Today I’d like to answer the question ‘How did you find your first client?’
It’s a question I get asked every now and then, and I remember being fascinated by this question when I was doing research into becoming a Virtual Assistant. I too wanted to know how others had started out and how they found their first client. It gave me hope that it could really work, and this is what I want to give you today.
Back in 2002, at the start of my journey to becoming a Virtual Assistant, I had invested in some transcribing equipment so I could start out offering simple transcription services from home. I’m assuming you know what transcription is (it’s when you listen to a voice recording and type what is being said. The finished document is formatted, spell checked and returned to the client).
I figured there would always be a need for this kind of work. Even if people can type themselves, often they don’t have the time or the inclination.
I’ve been asked whether voice recognition software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking could potentially reduce the need for a transcriptionist.
Voice recognition software allows the spoken word to be automatically converted into text on your computer. However, in reality, the software needs to be trained to recognise your own voice, and you also spend valuable time correcting its ‘mistakes’ afterwards. Plus, it’s no good if you want, for example, an interview with more than one voice to be transcribed.
I put an ad in my local newspaper and crossed my fingers. The very next day I had a call from a lady nearby who had about 5 hours work of court recordings she needed transcribed! I couldn’t believe it as I was expecting to wait a long time before hearing anything.
The work involved a legal case that was going on for about 6 months – so she turned into more than a one-off client.
So, that is how I found my first client and the type of work I did for her. There are many legal firms that require help with transcription, as well as medical professionals, consultants, speakers, focus groups… you get the idea.
Digital transcription is really in demand as well. This removes the need for sending tapes back and forth. All you do is receive an mp3 digital file onto your computer. This gets transcribed using a headset, pedal and free digital transcription software.
Have a look at the ebook I wrote about transcription work from home:
Digital transcription really opens up the possibility of working with clients all over the world, seeing as it can be done purely over the internet.
As for finding clients, there are lots of ways of finding transcription clients. In fact, advertising in the local paper may not be the most effective way of putting word out about your services, but it did help me get that first client.
Other ways of marketing your transcription services could include networking on small business forums, social media e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, networking at local business events, ranking your website in the search engines, to name a few.
Do any of you have any experiences with offering transcription as a service? Or do you have any questions about offering transcription?