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Walking Before Running: APT Transcription

Walking Before Running: APT Transcription

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Walking Before Running: APT Transcription

Even with a great idea, entrepreneurs have to walk before they run

When it comes to being an entrepreneur, there’s no “right time” to do it – waiting for all the pieces to line up perfectly means you’ll never make the leap.

That doesn’t mean, though, that you should jump in without a plan and some preparation.

“I can’t tell you how many people hear what I do and immediately want to know how to get into it. They hear that I’m my own boss, set my hours, and make great money, and they want that. But when I tell them it would have been nearly impossible without a year’s worth of training, it’s like I’ve burst their bubble,” Jennifer Fulton, the owner of APT Transcription, said.

Fulton offers general and legal transcription and proofreading services (the APT stands for Accurate Proofreading and Transcription). She founded the company in 2021 but her journey to independence started two years prior.

Fulton, who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio had a 20-year career with a major coffee company, but said she was feeling “burnt out and bored,” and in search of something more aligned with her skills and interests.

“My original intention was to find something as a side hustle that I could grow over the course of several years while keeping the fantastic benefits my 9 to 5 provided,” Fulton said. “I stumbled upon transcription and quickly saw that the skills needed to be a success were things that came naturally to me.”

She signed up for two certification courses through Transcribe Anywhere. Through a bit of luck, Fulton was hired by a legal transcription firm in 2019 before she was even certified.

She said she found a listing and applied – she had the skills but no certification.

“I figured the worst that could happen is I didn’t get hired,” Fulton said.

She’s been working with that company for four years at this point

With the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, she was furloughed from her day job and switched to transcription full time. She briefly returned to work but soon realized she missed the freedom and flexibility of transcription, so in August 2020, she made the leap and quit her job.

She contracted with her second company and founded APT Transcription in 2021. Shortly thereafter, she landed her first client, which quickly led to her second. Between her work with the two transcription companies and her private clients, she’s kept “pretty busy.”

Fulton’s journey to success wasn’t quick, but through steadfast preparation, once she hit a certain momentum, she was able to grow quickly.

Her advice to others looking to replicate her success is simple: Take classes.

“Everyone seems to think listening and typing what you hear is so easy, and the actual act is easy. But there’s a skillset involved. There are programs you have to learn to use, you need to develop listening skills, and above all else, you need a very, very strong command of punctuation and language,” Fulton said. My training courses were invaluable. Without them, I would not even have known what skills the application was asking about.”

Though classes come with a price tag, Fulton said they quickly paid for themselves – within a month of getting hired for part-time transcription work, she’d earned back what she spent.

They also offer guidance, additional resources, and networking opportunities. Fulton’s first client found her through the Transcribe Anywhere directory, and she still uses the organization’s alumni network when she needs a little help.

“Having that sense of community has been great. It’s nice to know other people have the same frustrations or problems with work, or if I’m not sure I’m hearing something correctly, I can reach out and ask if anyone knows what it might be,” Fulton said. “If I’m hearing ‘plea in advance,’ someone can tell me it’s ‘plea in abeyance.’”

While she advocates paying money when it’s necessary, Fulton recommends people take advantage of free resources where they can – she’s regularly uses YouTube tutorials to expand her skillset.

She also advises saving money until you know you need to spend it.

“I kept hearing over and over that the (Chicago Manual of Style) is a transcriptionist’s best friend. It’s pretty expensive, but I found a copy on eBay for a decent price but I never, ever use it,” Fulton said. “Google is a transcriptionist’s best friend. Don’t waste your money on style guides or punctuation handbooks.”

There are two books she endorses – The Truth About Transcription (free) and The Transcription Handbook (free on Amazon Kindle).

While sitting through certification classes, reading books, and watching YouTube videos doesn’t jibe with the much more exciting image of entrepreneurs working out of their garage and getting by on a shoestring budget before striking it rich, Fulton’s story is proof that doing the legwork pays off.

So while being an entrepreneur does mean you eventually have to stop planning and jump off the high dive, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn to swim first.

Your Turn

Despite the attention businesses like transcription are touted as an easy way to make money; Fulton’s journey serves as a powerful reminder that becoming a successful entrepreneur is rarely an overnight success story. While the allure of being your own boss and setting your own schedule is undeniably appealing, Fulton’s story highlights the importance of laying a solid foundation before leaping into self-employment.

Are you feeling burned out in your career and contemplating starting your own business? Let us know in the comments what steps you have taken or plan to take to ensure a smooth transition.

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Walking Before Running: APT Transcription

Walking Before Running: APT Transcription

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