How to Start as a Freelance Transcriptionist (Without Working for Free)

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You want to make money as a freelance transcriptionist, but you worry that you’ll have to work for ‘free’ before anyone takes you seriously.

Don’t do that.

No one should let you or expect you to work for free. Even your very first client should be a paying client. 

You provide them with a service, and they pay you. It’s that simple. 

Here’s how to start as a freelance transcriptionist without working for free.

Get your skills in order

Before you advertise yourself as a freelance transcriptionist, get your skills in order. Take a quality course (we recommend Transcribe Anywhere) so you know what’s expected of you as a freelance transcriber. 

Trust me: it will make life a lot easier.

Then, create a list of the skills you have that would make you a great transcriptionist. You’ll use this in your advertisements and descriptions when you advertise your services on social media, your website, or emails sent to business owners.

Think of things like:

  • You have good attention to detail
  • You are a great proofreader
  • You can organize thoughts and written content to make it sound great
  • You meet deadlines
  • You go above and beyond for customer satisfaction

Know the average transcribing rate

When you want to make money as a freelance transcriptionist, don’t undersell yourself. Know the average transcribing rate in your field, so you can price your services accordingly.

Most transcription jobs pay by the line, page, or per minute of audio. How much you make can depend on your typing skills, but you can use Glassdoor’s data to see the national average for transcribers as well as the going rates in your area. 

You should charge at least what other companies pay, if not more, depending on the services you offer.

Know how to find legit jobs

When you start, I suggest using a platform that does vetting for you. Sites like Fiverr and Upwork are great places to start when you’re looking to find work as a freelance transcriber. They have huge audiences, so you get in front of many more people than you would on your own, especially when you’re starting out.

Fiverr and Upwork have processes in place to protect you. The platforms collect payment upfront from the buyer, but you won’t get paid until you deliver the work. If you deliver the work on time and as promised, you get paid. 

You may not reach your full earning potential on sites like Fiverr and Upwork, so I recommend creating your own website to advertise your services and find quality clients on your own.

Before you branch out on your own, have a contract to use with your clients, plan to collect a portion of the fee upfront, and follow-up on invoices to make sure you get paid.

You can make money as a freelance transcriptionist

It’s easy to make money as a freelance transcriptionist when you take the right steps. 

Know what you’re worth, don’t work for free, and don’t settle for rates less than you deserve. You know what you’re worth, so stand firm on your pricing.

The right clients will come along – clients that recognize the value you provide for their business. When you do quality work and have good communication, you’ll grow your business faster and create a solid reputation in the industry. 

And for a boost, check out the Transcribe Anywhere course to jump-start your transcription side hustle.

Amy is a content marketing writer who specializes in personal finance and FinTech. She is known for her strategic use of on-page SEO and talent for transforming complex topics into content that’s easy to understand. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Amy oversaw probate and estate cases as a court administrator. She has Bachelor’s degrees in business administration and legal studies from Ferris State University and resides with her husband and daughter near Grand Rapids, MI. In her spare time, Amy enjoys camping and serving her community as a Girl Scout leader.



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