For this week’s “Feature Me Friday” segment, we’d like to introduce to you Sarah Hicks, a full-time freelance transcriptionist. Sarah began offering her transcription services on Guru in October 2010 and she now runs a busy company with many clients. She loves being able to set her own hours and work from home. Read on to learn more about her experience and her take on the recipe for freelance success.
Guru: How did you get into freelance transcription?
Sarah: I took a course in college years ago and I had transcribed at a doctor’s office. The company I worked for closed down in 2008, and so I found myself on unemployment. I went back to college, but I discovered that I could type fast and so I decided to give freelancing a try.
G: What do you consider your specialty when it comes to your freelance work?
S: I comprehend what I’m typing, meaning I can construct sentences that make sense. This is a major selling point because so many transcriptionists type fast but make errors that result in hard-to-read or inaccurate documents. Also, I can type 120 WPM.
G: What was the biggest challenge you faced in the beginning, and how did you overcome it?
S: Getting the chance to prove to clients that I could do it! I bid really, really low in the beginning to earn feedback and then I gradually raised my rates.
G: What is your favorite thing about Guru?
S: Guru seemed to be popular, and there was no shortage of transcription jobs available.
G: What is one feature or improvement you’d like to see on Guru?
S: The fact that we’re required to have a project agreement is a little annoying. Sometimes, I just want to get to work for the client.
G: What other sites do you use to find and manage your freelance jobs?
S: I’ve used Freelancer.com, Elance and oDesk. But Freelancer doesn’t have projects in my field, and Elance has very few. I’m still new on oDesk so I am hired for more high-paying projects on Guru.
G: What assurances do you ask for before beginning work with a new client?
S: Honestly, none. If they have posted before on Guru, I look at the Employer payout statistics. If it’s a big project, I’ll do some of the work, ask for an initial payment and then finish the work.
G: What do you find the most rewarding about freelancing?
S: I have two small children so they don’t have to be in daycare. If we want to go somewhere, we go. I can work from anywhere, and the fact that I work from a lazy boy recliner in my pajamas is pretty awesome.
G: What has been the most unique or memorable project you’ve taken on so far?
S: Every day there is something different! I have typed the Restaurant Impossible TV treatment, not for closed captioning, but for production, which I think is written to see how the producers want to cut it. I’ve written a document on cosmology that should be released in the next couple of years. That was a hard one to understand. I also get a lot of projects about new drug treatments and therapies that are trials and have not been released. To know some of that before the general public is really interesting.
G: What is one thing you’ve learned above all else while breaking into the freelance world?
S: Expect to not make much money at first, because for every job, there is someone willing to work for less. Don’t give up and build your reputation so you can eventually make a living.
G: Thank you for taking the time to be interviewed!