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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.