Kat makes four figures a month as a transcript proofreader. She’s neurodivergent. She’s a wife and a mom. And she works a full-time job along with a few side hustles.

In this episode, Kat joins me to talk about how she uses her ADHD and dyslexia as superpowers to make her an exceptional proofreader. You’ll love her frankness as she shares the challenges she worked through, the mindset she developed to become successful, and her encouragement for you if you’re thinking about being a proofreader as well.

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Intro: This is The Proofreading Business Podcast with Elizabeth Wiegner. For more, visit TheProofreadingBusinessCoach.com.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Today, we have Kat with us, and I am so -- I feel so privileged to have Kat on here. Y’all are in for just a wealth of information, getting to talk to Kat with this podcast here. So Kat is a mom. She’s a wife. She has a full-time job. She’s a transcript proofreader who makes four-figure months, and she is also my community support assistant. So if you’re a student or a graduate listening, you’re like, oh yeah. I know Kat.

She is our resident grammar guru. Nobody can explain just the most bizarre, confusing grammar rules like Kat does. So when grammar questions come up inside the community, I’m always like, you know what? Kat’s going to do a great job at this one. I’m going to let her handle it. And if you’ve been in the community, you know that Kat can turn any situation into a really funny one with a funny GIF or a funny comment.

So she is such a joy to have on my team, such a joy to the community. If you’re not in the community and you’re looking forward to being a transcript proofreader or learning how to be, Kat is going to be one of the highlights of being part of the course and being part of the community because she is just -- she’s so good.

She’s even started doing, on Mondays, a Grammar Tip Monday where she gives a rule, gives examples, breaks it down, re-explains it so that it’s really easy and straightforward to understand. So yes, we’re not going to talk a ton of grammar on this call today.

We’re going to talk about Kat’s experience as a transcript proofreader because not only does she have info to share about how she manages to do everything that she does -- she’s a little bit of a superwoman, not a little bit, a lot-a-bit -- and how -- she’s actually neurodivergent. She has ADHD and dyslexia, and she has been able to be very successful as a proofreader.

And so she’s going to share some encouragement, some tips about how it’s worked for her and how it can work for you too. So all that being said, Kat, I’m so happy that you’re here today. Thank you for joining me.

Kat: Thank you. That was the nicest introduction anyone has said of me. I’m very flattered, and I have to say it’s an awesome privilege to be here too. It’s just -- and we’ll talk about a little bit of my journey, but this is -- it’s been less than a year. It’s been a couple months, but I’ve come a really long way. So I’m really excited to be here and share my experiences and hopefully encourage others to join.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Thank you. Well, you deserve every word of it because, seriously, you are such a blessing. I feel honored to have you working with me. Well, tell you -- you said it’s been quite the journey, so tell me what got you interested in transcript proofreading to begin with.

Kat: So I was thinking about it the other day just how I even came across it because it’s such a niche profession. And I think it was just doom-scrolling on Instagram like at 2 a.m. in the morning.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Kat: And just randomly coming across your account, and I don’t know. Like I know there’s algorithms for how they target these things, and I don’t know if it was just like, broke mom, anxious or something, the type of people who would be up at -- early in the morning looking at their phone. But I was like, you know, maybe this is it.

And so I kind of thought about it because, again, it was 2 a.m. in the morning, and I didn’t feel like making an impulse decision. But I -- it really spoke to me the way that you had presented the case for becoming a transcript proofreader, and I was like, well -- and I was laughing at Candace’s podcast because she said she didn’t like to read. I don’t like to read either.

Elizabeth Wiegner: I’m noticing a trend. What is -- okay, I need to know more about this.

Kat: And part of it, as you mentioned, is part of the dyslexia and ADHD. It’s just always been really frustrating to read. But I was like, do I really want to do this? But the case that you presented was so compelling. I can work from home, great. It works with proofreading, which I’ve already had a knack for cracking grammar and the rules related to that.

And what struck me was also you were very realistic about the outcomes because I’ve done a couple side hustles. I’ve looked into a lot of side hustles. If you mention a side hustle, there’s an 80% chance I’ve heard about it. I had never heard of this one, but you weren’t like, make $10,000 a month. It wasn’t anything like that. I’ve seen that a lot, and okay, maybe that’s possible. But that’s not realistic. So the fact that you were just so down to Earth about it, that really spoke to me.

And so, all right, let me just try it. So I watched the intro course. I’m like, all right. This seems pretty straightforward, but I’m a little skeptical. It seems a little too easy.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Kat: All right, so I’ll buy the intro course, all right. So then it kind of branched out from there because it just became this point of just being just pure curiosity. I’m like, well, I can do this. All right, well, I can do this. And so I was like, well, I know these rules. I can do it, all right. And so then I did the practice transcript. I’m like, all right, I’m getting the hang of this. And I did take the grammar test. I did fail it the first time, which is kind of ironic. I think I was off by one question, and then I retook it and then I passed.

And then I took the final exam, transcript exam, and I did fail that, and then I retook that. And I’ll be honest. I think I rushed through the first time because I was like, I know my stuff. It’s fine. I’m good at this. And so -- and then I was like, oh crap. I missed all this stuff. So -- and then there was a point I was like, you know, maybe I shouldn’t do this. Maybe it’s not for me. And I was just -- like I said, I don’t like reading and someone with ADHD, there’s all these details I have to remember, and I think it’s stressful. Maybe it’s not for me.

I was like, do I really want to put more energy towards this? And I was like, you know, I think I’m just kind of making excuses because -- and I think with a lot of ADHD people, we tend to be perfectionists. At the same time, we tend to have a lot of hobbies. We tend to try to start to do different things, and if it doesn’t come naturally to us, we’re like, oh we suck. Move on to something else.

So I was like, you know, this just seems like a really good opportunity to just pass up. I’m going to just try it again. And I think you were very encouraging about -- when I failed the first time, about what I missed and going back and just doing it over again. And I was like, you know, I just need more practice.

I went through the course pretty quickly. That’s just me just being like I’ve got to -- I don’t want to sit here and listen to all these [indiscernible_00:07:36] because I just am like I’ve just -- I’ve got to go, go, go. I’ve got to -- so part of that is the ADD, the -- just I want something now. I want that instant gratification. I need to make that money now.

But the point is you’ve just got to slow down sometimes because there’s no gun to your head. It’s just -- there’s a lot to be learned in the course. And I’ve had to go back, and obviously if you rush over it, you’re just going to miss things, and you’re going to run into a situation I did where you’re going to fail the exam.

So I tried it again and I passed, and then I was like, all right. Now what? So I did create the business. I had it incorporated in 2000 -- not 2000, 2023 in September. But I didn’t actually get a client until November, but that’s because I didn’t do anything about it because I was just -- a lot of it was fear. A lot of it was like, okay, well, Elizabeth is not holding my hand anymore. What do I do? So just kind of wandering around a little bit.

But as soon as I put in a little bit of effort towards it, I got my first client, and it took no time at all really. And so after that first paycheck, it’s like, oh my gosh, I just got paid a lot of money because it was a -- it was an overnight.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Nice.

Kat: So -- and that’s a great way to start because there are some transcripts you’re wondering like, was this worth the money?

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Kat: But I had a really great start because it just feels so great to have a direct communication with somebody and do the work and then just see the instant payout for it. I have a full-time job, and there’s just different levels of hierarchy, and I’m doing the work for I’m not sure who, and I’m going to get the paycheck no matter what.

But there’s just no level of satisfaction behind it sometimes. It is kind of corporate humdrum, just churn the work, all right, that’s it. I get a paycheck. I get to eat. So there was just this level of confidence and gratification every time that I get that paycheck or I get to talk to someone or I get to read something interesting.

It’s just so different than anything that I’ve ever encountered before, and so I’ve just continued to do the work. And I’ve -- like I said, I started in November, and just the amount of work that’s come my way is just incredible.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Isn’t it amazing how you get to -- you’re starting something that you worked really hard on. Some of us have to work harder than others. Some of us have to, like you said, force yourself to slow down. But then that point of I have a client, and not just -- I love that example you gave.

When you work corporate, you kind of have the idea of the client you’re working for, but you don’t always have that direct interaction, or it’s such a big thing that you don’t feel like you have as much of an -- yeah, you’re making a paycheck and that’s what we all want to do, but you don’t feel like you have that personal connection like you do working one on one with a client.

Kat: Yeah. At the end of the day, in a corporate job, whatever I put out, my boss is going to be like, all right, great. Do it again. Do it again. Do it again. So it’s just -- I’m just doing it to live really versus I have this other source of income where I’m actually getting to enjoy doing it. I get to learn a lot.

And then I’ve also joined this community where I get to talk to a bunch of people, and I know that I can help them directly. So it’s one thing that’s led to another, and I’ve gained a lot of skills in that way. And so I -- the amount of joy it brings me versus my regular job, that is why I continue to do it.

Elizabeth Wiegner: It’s not -- I mean, you do great. I mean, you are a four-figure-a-month proofreader, and you love doing it. That’s -- I mean, I feel like -- some people, they have six -- they make six figures a year with their job, but it’s just kind of like, like you said, you just show up and do the work, and it’s kind of like, yeah, it’s good. I want to create a paycheck. It’s needful. It’s not like this is a waste of time, but it’s just you don’t have that core satisfaction of owning your own business and being in charge and making the money and working directly with the clients you want to work with, not the one your boss told you you had to work with.

Kat: Yeah, exactly.

Elizabeth Wiegner: So going back -- so you mentioned you have -- having ADHD a little bit and dyslexia and having a hard time focusing, I’d love to focus on each of those a little bit separately. So you mentioned with the ADHD you wanted to rush through everything. I feel like I could -- I mean, I can completely relate. It’s like, oh, I don’t have time to watch these videos or go through all these practice transcripts or actually sit and focus on things because I want the clients and the money now.

So how did you -- it took a couple times of kind of falling on your face to realize. Do you feel like that’s what kind of shook you up, or what -- how did you work yourself to like, okay, I’m going to slow down and concentrate? Did you break it down into chunks? Or how did you do that?

Kat: I think falling on your face is part of it. It’s kind of this concept of learning to fail, which, with a lot of ADHD people, you have to learn because you’re going to come into this -- you’re going to come into a situation where not everyone is like you, and the situation is not always going to accommodate you. So you have to work your way around that.

So it was like I need to slow down. I really need to think this through if it’s something I really want to do. So with the videos, I said I’m going to allot at least half an hour to an hour every day to watch the videos. And that was enough. If I have more time, I’ll add more time. If I don’t have time that day, fine. I can negotiate that.

But just setting that time aside to do it, it makes a little bit of that anxiety go away, like I have 30 videos I have to watch. It becomes this task list that just -- and it seemed very simple, but with ADHD people, they have issues with -- called executive functioning, which is just kind of planning out this big project. Just making a promise to yourself I’m going to do this much every day makes it a lot easier.

And you can also become a victim of your afflictions. I can say I’m too ADD to do this. I did this because of my ADD and just that’s it versus kind of, I think, leaning into it a little bit saying I know I can do this because I have ADD, or I know I can do this even though I have ADD. For instance, I think I’m really good at the -- doing grammar because I can hyperfocus into things really well. So it’s kind of like a super power. I don’t look at it as a weakness. Just trying to shift your mindset a little bit about how to go about it and just knowing your limits really.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Kat: If I watch a video for half an hour and I’m like, I’m just overstimulated at this point, I cannot stare at a computer screen, I’ll just stop. I’ve got to know my limits. And so it’s just a little bit about knowing yourself. There’s times when I’m proofreading transcripts and I’m like, I just can’t right now.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Kat: And that goes for everybody, but it’s just setting expectations that are realistic for yourself. And there’s things that you’re going to have to do that are unconventional that are going to make you successful, and you just can’t compare yourself to other people when other people are like, I can do 250 pages a day. That number gets tossed around, but if you can’t reach that number, that’s fine.

There’s no real definition of success in this community. It’s just what you want to make of it. If you want to make a couple hundred dollars, that’s great. If you want to make 10,000, that’s great as long as it’s realistic. I don’t -- so four figures, I didn’t really think I would get to that amount. For me originally, I was like, I just want to do a couple hundred. And so after that, in a way, I kind of built tolerance -- not tolerance -- endurance. That’s the word.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yeah, I know what you mean.

Kat: Sometimes [indiscernible_00:16:36].

Elizabeth Wiegner: Same.

Kat: Build a little bit of endurance behind it, but also just being kind to yourself as well. I don’t get -- if I don’t get to 250 a day or 1,000 a week or whatever, it’s fine. I did what I could that week, and that’s enough. And there are some weeks where I don’t have any work, and that’s fine too. I take that as a time to rest and just prepare myself for the next week of whatever may come. So I think it’s just about really knowing yourself, and it’s almost like you kind of have to fail to figure that out.

I didn’t know that I didn’t really know what I didn’t know about grammar until I took the exam because it’s kind of a different beast.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Kat: You’re looking at documents that you’ve never really seen before but it’s construed a different way. And you just miss things sometimes because you’re rushing through it. So even with my first two clients, I’m like, oh [indiscernible_00:17:47]. I didn’t know that was a rule, oops. There’s just so many things you learn, and I’m still learning, as you go on. No one is going to be perfect when you start doing it.

So it’s just being realistic and kind to yourself really. Especially with ADHD people, you can really have voices in your head that are really negative that can pull you out. So it’s just think about what you can do rather than what you can’t do as a result of whatever afflictions you might have. I wouldn’t even call them afflictions. I would just call them perspectives or super powers.

With dyslexia, it’s -- I didn’t know I had dyslexia until I would say I was like 20.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Oh wow.

Kat: It was like my senior year of college.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Wow.

Kat: And it’s kind of funny. I shouldn’t say funny. But I think it’s kind of funny. So I’m obviously Asian, and I had, all through schooling, from elementary school up, when I wrote or I spoke, there was just something wrong about the way that I presented the words on paper.

Like maybe words are mixed around. Maybe they were the wrong tense, and it had to do with the dyslexia. It didn’t -- and so people -- but when people saw me, they assumed that it had to do with being ESL. So I got the rules hounded on me so much, which you need to learn these grammar rules.

You need to learn those grammar rules. And I got put into all these writing programs, so then I learned all these grammar rules. So that’s why I know all these random things about grammar. So it’s kind of like -- I think it’s funny because it’s like this accidental racism kind of helped me be a better proofreader.

But it’s -- but also with the dyslexia, that was -- when -- a good way to describe it is when people who don’t have dyslexia see a sentence like the dog jumped -- or the fox jumped over the lazy dog, when they see that sentence in its entirety, they can process that in just one to two seconds versus dyslexia. I had to go, the fox jumped over the lazy dog. So I have to kind of group those words and process them individually.

And I don’t read that slow, but it -- to me, it’s like, well, that’s helpful for me because when I read, I can usually spot dropped words or flipped words because I’m not reading it that quickly. So I kind of learned I can just kind of -- I’m pretty good at picking that up now.

Elizabeth Wiegner: So it actually ended up helping you in the long run because I -- that’s one thing that a lot of students, and I mean, you obviously -- I mean, you said the same thing. I mean, you don’t speed read as a proofreader. No matter if you’re the fastest reader in the world, when you come to proofreading, you slow way down.

And so I speed read if I’m not proofreading, and I have to make a conscious effort when I sit down and proofread that, Elizabeth, you’re not here to -- yes, the transcript can be fun, but you’re not here to necessarily enjoy it in the sense of like a John Grisham novel or Nancy Drew or something. You’re here to focus on every single word, and a lot of students had mentioned that too.

It’s hard for them to slow down and focus, whereas I feel like you’ve actually turned dyslexia into an advantage because you are so used to forcing yourself to focus on every single word, which is the key to being a really -- one of the keys to being a really good proofreader is every single word, not necessarily -- and the sentence as a whole too. That’s so interesting how that’s worked out to your advantage like that.

Kat: Yeah, and it does mean that I process the transcripts a lot slower than someone else might, but I’ve accepted that. I said this about accepting your limits. I probably go maybe a third slower than someone else would.

But that does mean less time that I get to spend on other things, and it does mean less money, but I just don’t care because I’m doing what I love, and I’m making money for it. And what I know is that I’m delivering a product that’s really good to the best of my ability. I’m not -- it’s not about speed. It’s about quality.

So I -- that’s something I like to really push with -- when I’m advertising. I’m -- I’ve gotten faster about it, but it’s like I spend a lot of time in delivering accuracy, and that’s what I care about. It’s just -- it’s not about making money per se, which is kind of the subtext. But it’s more about me giving you work.

And I love when I catch mistakes because it’s like, yes, I got that because even the CRs can be like, oh, I didn’t -- oh, good catch. And so those are the things that build trust with your client.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes. That -- for grads, like if you’re a graduate listening to this, absolutely, that is -- there are -- there will be comments that come up inside our grad community about, man, I feel like I’m really slow or this isn’t going as quickly.

And one of those things is yes, you can -- I’m sure you’re probably faster than your very first transcript that you did. But the goal isn’t to -- yes, you want to increase your efficiency while keeping your accuracy up. But I think the temptation is a lot of times to focus on, oh, I’ve got to get faster and faster and faster.

And yes, I have training on how to improve your efficiency, but in the long run, I love what you said. It’s exactly -- it comes down to the court reporter cares if you’re accurate, and that’s how you keep -- not only get clients but how you keep clients because, I mean, you can get a client, but if you don’t do a good job for them, you’re not going to keep the client.

And so I love that that’s your focus not only -- because it’s satisfying to you, and it’s satisfying to your client, and it’s -- I mean, it kind of -- it balances out. I mean, you’re still doing great, making great money at it while still delivering a good result instead of trying to get through it as quickly as possible.

Kat: Yeah, and I will mention though that I do have the privilege of having a full-time job, so I don’t have to worry about as much if I don’t make whatever profit that month. I want to be sensitive to that, but I have found that, yes, it’s just -- you will get more clients coming back to you if -- that seems to be the number one thing I see is just like dropped words. And just -- and those are things that maybe sometimes they didn’t even realize. If you miss it, they might not even realize that they did it. So it’s quality over speed.

Elizabeth Wiegner: I feel like finding dropped words and also just hilarious typos, those are one of my favorite parts of proofreading a transcript because it just feels like -- you’re not necessarily listening to the audio. You’re not reading the steno.

You are reading exactly what’s on the page, but because you’ve gotten used to the flow of how the speaker is talking and how the court reporter is writing everything, when you can find those dropped -- it just -- those dropped words, it just feels so satisfying. It’s like, man, I am good!

I love how you mentioned earlier, you have said so much. I was making notes like, oh, I’ve got to go back to this, but I feel like there’s so much. I loved -- one of the things that I really liked that you said was not comparing yourself to everybody else’s success.

And that’s one of the reasons I love -- I’m excited to keep interviewing grads because everybody has a different level of success and a different way they’ve shown up and what’s worked for them and what hasn’t because I feel like somebody sees somebody’s numbers or how fast they can proofread or how much money they can make a month, or maybe they’re proofreading on a beach, or maybe they’re proofreading out with their chickens, or maybe it’s in their dump of a living room because you haven’t been able to do laundry for a week. That’s totally my living room right now.

But it’s just -- everybody has different -- like they picture somebody’s seemingly perfect life on social media, and then when it doesn’t end up being theirs, it’s almost like, well, I’m a failure, whereas your success is how happy are you where you’re at, and how -- it’s a whole picture. And I love that you brought that point up about not comparing.

It’s good to be motivated to see that other people can be successful, but I love that you said just making it work for you. I feel like that’s one of your big emphasis is what works for you.

Kat: Yeah, and that kind of goes back to why I thought your marketing was so great with the course is because it’s just you never once said you make X amount of money. You don’t have these pictures where you’re in Paris and you’re like, look what I’m doing in my free time. Those are things that I see a lot, and it’s just -- I’m like, all right. I made $2 million while sleeping.

It’s just -- that’s just not realistic. But people fall for that, and then they fall into this trap of why aren’t I in Paris right now? It’s just you -- and I think that’s what makes our community so great is we have a lot of people who come from all walks of life. They have all sorts of backgrounds. Some have jobs. Some don’t have jobs. Some have kids. Some don’t have kids.

And we’re all working towards that same goal, but it’s not this goal of making millions and millions of dollars. It’s just making extra money so that we can have a little bit more independence. And again, that means something different for everybody.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Kat: So it’s just rooted in reality, and I think when it’s rooted in reality, you can make realistic goals, and it’s just easier to achieve. And so what was the point I was going to make? It’s just -- I lost my train of thought.

Elizabeth Wiegner: No, this is so good. I’m like, oh, I need to just copy/paste what she is saying and put it on my website. Setting your own goals and being realistic about them and yeah -- sure, are there other careers where you can go out and make a lot of money? Yes. $2 million in your sleep -- I could go on a rant for that forever, and I’m sure you could too.

But being realistic about what you can make and making it your own, like what -- like for some people, a trend that I see going on on Instagram a lot now -- I’m sure you’ve seen it -- is people talking about, oh, it’s not about the fancy purses or about the fancy house. It’s I can have more time freedom. And you know, that’s great too.

Like for me, yes, having more time, having a little bit extra money to spend on groceries or rent or whatever is helpful. And if you want a fancy purse, let’s say you have your full-time job, and you want to have the extra purse but you can’t justify it right now, and proofreading lets you do it, then if that’s what fills you up and makes you excited, then do it. It doesn’t matter what other people’s goals are or not, and I’m happy to support whatever decision you want to use your proofreading money on. It’s what makes you happy.

Kat: Right, exactly. And like I said, I haven’t seen anybody talking about these really big, lofty goals on our Facebook group. It’s just about -- the theme that I see is really just, look, I created this business on my own. This is something that I own, and this is something that I produced, and I’m making money off of it. That seems to be where the pride comes from.

And I find a lot of pride being a small business owner now. That’s really cool. I can say that. I have my own business, and it makes money. I make so much money the government wants part of it now. It’s like woo-hoo. It’s like my little humble brag. I just -- if you don’t -- if you fall into these traps that this is going to be your way out of whatever bad situation, that it’s going to solve itself and you’re going to come out just really rich, it’s just not going to happen.

Elizabeth Wiegner: That is so true about owning your own business and making money off of it. It’s such an empowering feeling, just that feeling, especially as a woman, to know that you can create a business, that you can take care of yourself, or that you can make extra money for your family or feel fulfilled.

There is nothing -- it’s humbling and exhilarating all at the same time. It’s just such -- empowering is the only word I can think of or strong or -- I work with words, and words are sometimes hard to come by. But it’s just -- that feeling is hard to put -- you can’t put a price tag on it honestly, and in that sense, it really is -- it’s worth more than even the millions that people say you can make in your sleep for some magical reason, being able to own your own business.

Kat: Yeah, and that comes back to this idea of instant gratification, and that’s why people quit. And that’s why a lot of these influencers make a lot of money because they put this course out, and then they’re like -- they do the course, and then they’re like, well, I didn’t get exactly what I wanted.

Things take a lot of time and effort, and I think you’re very transparent about that, and I think once you go through the course, you realize I actually need to sit down and watch the videos and study a little bit. It’s just nothing is easy, and nothing is going to come easy.

And that’s also where part of that pride comes in, right? You did a lot of work to get to where you are. You continue to do a lot of work. So there’s some gratification. If I had $2 million coming in everyday, I’m like, yeah, that would be awesome, right? But I mean, I feel like I’d get bored after a while. But I would still like $2 million a day, but…

Elizabeth Wiegner: I’m not going to complain.

Kat: I’m not going to complain, but it’s just -- there’s a lot of joy that comes from hard work.

Elizabeth Wiegner: All these sound bites. I just need to grab these and be like -- listen to it on repeat. I need to put it in the course. Yes, because -- that is one of the most common things. At the first part of the course, it’s setting up your business, getting it registered, picking your name, learning more about court reporters.

And then the rubber really hits the road, and when you get into not only learning about grammar but how to apply all those grammar rules and the practice transcripts and work with your court reporter preferences. And people, especially because they’re so used to maybe proofreading a blog post or a book where you can work -- mess around with things a little bit more, whereas with spoken word you can’t.

And that’s when people are like, oh, this is a lot -- that’s one of the biggest things I hear is this is -- and I’m sure you’ve seen it over and over in the community is this is not what I was thinking, not in a bad way, but it’s like this is not what I was expecting. And so I -- you hit the nail on the head. It’s -- and we’re all human. We all want that instant gratification. But in the long run, you’re absolutely right. What -- how satisfying is it to know that it’s because you stuck with it and you worked hard that now you have the results that you want as opposed to just snapping your fingers?

Kat: Exactly.

Elizabeth Wiegner: If everybody could snap their fingers, then everybody would be a transcript proofreader making a few extra hundred or a few extra thousand a month, whatever you want with it, right? And that’s -- what is -- what feels good about that, right? Nothing really. That’s such a good point.

Kat: The amount of pages it would take to make that $10,000 a month just makes my eyes bleed.

Elizabeth Wiegner: It makes me want to throw up a little bit, yes. We’re not painting good pictures with our eyes bleeding and throwing up. You’re not going to make 10,000 bucks proofreading. It’s just not possible. You can make a good middle amount in between there, but definitely you’re right.

And those -- and I would hate for anybody to come into the expectation of you’re just going to be -- this is not a get-rich-quick scheme. And it’s not necessarily one where you’re going to get rich. It’s exactly what you said. It’s a way to make money doing something that you’re proud of doing and that you really enjoy doing, and that’s so satisfying.

Kat: There’s a -- and all of the -- like I said, I’ve done a couple side hustles. I looked into some. There’s no such thing as get rich, like get-rich schemes or whatnot. Even passive income is not passive. There’s a lot of work that goes into it.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Kat: I’ve fallen into that trap. Like even with an Etsy store, the passive income, if you set it up, there’s still so much work that goes into it. You’ve got to design the stuff. You’ve got to monitor it. You’ve got to do SEO. Nothing is easy.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Nope.

Kat: And…

Elizabeth Wiegner: We could have a whole podcast on that just by itself.

Kat: And I think that’s one thing that’s great about transcript proofreading is that the amount of effort you put into it and the payout, the ratio is just so high versus if I -- I do have an Etsy store as you know, but if I put in so much effort to make one design, post it, and monitor it, market it, it’s like by the time that all the expenses are for producing the artwork and the materials, it’s like, oh, I made a dollar. It’s just like --

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Kat: -- awesome.

Elizabeth Wiegner: It takes some time. That’s such a -- I love that point that the ratio of work that you put into it, the amount of money that you make is so close. It’s not like you’re doing an excess amount of work for just -- it’s kind of like a garage sale. You put all this work into a garage sale, and then you make -- I’ve had some good garage sales. But still, at the end of the day, I’m like was this worth it? Should I have just taken this all to Goodwill or Salvation Army or something?

So I mean, we’ve been talking about instant gratification, not being a victim of your afflictions. I wrote that down because I absolutely love that term. I think that kind of encompasses your approach to how you get everything done, but I’d love to dig into more how you do it because you’re a wife. You’re a mom. You have a full-time job, and you’re also successful as a proofreader.

So how on Earth do you do it all? And I know it will look different for everybody, but what are your -- maybe some tricks that you’ve -- tips and tricks -- I know that’s overused, but what are some ways that you’ve done it that’s made it work that maybe will -- people can bounce off of your ideas and use them for their own?

Kat: I’m going to be perfectly honest. I don’t have some magic formula for it. There are some days where I don’t get much sleep.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Kat: And honestly it kind of goes back to the fact you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do if you want to make it work. I’m not advising that if you don’t want to do that, that you do that. That’s just about being realistic. If you can’t fit it in your schedule and you find sleep is important or you find time with your family is important, prioritize that.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Kat: I probably shouldn’t, but I don’t prioritize sleep. But I -- after I take care of my family, I’ve got to take care of my clients, and I’ve got to do what I want to do because I want that income, and that’s unfortunately what I have to do. That said, sometimes I don’t make the best time management decisions, and that’s something that I’m still learning.

So part of it is me learning to be more efficient. That’s the only way because I work a 9-to-5 job. Sometimes I can fit in some work in between that time because it’s flexible, and no one is watching me. But I have some time after my kid goes to bed. I have some time maybe early in the morning. But I have to use that time efficiently. That’s the only thing that I have. I don’t have some magic time machine.

So really for someone who has ADHD, I have to be very disciplined, and I’m not always disciplined. I will admit I’m not. Don’t work on the bed because I’m going to fall asleep. I’m still going to do that, right? Make sure I take lots of breaks so I don’t get burnt out because --

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Kat: -- there’s -- like I said, I don’t like to read. But when I see a wall of text, I’m just like, oh gosh. I’m going to go walk around or something like that.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Kat: I like to kind of plan out the week. Sometimes I will decide, depending on how interesting the case is or not, I might decide to switch between cases. That might be a little unconventional, but sometimes I’m like, I can’t read this work comp case. This is the fifth one this week. This is so boring, so sometimes I shake it up. Sometimes, and this is, again, very unconventional, I might just act it out in my head, or I might read it out loud just like this is a play. I’m going to read it out loud. That’s how I get through it really quickly because sometimes I’m just like, ugh, and I read it very slowly.

So I guess it’s also being in tune with yourself. If I can find myself getting bored or just slowing down, I’ll just stop and just reassess or just -- there’s different. Pomodoro’s is a very -- I don’t use it, but some people use that. Every 25 minutes, take a five-minute break, 25 minutes, five-minute break or something like that. I usually will just say let me read 10 to 15 pages at a time, take a five-minute break, something like that.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Kat: And just kind of building the endurance there. So it’s just -- and it’s going to depend on the case because sometimes, like I said, some are really boring, and some you don’t want to read. I have a 500-page one that’s due Thursday morning this week.

So my plan of attack on that is just kind of do about 20 pages every -- kind of every hour and then kind of go and do my own work that I need to do just to make it less daunting. So it’s just -- you’ve got to find what works for you, and I’m still in the process of learning of what will work for me.

And like I said, I still fall into these traps. I still work on the bed sometimes even though I shouldn’t. But with someone with ADHD, I can’t sit for a long time, so I will go move to another room for instance. I might switch to the iPad so I can kind of move around a little bit, and then I might say, all right, I need to focus. Go back to the laptop. Go sit at the table, so just creating a different environment that I know that works and just keeping track of that.

I know working on the bed is a bad idea. I’m still trying to figure out what works really good for me. So I know if I work at the table early in the morning, I can get the most work done. So it’s just tracking your patterns and being in tune with yourself like, oh, I know I can’t work after dinner because I get sleepy.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Kat: And that won’t be the most efficient time to do it. Maybe I work best between 1 and 2 after lunch or something like that. So it’s just really learning about yourself and kind of keeping track of that. That’s the best information I can give.

Elizabeth Wiegner: I think that that is the trend of what you’re saying, like how you worked around having ADD and dyslexia is being aware of yourself, what works for you, and understanding that not every day is going to be the same.

You’re not going to feel the same every single day, or your transcripts, yes, there are some really interesting ones, and there’s also equally as uninteresting ones or even the interesting ones if you’re having a day where maybe your sleep wasn’t the best or your mood wasn’t the best. It’s still going to be challenging.

And so not giving up on yourself to the point, once again, of -- I mean, everything is tying together of not expecting instant gratification or expecting things for free or expecting to just have money fall into your lap but not wanting to do anything about it or because you’re making excuses.

It’s knowing who you are, accepting that, not beating yourself up over it. I see that a lot too where people are like, ah, I’m just not good enough, or I’m not -- telling yourself that isn’t going to do anything except pull you down. It’s going to pull everybody else down around you too, but realizing that, yes, I have XYZ things that I struggle with.

How am I going to find ways to work around them? Is it better working on my iPad some days and then switching to the laptop, or what day do I work best, or do I have to sacrifice some parts of my day to get the jobs done and the income that I want? That’s -- yes, absolutely.

Kat: I would also add to that know your limit, and that also goes with being efficient. It’s tempting to take every job that comes your way, especially those last-minute overnights when you’ve got a full docket. You’re like, oh sure.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Kat: If you can take it, great. But you’ve got to prioritize your health too. There was one week where I just wasn’t sleeping because I just kept taking the jobs. I’m like, I can’t do that again because I’ve got other people depending on me.

And the money is important, but so is -- my life is more important. And at that point, I was like, I am not happy. This is just drudgery for me at this point, so I’ve -- I know not to do that despite the temptation is always there. So it’s just learning from that mistake, learning what your limits are. Maybe you can take 1,000 pages a week. Maybe you can only take 500. That’s also learning to be efficient with your time.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes, yes. I think, especially as new business owners, and we’re so excited to get work and to be getting paid for it. It’s such -- like that -- you can’t top that feeling. And then you also don’t want to disappoint your clients. Like we have in the back of our mind like, oh, I have to take every job or it’s not going to -- people are going to be upset at me.

But that’s one of the things about -- that’s so awesome about the community is I’ve seen you post in there before. You were like, you know, I need a brain break this week. Can anybody -- any of y’all grads, can you cover for me? And you had people responding right away, and so you could take that.

And so, yes, absolutely, knowing your limits to keep the joy because I say this: Proofreading is meant to support the life that you want to have. Your proofreading business isn’t meant to be your entire life because, absolutely -- you absolutely do. You lose your joy, and that ruins the whole point of why you’re doing it in the first place.

Kat: Exactly.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Well, so you mentioned a little bit earlier that you found your first client a couple -- I think we said it was a couple months after you started marketing, or not even, after you graduated. And I wanted to bring that up because I feel like that happens a lot is students will get through the course, they’ll pass their grammar exam, they’ll pass their transcript exam, and then they get to the marketing part.

And sure, phase three, the last part, is my favorite phase because I love talking about business management and how to go get clients and all that. There is a -- and probably part of your ADHD when you saw all that was like holy moly, this is so much in here. And part of it is you -- sure, I’ll send referrals. I’ll show my grads off on social media.

People are posting in the group when there’s jobs. I show you how and where to go get clients. And I love what you said: It’s up to you to go be successful, and if you want -- sometimes some people put a hold on because they have to for family reasons or whatever. And some of it is a little bit of talking to yourself like, oh, now I’ve got to go get clients.

So how did you -- what was kind of that point between when you graduated and then you took a couple months to finally -- okay, I’m going to do this? What was kind of the switch that made you decide, all right, I’m going to go in and get clients?

Kat: I don’t know if there was this big event. It was just kind of like, I just paid all this money to take this course. I should probably do something with it. But posting on Facebook is so terrifying, and it still is for me for marketing. Is there a typo? Is there a typo? Please don’t be a typo.

And -- but I swear it was -- like the demons in your head are really the worst, but I think after you do it a few times it gets pretty easy. But I just did it because it just kind of hit me. I was like, oh, I took that course. I should really -- I see the Facebook posts and just like, I should really do something about that, or it’s the end of the month. I need some money for gifts. All right, let me just go for it. So inertia is a pain in the butt.

So you go through this course. It’s a roller coaster, and it kind of just stops a little bit, and you’re like, all right. So you kind of -- it’s up to you to kind of get that ride going again. So I wouldn’t advise waiting that long, but I -- there was nothing really that happened. It was just like, oh, it was just a thought, like oh, I should probably do something.

And after that, it’s fine. I think I’ve posted maybe three or four times. That’s all I ever really needed to get the list of clients that I have now. But that part was probably the easiest once you get over the fear.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Isn’t it funny how -- sometimes I think we make it bigger in our minds than it really is. We psych ourselves up about it, and we get so stressed. And it really is -- it is intimidating. Even though I teach a very genuine, personable, do what works for you kind of thing.

Don’t force yourself to be somebody that you aren’t because people are going to see straight through that. It’s still -- you know, marketing isn’t something that people are naturally good at. It’s a skill you have to learn. I feel like a lot of people feel like, oh, well, I have the skills to proofread. Now, I should just automatically get clients, and it’s not. I mean, you have to learn. That’s why I teach it.

And when we psych ourselves up and tell ourselves we’re not good at it or this is going to be really hard, it makes it even more hard than -- because like you said, once you did it, it was like, oh, look at the results I’m getting. It worked.

Kat: Yeah, it’s the not knowing that kind of kills you.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Kat: But I think it’s also just a lack of confidence, at least for me because it’s like why would anyone contact me because of this measly little Facebook post that I created? Or how do I actually convey to someone that my skills are something that they should buy into?

There’s just all this uncertainty, and I’ve seen different posts. I’ve seen people write long essays. I tend to write short -- I tend to write just kind of short posts because I -- one, I’m lazy and I don’t want to write that out, but two, I just think people are kind of scrolling through, and they’re just like -- they want one, two, three. But there is -- and I’ll be honest. Sometimes I feel like it’s random why people pick you. I’ve had people say like, oh, I actually liked your post. I thought it was funny, or I thought -- I liked the graphics, or I liked what you said about it.

But it can really be a crapshoot because you get people messaging you on Facebook just because they happen to be looking for a proofreader. At that moment, they’re looking at your Facebook post, and that may be the case. And if that, then that just means getting your name out there as many times as possible so that people see it. I don’t think there’s any magic formula like you have to use these colors, and you have to go on Instagram and you have to have a video.

It’s just -- to me, I found that I just -- as simple as just making a graphic and putting my name out there has been enough to get that four-figure month. So it’s just -- and I’ve never seen -- on a couple of occasions someone had a typo, but I’ve never seen anything bad happen when someone posts anything People are like, oh, all right or scroll or whatever.

Elizabeth Wiegner: I think people get more -- they think people are focusing on them more than they are, and because we’re focusing on it, so that means obviously everybody else is too, right? Yes, absolutely. It’s more getting out of your -- and just doing it. I think -- and that’s kind of been your theme throughout this too, just getting in and recognizing it’s hard. It’s fine to admit it’s hard. It’s what you do with that admission.

A lot of people say it’s hard, and then they whine and complain about it and make excuses for it and then wonder why it never happens, whereas those who say, yes, it’s hard, and I am scared and I’m going to do it, and I’m going to do it on -- as I can, those are the ones that see success and are fulfilled in the long run.

Kat: Yeah, and just do it on your own timeline.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Kat: Like I said, it took two months to get me going, but once I did, it kind of took off. So I consider myself to be successful because I created a very realistic goal, and I knew what my limitations were, and I didn’t let them hold me back.

So those are the goals that I defined for myself, and they weren’t defined by anybody else. So -- and the thing is nobody in the group is like, oh, that proofreader isn’t doing well. That information is shared because we don’t need to. It’s just -- to me, I feel like we’re successful proofreaders because we’ve all created a business, and we’re doing the work.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Kat: And it’s a successful community because we’re kind of being able to bolster that kind of success. So create your own success on your own timeline. Just do your own thing.

Elizabeth Wiegner: That’s the whole beauty of owning your own business is you are on your -- you won’t have a boss telling you, Kat, I need you to have this done by this time, and I don’t care how you feel. You can take the breaks. You can do what you need. And then that’s when you’re happiest, and that’s when you are successful, yes. I was going to ask what advice do you have for someone considering transcript proofreading, and I feel like you just summed it up. Did you have anything you’d like to add on top of that?

Kat: I would say if you have any kind of inkling of desire to do it, to go for it because the amount of -- the benefits that you reap from it are just so high versus what you put into it. There is a cost associated with it, and for some people, that might not be -- that might be kind of high, but the payoff -- I think I paid it off in the first month and a half. The amount that you get back from it is really quick -- is pretty quick.

But the amount of people that I’ve met and the amount that I’ve learned is just so tremendous that I wouldn’t give that up. And I’ve learned so much. It was harder than I thought it would be, but I’m thankful for that experience. I’m thankful for that difficult time period because I learned a lot about myself, and I’m glad that I can share with other people. So I’m giving back in the way that I can, and I just -- I’ve really enjoyed that.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Well, I can’t tell you how -- I mean, you were active in the group before I asked you to be on my team, and I was like holding my breath, waiting on you to email to be like, please say yes.

But yet you do get -- in just so many ways, not only -- I just love how you’re just to the point. You’re funny. You have your own insight. You’re not afraid to give an opinion that other people don’t have, and I feel like you’ve done this on this podcast. I mean, you’ve been very honest and upfront, and people need to hear that. That’s how I want to be, and I love that you showed up with that, with, yeah, it’s hard. Yeah, you’re going to have moments where you’re like, why?

And then -- but it’s when you keep going and the goals you meet. I’m not going to sum it up because you just said all these amazing things. But thank you, Kat, for sharing not just inside the community. Y’all, if you decide to be a transcript proofreader and join the community, you’ll get to meet Kat and see her Grammar Tips Mondays and have her helping you with your grammar and not just grammar, but also she gets it.

When you feel stuck or overwhelmed, she’s right there to be like, yeah, it’s hard, and if this is what you want, then let’s get to it, kind of the tough love but the bit of humor or a lot of humor mixed in.

So, Kat, thank you for not only sharing that with the students and the grads inside the group but with everybody listening too. This was lots of fun. I really appreciate you taking part of your very busy day to come hang out with us. I appreciate it.

Kat: It’s my absolute pleasure.

Outro: Want to learn more about transcript proofreading? Then check out my free workshop, Is Transcript Proofreading the Right Money Making Business for me? It’s less than an hour, and it answers lots of FAQs around transcript proofreading so you can decide if this is the perfect side hustle for you. You can check it out on TheProofreadingBusinessCoach.com/WorkshopRegistration.

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Meet Elizabeth

Elizabeth Wiegner is a work-from-home proofreader and business coach who teaches other readers and typo fixers how to build a life of freedom as a proofreader. Her energy, love, and personalized support are second to none in the proofreading world.