New Testimonial

I sometimes get so wrapped up in doing the work that I forget to ask for testimonials.  However, here is a lovely one I received recently:

“I’ve been working with Julie for almost two years now and she has been incredibly reliable in getting her dictations back – usually within a few hours. Julie has been a huge support for me and my team over this period.

Working in financial planning, we deal with a lot of sensitive information and we adhere to the Data Protection Act 1998 – Julie understands this clearly and always takes security and her responsibility very seriously.

We trialled using dictation software for a period at our firm but found it wasn’t as efficient, quick or as accurate as what we got with Julie – as an example, manually going back and replaced ‘icer’ with ‘ISA’ became a bit of a chore! Julie understands our industry, through her own dedication and doing her own research to understand certain areas and phrases. From my time working with Julie, I know she would put this effort in whatever the subject matter was.

I cannot recommend Julie enough to anyone considering or looking for a quality, reliable transcription service.”

                                                                                                                          Tim Brienza, Client Engagement Manager, Attivo Group

Summer holiday support staff shortages? On site, out of sight … you choose

Well, Easter has come and gone (doubtful that the pounds will disappear as quickly as they appeared after all those Easter eggs!), people are starting to think about their summer holidays (if they have not already booked them).

Now is a good time, if you are looking for assistance during those summer holiday periods to think about contacting someone like me to help out in their absence. I specialise in both the legal (mainly domestic conveyancing) and financial services industries and am already on standby for others, so why don’t you join the queue?

I can come to your office and cover for your secretary or I can do the work remotely and send it back to you for other staff to do the finishing touches.

You know what it’s like though; your secretary books the time off as early as in the Near Year, you then resolve to get cover but end up leaving it too late and end up with general cover and not specialised cover. Don’t leave it until it’s too late and end up employing someone who knows nothing about you.

Why not contact me, help me to become familiar with your systems in advance before the crises hit, so that I can cover for you at a moment’s notice, should you require it?

Outsource, outsource, outsource!

It’s becoming more and more fashionable to outsource typing and administrative work and save costs. One way of doing this is to outsource your typing.

But what does that mean? Well, if during the course of your working day you type lengthy letters, reports (even if using a template), notes of meetings with clients, legal documents, etc. why are you doing them? If you employ the speedy, efficient, secure and reliable services of me, then not only could you save yourself a fortunate, as this would free up your time to go and do what you got into your business to do originally and which makes you money, and also saves you having to employ someone full-time who would cost you in tax, National Insurance, holidays, sickness.

I do not tie people down to a contract. I am a pay-as-you-go service. There are no hidden charges. I only charge when I am actually working for you. What you see is what you get.

But what about security? See my blog released 21st November 2015 called “Safe and Secure”, which describes how serious I am about security.

Why don’t you give it a try and outsource some of your typing now? If you decide it is not for you, then you have not committed yourself to anything and have only paid a couple of pounds for me to do something that may have otherwise taken you double the time.

If you do like it and the freedom it gives you, then you can join my happy bank of clients that also feel that way. I am an integral part of their team that they can call on in their time of need.

The Human Factor

‘People buy from people’, a business adage we are aware of, yet proven to me recently when a solicitor client of mine received a call from a nationwide transcription company.

My client declined the call because she prefers the personalised administration and audio typing service that I provide for her as a temporary legal secretary, something I have been undertaking for nine months.

In this time we have got to know each other quite well. She appreciates I have spent time getting to know her business, its systems and the jargon involved, therefore when she gets busy and needs help with administration, I’m poised to hit the ground running.

She trusts me to work from home as I time-record my working hours and knows I treat all work as confidential. I have now become part of her team, even though I am my own boss.

I enjoy working with local businesses because these days I find people are fed up with faceless corporate entities; they’re veering back towards outsourcing, using smaller companies which provide a personal – and human! – service, in my case I am an audio typist with experience, who is reliable, trustworthy, approachable and doesn’t cost the earth.

Anyone, anywhere in the world, can type up a document, probably very cheaply. However, generally speaking, that person is probably only out for a quantity-related fee and may not give it the care and attention of a dedicated resource.

Outsourcing typing is becoming quite fashionable. These days there are as many dictation apps for your smartphone as there are dictation systems priced at or below £15. It’s quick and easy to dictate and send from an app ‘on the go’ to someone like me.

You will not only receive an accurately typed document returned within 24 hours (on a pay-as-you-go basis without commitment), but also you will have made a business connection who may be a handy resource for others.

No agency fees incurred, I’m a real person… and I enjoy being part of a client’s team!

Safe and Secure

3d render image. Laptop with surveillance camera, lock and chain. Data security concept. Isolated white background.

Working from the comfort of my own home as a virtual typist is amazing, but I am always conscious of security.

In an ever pervasive world where all we do can be tracked, there are important considerations for those who deal with remote work which may be of a confidential nature.

Here are my top tips…

Make sure your computer screen cannot be read by people coming into your home (eg: tradespeople, utilities’ readers). Treat work with the utmost confidentiality.

Once work is complete and has been returned to the client, use an online File Shredder rather than merely deleting your work (there are perfectly adequate free versions).

Get yourself a Data Protection Certificate (www.ico.org.uk and currently costing £35 a year) – you will need one if you are dealing with details of a personal nature, for example, name, address, dates of birth, passport numbers, etc.

Delete emails once sent – then make sure they are permanently deleted.

Ensure that a piece of outsourced typing is returned to the correct client if you are working on several items in the same day.  It’s not only embarrassing to hit the wrong ‘send’ (perhaps because computers insert previous recipients’ emails), but also a breach of confidentiality.

Paper files – I don’t like to have these in the house if I am out or not working on them. Keep them out of sight and return them to the client as soon as possible once the work is complete.

Paperless office… there’s no such thing. I always use a paper shredder which cuts several ways and burn the bits in an incinerator (this not only reduces waste, but ensures it’s destroyed).

You will need relevant insurance, depending on what type of service you are providing. I’ve found Hiscox good but there are plenty to consider.

A little bit of common sense means you are running a safe and secure virtual office assistant business. And that equals peace of mind for me – and my clients.

Equipped to work – a guide for new transcribers

Friends have asked me, “So what do you need to get started?”  My answer is: “Not as much as you think.”

Working from home as an audio typist providing a fast, reliable and accurate transcription service requires these basics:

  • fast (and reliable) broadband,
  • PC/laptop, headphones and a foot-pedal,
  • software to play the audio files on,
  • lastly, heaps of self-motivation, discipline and patience.

Self-motivation, discipline and patience are topics for another day, but equipment can be daunting.

When I started, a friend who had been doing this work for some years generously shared her knowledge, including what to purchase and where to find it, which is why I’d like to help you.

Do your research and buy what you can afford. In the beginning, like many smaller business owners, I was reluctant to spend money, just in case this working from home malarkey didn’t work. I understand what this feels like and it can be daunting, however if you love typing as much as I do, you can make it work for you (if it doesn’t, there’s always eBay).

When I started, my first computer was an old laptop; I purchased an Infinity foot-pedal and a pair of Phillips headphones (together these will set you back around £80).

Be wary of software! Many sites end up dumping a lot of unnecessary files on your PC unless you are tech savvy (and I’m not the greatest). Uninstalling files is fiddly, time consuming and a minefield (as my husband found out).

Express Scribe is popular; I used this to begin with but now use an Olympus system and a file converter.

Working from home and developing a business, growing connections – all have given me flexibility as a first rate audio typist.

I wish you the same joy and success.

Keyed up with a need for speed

I haven’t always been a fast typist. When I learned to touch type at college in the 1980s I struggled; in fact I devoted the summer before going to college to teaching myself how to type on my mum’s old portable typewriter, failing badly!

I remember sitting in class with my fingers hovering over ‘A S D F’ and ‘J K L’, looking up at the blackboard while our teacher, Ida Haigh, typed on her electric typewriter at astonishing speeds! Completely mesmerised by her skills, I was inspired to type that fast.

So how have I achieved an award-winning typing speed?

It’s taken many keyboards, several typing competitions, but most recently a website called http://www.typingtest.com/ to help build up speed. There are other websites where you can compete against others and I use them occasionally to either warm my fingers up in the morning or, if it’s a quiet day, keep my fingers nimble!

A good keyboard is essential and worth investing in; mine is a Logitech wireless keyboard which cost around £50. Expensive? Not really, it has paid for itself many times over and is a crucial part of my ‘team’!

Typing competitions have encouraged me to keep improving too. I came second in the last competition I entered at 105 wpm; the winner typed at 125 wpm, a speed I have now achieved!

Hand in hand with the need for speed goes accuracy. It’s probably more important for an audio typist because clients expect a word perfect document and that is what I take pride in producing.

My advice to someone beginning a typing career is take it slowly and concentrate on perfection. Don’t give up, enjoy it!

Speed will follow with practice, but accuracy will win repeat business.

Dictation Tips – How to get best results from your audio typist

Helpful Tips. KeyboardYou have dictated a letter/document and it comes back to you typed perfectly. All you have to do is sign and send it. Sound familiar? If so, you’ve cracked it. If not, you may need to consider these dictation tips… read on.

I have encountered some interesting recording styles in my 30 years: the microphone so close you can hear breathing; eating, drinking, driving, stuttering, shouting and even cleaning their teeth (it’s true!).

When you type regularly for a client, you become used to their voice speed, idiosyncrasies, phrasing, etc, to the point where you second guess a missed word or meaning.

In a self-employed environment where you rarely type up sound files from the same people, things are more demanding – we’re getting to know each other!

Whether you’ve dictated before or are new to it, it’s useful to have some guidelines. Take a fresh look at the tips below to enhance your dictaphone skills, get value for money and ensure your typing comes back perfect and error free:

Do:

  • Speak clearly (don’t mumble), with the microphone not too close to your mouth
  • But at the same time, not too far away so it picks up background noises like aircon, photocopiers, TV, music, noise when driving, washing machines and children playing (to name a few!)
  • Ensure people introduce themselves and are near the microphone
  • Provide a list of speakers if possible
  • Start recording before the meeting to avoid missing speech
  • Let us know if you like things to be in a certain format/font
  • Provide templates if necessary
  • Let us know if you would like capital letters for certain things, e.g. Report, Deed
  • Spell out difficult words, products, place names etc.
  • Consider the purpose of the transcript. How is it to be typed:

verbatim (includes every spoken word, false starts, repeated words, stutters and ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’);

intelligent verbatim (excludes false starts, repeated words, stutters, ‘ums’ and ‘ahs); or

edited (converted from spoken to written English so it flows properly, to include correct grammar, no false starts, repeated words, stutters and ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’)

Don’t:

Worry!

Put these dictation tips in to practice and you’ll end up with your documents typed perfectly, every time!

Transcribe or Audio Type – What’s the Difference?

For many people, the words transcribe and audio type are seen to be the same thing and may well be seen as being interchangeable. So. The question is, “Is there a difference between the two?”

Yes there is! …

In short:

Audio typing is created when one speaker dictates a file of exactly what they want typed, which is typed up by their support staff. The speaker will generally dictate grammar (albeit correct or incorrect), new paragraphs and maybe capital letters and punctuation. They may even spell out difficult words/names.

The subject will generally be the same for each recording, so the typist becomes familiar with their accent and terminology and can almost predict any words that are missing in the audio file, filling them in successfully in the document.

If I were to transcribe a piece of work the result would be known as a Transcription, which according to Wikipedia, is created by “converting speech into a written or electronic text document”. Whilst at first glance this sounds almost identical to Audio Typing, there is a distinct difference:

When you transcribe a recording, the recording in question will be of an event that involves a discussion between two or more speakers. The recording contains no punctuation, spelling of words/place names and may contain strong accents or voices sounding very similar. The voices may also be muffled or distorted should the speakers mumble or shout at the same time and it may sound like no one actually talks in sentences, let alone paragraphs!

In fact, it’s quite likely that it wasn’t originally intended to transcribe the recording!

The transcriptionist must decipher all the content, punctuate accordingly, identify all the speakers correctly and carry out research on the subject matter to ensure that correct spellings and capital letters are appropriately used.

And that’s not the end of it!

There are different formats for typing the transcript – verbatim, intelligent verbatim or edited.

Verbatim – literally everything you hear is typed (even down to sneezing, coughing, ums, ers and stutters).

Intelligent verbatim -everything you hear is typed except for the sneezing, coughing, etc., filler words such as “you know” and slang words such as “ain’t”.

Edited – basically a tidied up version of everything you hear is typed, excluding sneezing, coughing and filler words (unless appropriate) as for intelligent verbatim, but ensuring the text flows.

To summarise, Audio Typing occurs when a lone individual dictates something for the specific purpose of having it typed up and they would normally give clear direction to assist the Audio Typist. Transcription occurs when a recording of an event involving two or more speakers needs to be put translated in to a written format.

The above is based on my personal view and experience. I have been audio typing for 30 years and a transcriber for 2 years and I have to say, I’ve only just scratched the surface!!

New Year’s Resolutions and how to keep them!

Hello and welcome to my first EVER blog. Although, I’m a typist, I’m only just starting on my journey as a writer and I hope you’ll enjoy – and will join in with – my posts. So, here goes ….. (by the way, any suggestions and comments are always most welcome!)

I’ve never really been one to make New Year’s Resolutions or set goals for myself as, in the past, I’ve struggled to keep them beyond the first week. However, “now is the time” …… and now being in my own business, things have had to change.

If, like me, you’ve struggled to keep those New Year’s Resolutions or to reach those goals, I’m sure that you’ll find this as useful as I do.  I like to keep things simple and I’m sure there are many variations along the same theme, but I found a simple formula for keeping New Year’s Resolutions and achieving goals and it works for me.

I found this process since starting my own business recently and since applying it, it’s been helping me focus on my resolutions and goals (bearing in mind that New Year’s Resolutions are really nothing more than goals).

This recent article by Andy LaCivita explains the formula very simply.  You can read the article at The Secret to Achieve any Goal in 2015 but here’s my brief summary.

The process outlined in Andy’s article for most people is:

– Identify the goal.

– Set it.

– Plan for it.

– Revise it if necessary.

– And then execute toward achieving it.

It’s a very simple approach, but as Andy says in his article, the step people often forget at the beginning (and I’ve been guilty as charged!) is identifying, in detail, the sacrifices they’ll need to make to ensure they can execute it fully.  In this step, I think you also need to include any Personal Development needs that you may have.  After all, most goals we set ourselves will involve learning something new … if we want to stand any chance of achieving them!

In fact, I’d say this is an essential step in the process and not something that we could think about doing.  That’s the distinction I’ve made.

My process now look like this (I am giving losing weight as an anology as most people can relate to this as a New Year’s Resolution):

– Identify the goal – in specific detail (not “I want to lose weight”, but exactly how much weight I want to lose, e.g. 2 stone).

Giving up chocolate

Courtesy of www.pinterest.com

– Identify the Sacrifices you need to make – in specific detail (I may have to give up chocolate, crisps, cakes and (sadly) alcohol!).

– Set it – put a date on when you would like to achieve this goal? (Aim for a date important to you, e.g. holiday/birthday/wedding/special event).

– Plan for it – what action do you need to take in order to achieve this goal?  (I may need to do some exercise, plan my meals ahead, do my shopping online and get it delivered rather than wandering round a shop spotting nice things to buy).

– Revise it if necessary – obstacles may get in your way which may mean changing your plan slightly, but stay focused on the end goal (there may be birthday parties to go to, Valentine’s Day, Easter, so don’t beat yourself up if you end up being naughty.  Just draw a line under that day and start again the following day).

– And then execute toward achieving it – Go for it and NEVER GIVE UP!  (Take baby steps.  It may be two steps forward and three steps back, but at least you’re progressing).

As I said, it’s all very simple ….. and it works.  You just have to actually do it!

So, off I go to set (and stick to) some New Year’s Resolutions and some goals, and I’d like to wish you good luck with yours.  Just follow these simple steps and remember …. NEVER GIVE UP!

I wish all of you a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2015.

Julie Brealey
Type Like the Wind
For all your typing needs