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Medical Transcription Business

By Kathryne Nunley

In my previous life, I was a District Manager for a very large retail corporation, managing over $50 million in annual sales, directing up to 85 stores and bringing home an annual salary of over $70,000. When my husband and I received the happy news that we would be parents, the easy part was deciding that I would stay at home full-time to raise our child. The hard part was figuring out how to do it and still make ends meet!

During the next nine months, we did everything that we could to prepare for our long-awaited son and the upheaval that my paycheck-less new life would create. In between OB visits and nursery shopping, we hacked away at our credit card debt, sold our expensive cars and planned on how we would make up the financial gap. It became clear that I would have to find something that would bring in a little extra income, even if it was only enough to pay the grocery bills.

Selling something was out. Vitamins, cosmetics, home parties - I had enough of selling in my 20-year retail career, and I wanted something different. But it seemed like 90% of the home businesses that I saw were for sales or "marketing" businesses.

When I started reading the Classified Advertising section of the newspaper, I noticed a lot of medical transcription "work at home" positions. The salaries looked reasonable, and it seemed like there was a demand. It also was clear that these were legitimate jobs, and not the "make $200 an hour working from home" type of ads. So I did some research.

I put together my own medical terminology training by purchasing some books, then took a short night class at a local college. I put together a home-office based on the recommendations in my books, purchased some used equipment and put together a resume. I landed my first "job" with a local medical transcription group by answering an ad, confessing that I had no experience but was willing to practice with tapes that they would give me, and was willing to test accepting a paid position. By the time my son was born, I was ready to quit my career and start working from home.

It wasn't easy. The first few nights that my husband came home from work, there was no dinner on the table, I hadn't taken a shower all day and I was half-crazed with trying to get the work done while taking care of our son. With medical transcription, all of the work that you receive that morning has to be returned the next morning, so I was up into the early morning hours trying to get the work done. Still, I was determined to make it work, and having a wonderful, supportive husband helped enormously.

After my initial learning curve, I was able to get a regular schedule together. In the morning I played with my son, worked for 2-3 hours while he was napping, strapped him on my back in the afternoon and took care of the household "stuff", then finished the last 2-3 hours of work after my son went to bed at night. There were days when I couldn't believe how happy I was and how well everything had worked out, and there were occasional days when I wanted to catch the next flight to Fiji and hide out for a few years. Thankfully, the good days outnumbered the bad.

Today my son is three years old, and I can't imagine how life would be had I not taken the leap of faith (and done lots of planning) to make the "stay-at-home-working-mom" thing work. We are all so happy. As far as the income crunch -- my first job paid $.06 per line, and my first weekly paycheck was for $216. Today I earn $.095 per line, and my weekly paychecks have nearly tripled, since my speed has picked up and I don't have spend as much time on research. We still don't make quite the income that I did before I quit my career, but we truly hardly notice the difference. The tax savings alone made a huge difference, as did eliminating everything from daily lunches out to commuting costs to hosiery.

Bottom line? Medical transcription was the perfect work-at-home business for me. My schedule is my own, the income is good, it is a legitimate business, and when the work is done at the end of the day there is no residual job stress to spill over into my family life. I balance the "isolation" by becoming involved in volunteer work at least one night a week, making sure that I maintain my friendships and having many hobbies and outside interests.

Sure, I miss the "excitement" of my former job every now and then, but I can see now that previously my job was my life. Now I love the fact that my work is just a job, and my life is so much more.

Kathryne Nunley

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