The difference between Transcription and Typing

Believe it or not there is a difference between Dictaphone, Transcription and Typing, a lot of VAs and Transcriptionists don’t seem to know this.

Dictaphone and Transcription are similar so we charge at an hourly rate or an audio hourly rate and these are not referred to as typing in any way, if the client refers to them as typing tell that client it is either of the two but not typing and then explain what is involved with doing it, they are both a skill in themselves and not everyone can do them.

Dictaphone is normally one person, could be a doctor or an attorney recording into a digital machine, recording device and then you as a Transcriptionist listen to that tape and transcribe it.

Transcription can be more involved, it can be a recording of a meeting with a few people present, a conference session, court hearings etc. It is usually when more than one person is speaking and the event is being recorded.

These two skills should not be the same as copy typing, they are more involved and can take a few hours to transcribe into a document therefore there is normally an hourly or audio hourly rate involved not a per page rate. Transcribing can take anything from 1 hour to up to 6 hours depending on various factors, like language, amount of speakers, quality of tape etc.

Typing is what it is and is not either of the above and its charged at a per page rate or a per word rate (sometimes students like it per word, but not often). Typing is normally when you type from written notes, pdf documents, author’s books, reports, tenders, copy typing etc.

If you let clients charge you at a per page rate for Dictaphone or Transcription then you are losing out big time in time and money as these tasks take much longer to complete and are skill on their own.

It is up to us to price accordingly for these tasks and to educate VAs, Transcriptionists and clients on the differences.

Your comments are welcome.

Goal: To earn a Million Rand as a VA in SA and to be the first VA to do this

Have you set your goals yet for your business in 2011. I am setting smaller goals that are easier to reach than setting larger goals that can take forever to reach.
Here are a few of my goals:
My main goal for my business is to make a Million Rand, to be the first VA within South Africa to reach that goal of making A million Rand while working as a virtual assistant. I believe it can be a reachable goal, it may take a while, but i believe I can do this.
One of my smaller goals is to turn my business into a Multi VA business. There is much to be done to achieve this goal but I can break the tasks needed to make the goals smaller which are associated with this so that I can make this reachable.
Write your goals for 2011 down and print and place on your wall where you can see that goal, always keep your goals in your mind.

The Victor Poet: CW longenecker

If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don’t
If you like to win but think you can’t,
It’s almost a cinch you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost.
For out in the world we find
Success begins with a fellow’s will
It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are.
You’ve got to think high to rise.
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win the prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man.
But sooner or later, the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.

How to ?

Hi I am going to be doing a series of articles on How to ?. To give some examples:

How to liase with your new clients
How to prepare and complete your business plan
How to prepare client invoices
How to work with clients on an ongoing basis
How to go about your marketing
How to go about your networking etc.

The things that a new VA needs to know about running a business. The things you dont get told about, the basics.  So check back to the blog often.

Managing Quotes

When quoting for a client, don’t just write a reply and give a price in an email, that’s not professional. Prepare a typed quotation and attach it to an email. Include with your quotation your terms and conditions and a client/VA agreement form for signature by the client. Be professional even when giving a client a quotation. Everything you do reflects your professionalism and your company.
More Information:

  • Never be afraid to discuss information with your client, suggest things like maybe skype would be great to use for telephone calls and send your client a link to skype so that they can go and look. Look at VOIP or VOX phones, ‘pay as you go’ cell phones they can also be good alternatives if a client requires telephone services or a dedicated line for you to use for their businesses, with these services you can also provide itemized billing if required.
  • Before you quote on a job, get as much information from your client. Basic copy typing is not always, most of the time basic copy. It often includes flows, graphics etc. To do anything extra is time consuming.
  • When a client says VA tasks, ask them to break it down, be more specific of what tasks they want, this will help you when pricing. Sometimes work can be done on your hourly rate, others the rate per task. You look at each job individually.
  • Never offer a service that you can not do or perform, a client will know by the quality of the work you do if you can do a service well or not.

I get the feeling from lots of Vas and Transcriptionists that they are scared their clients will not pay so therefore lower the price, this should not be the case, if you project yourself well to your client and the client has confidence in you, they will pay for the service they are getting. I have never been scared to give a client a price, if I was I would not be in this business.

Owning your own business is a great confidence builder.

If you are concerned that a client will not pay for a service you are doing for them, ask for a deposit up front. I have never done this as I have confidence in my clients that they will pay. But it is a safe guard method to use especially with new clients and for newbies starting out.

Learn about your clients, ask them for a company brochure or company website address and go and check these out. These can be helpful when quoting, it gives you a feel of what the client/company is about.

Follow up on your quotes, ask the client do they require more information etc.

Communication in the beginning stages of working with a new client is very important.

Is the Recession hurting Virtual Assistants

How are you feeling as a virtual assistant during this recession, that is hitting us wordwide?
Is it hitting your business?
What affects has it had on your business?

This is my take on the recession and purely my opinion.

Companies are downsizing especially so with office administration staff, this is not just happening within South Africa but worldwide. This to me opens the way for virtual assistants and transcriptionists to find work. Companies will need their office administration done no matter what. Tasks like company invoicing, accounts, typing, company correspondence, arranging meetings etc. We as virtual assistants can handle these tasks and help keep the company administration under control.

To get these types of jobs it would be wise for virtual assistants to send out company brochures and introduction letters to prospective clients, start with the types of small businesses that could downsize easily then move on to larger corporates, what harm does it do to let companies know you are out there willing to assist in this time of recession.

Clients are contacting me around three to five times a week for quotations so that proves there are potential clients out there looking for support from virtual assistants. They are hearing about us through the continual advertising/marketing we do. But the problem is they are only hearing from a small percentage of us, a small percentage of us appear in advertising everywhere, where everyone else advertises, does there marketing, I don’t know as you are not being seen. To me if I was you I would see that as a problem. A virtual assistant’s aim should be to get her details out there so that corporates, businessmen, entrepreneurs can see her, but this does not seem to be the case. So I would say the veterans of the industry like myself are the ones who are benefiting the most during the recession. The one thing that I can do as I do have a full business of clients is contract work out to newbie’s and assist them this way, but that should not be the way newbie’s find work, they themselves should not rely on veteran VAs to give them work but should go out and look for potential clients. You will not receive full pay for a job that you would if you had the client yourself and as a contractor you will not make much money working for other VAs, so to me that is to your disadvantage. Go and find clients and make the money you could earn. Take advantage of the recession with companies downsizing that are now outsourcing and present them with your details. Get out there and be seen.