Interview with Caitlin Pyle – Professional Transcript Proofreader

Interview with Caitlin PyleTell us a little bit about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey. 

I’m 27, married, and I have been earning full-time income proofreading transcripts for court reporters since 2012. While I am a free spirit who loves adventure, I also like a bit of stability. I’ve known I didn’t want to work for someone else since high school! Through college and a few years beyond, I did work “regular” jobs, but they were all so suffocating … and the last one was downright nightmarish. There are heaps of other things I enjoy doing, too, like working out, cooking, and spending time with family, so being able to do something I enjoy, that I do well, and that earns me full-time income for part-time hours is a dream come true for me. And now I’m teaching others to do the same.

What did you do before launching your business?

I am a certified personal trainer, and I spent some time trying to launch some kind of business in that field. It didn’t work out – I found that I didn’t quite enjoy personal training as much as I thought I would. It’s not a very stable way to earn income. You’re constantly trying to sell your services, whereas with proofreading, if you’re good, your clients know they need you!

Do you have any special training?

Lots of experience! My last job was actually in a court reporting office, and the president of the company taught me to proofread. I worked in the production department for about six months, too, and even earned a certification as a manager of court reporters. I learned the ins and outs of everything transcripts, which makes it a lot easier for me to mentor others when they’re trying to launch a similar career in proofreading transcripts for court reporters.

Give us an example of how you landed one of your first clients.

Referrals! Way back in 2009, I only had two clients. Then, one of them referred me to an agency she worked for, and the rest is history. That agency got hold of my name and it’s still getting passed around today. Three new court reporters were referred to me just this month. It’s one of the main ways I share with my “students” in my program – get in touch with an agency. I even tell them what to say!

How are you currently growing your business?

While my proofreading clientele grows mainly on its own via referrals, my husband is assisting me with marketing ProofreadAnywhere.com, as that’s my “new” project. I also employ freelancers via oDesk.com to help me branch out and spread the word about the training program – it’s pretty astonishing how so few people know that you can actually make money proofreading legal transcripts! Plus, there are too many proofreaders out there offering ridiculously low rates for their time because they’re desperate for work—it’s a really competitive market. I’m doing everything I can to reach people who are tired of begging for gigs and let them know there are other options, and that they don’t have to scrounge if they don’t want to!

Additionally, I interview all of my students upon completion of the training program, after they’ve managed to land themselves a few clients. This has been instrumental in helping others take the leap and sign up, too!

What have you done to boost your yearly earnings?

My main earnings derive from my proofreading work, but my second endeavor has been the training program I launched via ProofreadAnywhere.com, which has been a great income booster – so many folks had asked me how I was able to make a living from home the way I do, and asked me to teach them, too. After a year or two of teaching for free, I finally decided to create a solid training program and offer it for a reasonable fee.

What advice do you have for other women who want to start their own proofreading business?

Don’t go it alone. Even if it’s not me, seek out mentorship. Check out ProofreadAnywhere.com for starters – that is, if you’re interested in proofreading transcripts vs. proofreading anything you can get your hands on. I highly recommend going the transcript route simply because you’re paid more. No more “two cents a word” or “$15 per hour” – the better you are, the more you’ll earn. So my advice would be if you really want to make money, go where the money is – legal transcripts!

On those “don’t feel like it days”, what motivates you to keep going?

The paychecks! Seriously. I am paid per page, so if I am sluggish and unmotivated, taking forever to turn around a job, I can go from $60 per hour to $20 per hour and it cuts directly into my free time. So … I guess the prospect of losing my free time gets me up and going on my “blah” days, too!

As a busy entrepreneur how do you manage all of your personal and business activities?

On any given day, work comes first for me (after breakfast and a morning workout!). The same goes on my bad days, although I usually skip the workout. The sooner I can get the work out of the way, the more time I have for my personal tasks. You do need to be self-motivated in this line of work, knowing that if you procrastinate, the work can bury you without warning, then you’ll be stuck for days under a mountain of transcripts—and that is not a good feeling!

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