Starting & Building Transcription Business
(See previous blog: Starting a business against the odds
It starts with an idea
A desire to be successful and financially independent (especially if you're in debt and got bad habits with your money)! You already come to the table with life experience and a lot of skills and qualifications, especially at my age! And if you don’t have any, then get some!
You've got to start somewhere
You have got to where you are right now in life by the choices you have made, right or wrong, regardless of circumstances, you got there. When you stop seeing someone else’s reflection in the mirror, and see your own, then you can stop blaming others, take responsibility and front up to the person looking at you right now - YOU!
Take that first step
your reason for wanting to start a business, its usually because: (1) you feel passionate about something; (2) you’re in debt and want to be financially free; (3) you really believe you have something to offer, something that people need and will appreciate; (4) you want to change your world and the people in it, and around it. You may have a lot of hurdles to get over, you may need to climb a few mountains like I did, but nonetheless, the drive and passion is still there to keep your “motor running”!
My first step was to contact businesses on the internet who did transcription.
As time went by I learnt we need to: meet up with, and collaborate with your SOP, even if it is only one! Because that one will know others and they will keep you on your toes, and accountable. Meet with like-minded people and professionals. Seek their advice and counsel. Hear them out, take notes, tune in, listen and learn. Hang out with people who believe in you and what you are doing, who believe in your vision for greatness.
Work out your budget
Put pen to paper, take a note of your expenditure and where every cent is going. When IRD assisted me, I started keeping every single receipt (and still do), whether it was for personal spending or whether it was for business expenses that I could claim for. What a revelation keeping stock of the ‘personal spending’. It is very revealing! You will soon learn that you can cut corners, and make positive changes. Overcome with a goal, a dream, and the desire to be successful - to build your business and a better future.
Start investing in yourself - every little bit counts
If you don’t already, set up APs (automatic payments) with your bank for the most essential things you need to live, including a sub-account for savings - even if it’s just a little. If you are in deeper than you care to be and are not sure how to get out of it - seek professional help and guidance. My strategy to “create a little debt to get out of debt” may not apply!
Ask yourself: ‘Do I want this more than I want to be in debt?’
Head down Rse up
I think we all know what that means. It ain't gonna happen sitting on your laurels; staying in your comfort zone; got your head in the sand; in denial, or, as someone once said to me: “You’re not going to get there Lenna by hanging on to someone else’s coat tails”. Yes, we all need support, guidance and someone with the guts to kick our A when we need it, someone who cares enough to pull us up when we need it - and especially when we don’t want it (that is when we need it most)! It takes hard work. Remember IRD made me work my butt until I had the right to feel free to operate my business with a clear conscience, and feel good about myself and my business. You gotta have the right attitude. You've got to be prepared to work:
Study - train - research - network - connect - collaborate - join LinkedIn - Facebook if you do Facebook - ask, seek, find - keep a check on yourself (see a mentor) - talk to your bank - talk to IRD, get a website - organize your time/priorities - think, feel, and just DO IT!
Whatever it takes, DO IT! I did all of the above listed there, and more. I took that leap of faith and allowed Marie to build my website and then clients, real clients came my way, and I was on the road to success. You've got to learn how to market yourself without spamming and without trying to make sales - I loathe that approach. In fact my strategy to making a sale is: don’t try to make one! And whatever you do - don’t beg! Have confidence in yourself and your ability to perform.
‘Scary’ and ‘exciting’ go hand in hand when moving forward!
Remember the Tax Man
I use to curse, cuss, and curse and cuss some more, when it came to IRD! My reasons were self-justified, so they didn’t stand a chance! When in deep water, and no matter how much I swam, it just kept getting deeper. Like we all do, I cried out for help and said, “I messed up, I want to get it right, please help.” I shelved all the ‘too hard, haven’t-got-time-for, stuff; and neglected what was most essential to the life of my integrity, and to the life of my business. I visited IRD, they visited me, they counselled me, they gave me instructions and expected requirements to meet: attend GST workshops - get an accountant - create new records; in other words clean my act up and clean it up good!
My mentor held me in good stead, I reported to her daily and she kept me accountable for all my actions, guided me, encouraged me; and congratulated me down the track. IRD were phenomenal in all their assistance to me, and my accountants were fantastic. I am very grateful and I will not say a bad word about them again.
Therefore, PAY YOUR TAXES!
JUST DO IT!
- • Find out from IRD what you have to pay and how you need to pay it;
- • Open up a sub-account online and set up an AP to cover yourself to pay your GST and your year-end taxes;
- • Stop spending your money willy-nilly as if it were there to spend willy-nilly!
- • Have a separate account for your business income and a separate account for what is personal, and savings, etc.,
- • Income goes into your business account and out of it you pay your overheads (mine are minimal thankfully), and you pay your staff and/or sub-contractees, and any business expenses you have;
- • Have a pigeon hole on your desk and label each one, e.g.: sales, sub-contractors, business expenses, invoicing to be done, client invoices, current orders, work orders - whatever it is you need and do to run your business;
- • Have a filing cabinet and use it!
- • Keep ALL of your receipts no matter what and file them into ‘business expenses’, or ‘personal spend’. Depending on how busy you are, file them in one place until you set aside time say every two weeks and go through each one and file them into envelopes, and into their respective pigeon holes, or filing cabinet;
- • If you need assistance, ask for it;
- • If your business can afford it and it is profitable to you time-wise, hire an admin person for an hour or two a week, to come do filing and office work, and if they are savvy, to assist you with preparing for GST, and end of year tax - prior to shipping off the required info to your accountant;
- • It is basic stuff, it’s called: organising oneself and one’s affairs. The same as what you do when kids have got this, that and the other on, we note it, we record it, we write it down, and we set alarms and reminders. Its everyday stuff that we do, except this is in the office.
( read more on taxes
Lighter load, smoother sailing
What a massive relief when I finally got things in order; things worked better, I was more organized, I found it easier to keep track of things. I was even congratulated by IRD for working so hard and doing the right thing. They lifted a heavy burden off my shoulders but they made me work hard for it. I shed many a tear but it was worth it.
The business is growing, what do I do?
Year after year my business grew and grew, my clientele grew, and my team grew. Everything is perfect now, right? Not really, just because you had a few triumphs along the way after all the hard work, it doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels. You still have to do the following:
- • Maintain those records;
- • Never take your team or customers for granted - ever - and if you do because we’re all human, fix it fast!
- • Don’t puff yourself up because you're doing so good; life has a way of bringing you down to earth, and it hurts! Be proud of your accomplishments and treat yourself to a business lunch from time to time, or just do something for you and acknowledge your hard work;
- • Expand your services by acknowledging the ones you already offer, and realize there is more you can do and in fact have been doing that your own customers have thanked you for;
- • Put all the learning that comes into your office, on your desk; and use it to grow your business and to assist others. After all, how you got to where you are is exactly how you want to assist others in their journey.
My website does all the work, I don’t need to do anything with it, right?
Wrong! I learnt a hard lesson, thinking I was doing so good I started taking things for granted. The business took a hit and I felt the ‘thud’! It was a humbling experience - never did like the taste of humble pie! But it was good, my daughter-in-law came round one day in the pouring rain, and hail; and said, “Come on Ma, we’re going for a drive.” I didn’t want to. “We’re going, now!” She just drove and said, “Get it off your chest.” I cried and let it all out and felt relieved after that; and over the next several weeks I became a sponge to all the knowledge and resource that was coming my way.
The things that I heard about when I first started business, but didn’t understand, came back to me and I had to deal with them and understand what they meant in terms of: (a) being a business owner, (b) how it impacted my business; (c) learn and apply, maintain, and move on. Bitter-sweet.
Look after your website on a very regular weekly basis, visit it during the week, tweak it, make some changes, revamp it - but don’t ignore it, or it will ignore you!
Look after you - the life of your business.
look after your team - treat them like gold.
Look after your customers - they are kings and queens!
Find out how to get to the top of Google.
Don’t forget to encourage others who are finding their way in business.
Success as you forge ahead into 2016, and beyond!
Back to Blog
Copyright © Audio Transcription & Secretarial Services (ATS), All Rights Reserved