Court reporters are like unicorns.
Powerful. Magical. Rare.
Your skills are in high demand and short supply. You graduated from a rigorous training program. You’re constantly building your dictionary and improving your skills. You basically keep the entire US legal system up-and-running!
You’re a boss. A magical, unicorn boss.
As a court reporter, only YOU can do what you do. That means you have the power to increase your income and grow your career on your own terms.
However, many of us put an artificial limit on our own potential.
We take on too much work by choosing to scope and proofread our own transcriptions. You don’t get paid any extra for the work you do off the record.
Delegation is the key to unlocking your full earning potential as a court reporter. You can literally double your income just by working with scopists and proofreaders.
Sound too good to be true? Reporters are doing it every day. In this lesson, we’ll show you how.
How much is your time worth?
First, let’s start with a deceptively simple question: “How much is your time worth?”
If you still scope and proofread your own transcripts, your answer is, “Not as much as it could be.”
No matter how many hours you spend on a transcript, the work is ultimately a fixed rate. You’re paid by the page and maybe for the hours at the proceeding.
Yet you’re NOT PAID for any extra hours spent completing the transcript off the record.
For every hour of work you do scoping and proofreading, your profit-per-hour takes a dramatic hit. That means you’re working more hours for less money. OUCH!!!
Delegating your work to scopists and proofreaders can dramatically improve your profit per hour. Plus, it allows you to take on extra jobs each week to boost your income even more.
See for yourself by using Stenovate’s Reporter Productivity Calculator.
Your time is worth more than you think.
3 Myths About Delegation
We’ll be the first to admit: Delegation can be scary.
But with the right system in place, delegation is not scary at all — it’s freeing. By letting go, you can actually earn more while working less. Read that one more time:
Earn more while working less.
Let’s bust a few common myths about delegation:
Myth: “It won’t be perfect unless I do it myself.”
If you’re a perfectionist (like yours truly), it can be difficult to delegate work to others.
Here’s a saying that helped me let go and delegate my work: “I am trading in perfection for peace.”
The truth is, perfectionism does not help you in the long run. It makes your job (and life!) more difficult. It also caps your earning potential.
There are supremely talented scopists and proofreaders in our community. It would be a shame not to use their skills. You might be surprised!
Myth #2: “I’ll save money if I do it all myself.”
Many reporters think you can save money by scoping and proofreading your own transcripts.
However, don’t forget that these activities cost you time — time that could be spent working another job or spending time with family.
“The day I hired a scopist to edit my transcripts — because I realized my time is better spent taking all-day realtime jobs — is the day I started to double my annual revenue,” Cassandra Caldarella, CSR and CEO of Cover Crow, Inc.
Again, see for yourself with our court reporter productivity calculator. Most reporters can add 1-2 extra jobs per week by outsourcing their scoping and proofreading.
Myth #3: “I can’t find good scopists and proofreaders”
This may have been true a decade ago, but today, finding excellent freelancers is simple.
LinkedIn alone has over 2,000 scopists. Plus, there are multiple Facebook groups dedicated entirely to connecting reporters to scopists and proofreaders.
There are also platforms like Stenovate. Not only can you find help on Stenovate, but we are make it easy to collaborate with amazing scopists and proofreaders through easy-to-use, built-in tools like secure file transferring, spelling lists, progress updates, and email notifications from your teammates.
Finding and working with scopists and/or proofreaders isn’t complicated if you know where to look and have the right system in place.
How to Begin Delegating
Now that we’ve dispelled common myths about delegation, how do you actually get started?
Follow these three steps:
1. Get Your Work Organized
The biggest challenge with delegating is getting all the details out of your head and onto paper (or into your transcript management tool).
From job details to spellings to deadlines, put all relevant work information in a place that’s easy to share w/ your new teammates. Stenovate is essentially a virtual Depobook, where you can record information like the deponent’s name, number of pages, due date, exhibits, which is all shared with your scopist and/or proofreader when you add them to the job.
Learn more about Getting Organized in Lesson 5 of this Time Management eCourse.
2. Find Your Teammates (Scopists & Proofreaders)
It’s easier than ever to find your team.
Start with asking for recommendations from trusted colleagues. You can also search LinkedIn, Facebook Groups, and platforms like Stenovate.
When choosing a scopist, make sure you use the same CAT software. It’s also a great idea to get a reference from another reporter that the scopist/proofreader has worked for.
We even encourage reporters to do what Mike Hensley, RDR, President of CCRA, coined as an “audition,” where you send a small section of a transcript and thoroughly review the scopist’s work before sending a large amount of pages.
The audition also allows you to discuss preferences and begin building a great business relationship and discuss your punctuation preferences.
3. Streamline your workflow
Collaboration can be a pain if you don’t have the right tools.
In the past, court reporters had no choice but to use a mix of Excel spreadsheets or a Depobook, email, DropBox, and more. Details and deadlines would often slip through the cracks.
Today, there are oodles of project management tools, and Stenovate happens to be the first and only all-in-one transcript management tool, designed by a court reporter for court reporters.
The whole team knows who’s doing what, when it’s due, and has the tools to get it done…fast.
Whatever tools you choose, make sure your system is simple and straightforward for your new teammates.
It’s Never Been Easier to Delegate
Delegating work to scopists and proofreaders is a challenge at first. Luckily, with new tools and a closely connected community, it’s never been easier to delegate and grow your transcript business.
Your time is precious — don’t spend it on tasks outside your “scope” of work. (Get it?!) By delegating scoping and proofreading, you’ll be able to earn more while working less (even after paying your new teammates). It’s a win-win!
In the final lesson of this eCourse, we’ll cover the trickiest of time management topics: procrastination.
We’ll get to it… next week. Maybe. 🤞
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