My motivation for starting my own Medical Transcription business when I was in my 30’s and my son was in elementary school was to earn extra income, enhance our savings account, provide a social outlet for myself, learn how to use computers at home in business and to keep my mind active and alert.


It all seemed rather simple really.   I had a great mastery of the medical language (or so I thought) and was considered a pretty good typist by speed and accuracy.   I had used transcription equipment in the old days when the tape consisted of a “reel to reel miniature”, but after all – the concept was the same…..


I started looking everywhere I could think of to see if anyone needed a medical transcriptionist. I checked it out online to get some basic information as to how this all works.   Back in my early beginnings of this – in the early 90’s, most everyone was picking up tapes (micro-cassettes) from their provider clients, doing the transcription and taking the cleaned tape back with the completed transcription on paper.


I finally caught a break! I learned there was a corporation, which managed a group of providers, with offices located just a few blocks from where I lived. There were interviews being held to bring on new contract transcriptionist.   This is just what I was looking for – I would work out of my home as my own business.  How could it be any better?


I had no actual experience doing medical transcription with the exception of pathology.   I had a great vocabulary for pathology and just knew this was the experience I needed to get my chance. I was granted the opportunity to give it a try!  I was provided the information for the software I would need, sample copies so I would know how to set up the documentation and suggestions on helpful books with medical vocabulary.   (I didn’t think I would need these).


So off I went with my very first “tape”. It was an Internal Medicine physician who actually spoke quite clearly with no accent.   I sat down at my computer – put the tape into my transcribing machine – set the foot pedal in just the right spot – made sure my margins were at the right place and used my right foot to depress the foot pedal and listened. Reversed the tape to play it again and listened. Reverse, play, listen – repeat. Repeat….Repeat.


I froze.   I had no idea what was being said.   I listened for a few more seconds and was finally able to pick up a word or two. The requirement for completion was 99.8%. That means only 1-2 blanks (word omissions) in an entire tape.



I had a 24-hour period of time to complete the transcription and return the completed and printed work. It took me over 8 grueling hours to complete a 30-minute recording. I phoned the lady who provided me with this opportunity, several times that day and into the evening at her home. And I mean several times; an embarrassing amount of times.


What I went through included panic attacks, anxiety, sweats, anger, and desperation, just to mention a few. Mostly, I had an overwhelming mindset of failure – who did I think I was to try this – if 98% fail, why would I think I would not – I needed to earn money, so now what do I do – on and on.   This was my mental position for about 5-6 hours. With each passing hour, my panic and anxiety increased.


I took a little break and came back to my computer, sat down and said to myself, “I have been able to do anything I have set my mind to in the past.” “It makes no difference that I have been out of the workforce for 7 years.” “I am the same person with the same determination, the same ability to learn new things and the drive to follow through until I achieve success.”




I rejected the negative thoughts of failure, inability to do this new venture and mostly the inability to complete this one tape.   I “put my nose to the grindstone” and completed the first tape.   I took the several pages back to the wonderful lady who had helped me and we went over the content for corrections. I returned home to correct the errors and re-print.


Rather than suggesting I try another type of business venture, she provided me another tape from the same physician.




I reached my limit, came to a fork in the road where I had to determine if I was a failure, or on the rough road to success. I made my choice.   I dug in my heels, remembered who I was and hit the keyboard.   The second 30-minute tape only took me 4 hours to complete with the assistance of an on-line medical dictionary.   I felt good that day. I only had one panic attack and my anxiety was reduced to about half of the day before. Review of my completed product was much better. I was on my way.


It wasn’t long and I was transcribing these 30-minute tapes in about 38-45 minutes without any errors or word omissions.   Most importantly my self-confidence was back to where I felt comfortable. I was living in my own skin once again and had proven to myself that I still had worth in the workplace and could produce at a superior level!




Reducing myself to a puddle of anxiety with a blob of panic tossed in is a pretty good description of where I was mentally when I consciously took control of my mind thought process – remembered the “pearl of wisdom” above, determined this was the “fork in the road” and made my decision that success was the only acceptable path.


So it was. I continued in this business for 10 years. I earned excellent money over the years, ramping my business up to full capacity at the 4-year mark.   I put away thousands of dollars for my son’s college education, started my own retirement plan, bought a fun car to drive (which I later sold because the police kept pulling me over), and with each new account I added, quickly identified with “who I was” learning the accents, setting up the templates, learning new specialty vocabularies and decreasing my completion time.


I thought my motivation was money, savings, socialization and activity.   As the first day with the first tape grinded on, my real motivation was not to succumb to failure. My #1 motivation was revealed to being able to tackle a very difficult job and succeed.   After 7 years of being at home, I had to prove to myself I still had what it takes to achieve what I set out to accomplish, in a stellar manner.


Mission accomplished.



Disclaimer: Kerry K Strickland does not present herself as a professional in any area of mental health or professional counseling. She is a US Federal Government Certified Mentor/Coach and presents herself as a student of all that surrounds her. She has spent years observing, speaking to and helping people of all ages. Her degree is self-assigned as “a mamma that has been very active living life and being up front and present”.

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