The Best Home Typing Business of Them All

Check out this historical idea for making your own hours and working at your own pace.

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    Make money working from home by typing transcripts for court reporters.
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    Make money working from home by typing transcripts for court reporters.
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    Gail Williams, author of this article and experienced typist for court reporters, likes to organize her work space this way. Fresh paper is placed to the right of her typewriter and, as she finishes each sheet, Gail stacks it on her left. Special notes and other "don't forget " material is pinned to the cork board immediately behind her IBM Selectric and Gail likes to keep her dictating machine just above that. There's plenty of room for reference books and other supplies in the spacious cubby holes above and below Ms. Williams' work surface.

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Here, for those who still dream of the Perfect Little Typing Business, is the one which ideally fills that bill for me. It's an almost unknown home enterprise that I find really interesting, it can be set up on a very modest investment and the steady income it generates can be adjusted up or down to fit nearly anyone's lifestyle. Perhaps best of all, from a MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader's point of view, this particular brand of self-employment — once it's established — can be operated most satisfactorily from the other half of The Dream: The Little Country Homestead.

The secret? Federal, state and county courts all employ reporters who take down their proceedings in a form of shorthand at speeds in excess of 200 words per minute. Some of these reporters then type up this information themselves. Most, however, prefer to dictate their notes onto tapes and have someone else transcribe them. This is the basis of a home typing business that can net from $300 to $1,000 a month, depending on how fast you work and how much time you want to spend at a typewriter. A few really greedy people make even more than the top figure I've quoted.

Remember as you read the information in this article, that it's based on the situation in Dallas, Texas. Conditions of employment as a court reporter's typist will vary somewhat from one area of the country to another, and between small towns and large urban centers. Transcribers in some other localities, for instance, are paid more per page and therefore earn more overall.

The current rate in Dallas (as of 1973 when this article was written) is 30 ¢ a page for an original and two carbon copies. Which means that, to make $1,000 a month you'd have to type 3,334 pages ... or 111 every single day. A beginner who turns out eight to ten an hour would take 11 to 14 hours to produce that number. An experienced transcriber, however, can do 15 to 20 sheets an hour and could finish that same quota of 111 pages in six to eight hours.

Does that sound like easy money? It's not! To type a large number of pages requires sitting for long periods of time in one position. This often makes the body rebel with stiff, tight back and neck muscles that can be very painful. Before you count on earning a set income, then, you'd better attempt a trial run or two to find out how your anatomy reacts.

My usual schedule is four to five hours of work a day, five days a week. I always bill out at least $500 a month . . . and still have plenty of time to tend the chickens, the goats, the garden and two super-active little boys.

6/25/2014 10:15:36 AM

If you are now reading this article (40 years after it was published originally), please be aware that it is highly unlikely that this type of home typing job is NOT going to be available in most places nowadays. I've been doing this type of job since before this article was written, but it transitioned almost 100% to computer-based by the mid 1990s, and you no longer have to actually do much typing whatsoever as the computer has taken over the job of "reading the notes" and now mainly what you do is proofread. But even to do that, you need specialty software in most cases to even do that, as most reporters do not provide you the job in Word or WordPerfect formats. So if you're looking for a true typing job, I would suggest you find one in another field.

kestrel moore
12/2/2012 12:05:15 AM

Can you even imagine what this woman would have thought when she saw how it is these days. A $500 typewriter? How about a laptop and wireless printer and NEVER having to even meet your employer? Who would have dreamt of such a thing?



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