Nowadays, thanks to the internet, you don’t have to spend 4 agonizing hours in traffic just to get to your place of work. You catch up with your clients even when enjoying a well-deserved holiday in Mombasa.
Or you can even hold a conference from the comfort of your bedroom with your pajamas on. Moreover, you can spend more time with your family and get the freedom to spend the day as you wish.
Does this story sound too good to be true? Well, don’t take our word for it. Kuza Biashara recently caught up with Sheeroh Kiarie who works as an online video transcriptionist on odesk.com and elance.com.
We asked her all the crucial questions about her line of work. We hope you’ll pick up something useful from this conversation and if possible turn it into a money-making concept in the future.
Kuza Biashara: Video transcription sounds like rocket science to most of us, please tell us what it is in simple words?
Sheeroh: Transcription simply means the conversion of audio information into written word (text). Clients will send you a video or audio file which you will then type out. Clients might require you to transcribe podcasts, webinars, sermons etcetera.
Kuza Biashara: How did you start out working as a video transcriptionist?
Sheeroh: When I started off, I did not have any professional training to work as a transcriptionist. I had to train myself through materials that I would come across on the internet. I bought my first computer at Ksh8,000 (it was a third-hand computer) and my first pair headphones for Ksh500. I would buy Ksh250 worth of internet to last me for one week.
Kuza Biashara: What challenges did you face when starting out?
Sheeroh: I faced many challenges. In fact, I was tempted to give up, but something inside me kept me going strong. First, I did not have reliable internet connection. Secondly, I was not used to typing at a fast speed, which is a basic ingredient to succeeding in this industry.
Kuza Biashara: How did you turn your challenges into stepping stones?
Sheeroh: I learnt to love my job. I embraced the challenges, sought advice from experts and got the right tools for the job. Most importantly I kept working hard, I made a decision never to look back.
Kuza Biashara: Talking about tools; what equipment is required for this kind of work?
Sheeroh: The equipment needed for transcription isn’t anything out of this world. You’ll need *A computer *Internet connection *Good headphones *Free software that allows you to type as fast as possible.
Kuza Biashara: Any other requirements?
Sheeroh: Additional requirements would be a reasonable typing speed of at least 35 words per minute. Moreover, you need superb listening skills because you will come across different accents of English – such as South African, Japanese, British. Sometimes the work can be tedious but practice makes perfect.
Kuza Biashara: How good or bad is working from home?
Sheeroh: Working from home is really convenient for me, I am a mother of two and I really need to spend time with my family – this would not have been possible if I was doing any other type of work. On the downside though, you need to be extra disciplined to ensure you don’t mix work issues with family matters.
Kuza Biashara: Does working as a freelance video transcriptionist pay?
Sheeroh: I would say this job pays especially if you are a good worker who retains good clients. On average you can make Ksh50,000 per month working for 5 to 6 hours per day. You can actually earn more than that if you devote more time and effort to work.
Kuza Biashara: How can someone who is new to this industry get started?
Sheeroh: One can start out by signing up on Elance, oDesk or Freelance.com. These are freelancing sites where you will meet up with clients. You however, need to be cautious about spammers who are always out there looking to make you part with your hard earned money.
Kuza Biashara: What advice would you like to give to our youth?
Sheeroh: First I would like to appreciate Kuza Biashara for the good job they’re doing in providing a good capacity building platform for young people on Kenya and across Africa. I would like to urge our youths to start thinking out-of-of-the-box. Don’t just sit there waiting for someone to rescue you from poverty, get up, roll-up your sleeves, this is our time!
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