized there were a few things I didn’t take into consideration. Like most new entrepreneurs, I didn’t take into consideration the time I would spend on my business that I wasn’t actively getting paid for (e-mail communication with clients, bookkeeping, writing copy, etc.) or thinking about the money I would have to deduct from my hourly rate to buy things I needed for it.

Clients kept pouring in, because they were able to get good work done quickly and cheaply. In part, I was really happy because I was making more money than I ever had. I was finally able to pay my bills. However, I was literally working 100 hours a week . . . Lucky if I made $1000. And while $1000/week was a lot for me at the time, it came at the cost of me being exhausted all the time, not having any sort of life, and gaining weight and being unhealthy because I was sitting at the computer sometimes for 20+ hours at a time typing away. I typed so much, I would have to ice my wrists. It couldn’t go on like that.

If you’re someone who has been able to find great work done cheaply and quickly, chances are, it’s not going to last very long, because inevitably, things like this happen to the company or entrepreneur.

I got to the point where there weren’t enough hours in the day to handle the workflow that was coming in, and I wasn’t charging enough to hire anybody else for help. I tried getting people to help, but for what I was able to pay them, the work wasn’t anywhere near good and I found myself taking the same amount of time to “fix” the transcript so it was suitable for a client than if I did it myself.

I realized quickly that offering a quick, good, and cheap transcription service wasn’t going to be possible, unless I limited the amount of clients I worked for . . . And that wasn’t going to happen, because I literally couldn’t live my life that way.  I wasn’t charging enough to begin with, so limiting the amount of clients I worked with would have put me back in a situation where I wasn’t making enough money.

I knew I wasn’t going to sacrifice the quality of my work, so that was off the table. I decided to get a high-quality transcript from me, you could get it done cheap, but it would take longer.  The more time-sensitive your transcription project is, the more it’s going to cost.

When I started charging by turnaround time, an interesting thing happened. All of a sudden, clients who needed things within 24 hours could wait a week or two to get it done, knowing they would save a lot of money if they did so.

I did have a few clients leave, but the vast majority of them came back when they realized they couldn’t get it done cheap, fast, and good elsewhere. As a result, they either waited to get their transcript done by me, or they paid the premium to get it done fast if they really needed it soon.

There are clients who don’t care if it’s a high-quality transcript. They just want the shell of it done quick and cheap, and are willing to make the investment of time themselves to “fix” it the way it’s supposed to be done. This used to really upset me. Why were people not willing to pay for high-quality work?

Then I realized that I wasting time and energy being pissed off about it. If fixing a transcript is something they consider an effective use of their time, then that’s where they are in their business right now. Or if they don’t care they are presenting a low-quality transcript, that’s completely their decision.  There are many transcriptionists who will deliver something not-so-great quickly and cheaply. I am not one of those people.

Humble Beginnings: How I Started Working From Home

The following post tells my story of how I discovered how to make money online, and very soon after started a business. Knowing what I know now, I would have gone about things a different way and started making more money sooner.

Sometimes I can’t believe how little money I worked for years ago, but I have absolutely no regrets. It’s my story, my journey . . . And it’s what got me to where I am today. If I had given up at the very beginning thinking there was no way to make a good wage working from home, it’s likely I wouldn’t be making as much money as I am now. This year, I’m set to generate over ten times the amount I made working from home in 2009.

Most people don’t know this, but I dabbled in a few other things before I settled on transcription as my work-at-home money-making method. I started at an extremely low rate of pay doing various things. But I did TONS of research about working from home, figured out what I liked doing best, and eventually found that transcription fit me best and ran with it.

Here’s my story:

The very first thing I did was work with Amazon Mechanical Turk, which is a crowdsourcing platform where you do various tasks that may take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes to complete for a little bit of money.

This intrigued me, because I was desperately seeking to make more money in my spare time and I really liked how I could do it while watching TV and otherwise lounging around my apartment. I was probably making only $2 or $3 per hour, but it worked for me since I could do it from anywhere, at any time, whenever I wanted. I figured making $2 or $3 an hour sitting in front of my TV was better than $0 an hour doing the same thing.

It really only took a few weeks and I began looking for other avenues. I knew there had to be ways to make more than I was making. I found the Knowledge Generation Bureau in my search (KGB), which was a company that answered any question people would text to them. I received the questions and would do Internet searches to answer, and they would receive a text back. It still didn’t pay much, but the work was interesting.

I also found article submission sites and wrote articles where I would get paid a few pennies every time someone clicked on my article. There were three sites I did articles for. After I wrote them, I could see how much they earned every month. Some of my articles only made $0.01 a month, but others earned $60/month. But there came a time when the Google algorithms changed and I wasn’t able to generate much, and these sites eventually got bought by another company or the payments changed and I didn’t do it anymore.

I was also doing transcription at the same time I was doing all these other things. I had my hands in many pockets, but decided I liked transcription the best and went with that. It was only about three or four months into it that I decided to search for private clients and see how much I could actually make doing it. Within six months, the money I was bringing in from transcription was about equal to what I was making in my job, so I quit my job and put all my effort into my transcription business.

If you really want to make some money from home in your spare time as a stay-at-home, I suggest starting small, doing some research and going from there. There are a lot of things you can do from your living room that require no experience, but before you do anything, do some digging to find out what other people’s experience was in that field or with that company.

It’s extremely easy to start a home-based business with little to no money. That’s exactly how I started. Trust me, I was completely broke when I started. Around that time, I even pawned jewelry to pay rent. But step by step, little by little, more money will start to seep into your bank account every month . . . As long as you’re putting in time and effort. It can be very overwhelming, but eventually you learn how to make it work for you.

Every year I’m in business, my transcription company makes more money . . . And I didn’t do it by popping up a website, and then sitting and waiting for people to buy. I did the work and it paid off.

Five years ago, I didn’t know what Internet marketing was. I had never heard of Google Analytics and had no clue what a teleseminar or webinar was. If you asked me what a joint venture was, I would’ve shrugged my shoulders.  And if you don’t know what they are, it’s okay!

There’s a lot of money to be made from home, but it’s a process. Don’t let lack of knowledge hold you back. If you don’t know where to start, then let’s have a conversation.

What People Don’t Understand About Your WAHM Life

When I tell people I have a business I run from home, their immediate reaction is something along the lines of, “Oh, wow! It must be so awesome to be able to work when you want.”

Well, sometimes . . .  but not exactly.

As a WAHM, you may find yourself being asked to take on responsibilities for other people and/or expected or asked to do things because you have “so much free time on your hands”. What your friends and family need to understand is when you work at home, you actually do need to work.

Sure, you may have the luxury of being able to stop working and go pick your kids up from school in the afternoon or take them to the playground during the day . . . but it’s not always that easy.

Any stay-at-home-mom will tell you their days are really hectic between kids, chores, errands, dinner, etc. It’s a full-time job being a mom. Doing all that on top of work becomes challenging.

Friends and family may assume that because your work schedule is so flexible, you have the time to help them out with a task or fit anything you choose to fit in throughout your day. Sometimes people assume this about me, too, and a lot of times I feel guilty saying no. Look, I’m more than happy to help someone if they need me too if I’m available, but some days it’s just not in the cards.

I’m fortunate to have a family who understands my crazy schedule. They know that some weeks, I only really have to work 10-20 hours a week and can fit other things in my days. However, they also know that some weeks I’m literally working 70 hours and just can’t fit it in. When I say no to something, they don’t take offense.

Here are a few common things people who don’t work at home have a hard time understanding:

  1. You are unable to do a task for someone immediately

They know you work from home and could, theoretically, leave your house and take care of their problem, since your work schedule allows for flexibility and theirs doesn’t.

If I’m not particularly busy, I’m more than happy to help you out. However, just like you work and have a busy life, so do I. Sometimes doing extra unplanned tasks isn’t feasible. Taking time out of my busy day to help you out may mean that I’m awake until 2:00 AM working to catch up with my own work, or potentially miss a deadline. I understand you have to work late today and may need someone to pick up your kid from soccer practice or help make cupcakes for their bake sale, but I also have work to do. Please understand if I’m not able to help you out today.

  1. You said you were busy, but they see you commenting on posts on Facebook

People who don’t work from home sometimes have a hard time wrapping their head around it. You said you were too busy to fit them into your day, but they see you active on Facebook.

I do give myself small breaks throughout the day. If I am working a 10-12 hour day, I do allow myself 5-10 minute breaks every now and again to do something that’s not work related. I may click over to Facebook to see what’s going on for a few minutes.

For me, I transcribe audio for a living. If I am sitting typing for hours, it will hurt my wrists. If I don’t rest them periodically, I’ll injure myself. I take small breaks throughout the day. Just because I comment on your Facebook post doesn’t mean I lied about being busy to avoid you. It just means I stopped for a few minutes. I’m sure you take small breaks at work as well.

  1. They see you out for dinner when you said you were busy

Just like you may work long days, so do I. I’m sure if you’re working a 12-hour shift at work, you stop to eat. Since my work is my home, if I’m busy, I don’t really get a chance to leave. Sometimes if I’m really busy and haven’t been outside my house for a few days, I just need to get out. I will take a break for an hour and go get something to eat, just like if you work a 12-hour shift, you may take a break and get a bite as well.

While a lot of times I eat at the computer, sometimes I’ll take an hour and treat myself to a nice dinner with my family. Sometimes I need that hour to get out of the house and recharge.

  1. People randomly stop by your house because they know you’re probably home

Look, I like you. I really do. But I’m a super-busy work-at-home-mommy and my to-do list is long, and I barely have any time to do things for myself, let alone entertain you unexpectedly. Some days, even a shower isn’t possible for me. In fact, most days, I consider my 5-10 minute showers mini vacations.

So if you want to stop by, please text or call first . . .  and don’t take offense if I say it’s not a good time. Unless you’re stopping by to vacuum the floors, do the dishes, and scrub the toilet. Then you’re more than welcome to stop by anytime J

  1. You can’t talk right now and/or don’t return phone calls

When I’m busy, a lot of times I’ll let my phone ring if I know who it is. If it’s a number I don’t recognize, I’ll pick it up in case it’s a client or a potential client. However, if I know who it is, a lot of times I’ll just let it ring. I’m sure if it’s important, they’ll call again, text immediately after or call my hubby.

If I’m in the middle of something, I’ll make a mental note to call the person back. But as all us WAHMs know, our days are often very hectic and by the time we get a chance to catch a breath, it may be too late in the evening to call you back . . . or I may have forgotten (sorry!).

Bottom line: when I’m busy, I don’t usually pick up the phone unless it’s potentially going to make my business money.

  1. You make plans and then cancel

This rarely ever happens to me, because at this point, I do have a strong team. But in the early days, this used to happen every now and again. I’d make plans a week in advance, only to have a big project come in that I couldn’t refuse and have to break plans.

I’m sure this happens a lot to people who don’t work from home, or any business owner really, but I think people sometimes have a hard time understanding why you can’t just “do it later” when you have such a “flexible” work-at-home schedule.

Look, if I made plans with you, I want to be with you. I’d much rather be sipping margaritas across a table with you chit-chatting and laughing than sitting in front of my computer all night. Please don’t take it personally if I happen to have to cancel plans.