I write regularly for another of my sites, Pop Speaking, which looks at pop culture of the 70s, 80s, and now. Browsing through there gives you a good idea of my writing. My writing is also available on my blog Typewrite Blog I have written an Ebook, "Working from Home as a Transcriptionist in South Africa" - it's on sale for R130. Contact me in regards to this. Contact me if you would like me to write for you. Below is some of my work.
Typewrite Transcription and Typing Services - The Story So Far
By Gaynor Paynter
www.typewritetranscription.co.za / email@example.com
Contact me to buy my E-book “Working From Home as a Transcriptionist in South Africa”.
In December of 2004, I decided that I was going to quit my job as a resume writer at a recruitment company and work from home. I’d initially tried to be a transcriptionist in 2000 during a period of unemployment, but I realised that my idea was just slightly ahead of what technology offered in South Africa at that time. I had to wait four or five years for technology to catch up with me. I’d completed an N5 Secretarial Diploma and by 2004 had 10 years experience working in an administration position. Of my two sons, one was starting Grade R and the other had learning problems and required therapies such as occupational therapy, all of which was not conducive to me working an 8 – 5 office job.
Like any newbie I had some qualms, but I just seemed to have a knack of knowing what to do, or at least what would work for me. I realised that I couldn’t just quit my job with nothing to go to. In addition, I knew that it was going to be a fight of note for me to actually leave the company I was working for. It was a small company with a very manipulative boss, so I knew it was going to take me some months to get out of there.
For three months I worked days and some nights at the company, came home, had supper and worked nights on getting my business going. I marketed anywhere and everywhere and by the first month I had my first client – typing a manuscript for an author. I realised however that regular clients or retainer clients were what I needed to ensure a regular income for myself and I concentrated my marketing accordingly – I remember searching the Yellow Pages for businesses in my area and telling them about me and advertising in my local paper. While I still have one of the clients I picked up from there, that is the one and only time I ever paid for advertising. With advertising a business like this, your main investment is time, and as with any investment the more you put in the greater your return will be.
At this point I was lucky enough to come across the Women At Work group and I made many many contacts there.
Last year my business had grown to the point where I did not have enough time to get all the work out myself. I was getting queries for 20 hours of transcription and with my regulars in the media and fire forensics investigations fields still to cater for, this became problematic.
I am not the type of person to let a problem beat me. I played chess at school and learned to look at the bigger picture. I discussed the problem with my friend and colleague Alison Fourie of AMF Typing. We realised that there must be many South Africans out there who would be only too happy to assist us with our big projects, and that we had a lot of experience and knowledge to offer to newbies. There MUST be people out there providing specific skills we were looking for. How were we going to get them together, so that we could help teach newbies, provide support and find the means to get our big jobs done?
The answer was TAVASA. TAVASA is the Transcriptionists and Virtual Assistants of South Africa, and you can sign up here http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/tavasa/ or go and have a look at our website www.tavasa.weebly.com. We launched this as a Yahoo Group and marketed it on the internet, and I’m proud to say that we are now a thriving group, and each time somebody gets a project too big for them to handle alone, help is at hand. We have provided a lot of support to our members, and have very interesting discussions too, which alleviates another problem facing the work at homer – loneliness.
This brings me up to today. Today I believe I’ve built the foundation of my organisation. Each year it’s been in existence it’s grown stronger, and in 2008 I’ve really built a platform from which I can launch in 2009. The potential is unlimited.
Just a word or two about support that is available:
Transcription and VA work is not for the fainthearted. If you’re expecting to come home, work for an hour and then watch soap operas, forget this. I for one have not found that I spend much more time with my children either now that I am working from home. However, I am here in the afternoons and so are they – we have no need for aftercare and they can make arrangements with their friends, etc. In a nutshell, put a lot of work into this and channel your energies correctly, and you will get a lot out. I’ve seen me working day and night for weeks on end. The rewards are worth it.
So what help is out there?
When I was starting out there were not many resources to help me in South Africa. I can offer newbies a different scenario. There’s TAVASA, and I’ve put my experiences and what worked for me in starting up a transcription business into my own e-book which retails for R130– “Working From Home as a Transcriptionist In South Africa” – thus entitled because transcriptionists in South Africa have their own set of challenges, different to other countries. Contact me for info about this.
By Gaynor Paynter
www.typewritetranscription.co.za / firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to Damaria Senne for submitting this excellent article to me!
I was chatting by email to Gaynor Paynter (Typewrite Transcription and Typing Services) today, asking her a question about the capabilities of a voice-recording software when she reminded me that she was available to do transcription for me if I did end up recording interviews on audio. Essentially, she was evaluating my business to see if there was opportunity for her to provide a service. Later, this got me thinking about the kind of businesses I know which might require transcription services.
Here are four that came to mind:
I know I’m not telling you anything new when I say that a lot of researchers could use the services of a transcriptionist. But I’m not just thinking about university-based researchers. You must also look at consultants who provide services for government departments. A lot of the work that they do is based on an initial evaluation of current services, before making recommendations. This may also include determining customer satisfaction levels, which means that a researcher may have to interview over 50 identified targets. The good news about these consultants is that they want to do the report as soon as possible, so they can move onto another project. So I suspect if they can outsource the transcription work to someone else who works much faster, they’d be ever so much happier. Where to find these kind of researchers – government bulletins. Look at tenders for research issued by government departments (www.info.gov.za) and then track to see who the tender was awarded to. You may not get the business of that project, but it would be useful for you to introduce yourself to the company and inform them that your services are available. Emphasise that you will save them time, as you can transcribe faster, helping with their delivery process.Another type of firm that uses research extensively is the analyst firm. These guys are constantly researching their markets, and sell the reports to their clients. In role as a telecommunications journalist, I was constantly going to these guys to look for new research data.It strikes me that the analyst firms are small, and that some of their capacity could be wasted with the researcher/analyst transcribing the interviews over time, rather than letting a professional do them. To find these firms, read business articles - journalists love quoting these guys, so you should collect a few names of individuals and companies.
The NGO sector usually require a consolidated report of proceedings after a major conference. Make the life of the organisers easier by transcribing the event proceedings for them, so that they can start working on paper. The NGO may hire you directly, or they may contract your services through an event management company.Check out www.sangonet.org.za to see what NGOs are up to ( and who is hosting a conference) and www.prodder.org.za for a database of South African NGOs, with contact details.
PR firms and event management companies
These companies like to offer their clients a consolidated service, and if the client wants a report of the proceedings after an event, they will want to be able to deliver painlessly. Get yourself into their books.
Market research companies
Years ago I used to make extra dosh by taking part in focus groups on products that I use. I knew a couple of market research consultants, and they had a full profile of me – where I shop, what I buy, the brands I favour etc. So, for a two-hour chat with a nice group of people, I’d get dinner (usually pizza and lots of drinks) and R150 bucks. Not a bad evening’s work.The other side of the coin is that these focus groups were recorded, and I am aware that some people on TAVASA already do transcription work in that industry. Still, it bears looking into.Check out www.biz-community.co.za and www.marketingweb.co.za , where a lot of event management, PR firms and market research companies are mentioned. Some advertise on those publications which means that their contact details are on record.Anyway, I’m sure there are many other types of companies that use the services of transcriptionists, but it’s late and my brain is fried. I hope you find this useful. Till next time.
Damaria Senne is a writer based in Johannesburg. Learn more about her and her writing career at http://damariasenne.blogspot.com