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Transcriptionist Contractors

Thursday 19 April 2018 |
Annette Pike
Transcriptionist Contractors

Well it’s not because we’re the cheapest provider.  We don’t believe that cutting rates, and thereby quality, makes good business sense.  We like to think that our clients stick around because they can trust that they’re going to receive a quality transcript on time, every time. 

Being part of the gig economy means that OutScribe can respond quickly to the peak and ebb of client demand and we have structured our business model to suit.  We provide a quality Australian service and we utilise the services of Australian contractors who deserve to be paid what they ask.  Because of the media coverage of our case with the ATO, and that of one of the contractors that was affected by the ATO’s actions, we thought you might be curious as to why some people choose to be a freelance transcription subcontractor so we asked three of the contractors to share their stories with you.


I became a transcriber by accident.  I’d never heard of transcription as a career – had no idea what it was.  I met a woman who ran a transcription company, she was desperate to get a job transcribed, I was happy to help her out.  I loved it from that very first moment and knew that I wanted to do it for as long as I possibly could.  To this day, 12 years later, I still love it and can’t see myself ever being an employee in “the real world”.  It’s the digital world for me, until I retire – and probably beyond.

I was a single parent and knew that running my own small business was the only way I was ever going to get the flexibility I needed to be around for my primary school age child.  I had already had many years’ of experience in administration/secretarial roles so I knew how to run a small business.  All I had to do was buy the few pieces of necessary equipment/software to become a professional transcriber.  I’d always loved typing and I also have a love of the English language.  I love the flexibility of working for myself.  I’m good at what I do, I’ve never, ever missed a deadline – not even close.  I’ve always felt that I’m blessed being able to do my own thing, not answerable to anyone but myself.  I also love being able to pick and choose the jobs that I take on and the clients I work with. 

I know there are certain responsibilities that I have to meet as a small business owner but that’s a small concern when weighed against the benefits of working when I want and for whom I want.


I have worked as a self-employed contractor in the transcription industry for close to eight years. Due to health reasons I made the move from Sydney back to my home town in regional New South Wales which meant finding work was extremely difficult. The lack of available positions plus my health encouraged me to look at something more flexible - something I could still earn an income from but gave me the flexibility to attend medical appointments and take down time if my health required.

I loved my job as a word processor in Sydney so thought why not start my own business providing transcripts from home. Gradually I built my business up over the years and I am now working more than full time hours in a career that I love.

I looked carefully into the legalities of starting a new business and began contracting to several companies. By contracting I have the freedom to take on as much or as little work as I choose and I have the ability to work whenever, wherever and with whatever equipment I choose and to set my own rates.

Being self-employed I am responsible for all tax obligations and have a trusted accountant to help me out on that part of the business. I’m also responsible for my own safety in the workplace, ensuring I have an ergonomic environment, and contributing to my own superannuation.

Running your own business has it’s plus and minuses. I have to be organised to ensure my tax obligations are met and paperwork is kept, my equipment is updated as required and my income is covered when I want to take a couple of weeks off. The freedom it gives me however far outweighs any negatives. I can work when I want and take time off for holidays or appointments as needed without having to answer to an employer. As long as I continue to produce quality transcripts and return them to my clients by their required deadlines with a competitive rate I can work at 10.00 am or midnight – the choice is totally mine. I can pick and choose which jobs I want to take on according to my schedule and availability with no obligation to take work if I’m too busy or just want a little down time.

When we had our ABNs cancelled last year I was one of the lucky ones. I was lucky enough to also have some part time casual employment which helped me cover some of my bills. I had a major drop in income and a great deal of stress which greatly impacted on my health. Having my ABN back has been a huge relief to me. I can now financially breath again and go back to doing what I love. My plan is to continue to build my business and keep on doing what I love.


I started subcontracting for OutScribe and other transcription companies back in 2011.  It was a tricky time for me, as I had recently lost both my mother and aunt to cancer, and had cared for my mother for the last six months of her life.  I also have an autoimmune disease which can sometimes hit me hard and sap all my energy. 

I initially started subcontracting for an old historic house up here in the Blue Mountains, doing gardening.  I just couldn’t manage the commute to Sydney each day.  As I had worked in administration for a number of doctors in Sydney I came upon the idea of using my skills and terminology, but doing it for myself at home.  This was the perfect solution for me.  I weaned myself off the gardening and concentrated fully on transcription work, and found myself doing not only medical work but academic and legal work also. 

This was brilliant…I was working the hours that suited me, I was supporting myself (and initially my son who was living at home and going to uni), and I was fully self-sufficient.  I consider myself a professional, and take my business very seriously.  My tax was paid every quarter, and I knew going into subcontracting when I was gardening that the responsibility of sick pay, holiday pay and super were mine.  This was more than a happy trade-off as I was rather burnt out after the illnesses of my mother and aunt.  I had previously worked for a Physiotherapist, so I was familiar with what was OH&S compliant for my office.  I could work at whatever time of day suited me, and I could pick up the amount of work that I needed each week. 

This has been the ideal job for me.  Although not shy, I’m an introverted person and I find being around too frenetic an environment drains me, and so I can spend my days surrounded by my work, focused on my work, and maintain a lifestyle which is comfortable, peaceful and very happy. 

At this stage of my life, and after working as a subcontractor now for seven years it would be a cruel blow to have that taken away from me when I am contributing to society and not asking for any handouts.  This is the employment that is perfectly suited to my abilities and my personality, and I find the mental stimulation of my work keeps me a keen and willing worker.  I wonder how many people can say that.


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