Can someone with no transcription experience really make money transcribing at home? How about in one week?
First, let's go back in time:
On November 21st I published this post: Transcription Jobs From Home No Experience (18 Sites)
I wrote that post because I see transcription as a useful skill and a great way to make money online.
I claimed that a complete beginner could get a job and make money transcribing with no experience.
I had no evidence to back up these claims, so I thought, “I have no experience transcribing, why don't I be the test dummy?”
Which is why I will be documenting my experience day by day until I earn at least $1 doing transcription work.
This is going to truly test whether someone with no experience can get a job and make money transcribing.
Day 1: Applying to Scribie
Today I went over to my post to find a transcription site to apply to and applied to Scribie, which I've listed as the top recommendation for beginners.
My application was accepted right away and I've been put on the waiting list for the test. In the meantime, I have read over the guidelines and now I'm going to try some practice files.
Here are the two practice files I tried:
- Hitchens – Tried for about 15 minutes, didn't finish. I was having to research a lot for this one and I gave up.
- Louis CK – This one wasn't as bad, but it still took me forever to finish. The file is 4:11 long, and it took me 40 minutes to transcribe it (I had errors too).
To learn more about general transcription, I've applied to the TranscribeAnywhere FREE mini-course.
Day 2: Transcription Test Time
Got my test invite on Scribie today!
There are a lot of different files to choose from for the test, so I spent about 5 minutes going through 10 different audio files until I found an “easy” one. The one I chose is 4:11 long and took me about 40 minutes to transcribe.
I found transcribing a bit more fun today, but my speed still needs improvement.
Day 3: Disappointment
I was really excited for today because I was expecting my test file to be reviewed, however, I got this email from Scribie instead:
Your assignment/submission for ‘TestFile1.mp3' has been automatically canceled since the file has to be returned to the customer and therefore cannot be reviewed or verified. Please select another test file to proceed.
We are extremely sorry about this cancellation. The customer canceled the transcript order and hence we have to return it. Thank you for your understanding and co-operation.
This is pretty frustrating to receive because I spent 40 minutes working on that file and I don't even get to know if it was done well or not. They also still counted it as a test attempt so I have nine remaining. I hope this isn't something that happens often.
Anyways, let us get to the next test file. This time I've selected a 3:40 length file (I always go for short ones). This one was AWESOME because it was so easy. The clip was from a podcast so the audio quality was great and it only took me 26 minutes to transcribe! Feeling really good about myself right now.
Day 4: More Disappointment
Today was supposed to be awesome because my test should have been reviewed, and it was, BUT I've been told it requires further review. They didn't mention why but I guess I'll just have to wait it out.
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Day 5: Certified
Today is a day to celebrate because I am officially a Scribie Certified Audio Transcriptionist.
Also, I thought I wouldn't get paid for the test file but turns out I was wrong, I got paid 31 cents. This means I only need to earn 69 cents more to hit my goal of $1.
Now that I am certified with Scribie, I have access to all the files available for transcription and there are a lot. 339 to be exact. All of the available files are 6 minutes long and they pay $10/audio hour up to $15/ah.
Took me a while to choose a file because I kept getting this warning:
- “We recommend that you cancel this assignment and select another file as the risk of cancellation is high for this file.”
However, I finally got a 6-minute long file with a payout of a dollar, and it took me 46 minutes to transcribe. The file is under review so I don't know whether I'll get paid for it yet, but if we calculate a dollar/hour value, that's about $1.30/hour. That is rough.
Day 6: The End
There we have it, folks. In under a week, I have gone from a beginner with no transcription experience to a certified audio transcriptionist on Scribie and an extra $1.31 in the bank.
TOTAL TIME SPENT: ~4 HOURS
The bottom line:
This is not a lot of money.
For 3-4 hours of time spent, $1.31 is a bad return. BUT, transcription is a skill that needs to be practiced consistently and throughout this whole journey I probably only spent 2 hours ACTUALLY transcribing audio. If I were serious about transcription as a career I would spend hours a day doing it. If you spend hours a day doing anything you're going to start to get really good at it, which means you can get paid more to do it.
What I've Learned
It is possible to earn money from home transcribing with no previous experience.
However, the transcription pay on sites like Scribie is really low.
Here's what I mean:
Lot's of transcriptionists go by the 1:4 rule, meaning 1 hour of audio should take 4 hours to transcribe. This means it should take 24 minutes to transcribe a 6-minute file on Scribie. At $10/ah, you would still only be making $2.5/hour.
So, What Should You Do?
If you're interested in working from home as an audio transcriptionist, here's what I recommend you do:
Optional Step: Apply to Scribie
Yes, the transcription pay is low on Scribie, but what's really valuable here is the experience you're getting. It's going to help you get used to transcribing audio and you might discover that you hate it anyway.
Once you've become certified on Scribie, transcribed a few files, and you have a feel for what transcription is like (and you don't hate it), you should know whether you'd like to do it full time or not.
Throughout this journey, I've been enrolled in this course and it's taught me a lot:
- Why transcription is in such high demand
- Signs you're not a good fit for transcription
- How much you can earn as a transcriptionist
- What you need to get started
There's more but I'll let you go through it on your own.
Step 2. Make a Decision
Now that you've had some practice on Scribie and you've gone through the free email course above, you should know whether or not you want to continue pursuing transcription as a real career.
If you want to continue to make money transcribing, you can either:
- Apply for other online transcription jobs and try to figure it out on your own; or
- Enroll in the full TranscribeAnywhere course
Option #1 could work, but if you're at all serious about this, I'd go with option #2. You'll be able to earn more money faster, you'll feel more confident, and you'll have a support team with you the entire time.
Can someone with no transcription experience go from complete beginner to one dollar earned in a week? Yes, less than a week actually.
I learned a lot throughout this journey and I appreciate transcriptionists more than ever before. I am, however, retiring from transcription work for good. Although I enjoyed doing it for a bit each day of this journey, I could never imagine doing it as a full-time career. I think I would go crazy.
Don't get me wrong:
You can make money transcribing (good money) and it's in high demand, it's just not the right fit for me.
But, if you like it and you're willing to put in the work to get good at it, then transcribing could provide you an awesome work at home career that allows you to work anywhere in the world.
Now that you've read my journey to make money transcribing, I want to hear from you:
Are you going to give transcription a shot? What's holding you back?