Work At Home Journey: Transcription To Freelance


My work at home adventure started back in the early 1990’s. At the time I had two young children and who wouldn’t want to be able to earn money while staying homes with their babies, right? The internet boom was still yet to come so my exposure to work at home possibilities was limited to random ads in community newspapers and a few different infomercials. Yes, I was one of those people watching Carlton Sheets in the early hours of a Saturday morning thinking, “Yep, I can do that!” I never did order that kit, though I did come close a few times. Most, if not all, opportunities I came across at that time were scams. I got duked for a couple but if I remember correctly only to the tune of about $40. Working from home seemed unrealistic for me. I needed my full-time income and benefits and the very few opportunities I did come across either wouldn’t pay enough or were scams. I never gave up the desire to work at home and years later as my children got older and life settled down a little I initiated my search once again.

The internet is a wonderful thing and through it I came across a forum listing legitimate at home jobs and I applied with West. I was hired by West as an independent contractor for their direct response line and I took calls from people ordering items they saw on infomercials. Who knows, Carlton Sheets may have even been a client of theirs at one time. I worked for West part-time for quite a few months. It was interesting to learn about the different items on that line and aside from the occasional persistent prank callers most of the people I talked to were pleasant. I did not enjoy the selling aspect of the job. Have you ever called to order something only to have them try to sell you five other things while you are on the phone? Yep, that was me. While I enjoyed the freedom of working at home that West allowed, I did not enjoy the upsells I was required to offer and it just wasn’t my ideal work at home job.

More net surfing led me to SpeakWrite. SpeakWrite is a firm that hires independent contractors to do transcription work from home. The training process was a bit frustrating at times but for good reason. Their training does a great job in preparing you for the work you will be doing and gives you a perfect opportunity to decide if it is something you want to pursue. I did have to purchase the foot pedal and headphones required for $90 but not until I was told that I had successfully completed the training and was offered a position. SpeakWrite has a great management system, communicates frequently with their contractors, and as a result has a wonderful group of typists, many long-term, working for them.

I have also been doing freelance administrative work through Guru and Elance. Both sites give clients the opportunity to post projects and freelancers the ability to place a bid or proposal for those projects. I thoroughly enjoy the variety that the freelance market provides. I like Guru because it allows you to search for employers that are looking for freelancers based solely in the United States. I do however prefer the buyer/provider profiles that Elance provides. It really allows you to get to know your client as well as your competition.

Working at home is not without its perils of course. I was in the middle of a project earlier this year and my computer crashed. I frantically had to purchase another, reinstall a ton of software, find my way through Windows Vista for the first time, and still be able to deliver the project when promised. Just a few days ago my 21-month-old son decided to toss my flash drive, for which I had no back up, in a glass of tea to see if it would float. Lesson learned and the work moves on. As I type he is climbing up on my lap and it comes to me that I have finally found the best of both worlds.

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