I began my freelancing career as a transcriber, this seemed to be a wonderful way to earn money from home, and I was hired on with two companies and began spending my time transcribing. I started out with small files, one to two minutes which paid about forty cents each. I was under the impression that the audio would be clear and it would only take me a few minutes to type each file. I was very surprised to find out it took me between 4-6 minutes to type one minute of audio, I was even more surprised when I listened to the audio and realized it was not quality.
I continued to try my hand at transcribing and began figuring up how much money I was earning, it turned out that working for these sites was only earning me about four dollars per hour. As a single mother trying to support her family that was not enough. I was angry that I had wasted my time but I knew there had to be something more out there.
I began signing up for freelancing job sites and saw a ton of transcription jobs posted, some paid between 10-15 dollars per audio hour, given that one audio hour would take a minimum of four hours to transcribe I quickly decided these jobs were not for me. I continued my search not ready to give up, I came across a job that had no fixed price, so I bid thirty dollars per audio hour and was awarded the job. I will be the first to admit, I under bid, but I was trying to get my foot in the door and get some reviews on the freelance site while still making some money.
I finished the job and got paid, I was happy, I was no longer making pennies for what is really hard work. I continued to bid on these type of jobs and have now raised my fees to one dollar per audio minute. I am able to do this because I provide quality work and my clients are happy. I always proofread my own work which ensures I get great reviews.
So given the question is transcription pay worth the time you put into it? There are a few answers, first if you are going to work for one of these sites who hire beginners, use it as a learning experience, you will not earn enough money from them to do transcription full time. The second answer is yes, if you can bid jobs, provide quality work, and continually get repeat clients you can earn enough money with transcription to justify the time it takes.
One last thought, if you are going to get into transcribing, you want to make sure you have other talents or jobs lined up that you can work on, there are not always great paying transcription jobs posted on boards and I have seen more and more that clients really want to pay minimal for a large amount of work. So you need to ensure you have other ways to earn an income and not fully rely on transcribing.