Janet started her transcript proofreading business at 71 years old! She wanted to supplement her retirement income so she could live comfortably and enjoy her retirement years — all while keeping her brain sharp and building the relationships she craved.

Tune in to hear Janet’s inspiring story of overcoming her fear of failure, the wonderful success she’s experiencing, how she gets rave reviews from her clients, her encouragement and advice to those thinking about starting a transcript proofreading business, and how she believes you too can go after your dreams…at any age.  

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

Elizabeth Wiegner: Today, we have someone so special on the podcast. I have Janet here. She’s one of my grads. And, y’all, she started her business at the very young age of 71 years old, and I am just thrilled for you to meet her, to hear her story, her encouragement because, if you’re watching the video, you would never guess she was 71, or 72. You just had a birthday.

But just the -- I know a lot of people reach out and talk to me about retirement or planning ahead for retirement and kind of, hey, it would be really nice to just have some extra income to feel comfortable or do what I want with my life heading into retirement without having a 9-to-5.

And so Janet has -- her story has just blown me away every time she shows up in our Facebook communities, and she’s always so encouraging and always ready to help and have something funny to say or something encouraging to say. So I know that y’all are absolutely going to love hearing Janet’s story today. So welcome to The Proofreading Business Podcast, Janet.

Janet St. Angelo: Thank you, Elizabeth. I’m so honored to be here. I appreciate it so much.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Well, y’all can hear Janet’s lovely accent too. Tell us where you’re from, too, Janet, because I just love your accent.

Janet St. Angelo: Well, for the first 70 years of my life, I lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and in ‘22, in July of ‘22, I moved to South Texas where I currently live. I moved here to be close to my daughter, and it’s been very positive in that regard. But I left a bunch of people and a very nice life in Baton Rouge, and I got over here with basically no connections. And I just kind of felt displaced for a little while.

Then I came upon the group, the proofreading group, and I’m telling you that group has been such a wonderful, wonderful Godsend to me, giving me the connections that I needed and building a skill, and now I have a business.

Elizabeth Wiegner: So would you say it’s been more than just a -- and I’m already jumping ahead on our questions we’re going to cover, but would you say it’s been more than even just a business for you? It sounds to me like it was like -- it was a -- I don’t know, the friendship, the connection that you needed when life was kind of lonely.

Janet St. Angelo: Yes, absolutely. I was almost at the point of desperation on two levels because I wanted to have a part-time income to supplement my retirement, and I also needed, desperately needed, some connections in my life because I had this wonderful group of friends. I had -- like 35 people came to my going-away party in Baton Rouge.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Wow!

Janet St. Angelo: And so, I mean, that’s just one example. We were, like, older-than-50 singles that supported each other in every way we could, and I missed that when I got over here, so there was a big emptiness in that regard. And so I needed that as well as some additional income, and I got the whole package.

Elizabeth Wiegner: So tell me how you found transcript proofreading then because, and I think I say this every podcast, it’s not something you just, oh, I’m going to be a transcript proofreader. That’s what I want to do when I grow up, so how did you come across or decide -- how did you come across it and then decide that it was the perfect thing for you?

Janet St. Angelo: Well, I was scrolling through Facebook as we all do mostly, and I found one of your reels that you can be a transcript proofreader, and it caught my eye. And then a day or two went by and I saw it again, or I saw another similar one, and I said, you know what? I can do this.

So I clicked on it, and then of course, I went -- I took the free workshop, yada, yada. But I have a background to where I thought it would be a good fit, a minor in English, college, and I’ve always loved the language. I even liked diagramming sentences in high school.

Elizabeth Wiegner: You were one of those, Janet.

Janet St. Angelo: I was one of those, yes. But -- and also, the last 10 years of my career, I’m a registered nurse, retired registered nurse, but the last 10 years of my career I worked for state government in an administrative position. And part of my duties included editing legal documents that became a part of our Louisiana revised statutes.

I became the go-to person in my department for finishing up these documents and word rearrangement and stuff like that so -- and I loved it. I loved it. I thought this proofreading with my educational background, my nursing background, and the history of my work with the editing, I thought it might be a good fit, and I was right.

Elizabeth Wiegner: You sure were, yes. Well, so you mentioned being -- not just your English background but also your nursing background, and we’ve had Candace on the podcast before. She was a registered nurse. How do you feel like your registered nurse background helped with transcript proofreading?

Janet St. Angelo: Oh my goodness. Those medical malpractice cases, oh, they’re right up my alley. I just eat it up because I know those words. I know if the procedure names are spelled right or if -- so I had one today that the court reporter put in profused instead of perfused as an organ becomes perfused with the blood. So I knew what she meant without having to search and try to figure it out.

Now, if it’s a construction transcript, I even asked my contractors the other day as they walked through my living room. What does this mean as far as trusses go? And so I was searching and didn’t know where to go really, but as a nurse, I know if they’ve misstated a word. I might be able to figure out what they do mean in a medical sense.

Elizabeth Wiegner: And for y’all listening, having somebody with a nurse -- you don’t have to have a nursing background to proofread transcripts. Like I proofread medical transcripts, and like that word that Janet mentioned, if I saw that in a transcript, I would Google it and make sure it’s the right context because I don’t know, but Googling will help me or like reaching out to a nurse friend or Janet. But the nice thing when you are a nurse is like Janet doesn’t have to spend that extra time because it’s just like, oh, I know this right here.

Janet St. Angelo: Right, and medical malpractice cases, although they are infrequent for me, I don’t have them every day, but when I do get them, it’s like a little Christmas present because I just love it. I feel like I’m back at the bedside. If it’s a hospital scene, they’re talking about the IV fluids, and I’m thinking, yeah, I was there. I did that. That kind of thing kind of brings back those good memories. So I love those med mals. I really do. But I have a bunch of workers’ comp and a bunch of car accidents. They’re not all that interesting, but I do like them. I do like them.

Elizabeth Wiegner: It’s funny you mentioned that because car wrecks are considered one of the most basic type of transcript. There’s a lot of them because there are a lot of car wrecks with a lot of issues to deal with. And sometimes, yes, you get done and it’s like, well, I’m just glad I got it because I’m getting paid for it.

But sometimes some of the stories, like if they -- they always ask what’s your background or what do you do. Some of the jobs I’ve heard are like I didn’t even know that was a thing. You always find something interesting. But I love how you said it’s a -- it feels like -- getting a job feels like, especially a medical malpractice suit feels like getting a Christmas present because that’s one of the best things about a job is not just to get paid for it but to actually love it.

Janet St. Angelo: Like what you do.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Janet St. Angelo: I remember when I first -- when I got my first transcripts, it was back in March, which was like seven months ago now. I refreshed my inbox every 30 seconds or so to see if I got another transcript to come through. Lord, just let me have one more, that kind of thing. So -- and I would get that one more, and I’d work it, and may I have another one?

Elizabeth Wiegner: And they just kept coming.

Janet St. Angelo: They did. They just picked up. I had two really slow months, and then somehow my marketing must have paid off a little bit because I got steady work after that, and I’m just so grateful and humbled that I have continued with that. I know it might not be as common as I would like everybody to have this success, but I’m very, very grateful for it.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yeah, you’ve -- it seems like -- I think you’ve even posted before -- shared in the grad community like, hey, it’s really busy; can you all help, kind of thing.

Janet St. Angelo: Yes, I have. I have deflected over to my fellow graduates because I’ve had too much work that week or somebody really needed a push, and I just had too much on my plate already. So it’s a wonderful position to be in, and it’s wonderful to have the graduates there that I can trust with the work, and my court reporter won’t get mad that this person took the job and didn’t do a great one, you know?

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Janet St. Angelo: It’s been very good.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Our court reporters are like -- they’re not just clients. They’re more than that.

Janet St. Angelo: Yes, they are. And you know, getting back to the emotional and social connections that I’ve made through this group, I’m now developing relationships with my regular court reporters. That is very -- I mean, that’s a one-on-one thing where we communicate several times a week, and I told one of them about my projects at home, and she’s asking me about them; are they done yet, that kind of thing. And we kind of toss comments back and forth. But -- so I’m -- this -- I’ve made relationships through the group, and I’m making relationships with my clients now.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Well, you even -- oh, sorry. Go ahead.

Janet St. Angelo: I just was going to say that’s so awesome to me.

Elizabeth Wiegner: That’s one of my favorite -- I say that about everything with transcript proofreading.

Janet St. Angelo: I know.

Elizabeth Wiegner: It’s hard. You can’t pick. Okay, one of my favorite things is just like the court reporters I work with now. They aren’t -- yes, we have -- it’s very good too, and you probably feel this way with yours. It is a professional relationship where we both expect each other to respect each other, pay our -- she pays my invoice, and I will do a good job for her.

But then on the other side too, it’s like they remember our birthdays, and we talk about football together, or just things that are -- and you recently had a court reporter remember your birthday in a really special way.

Janet St. Angelo: Oh, it was really special. I told my court reporters upfront that I wanted to take off two days to celebrate my birthday on the long weekend, and so one of them wrote back and asked me for my address. And I gave it to her thinking she’s going to give me a card.

So I said, well, if I’m giving you mine, I want yours so I can send her a Christmas card, or I figured out when her birthday is. I’ll pay her back for what she did. But I got a package at my door. I could tell it was flowers because it said so on the box. It was huge. And so it said open the label to see a message. And I thought, well, surely it’s from my other daughter in Austin and the grandchildren, so I expected to see their names on that message. But it was the court reporter who had asked me for my address.

Elizabeth Wiegner: And, y’all, it was a beautiful bouquet.

Janet St. Angelo: Oh, I’m telling you, and it lasted for 10 days in that vase. I promise you -- you don’t see roses that last that long, but these must have been high-quality flowers, but they were just beautiful. Oh my goodness, of course I emailed the court reporter and I sent her pictures and all and told her how special she was. But that just -- I can’t tell you how big my heart was at that moment because I was just overwhelmed.

And then I didn’t want to share it with the group because I’ve been in the spotlight a little bit in the group because you have brought out how wonderful my story is, and I’m very grateful for that. But I kind of felt like I don’t want to be in the spotlight too much, and I thought, well, but I’m not going to let that stop me from sharing this, so I did post in the group and say how wonderful this event was for me.

Elizabeth Wiegner: I really like you brought that up because it does seem -- and I’ve been on a kick with my students and grads about this lately, and you’ve heard me say this a lot. Any time you have a win, even if it’s every single day as you’re showing up on your business, it’s totally fine to share it because when you have wins, it is super motivating to other people too to be like, well, she did it. I can do this too. I’m going to keep working at it, and it’s just the feel-good fuzzy feeling.

Janet St. Angelo: I think I’m over that little trepidation about sharing. So I just -- like I said, I think my success has been not the norm. I think I’ve been a little bit above normal on that, and I wish for every one of my graduates that they were experiencing -- my fellow graduates, that they were feeling the same thing I do.

So anyway, it will come. I can just encourage them to keep on doing what they’re doing, and do something for your business every day. If you don’t have any work coming in, I would suggest reading the practice transcripts again just to keep those wheels oiled and ready to roll when your work does come through.

And market yourself as your personal method to market yourself. I get a little bold with my marketing, but other personalities may not feel that way that that would be what they would like to do for themselves. But that’s just what’s worked for me.

Elizabeth Wiegner: I feel -- what I’ve seen contribute to your success and what is typically what contributes to other -- not typically, it is what contributes to other students’ success is when you are consistently doing something for your business and determining that you will show up and put in the work even if there are days where you don’t feel like it or days you feel like doing it all.

It’s the consistency, and that’s what I’ve seen from you is, like you mentioned, if you didn’t have -- like when you were first getting started and it was a little slower, you went back into the practice transcripts to keep making yourself the best proofreader that you could be. And then you consistently marketed, and then you’re consistently giving the best of yourself to your court reporters, and that’s what ultimately brings in the clients.

Janet St. Angelo: That’s right. That’s what causes success.

Elizabeth Wiegner: It’s not the glamorous side. It’s not the get-rich-quick.

Janet St. Angelo: No, no, and I won’t be getting rich quick, but you know what? This beautiful townhome that I bought did not have a bathtub in the master bathroom. It had a walk-in, stand-up shower, and I’m a bath person.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Same.

Janet St. Angelo: I love my bath. So I was walking across the house to go get in the guest room bathtub. So what this -- like I said, I’m not going to get rich quick. I just don’t feel that this would be the avenue for that, and that’s not my goal. I wanted something to supplement my modest retirement income and be able to give me those extra things, either a fancy vacation once in a while or something I wanted to do. And getting back to the bathtub issue, that was one thing I wanted to do.

After I had, like, six months or five months of steady work and I was seeing what I was bringing in with my new business, I felt confident enough to go and get a home equity loan. And now I’m having contractors, as we speak, remodel my master bathroom to include a very big soaking tub and all kinds of stuff.

So my dream of having that bathtub is now one of my motivators for the business because now I have a quota so to speak, my own quota that I need to make every month to pay that loan back. So -- and I think that’s all great. I think it’s like the fueling its own fire kind of thing, and I get the beautiful bathroom out of the whole deal.

Elizabeth Wiegner: I am same. I love a big soaking bathtub. And you can even -- you get one of those little trays across. You can even bring your laptop or iPad in and sit there and proof before you know it.

Janet St. Angelo: No, I won’t be proofing in the tub. I have boundaries.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Oh Janet, that’s good. I have proofed in the tub before, so clearly I don’t have that boundary. But, hey, when you need to relax, no, you probably want to just -- or you don’t want to worry about dropping it in the bathtub. That was always my thing.

Well, tell me, when you first got started, what were you most worried about when you were starting your business? Because I know everybody, when they’re coming from a 9-to-5, and especially as you -- because you had a part-time job when you started.

So how -- it’s very different going into owning your own business and being responsible for your business and how you show up and the clients you want to work with. It’s the awesome part of being your own boss, but it can also be the scary part. So what were some of the concerns that you had when you got started? And flipside, how did you overcome those as you started working on your business?

Janet St. Angelo: I was concerned that I would not finish the course, and I was concerned that I would fail. I had big anxiety over that because sometimes in my life, I’ve been known to start something and not finish it. And when you get to be my age, my tender age here, you kind of look back at your life and you see these cycles or these episodes that you go through where you started something and you didn’t finish it, or you set up a whole art room in your house, and you only did it for one year, that kind of stuff.

So I remember emailing a friend and saying I just hope this is not one of the things that I’m just going to not finish, and it will stack up in the corner of my life with all of those other things that I didn’t finish. I remember emailing someone about that. And I got back a very encouraging email. Just do it, Janet. You can do this. Be confident in yourself. And I took that email to heart. And I just stepped back for a minute. I prayed and asked God to give me the courage and the strength to go forward, and I got it.

And I just kept on, and so I finished the course. I didn’t pass the transcript exam the first time around, and I was disappointed in myself and also had a little attitude there. I thought I should have passed this.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Oh Janet, I think most do.

Janet St. Angelo: But I checked it, and I got over that and submitted the second one and passed. So I had a big fear of not finishing. Although I had paid my tuition and all that, I had that investment in it, but I was just like, okay, you’re going to throw this money away because you don’t think you can do it. Well, I got the courage to go on. And that’s my encouragement to anybody with those thoughts. We’re our own worst critic.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Janet St. Angelo: If we -- I’m speaking for myself. If there is a way to criticize myself, I’ll do it. And that’s really not that healthy, but that’s just the way I am, and I have to fight against that, and this was one of those times.

After I’d finished all the course work, I was still afraid. But my quick response that I’ve had to the court reporting field has given me very much encouragement, very much, and I don’t have the fear anymore. So if I don’t get work by Wednesday, it’s coming in Thursday and Friday. That’s just been my experience. So I’m confident that this is where I need to be, and this is what I need to be doing.

Elizabeth Wiegner: I think that’s -- sometimes -- there are two different types of students. There’s one like you who it’s like, oh, I’m afraid I’m not going to finish it, or I’m not going to do well when I do finish. And then there are those who think they will do amazing and then don’t actually study, and then it’s just that discouragement too. So it’s two opposite ends.

I definitely fall in the, I don’t know if I’m going to make this work. I hope this is not a waste of money. This is going to end up -- I think all of us at some point, even the most motivated people, have those -- that pile, like you said, in the corner of we thought we would be amazing at it, and we didn’t.

But I remember when you failed your first exam, and I encouraged you to, Janet, get in the community and start asking questions. I said I don’t see you asking questions a lot there. Get in there. Ask questions. And you did. You took every single bit of advice I gave you, and you -- it was like you were a completely different person, not like you changed, but it was just -- it was like a --

Janet St. Angelo: You’re right. I was pretty quiet for a long time because, I’ll tell you, getting back to my age, I didn’t think I fit in too well with the crowd that’s there, which is 30s, 40s or something. I don’t know of anybody in the group that’s as old as I am, and I kind of was feeling my age, and I kept kind of quiet.

But you encouraged me to ask questions and reciprocate and engage with the others, and I did that. And, Elizabeth, I just want to say this here. You are the best coach that I could ever imagine. I’m not saying that to butter you up. It’s just a fact. You’ve got a course that’s organized. You’ve got a course that is thorough, easily searchable for whatever topic you need. And you have encouraged us every point along the way, and I just have to put that in your basket of compliments today because they’re all true.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Well, thank you. Thank you. You make it easy to do. You really do. That’s -- I love being there for those who want to show up for themselves, and you did. You took exactly what I said, and you made it happen. Like I was just -- I was like, look at her go.

And when you -- the questions you were asking, I could see a progress and like, okay, she’s really thinking through this. She’s using her resources. It makes sense. And then when you came back for your second exam, it was like a no-brainer. It was like, yeah, Janet passed.

So it was really neat to see you go from -- and maybe it was part of -- I don’t know. Maybe it was part of the thinking maybe you would fail, kind of thing, and that maybe that held you back too. I don’t know. But it felt like once you realized, like okay, this is what I want to do, it’s like nothing stops you.

Janet St. Angelo: Well, I had the encouragement of having a quick response from my ads that I put out there, and then repeat clients coming back. That right there is a boost in morale. To have somebody read your work that you did for them and then ask you to do more, that is icing on the cake. And we live for that. I mean, that’s -- I have, like, four regular court reporters, and that’s what I need is that repeat work from them, and I’m confident if I don’t get one for two days from one particular court reporter, I feel like it’s coming, and it does.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Oh, it never fails.

Janet St. Angelo: I’ve developed that relationship, and they see my work ethic and the fact that I do my best. And sometimes I make mistakes, and I have to email back and say, oh, I didn’t catch this on part one. I’m seeing it on part two. Please make the correction on page whatever because I’ll go back into part one and research that, the first instance that that occurred and give them a heads up about it.

Elizabeth Wiegner: And they love -- you know, when you send transcripts in parts, it’s hard to catch something that finally clicks in part two. And so they -- I know court reporters appreciate. Every time I’ve had that -- every good court proofreader has had that happen.

It’s like you email them back and they’re like, oh, I’m just glad you told me so I could fix it, kind of thing instead of saving your -- like trying to save your own face when you really don’t because -- and you’ve made such a good point about it’s your -- if you want repeat clients, you have to not only know what you’re doing, which you mentioned previously like you even got back into the practice transcripts while you were waiting on clients.

But you -- your work ethic and showing up for and being a friend to them and doing your best and being humble when you do make a mistake and letting them know so they can fix it. That is what court reporters want from their proofreaders.

Janet St. Angelo: I think that’s what any person would want in a coworker or in a cohort that you’re working with. They want that genuine spirit. They want the hard work. They want the good work product, all of that. So it’s not just in court reporting and proofreading, but it’s just good business etiquette, if you want to call it that.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Absolutely, which that was perfect, Janet, you said that because I feel -- proofreading is like -- it’s a gate -- it’s a gateway to all these other opportunities. And I’m not saying like you just stay with proofreading, like that’s the only thing you’ll ever do, kind of thing.

But if you only stayed with proofreading, that is totally fine, and all these doors that will open when you know how to run your own business and market and how to treat clients well and how to take feedback and prove to yourself that you can do it, it’s like literally the sky is the limit on things that you can do for yourself.

Janet St. Angelo: Right. I have a daughter who’s an entrepreneur. She has a specialty cake business that she -- people will call her or text her and send her a picture of the kind of cake she wants. She goes in her kitchen and stirs it up and decorates it. She’s got a thriving business, but she works all the time because it’s a physical-type labor. She’s got to be in the kitchen and baking. But I’m so proud of her for doing that. My other daughter is an entrepreneur as well. She’s got -- she’s a registered dietician, and she has an online business that she has with clients.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Wow!

Janet St. Angelo: So I’m just really --

Elizabeth Wiegner: You’re following in their footsteps.

Janet St. Angelo: I am because they were established before I was.

Elizabeth Wiegner: I love it. Usually it’s the other way around. Well, I’m sure they’re proud of you too to see you going for it yourself too.

Janet St. Angelo: I think they are.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Well, they should be. I am proud of you. So you mentioned a few times you’ve had slower periods, and then like how quickly also you’ve gotten clients and taken time to build your clientele up. How soon did you get your first client?

Janet St. Angelo: I think it was within the first month. I was trying to pinpoint that, and I don’t remember when I put the first posting out that I’m a proofreader and send me work, kind of thing.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Janet St. Angelo: I don’t remember when that was, but it was -- I think it was less than a month from then until I got my first contact. And someone said the other day in one of our meet-ups that it’s all about being at the right place at the right time. I don’t think it’s all about that, but that’s a good piece of it because that very day I remember exactly where I was sitting, on the couch, and I was thumbing through my phone, and I came up with the professional site, Stenovate. And somebody had just posted a request for an immediate transcript. So I just didn’t even think about what they had said, and there was work.

So I clicked I’m interested. I will email you. Within a minute of her posting that, I had responded. And that was my first job. There were -- when I went back 10 minutes later, there were 12 other people that had done the same thing I did and said they were available. But I guess this one court reporter looked at the first comment, and that’s why she gave it to me. And I remember that day. I was shaking. I was visibly shaking. I thought, this is -- I’ve worked for this, but it’s here and I’m scared.

Elizabeth Wiegner: And it’s a rush. You didn’t have time to just fiddle around with it.

Janet St. Angelo: No. It was. I needed to get it out by 2 p.m. that day, and it wasn’t extremely long. I can’t remember, maybe 60 pages, but I was very slow. I’m not the fastest one now even. But anyway, I called -- contacted a friend and asked her to pray for me because I needed that encouragement to know that I wasn’t alone in this.

But anyway, I finished with two hours to spare, and the court reporter was extremely thankful that I had gotten it back to her. And she went to that Stenovate site, and she gave me a five-star review. And I’m telling you, I don’t know if she knew I was a brand new person out there or not. Maybe I hid it quite well. I don’t know. But she gave me a five-star review and said a couple of positive things about my work.

So I took that little five-star, and I screenshot that, and I thought, hmm, this might be a good way to make a Facebook ad. So I have used that, and I do believe that that is the reason for additional work coming through. So use what you’ve got. If you get a compliment that’s in writing, take advantage of sharing that with others.

Elizabeth Wiegner: And that just goes to the point of a couple things, always doing your best work, even if it’s for a one-time client or a recurring client. It doesn’t matter if you’ll never see their face again. Just from a moral standpoint of just doing your best job. But also when you do a good job, it affects so many things down the line and to the point of, yes, you were brand new.

The reason she can’t tell is because you’ve had so much practice under your belt. Yes, it was the first time working with a client, but you have -- there’s a reason why I have so much -- this is not easy for you all to go through and just, oh, I’m done and just be on my way. It’s put in the work, and then people see you as the expert proofreader that you are from day one.

Janet St. Angelo: Well, you know, getting back to how much experience we have under our belts by the time we finish your course, I remember when I was picking out my business name, my business is Janet’s Precision Proofreading. And I remember how -- we all post and toss around ideas for our business names in the group, and I said I’m a little bit concerned that it’s pretentious because being precision-oriented, and I’m a brand new -- newbie.

And I remember you commented on that and you said you’re not going to be a newbie once you get out of this course. And you know, it’s true because I think there were over 3,000 pages of transcripts to proof, to practice on, and we do have that under our belts when we get out of the course. So it’s not like you’re just jumping into a pool and not knowing how to swim because --

Elizabeth Wiegner: That’s a bad feeling.

Janet St. Angelo: -- we all took swimming lessons with you.

Elizabeth Wiegner: That is a great analogy, yes. That is -- it’s -- you -- court reporters, they have a very important job, and they’re very busy, and they have very high standards for their proofreaders. And so they want to work with somebody who knows what they’re doing, and you did exactly that for your very first client, and that was -- and it set you up for wonderful success, which is awesome.

Janet St. Angelo: This particular one has not become a regular with me on a recurring basis, but I do hear from her sporadically.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Nice.

Janet St. Angelo: But after that, it wasn’t long after that, shortly after that, I got my first repetitive client who’s still with me today. So it just happened very quickly for me, and I’m just totally grateful for that, and it’s what I wish for every one of my fellow graduates that they would experience this. It’s just -- it’s wonderful. It’s actually -- to know that you’re succeeding in something that you studied for -- it took me four months to go through the course. I just let myself have time.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Janet St. Angelo: And then setting up all the business aspects of what you need to do. And then shortly after that, start succeeding. That’s the way I want to say it should be. That’s anybody -- I’ll say it like this. That’s anybody’s dream of how it should be. It doesn’t always happen that way, but I wish that every one of the people in my class experience this at one point.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Same, yes. And your wonderful example of how to make it happen by -- you put -- you recognized it was scary, but you did it anyways, and you showed up consistently, and you do good work. And I know that sounds like I’m really dumbing it down and simplifying it, but really what it comes down to is that. You can’t short-cut it.

Janet St. Angelo: No. It’s a simple concept that you just mentioned, and they have to be done. Those are the basic tenets of how you’re going to have a successful business, by doing good work, staying consistent, doing it every day. Do something for your business every day, maybe not on Saturday and Sunday, but I’m learning to set boundaries with the weekends, and that’s very helpful.

Elizabeth Wiegner: So it’s not like you’re just sipping margaritas on the beach all day and just making money. Passive income is a really hot term on social media where you just have money come pouring in while you do nothing. There is no business like that. There is more background to it, but when you show up, you really do eventually -- and for some, yes, it happens faster than others.

It a lot of times has to do with how much time you have or how consistent you’re willing to be or how willing you are to take advice and run with it. But when you do, you can be building your own bathroom and pergola and having your own bathtub coming up.

Janet St. Angelo: I look at some of the classmates that I’ve had, and they’re young ladies with two kids at home trying to work and take care of their family and now pursuing the course, and I applaud them. I don’t know that I would have been able to do that. Just having two children drove me bananas, but I --

Elizabeth Wiegner: I know.

Janet St. Angelo: I stopped working to be a stay-at-home mom while they were little so -- and that’s something I always will cherish because not many people are able to do that. But I did and I don’t know that I would have been able to tackle something like the proofreading course at that stage of life.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yeah, it amazes me. Like Candace, a previous grad on the podcast, and Kat, both are moms, and Kat even has a full-time job and just -- it amazes me how -- it really comes down to prioritizing, and you’ve just got to want to do it. It’s not fun in the process, but it’s worth it in the long run, kind of thing.

Janet St. Angelo: Absolutely.

Elizabeth Wiegner: So what would you say -- we’ve kind of talked about this throughout, but if you could pinpoint a couple one or two things that are your favorite things about having your own transcript proofreading business now. You know I can’t summarize that, so I’m asking you to.

Janet St. Angelo: Being able to work when I want to and to work as much as I want to. I mean, you have a job 8 to 5. You’re done at 5, right? But if you’re into something you really like, maybe you wanted to work another couple of hours and you’re not eligible for overtime, kind of thing. I can work as long as I want to. I don’t have an employer or a clock telling me when and how to work.

So I can work as long or as short as I want. Now, short, I have to qualify that because I have responsibilities that I need to take care of with my money, and so I have to make a certain amount per month because of the improvements I’m making on my home now. But that ability to control that aspect of it is a very important part.

I like building the relationship with my clients. That’s important. I’m a people person, and without people, I don’t flourish. So building those relationships really have helped. And I’m also making friends with my neighbors here. Don’t think that I’m just a social media person. I have people in my life that are real. I know you’re real, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Wiegner: You can see them.

Janet St. Angelo: I know you’re real.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Nope. Janet, you gave my secret away.

Janet St. Angelo: Anyway, so that -- and I have to say, Elizabeth, this is not under the heading of what do you like most about your job. I guess it might be. It’s the group. It’s the people. This has been the most supportive group I’ve ever been connected with. So I keep saying that, but it’s so true.

Elizabeth Wiegner: I am blown away by the student community and the grad community just how kind -- I mean, yes, I have -- my team is in there, Kat and Colleen, who are amazing at answering questions. But it’s like -- it’s not just dependent on me and them to be in there. It’s everybody jumps in and it’s like not just grammar help or business help, although it is really neat. Like we have some in there who are really good at tech, and then there are some who are just excellent at explaining grammar. You also have those -- if you’re needing a confidence boost or you want to celebrate, it is -- everybody is there for each other.

Janet St. Angelo: That’s right. We’re all there for each other for everything. And I felt so comfortable that I’ve shared things on there, and I’ve gotten positive response. So anyway, it’s all about that and being my own boss. And I really like -- I like my work. I look forward -- I wake up in the morning and I think, oh, did I finish that medical malpractice, or do I start another one? Let’s see. I’m looking forward to the meat of what I’m going to be reading.

Elizabeth Wiegner: That is -- how many people can say that they wake up in the morning and are just excited to -- what work do I have today.

Janet St. Angelo: Right, right. It’s -- when you love what you do, you never have a job. It’s not a job. It’s an enjoyment.

Elizabeth Wiegner: And then you’re like, I get paid for this?

Janet St. Angelo: I know. I know. Sometimes I do get mentally exhausted. Every proofreader gets that. You just kind of hit a brick wall, and you have to just -- it’ll do for tomorrow. Put a placemark. Go on, do -- it will take up tomorrow.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes, because if you keep trying to push, it’s like -- it’s not going to go well. You’re not going to go well, and the transcript is not going to go well.

Janet St. Angelo: Exactly, exactly.

Elizabeth Wiegner: So you mentioned you were a people person, which most people, when they are proofreaders, would definitely say they’re introverts. This is a very introvert-heavy field to get into. How -- and so it’s fun talking to a people person. How would you say -- I guess I’m trying to figure out how to word what I’m going to say.

A lot of introverts feel like it’s perfect because they don’t have to see people, and they don’t have to get up and actually go face-to-face marketing. You can face-to-face market if you want, but you don’t have to. So for those of us who are extroverts, would you say the part that keeps you motivated is -- and fulfilled is actually getting to hang out with your clients, hang out online, kind of thing?

Janet St. Angelo: Well, there’s not a lot of hanging out in my day-to-day with them, but it’s the connection. It’s just like we’ll email back and forth about the transcript, and sometimes it will be some personal stuff. But it’s not a whole lot. Like you and I are hanging out in this interview. I call that hanging out when we’ve got minutes and minutes together. That’s not what I’m doing with my clients.

But it’s just -- now, I know that the one that lives in South Carolina has a husband, and she just remodeled her kitchen, that kind of thing. I’m kind of getting a little glimpse into their lives. And that’s the one who raises thoroughbred horses, so you get to know these people a little bit. And it doesn’t take me much to get emotionally connected with another person, so this has all been good. I don’t feel like I could say that they would -- I don’t know. I hate to not use the word friend, but there’s different types of friends.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Janet St. Angelo: There are -- I’ll say they’re friendly court reporters, and if we had the opportunity, we’d probably develop friendships, but I’m enjoying that, and I think that little extrovert part of my personality is getting fed through that.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Good. Well, I’m glad you mentioned that because it’s not often you talk to an introvert -- or an extroverted proofreader, so it is nice. Okay, well, if you are an extrovert, how does that kind of fulfill you while you’re still working at home. And I mean, part of it is you can get out and do things. It’s not like you have to rely on your job for it either.

Janet St. Angelo: Exactly. Something else I’m thinking of that you mentioned before, what do you like most about. See, these things, there’s so many mosts that I like about this job.

Elizabeth Wiegner: We’re same.

Janet St. Angelo: So one thing is I know that I’m providing a needed service for these people. These court reporters do a very critical thing for our justice system. When you stop and think about it, the testimony that they’re taking down is very critical for the people, especially if it’s a trial for wrongdoing. It’s very critical that they get it right, and then it’s put on my plate and I’m very -- have to be very responsible in getting that back to them. They’re relying on me for a service to polish their document, to make it accurate, and I feel like I’m fulfilling a need for them. So that’s another part of what I enjoy.

Elizabeth Wiegner: And I think that’s your nurse side coming out where you’re serving. You’re helping. You’re there for somebody. I love that. It does -- it feels good when you know you’re making a difference in somebody else’s life and not just the court reporters. You’re making a difference for the people who get the transcripts, and with the court reporters usually you proofing gives them time to do something else, which means it’s affecting their family life, their friend life, and it’s -- it feels good knowing you can do that.

Janet St. Angelo: Yes.

Elizabeth Wiegner: So what encouragement would you have for somebody -- let’s make this super specific. You’re a retiree. What encouragement would you have for somebody who’s heading into retirement or in retirement right now? What encouragement would you have for them if they’re thinking about starting their own business, specifically transcript proofreading?

Janet St. Angelo: Well, I would suggest that you consider it, I call it prayerfully because my faith is a big part of my life. Prayerfully consider it, and then just go to the free workshop. Just click on the link that will bring you to the free workshop. It’s like 45 minutes I think.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yeah, under an hour.

Janet St. Angelo: It will tell you exactly what the course is about and give you a little overview of what could happen. That’s what I did, and of course I have all good things to say about that since. You’ve heard them all. But I would encourage someone to do that and not think about I’m too old to do this. There is not any too old to do this. I’m living proof of that. At 71 I started my business, and anyway, so here I am, a ripe old age of 72, and I’m still going.

Elizabeth Wiegner: And you all would never guess it either. Oh, I love it. Before, we were talking about -- before we hit record, we were talking about how it’s just helped your mental space, like keeping your mind sharp. Can you talk to that a little bit?

Janet St. Angelo: Yes, it does. When you’re getting into a transcript, your mind is sharp, and getting those commas and those periods and those tenses and the spellings and all that, you have to be sharp. So this has helped my brain acuity, I believe, in other areas. Because I’m sharp with that, I go through the day a little bit not stumbling around. What was that word I was looking for? It doesn’t help all the time because memory is a real big issue when you get older.

Elizabeth Wiegner: It’s an issue now. Don’t tell me that, Janet.

Janet St. Angelo: Well, just wait, Elizabeth. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Elizabeth Wiegner: I better keep proofing.

Janet St. Angelo: Yeah, do that. Do that. But it’s -- I think it keeps you sharp because you’re having to use tiny, tiny little marks on a page. You have to concentrate on that so it gives your brain some extra boost I believe.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Hey, that’s another side perk too of proofreading is just keeping your brain sharp and going.

Janet St. Angelo: That’s right.

Elizabeth Wiegner: So is there anything, as we wrap up, that you would like to say extra that you feel would encourage -- because I know you’re a big encourager. Is there anything that you feel like would inspire or that you just want to get off your chest or anything about proofing? I know that’s a wide-open door, but you can take it wherever you like.

Janet St. Angelo: This is something that I’ve learned myself in the last year. Believe in yourself. Don’t make yourself think I can’t do that. I’m just not able. Believe in yourself. If you have the tools and the time, do it. Just do it. That’s -- I was -- like I said before, I was concerned that I would quit, and I was concerned that I wouldn’t finish doing what I needed to do to set it up.

But it turned out that I stuck with it, and I have confidence in my business now because it’s proven to me over the last six months that it is a steady thing. So I believe in myself that I’m a good proofreader. Those court reporters keep coming back, so I must be okay. I am -- I’m learning more even at this age to believe in myself and to be strong. So that would be my encouragement.

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.