Today I'd like to introduce you to Stephanie Erickson of Angel Transcription Management. Stephanie is a member of the Being Boss Facebook group that I help moderate, and she's clearly being a boss in her business! I've never given transcription much thought, but I loved reading what Stephanie had to say about it.
As a child, I wanted to be a ______ when I grew up. I have always been obsessed with animals, so when I was young I wanted to be a veterinarian. I realized that it would not be a fun career to watch all that suffering, so by the time I was graduating from high school I wanted to become a biology teacher because I was very interested in life sciences and technology, and I have always loved teaching and helping others.
How close (or far) is your current career from that dream? Well, I run my own small business from home, so I definitely still get to work with technology, and I also train others in transcription and am working on a comprehensive training course as well, so I think I didn't go too terribly far although I opted for a less traditional setting. I also get to hang out with my own pets all day!
What is your official job title? Owner and Primary Transcriptionist at Angel's Transcription Management.
Ok, now what does that really mean? I run my website, blog, and do all my client communication and billing personally and manage transcriptionists and editors with the assistance of a team manager, while still transcribing an average of about 15 hours of audio a week myself for more difficult files or those that require a quicker turnaround time. Basically, I currently wear most of the 'hats' to run my business and I also still perform a lot of the actual service myself. At one point, I had been focused on trying to bring in simply as much work as possible, but when I realized there was only one of me to help run all these teams I made a decision to scale back and focus more on producing quality transcripts. As a result, I have been able to increase our reputation for quality and have been slower to hire, forming lasting relationships with both my clients and my transcriptionists in the long term. I am always looking for more help but have finally found a manageable groove to operate under while I take my business and career to the next level.
What is a typical day like? My days consist of a lot of listening and typing, as well as responding to emails, downloading and uploading files and links, answering questions, phone calls, and generally staying on top of all of our running files and projects and all the various file names, lengths, rates, and notes that go along with them. I spend long hours getting familiar with my keyboard and paying close attention to other people say, ask, and need in order to accurately record transcripts or assist them in getting their projects completed.
How did you end up in this career? While pregnant with my daughter, I found out about medical transcription from a friend of mine who did work for a medical transcription company and suggested it as a way for me to work at home and still raise my daughter. I had excelled in school in English and spelling in general, which I always attributed to my love to read. I have also been a bit of a computer nerd since our family got its first when I was just a teenager and put myself through transcription school online. I graduated shortly after she was born and worked as a medical transcriptionist for a few years, first with some larger online companies and then for a local hospital, before my job was outsourced to a larger company that primarily sent their audio overseas.
I sort of stumbled into this whole other side of transcription while looking for new work and having a hard time due to the continuing decline in medical transcription wages - I realized that just about anything can be transcribed, and while there aren't many companies to work for I could find my own clients. Not only did I find more interesting files, but I was able to make much better money and have a lot more freedom in my working hours. In the beginning I took any file I could get my hands on, no matter how difficult or tedious, and as a result I have been able to increase my skills and become an expert on transcription, eventually having enough clients that I was forced to hire and train my own team to help me keep up. I put myself through school part-time, focusing every project I could on the transcription industry, and earning my degree in Business Administration in 2013.
My daughter turns ten this year and I have been working for myself now for over six years, the last nine of them as a completely single mother. I can confidently say that even though it has not always been as good as it is now, I have been able to stay home with her throughout her childhood and build a life for the two of us at the same time that is only getting better.
What kind of education or training did you complete for this career? I graduated from Career Step medical transcription training course in 2005, but my most valuable experience has always been on the job or self-taught. I also obtained a degree in Business Administration in 2013 to help me better run my business.
What advice would you give to someone who wants a similar career? Do your research! Transcription, while simple on the surface, simply isn't for everybody. You have to like being a stickler for grammar, care about things being correct, and have excellent time management skills. It is difficult to work from home, and it takes a lot of practice, patience, and persistence to become good at this job.
Do you have any other career dreams? What do you want to be when you grow up? I have a lot of big plans and dreams for my career and bringing a larger sense of community and quality standards to transcription as well as exploring new opportunities in the future. I am currently working on redesigning my website as well as launching a blog (TranscriptionistBlog.Wordpress.com) and a newsletter in preparation for my upcoming training course that I hope to complete over the summer.
Even though I am technically an adult and will continue to grow older, I hope I never grow up. :) I do hope to continue working for myself though because, quite frankly, I'm the best boss I've ever had. I was good at many jobs before I began working from home, but I really never found a good fit for myself until I took more control over my own income and schedule. I hope to continue to maintain that freedom by finding ways to fill the needs of my clients, including finding new ways to use transcription.
Any last thoughts or encouragement for others trying to decide what they want to do “when they grow up”? I am a huge advocate for finding creative ways to turn just about anything into a way to make money for yourself if it is something you are good at and love doing, whether it be a little spending money on the side while you work to gain experience or a transition into turning your passion into your full-time job. I am lucky in that I get to do what I am both good at and love doing for a living, and at the same time be a mom. I think it is important to be happy with what you do for a living, and if you aren't take steps to find something that keeps you motivated and happy.