Samantha was making minimum wage working nights in retail. Last Christmas, she sold personal belongings to be able to afford gifts for her kids. She and her husband kept their chins up, but it was tough.

Then Samantha stumbled across transcript proofreading, and everything changed. She quit her job, had a four-figure week less than two months after launching her own business, and now she can do “little” things like take off on a hike with her kids whenever she wants.

I won’t spoil all of this episode though! Tune in to listen to Samantha’s incredible journey and the practical advice she has for you so you can turn your life around too.

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Thank you!

Thank you for taking the time to invest in YOU by listening to this episode! Please hit subscribe so you catch every episode — and share with anyone needing encouragement or curious about starting their proofreading side hustle too.

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

Elizabeth Wiegner: Welcome to another episode of The Proofreading Business Podcast, and I have one of my grads on here that you all are going to fall in love with as soon as she starts talking. It’s Samantha. She is a recent grad, but she has -- I think you started back in May, and it’s now -- if you’re listening to this podcast right when it comes out, it’s in the middle of November.

Samantha has completely turned her life around with transcript proofreading, and she is an inspiration to me, to the students and grads inside the community, and it is -- I am just so excited to have you on today. So thank you for taking time this evening to jump on and talk about your journey to being a transcript proofreader.

Samantha Thomas: Thanks for having me. I’m excited.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Me too. All right, well, y’all, we have so much good stuff to talk about, so I’m just going to jump right in because I know that Samantha and I could talk all day, but we won’t keep y’all here all day. So Samantha, tell me about you. What did you do before proofreading, and what got you interested in transcripts? Because transcripts are not something people are like, I’m going to be a transcript proofreader. So tell me.

Samantha Thomas: So before proofreading, obviously, I was stressing. That’s what I was doing before proofreading. I was stressing financially. I was stressing about just what I was going to do because I am a young mom, and I started having kids really young. And so when you do that and you don’t finish college, you feel directionless in a way.

I know lots of people like to say the kids are all you need and they are your mission and they are the greatest mission, and that’s all true, but they’re going to leave. So I really was already starting to feel directionless because they do -- that doesn’t just happen when they’re 18. It’s like when they’re little, they rely on you a lot, but they do reach a certain point a lot sooner than you might think where they get way more independent, and then you’re sitting there and you’re like, oh, okay. I don’t have all this -- especially if they’re public schooled, which mine are not. Mine are homeschooled, but at the same time, they’re still very independent. And so then you have all this time that there’s only so much laundry I can fold in a day.

But -- so I needed something to do, but on top of that, so technically speaking, my resume, before proofreading, I was in retail. I was a receptionist. I have been a waitress, and this is all while I’ve had kids. This is not like my high school jobs. And I did go back to school, so I did college at my community college and missed a couple classes, so I didn’t actually graduate, had the kids, was the waitress, was the receptionist, did all the minimum job work.

I’ve done MLM trying to make ends meet and trying to find my purpose, and then I did go back to school and took my last two classes and got my associate’s, but it’s in nothing. It’s a community college associate’s.

Elizabeth Wiegner: You got it done.

Samantha Thomas: And my husband gives me so much grief about that, but I’m like, it’s not -- it’s not in anything. So it’s just basic.

So really I was just like minimum wage. That was my trajectory. If I wanted to do anything after motherhood, during motherhood, it was going to be selling essential oils or something minimum wage, retail, waitressing, which is exactly what I was doing last year.

Now, how I heard about transcript proofreading, what got me into it, and so the legal transcript proofreading I had never heard of. I had never thought that that was even a niche. But what got me into the idea of proofreading is even in high school I was like if I could have a dream job, it would be to get paid to be a grammar -- I’m writing everybody’s college papers, and I’m proofreading everything for free. I was an idiot.

And to this day, I don’t know what it is, but editing seems like it has just tanked, and I’ll be reading a book just for fun, and I get hung up on so many little things. So I always knew that proofreading was something that I would be so good at and absolutely love, but I didn’t know how to go about it or get my foot in the door.

Now, legal transcript proofreading, that did not come into my brain until you on Instagram, on Instagram, and so I’ll go off on a little side tangent. But I found you on Instagram because -- so I’m working retail making ends meet, and this is so cool because this time, exactly this time last year, my kids and I were selling so many of our personal items trying to afford birthdays and Christmas. That was how we had to do it. We had to decide what can we possibly part with to sell to afford Christmas and birthdays.

And I was frantically and desperately putting out job applications to those minimum wage, anybody that will take me after six years out of service. I was sacrificing -- I had decided that I needed to sacrifice my nights and my weekends so that we could make ends meet, have a little bit of extra so that we didn’t have to be strapped for the rest of our lives. I’m just not enough -- I need my kids to enjoy their life, okay, and not be like, I’m sorry; peanut butter and jelly again because mom can’t afford anything else.

But -- so that’s where we were at. I thought my trajectory was minimum wage and retail and no nights or weekends with my family. Well, my husband is the breadwinner. He’s a diesel mechanic, and he’s top tier. He’s making the most he’s ever going to make, and we’re still struggling.

So at the turn of the new year, he gets his new vacation week. He gets one week of vacation every year, and so the turn of 2023, we were like, how do we want to spend this week this year? And I said, well, I just picked up retail jobs, so I don’t get time off. It’s not a thing. I’m not allowed to have a week off. I don’t get weekends off. We’re not going anywhere.

So we had a talk that we -- there were so many things that we wanted to do and see and experience, and this is -- we’re fresh coming off -- my dad passed away unexpectedly a couple years ago before retirement age. So you count on retirement, and then it doesn’t happen. So we’re fresh on that perspective, and so I’m like, we have so much we want to do and see, and we’re not guaranteed time. So how can we financially afford that? How can we afford to take the time off?

And I said, let’s take a whole year off. Let’s join the RV life people.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Samantha Thomas: They’re out there. Let’s go be full-time RVers for like a year, take time off, but to be able to financially afford that, we have to sell the house. And we’re like, that’s fine. That’s fine. We’ve been uprooted enough times. So I have all of this stuff I’m following on Instagram, on YouTube for the RV thing, for the RV thing so that we can do our vacation for a year and just get it all out of the way.

And my husband says, I’m okay with taking a year off but not completely no income. You’ve got to find something that’s a couple hundred dollars a month. I don’t care. And he had finally come around to the idea. He’s like, a break sounds nice. It’s not going to be me working. He’s like, you better find something you can do from the road that will have some income coming in. And that’s -- it’s so funny. One of the RV life pages I follow on Instagram, she did one of those posts where she’s like, here’s all the things you can do from the road to make money.

And she just put editor in a long list of things. And you know how on Instagram it will tell you so-and-so liked this and 53,000 other people liked this. That so-and-so was you. I had never heard of you before. Yes, it was you.

And so her thing flashed editor in my face among all these other things, and I was like, oh yeah, okay. I don’t know what to do with that. And then The Proofreading Business Coach likes it, and I’m like, well, that’s a lead. So I clicked on your profile, and I just tore apart your social media and your website because obviously you linked your website, and it just -- I just went down the rabbit hole of all this information that you provide on how to do this.

So that was how I started with legal transcript proofreading. I always thought proofreading was for me. I don’t know how to get started with it being a dropout and a mom with nothing but minimum wage, retail work. And the transcript proofreading, the legal stuff, came in because I found you on Instagram on an RV life page. And I was like, I am bucking the system. So it just was like hand in hand. It all went together. I’m not going to live my life according to what other people say. I’m going to live in an RV. Well, how am I going to make money? I’m going to follow Elizabeth’s plan.

And it’s just been the key because, like I said, I always said my dream job would be proofreading. I just didn’t know how to do it, and then there you are on an RV page for some reason.

Elizabeth Wiegner: What are the chances? I never heard that story before. That is amazing.

Samantha Thomas: It’s wild. It’s completely wild, and that’s where it’s just like those little things, when they line up, it’s just all the affirmation. And I don’t know how many times I’ve said that to my husband over the course of this year of pursuing this. So many little things have lined up that it’s like you can’t say that that’s not meant to be, you know?

Elizabeth Wiegner: Wow. That is -- that’s amazing.

Samantha Thomas: I was on there for a whole other piece of information, and I found you and here we are. I own a business, and I’m successful, and I don’t have to kiss butt in retail anymore. What?

Elizabeth Wiegner: What just happened?

Samantha Thomas: No, seriously. That’s why I’m like, I need to take some time and process this shock. When you tell me how much time and effort I’ve spent on it, I’m like, no, this just happened. I’m still reeling.

Elizabeth Wiegner: So you said that you -- I practically had a stalker I didn’t even know about before.

Samantha Thomas: Pretty much.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Tell me kind of some of the things that -- because I know -- I’ve talked to people for months at time even a year or more at a time as they’re thinking about it. So tell me what kind of things were holding you back and that were like, I’m just not sure about this before I take the leap because it is -- especially -- it is an investment. It’s a time investment. It’s a money investment.

And yes, it all pays off, but when you’re struggling, it’s not something that’s like, oh, I’m just going to do this right now, kind of thing. So tell me kind of your thought process. What were you most worried about starting your business? How did you decide this right here was for you after I had a stalker for a while? The best stalker ever.

Samantha Thomas: I was your stalker, and then I was all up in your messages. I -- you say you talk to people a year. Well, that makes me feel better because I felt like I was grating you over the coals trying to get you to prove yourself to me, and I’ve said that before on my social media when I promoted you is I’m like, listen. She had so much time and patience with me, but you did not stoop. You did not beg me to buy your course, and that spoke volumes to me.

I’ve had so many people. Being in the MLM industry myself, I’ve had so many people be like, you would make a great teammate. You would make such a great teammate. Would you -- you know what? I saw you telling people that these diapers work the best for your kid, so you would just be so fantastic on my team. And I’m like mm-kay. And I bought it, hook, line, and sinker. I bought it before.

So I’ve just -- I’ve come to recognize what is and isn’t genuine, and you’re very genuine, and that just came across immediately. So then it -- yeah, I didn’t have to question the genuineness after several DMs.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Good.

Samantha Thomas: I was like, Elizabeth, tell me about this course. And then just dissecting your website and getting all this information. So then it becomes about the investment, the money investment. Well, I had just picked up -- what was this, in May. I think I started questioning you in April. I started interrogating you over the spring, and I had already been like, three, four months in my retail job. And I had picked up the retail job -- we were making ends meet, but we were a paycheck-to-paycheck family. So the retail job -- and because I didn’t understand that this is how this is now. It wasn’t when I was in high school with a job.

But now part time is actually more full time, just without benefits. So I made a lot more money than I had anticipated. So we were able to finish paying off our expenses, have a little bit of extra change, and my husband being the gracious man that he is is like, listen. We’ve got everything covered. What would you like to spend this on? And rather than go bling bling shopping --

Elizabeth Wiegner: Which is tempting.

Samantha Thomas: Oh, it’s so tempting. When you’ve been in five years of strapped for cash, it’s very tempting. But we’ve just been through enough seasons, and I’m so thankful now. That’s the only thing you can count on when you go through hard seasons is you have a great perspective on the future, and you have a great appreciation for the now moment and the future moment.

And so we had been discussing the RV thing, which then in turn leads to playing the long game. How do you play the long game? Because if you’re not guaranteed time, how do you want to live our life? What are your priorities? And to get there, it’s not an overnight -- we’ve talked about this so much. It’s not an overnight thing, so you have to play the long game. So that was another reason that the investment became worth it to me. Also, PayPal does payments, so that’s totally…

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes. Oh, I love that option.

Samantha Thomas: You don’t have to part with all of it at one time. And then, like I said, the little tiny lineup things that lined up was -- so I interrogated you over the spring. Come around May, I had bought the first part of the course, and I breezed through it so fast. I just ate it all up.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes, you did.

Samantha Thomas: I was so ready for it. And then I was like, oh, phases 2 and 3, and then you ran your birthday special. And I was like -- I talked my husband into taking advantage, and he was like, you should absolutely just go for it because clearly this is something you want to do. We’ve already invested in the first phase. You’re good at it. I can see the long-term potential to a degree. Like I said, it’s blessed our socks off, so we didn’t understand at all -- at all -- what our lives would be like on the other side. I’m so grateful. But I mean, I could say that all day.

So anyway, you ran the birthday special. I took advantage of that, and you just have to decide if your future is worth it. You have to play the long game. You can’t -- it’s not about instant gratification, and you say that all the time on your page too, but it’s really not.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Because when you just want to focus on the now, it’s like, well, then why is everything happening right now? And if -- and then you give up on what you could enjoy in, like you said, the long game, the long run, if you’re willing to spend some time right now working for what you want.

Samantha Thomas: It’s so true.

Elizabeth Wiegner: So what would you say, as you were building -- going through the course -- so how long did it take you, first of all, to go through it?

Samantha Thomas: I started -- I actually started May 1st, and I finished on August 31st, so what is that exactly? May, June, July, August. That’s exactly four months, and I worked on it almost every single day for a couple hours every single day.

Elizabeth Wiegner: I can attest that Samantha was working on it because she was -- she would blow the Facebook group up, which is exactly what it’s there for.

Samantha Thomas: You kept saying that. I didn’t see it happening very much, and then you kept saying that in all of the lives and everything I was listening to from you, like all your course stuff. And she says to blow it up. I’m just going to blow it. She says to celebrate everything and post about everything, and that’s what I’m going to do, and it does so much for you, and that’s why I try to encourage the students now. Blow it up because if you talk about it, you’re going to commit to it. And you’ll have people in your corner.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Say that again.

Samantha Thomas: I know. And then you’ll have people in your corner too, and you don’t understand, especially when we’re so isolated these days, and so you don’t understand what having people in your corner really does for you. I didn’t. I absolutely did not. When I posted those things, I didn’t know if anybody was going to look at it.

But everybody else being on there, and then you have your grads who are also in the student community, and it took me a minute to figure out that those were grads supporting me and commenting and encouraging me. And I just -- that spoke volumes to me. So I try to pay it forward, and I’m like, I know what that did for me, so you’ve got to stay in the student community because those students need you.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes. One of the things when I started my proofreading business a long time ago was it was -- a lot of proofreaders are very stuck up, snobby unfortunately. That’s just the way they are. We kind of have this superiority mindset of, oh, we can catch errors, and you make mistakes. But -- and so it was very isolating. I mean, I knew other proofreaders, but it was hard to find proofreaders who had a heart for helping others who also enjoyed proofreading.

And that was one thing that I really wanted when starting the course was to have a group of students and grads who loved on each other and supported each other and just overall respect I guess would be a really good word for it, just a respect for each other, no matter whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been at it and are very successful. And you -- I mean, you’re in the community all the time encouraging people, and I love to see that, and I know others enjoy that as well so much.

Samantha Thomas: It’s been fun, and honestly I learn so much from the students too, to be honest.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes, yes.

Samantha Thomas: I’ve said to other grads. I’m like, I post in the student group because -- like my questions because they are fresh on studying that material. They’re going to find stuff that I didn’t.

Elizabeth Wiegner: It is -- that’s why I’m always inside the community and be like, don’t be afraid to share your thoughts on something because you know more than you think you know, and you’re -- everybody has such different backgrounds and knowledge and skills that we can all help each other. It’s not a -- oh, you just got started. You’ve got to stay quiet, kind of thing.

Samantha Thomas: Exactly. I can’t stand it when people put themselves down like that. No, we’re all here on the same level, and you’ve created such a group that understands that so well, and that’s why I’m saying the genuineness comes across because it’s one of the most positive places on the internet to be a part of. It’s amazing. And I’m like, that’s the only place I want to be on Facebook anymore. People talk about how they didn’t -- I didn’t have Facebook, but I got Facebook just for this. No, I had Facebook. I enjoy Facebook, but I enjoy Facebook more now, and pretty much that’s the only group that I go to now.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Oh, I love that so much.

Samantha Thomas: It’s so positive.

Elizabeth Wiegner: And you know, we were talking about this shortly before we got on. There is nothing like social media to bring out the ugly in people.

Samantha Thomas: Absolutely.

Elizabeth Wiegner: And so that’s why being in these groups with everybody respecting each other and everybody having high standards, it feels so good.

So you went through it for four months. And then how soon after you graduated -- so for those who aren’t in the course, you have the exam, you graduate from that, and then you have the marketing and business management portion. So then you have this extra level that you go through to learn how and where to get clients, run your business, and all that stuff. So after you got done with all that part of it too, how soon did you get your first client?

Samantha Thomas: I think it was a week.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Okay. I was going to say it was pretty fast.

Samantha Thomas: Yeah, it was really fast, and you have to factor in the fact that I struggled with my bank for like a week.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Oh, that’s right.

Samantha Thomas: I struggled with my bank for like a week, so I had administrative issues going on, and then as soon as I launched, I realized that I had to take a vacation.

Elizabeth Wiegner: I remember that. You’re like, oh, never mind.

Samantha Thomas: I literally did one day of marketing, and then I was like, wait a minute. Tomorrow I’m leaving. Because I got so caught up in everything, I didn’t even realize my brothers were flying in from Chicago the very next day, and I was like, oh, I can’t do this. What am I doing? But I put out the one day of marketing, and then within the week, I had my first job, and it’s just snowballed from there.

Elizabeth Wiegner: I was literally going to say that same word. It snowballed from there.

Samantha Thomas: I just had someone else email me last -- or not last week, this week, just a couple days ago, and she was like, hey, I saw your comment offering to help someone else from September. And then someone else actually -- the rush job that I just did, she emailed me, and she was like, hey, we connected in September. And she didn’t know that I just graduated from my course and was a baby proofreader.

Elizabeth Wiegner: That’s -- you mentioned two things that I absolutely love is by -- when you graduate, you’re no longer a newbie. The point isn’t to get out there and the first time you work with a client is the first time you’ve ever seen a transcript and no -- you have so much experience under your belt that you’re -- sure, maybe it’s your first time invoicing somebody or your first time connecting with a court reporter, but it is by no means your first time -- like when you get a job from a court reporter, it’s just like, oh, I’ve been doing this for months. I’m -- I’ve done thousands -- I don’t know how many number of words I’ve read. It’s just -- you know what you’re doing.

Samantha Thomas: I’m like, no I haven’t been in business for two months. I’ve been in business for six months. Yeah, it goes a long way. It does.

Elizabeth Wiegner: You have all these -- I mean, you have thousands of pages to go through. You have the resources available to you, and when you really apply yourself to it, you are experienced by the time you’re done, and that gives you so much confidence that when --

Samantha Thomas: So much confidence, so much. I’m not a baby proofreader. I told -- when you made the requirements to graduate while I was going through it, and I got mad because I was like -- I had to calculate. I was like, you can’t change the rules and tell me I have to have this many pages proofread, and then I realized, because I had done it exactly the way you had suggested to do it, I already had that number of pages done.

So it was like -- it felt like nothing, but that is something that has -- I have been able to rely on time and time again because your clients sometimes do ask you how long you’ve been doing this and what is your experience. And do you know what I can say? I can say that I have already proofread 3-4,000 pages because of your training, and I’ve done everything from medical to construction, all kinds of depositions because of the training is set up the way it is.

My husband talks about that all the time. He’s going through his own IT course, and he’s like, oh, the way Elizabeth wrote her course is just chef’s kiss. It’s so true. He’s going through something totally unrelated, and he’s like, when I watched you go through Elizabeth’s stuff and seeing that there are resources that you can and do return to again and again and again, he’s like, just that -- the way she built it and wrote it is so phenomenal. It’s so supportive and encouraging.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Oh, wow. That says so much.

Samantha Thomas: It’s true. It’s so true.

Elizabeth Wiegner: And that is my whole -- well, my whole goal was to have -- for court reporters to have proofreaders that were exceptional to work with, and on the flipside, for you as a proofreader to feel confident that you 100%, 1000% know what you’re doing by the time -- you’re not going out there like, what am I doing? What’s happening right now?

So how would you say transcript proofreading has changed your life and your family’s life? You could probably go on forever.

Samantha Thomas: I was going to say just link to my social media because --

Elizabeth Wiegner: Oh, I will. I’ll be dropping it in there.

Samantha Thomas: I am always posting about it, and people are probably like, ah, she’s selling oils again or something. I’m not. I’m not, and that’s why I always put a disclaimer now because I realized. I’m like, it’s getting really obnoxious, and I’m sure everybody is wondering, like what is she selling now? And so now I’ve put a disclaimer. I’m not selling a product. I’m just not a gatekeeper. That’s what I tell people. When they slide up in my DMs, and they’re like, okay, so what is this? I’m like, it’s -- I’m not gatekeeping, and I just link them right over there, which is such a relief, by the way, that you have everything over there so that I don’t have to.

No -- well, I mean, like I said, the first week that I launched, I took time off. Who does that?

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Samantha Thomas: Who is able to launch a business and immediately take time off?

Elizabeth Wiegner: It’s like, wait a second.

Samantha Thomas: I know. Me!

Elizabeth Wiegner: It so feels good.

Samantha Thomas: In the first 30 days, I had two vacations planned.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Which you had mentioned at the -- when we first started this podcast, you were saying your husband had his week off, and you were like, I can’t do it because I’m working. And then here, your first month.

Samantha Thomas: My first month I had two vacations.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Okay, that was life-changing right there.

Samantha Thomas: That’s what I’m saying. Where do I even start? It’s only been two months, and I can’t start anywhere because, in 60 days, there’s been so many things that, like I said, I did not expect.

I thought when I bought the course and started working through it and made the sacrifice, the investment of my time and my money, I thought I was playing the long game. But I also thought when I took a retail job I was playing the long game. I was like, all right, I’m going to be working retail for the next five years so we can afford to fix the house, right, fix the house we just bought. I thought that was the long game.

And then, boom, drops in my lap this course that I start working through that is so -- let’s just talk about the fulfillment because, like I said, since high school, I’ve been like I am a grammar -- and if I can be paid to do this, then I would never have to work a day in my life. I could do all the things, so there’s that.

There’s just the fulfillment aspect that you handed me the keys to do the job that I always knew was for me, but I didn’t have the time or the resources to pursue an English degree for something that didn’t require an English degree, okay? I hate playing the game because the rules are stupid. They’re so dumb. Stop it. I know we’re both homeschooled. I don’t know if it’s that or the military kid in me. I don’t know. I just buck all these systems.

But yeah, so the fulfillment aspect. Then it is -- it’s the fact that immediately upon launching I was able to take time off because you told me to be a good boss to me, and dang it, I’ve been working night shifts since last Christmas. I needed time off. I needed it. I needed the breathing room, and I did take work with me. Let’s put that disclaimer out there.

I took work with me, but the fact that I could take work with me and be there in the moments when my kids needed me to be there to enjoy the moment, that was everything. I still made money. I made enough money to pay for the vacation while I was on the vacation.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Okay, that’s awesome.

Samantha Thomas: It’s a no-brainer. I mean, we just want to sit there and stare at the campfire for hours after the children go to sleep, and so I just brought my iPad out and I got a job done and sent it off, and I’m like, well, there’s $100.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Oh, that’s perfect.

Samantha Thomas: Oh, it was fantastic, and I had not enjoyed that -- I felt like on that first trip as I’m kind of unlocking the possibilities, all the potential here. This is amazing, which, when I was studying -- let’s put that too -- when I was studying, I think I posted that I would -- my kids and I are very active. We live in the Blue Ridge Mountains that are burning right now, and it makes me so sad. But we’re very active outdoors, my kids and I during the day. And so working retail night shifts was not working with that either because I would have to sleep during the day, and then we couldn’t go out biking and hiking like we like to do. There was hardly any school going on, *cough, cough*, but you know --

Elizabeth Wiegner: They’re young.

Samantha Thomas: So I can take my iPad with me to proofread because there are several moments -- when you have small children, don’t think that you’re going on a hiking trail, and you’re going to hike to the waterfall, take a picture, hike back. That’s not happening. These children get so off track. It’s like you set a herd of cats loose in the woods. There’s no getting that back sometimes. We will intend on hiking a mile or two, and we’ll make it a quarter of a mile and spend hours at that one spot.

So I do need a job. I know, and I’m like I get kind of tired of sitting here watching you just stare at fish in the river, like stop. So I bring my proofreading with me now, and that’s been so amazing to be able to do. I just stick it in my bike bag, or I stick it in my hiking pack, and I have the mini iPad, so it’s just -- it’s super lightweight. It’s so tiny. It’s hardly bigger than my phone but big enough that I can do it.

I mean, what was that, last week, two weeks ago, I posted a picture of us on a summit. We hiked up a mountain and sat on this massive boulder at the very top of the mountain, and the view was amazing, and I worked. They climbed trees. They had their lunch. They had a picnic, and we spent like an hour and a half up there, and I got a job done because someone asked me to take a rush job while I was hiking.

Elizabeth Wiegner: And look at you. And you did it.

Samantha Thomas: I did it. I had my phone on me, and they emailed me, and they were like, hey, can you take this 50-pager real quick? I need it due in a couple hours. I was like, I’m hiking but sure.

Elizabeth Wiegner: I brought my iPad. I’m good.

Samantha Thomas: Yeah, I brought my iPad with me.

Elizabeth Wiegner: And I remember that Instagram story you posted. You were sitting out there with your hiking boots on on the boulder, and the gorgeous fall colors, and you’ve got your iPad right there. I mean, it’s -- that -- and it’s -- you don’t feel like you’re working, right?

Samantha Thomas: No, not at all, no. And that’s what I’m saying. I’ll put that disclaimer out there. It’s not that I feel like I have to have work on me all the time because a lot of people are like, that’s not what I’m working for. I’m working to spend my holiday. No, it’s not that. It’s just the fact that, to me -- and this should be very clear by the fact that I was willing to work retail. It was never about my weekends or my holidays or my evenings. It was never about that. It was always about those moments that you’re trying to seize pop up at random. You cannot predict them.

And so it really sucked for -- it sucks right now for my husband because he works during the day. And so for him to miss out on these moments that, at random, pop up during the day, he has to miss out on them for a 9-to-5, which is -- I love that he’s so responsible and dedicated that he’s been committed to that. But for me being the mom, raising these children that I have physically birthed, to be sleeping during the day and working at night and missing all the moments, I just -- I feel the need, and I’m allowed to make that decision as a human. I know we live in a culture that says I’m not allowed to do that, but I actually am.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Samantha Thomas: I’m allowed to enjoy my life now. I watched my dad sacrifice and sacrifice saying someday will be the golden years, and then he never got them, and then my mom doesn’t get them. So you just -- you only have to go through one experience like that before you realize maybe we’re not doing it right. Maybe it doesn’t have to require all of this dedication that now we’re getting no kickback for, by the way. We’re not.

Elizabeth Wiegner: We can talk about that a long time.

Samantha Thomas: I know. I’m like, hey, I can take my iPad with me to the summit and get a hike in and get these heathen children outside, by the way, because that’s why I bring it. It’s not that I feel the need to have my work on me. It’s the fact that I had hours dedicated to work today, and y’all are going bat-crap crazy. So let’s get you outside and interacting with something other than me, and I’ll do my work out there.

I love the flexibility: location, time, all of it, works for me. It works for a lot of people. I think a lot of people just are too scared to ask that question, to be honest.

Elizabeth Wiegner: You know, it is very hard when you go from a structured, like you have to be -- especially if you’ve been in corporate most of your life, it is very strange to get used to that. Oh wait, I don’t have to ask somebody if I can take time off, or I can take my work outside of this cubicle.

Or for me like when I worked with a boss once, it was like, if I stepped away from my desk, even though I was still working at home and it was a long -- like a remote job, if I stepped away from my desk for literally more than five or ten minutes and I didn’t answer her ping right then, it was like, where have you been, and why aren’t you -- and it was kind of like, okay, so…

The flexibility just -- it takes some getting used to, but it’s also like you are in charge, and that’s everything.

Samantha Thomas: Well, there’s give and take. So it’s -- you have to pick your poison, and there are things about it. It has its rough spots. It has its bad days, but I’m telling you my personal experience. They’re nowhere near as bad as my bad days before, okay, but that’s just my experience. I don’t know what anybody else has experienced as their bad days. Maybe these are pretty bad, but I’m telling you right now these bad days that go with this job and this lifestyle are not near as bad and as anguishing is really the word I’m looking for. There’s things about it.

There’s just -- like you have to pick your poison because if you work a 9-to-5, obviously you’re sacrificing that time, but you have stability. And if you do something freelance like this, you get all that flexibility, but the flexibility doesn’t just stop with the location and the time. The flexibility comes in with the paycheck as well and the jobs, and you have to go get the jobs.

And it’s not as hard as you think it is, but it’s scary. Like you said, it’s scary because it’s not reliable. You’re not just going somewhere, clocking in, someone’s telling you what to do. You’re taking total responsibility, total.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes, and that is scary, and it’s also so empowering to know that I am responsible for my own success, and honestly, if that’s not something that -- and I’m not saying you, Samantha, like if you’re listening and you’re like, well, that’s just not my cup of tea, than I’m glad that you know that because it’s not a good fit for you.

Samantha Thomas: Exactly.

Elizabeth Wiegner: But if you are excited about I’m going to be responsible; I’m going to show up; I’m going to do what I need to do, then the sky is the limit.

Samantha Thomas: If you’re getting butterflies in your stomach while you’re listening to that, then you need to just figure it out because that was me. You would say things like that on the podcast and stuff and in some of your reels, and I would just get all these butterflies. I’m like, that’s me. I know that’s me. I know that’s me. I dove into MLM so I already tried it a whole other way, and that didn’t work.

Elizabeth Wiegner: I love you said that. You’ve tried other things and they didn’t work. So tell me what makes -- because that is one thing that really holds people back, and I totally understand. When you tried something in the past and it doesn’t work for me, I mean, MLM and selling courses and all that is completely different than proofreading. This is a service directly with a client. But how did you kind of overcome the, well, I didn’t like that before, or I wasn’t as successful as I wanted to be. How did you overcome, well, this is still kind of -- I mean, it looks kind of the same on the outside, like I’m working for myself. So tell me how you overcame that.

Samantha Thomas: Not only that but it’s a coach. It’s an online coach. It’s a course. No offense at all, but everybody’s got a course, and everybody’s got a legit coaching thing that they want you to buy, and that’s a valid question, a very valid question.

Like I said, you just -- if you’re reading the situation and if you’re really trying to read it, the genuineness comes through, and that, to me, spoke volumes. I overcame the question of legitimacy, and I did get burned by those other attempts, that you fact check. You research the crap out of it. You go to Elizabeth’s Instagram and her Facebook and her website and you just rip it apart, and you message her for over a year, and you ask her -- like you hold it up.

You hold that to the flame and compare and contrast it. I did for months, all spring. I didn’t just like -- oh, hey, here’s The Proofreading Business Coach and a course. Let me buy that. I am not that person, and I don’t have that kind of money or time, okay? So I spent a good couple months sitting on it. I didn’t even talk to my husband about it. I just -- I knew about this thing, and I sat on it, and I researched the crap out of it, the validity. I even looked at other courses that taught similar things to what you did, and I was like, so why do I pick Elizabeth’s?

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Samantha Thomas: Why do I pick hers? You do the research. Honest to goodness, you just fact check it, which is now my job as a proofreader.

Elizabeth Wiegner: It is, yes. It’s perfect.

Samantha Thomas: So I already knew I was cut out for the job. I knew it was legit because I was fact checking Elizabeth who was trying to tell me that I could get paid to fact check.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Exactly, right. You’re like, you could literally be getting paid for this right now, Samantha.

Samantha Thomas: Yeah. No, you go online and you find similar courses, and you say, who’s teaching this and for how much money and how legitimate? What is the success story? And that was a question I had for you when I was in your messages was, hey, I don’t see very many people talking about your course. But when I compare it, I like your course better.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Samantha Thomas: I like what I’m getting for my money, so where’s all the people at? And it was just -- that’s legitimately what it is because I want to make so many more posts than I do because I don’t have the time. I’m too busy running this business and making money. That’s where they’re at.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes, so much yes. And I respect y’all. I respect y’all’s time. You’re not there to run my business for me. You need to be out there living what you want to do, which is proofreading, not running my course for me.

A big thing on Instagram right now is you buy a course and then you resell a course and then you resell that course, and I -- and it makes -- because that’s almost on every single side hustle or work-from-home reel that you find. I understand why people are like, well, this is just another course and you have to -- no, you don’t have to sell it. If you just want to stay quiet and proofread, I support you a billion percent in that.

Samantha Thomas: There are so many people that have done it, are successful, and are just quiet about it --

Elizabeth Wiegner: Oh, I know.

Samantha Thomas: -- which is why I feel the need to say something. Now, I mean, I would do it anyway because that’s just the kind of person I am, which was one reason I didn’t get along with retail anymore because they were like, listen. This is your job. It does suck. You need to stop being so passionate. Stop caring about it. That’s what they told me at the end of the line. They were like, you have to stop caring about your job. And I looked at my supervisor, and I said, well, that’s not going to work.

Elizabeth Wiegner: No, that’s not you.

Samantha Thomas: I need to care about what I’m doing. If I’m dedicating time away from my family for minimum wage, I need to care about what I’m doing. You can’t tell me to stop caring. That’s not how this works. I’m very, very good at retail and customer service. I didn’t have an issue with guests. It was I had an issue with the system, and I was getting stressed out and defeated, and he was like, well, I can’t have that. You’re going to get burned out, so just stop caring. I’m like, that’s not how that works for me. There’s lots of other people that can, but I cannot. And this is a great fit for me.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yeah, because that is -- you can’t not want -- my words -- you can’t want to be in proofreading because you want to get -- and we talked about this a little bit. We don’t -- it’s not something where you’re going to get rich fast, and it’s not something where you’re going to get rich, period. This is not something where I’m like, sign up for this and you’re going to be swimming in $100 bills. You can do very well. You’ve had a four-figure week. I mean, and you’ve only been in business for not very long. But this isn’t something where I’m selling you $20,000 months and you can go live on a cruise ship for the rest of your life kind of thing or whatever your dream life is.

But you have to care. It’s not something where you’re just in it for the money. You have to care about doing a good job, showing up for your clients, putting your best work out there, and being a kind person, being kind. The whole time -- like when you were messaging me, you weren’t rude. There is a way to message people and ask them questions and be kind without being rude. And that’s one thing I appreciate so much about you is you’re passionate about it, but it’s not going to -- you’re still kind about it too, which is so important.

Samantha Thomas: I don’t feel like that but…

Elizabeth Wiegner: Hey, intensity and passion are good. You can have kindness shine through in that.

Samantha Thomas: I guess so! All of my clients come back, so there must be something to that.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Oh, I know they love you, yes.

Samantha Thomas: All of my clients have come back, and now I use that, so I use the, hey, I’ve proofread thousands of transcript pages already because I can calculate that now because of your course, but also I have a 100% return rate for clients. Even for one-off jobs they come back. So it’s just -- it’s so confidence-instilling, the whole thing.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Having confidence in yourself is -- you can’t put a price tag on that. You really can’t.

Samantha Thomas: Not at all.

Elizabeth Wiegner: So tell me how do you -- we kind of talked about this a little bit. How do you balance being a mom and being a proofreader? Because if y’all -- it’s on video right now, but if you’re listening, Samantha’s face is kind of like, oh. So tell me -- because I know a lot of moms, they want to be able to be present with their kids like you’ve talked about, and proofreading is a very -- you have to concentrate. So how do you -- I mean, your kids aren’t teenagers driving around and managing life on their own. So how do you manage smaller kids and proofreading?

Samantha Thomas: So I was joking with my husband because I -- we started finalizing the date for this podcast during my four-figure week, and so when you sent me that this would be one of the questions, I laughed and I looked at him and I said, I don’t. I don’t balance it. There is no balancing going on because -- I was like, oh my gosh. I’m up to my eyeballs in work, and I’m a mom.

So my kids are -- I have two 6-year-olds in my house. We were talking about this before we started recording. I currently have two 6-year-olds in my house. My daughter will turn 7 on Sunday. So they are 7, 6, and almost 4. She’ll be 4 next month. We’re all holiday babies here, and it’s Thanksgiving next week, so for all intents and purposes, I have a 7-year-old, a 6-year-old, and a 4-year-old, and it is a circus. I have dogs. We have animals. We go hiking. There are things.

But I can say this all day. The beauty of this job, any -- in my other jobs, my retail work, was making me choose financial stability or my priorities, my actual priorities. And this job does not ask me to choose very often, hardly at all, hardly at all.

Now, the week that I made four figures in seven days, yes, I had to choose. I can’t go hiking right now because -- but I’ll go hiking next week because four-figure weeks don’t happen, maybe months, yes, but weeks absolutely not. So you seize that tiger by the tail, and you just grab it and you go, okay? And that’s -- so everybody asks that. How do you balance motherhood and working from home?

This job, first of all, allows for so much more balance than any other job working from home. There’s lots of moms that work from home. They don’t have the kind of availability that I have. I can guarantee you that right now, call center, whatever they’re doing. If they have their own business where they’re baking cakes and they’re selling them, they don’t have the kind of availability that I’ve got with this thing.

So -- but the problem is with the word balance, and that’s what I want to -- I don’t want to give you a list of things that I do to focus or a list of reasons or anything like that because I can give somebody, another mom, a list of things that I do, the headphones that I bought and things like that, the way that I prioritize our time, our routine, but that might not work for them because they’re in a different season of life, and they still need this question answered.

So I want to rip apart the word balance because I think the biggest problem comes in the fact, so if I go get my kids blocks. Let’s talk about this word balance. If I go get my kids blocks right now and I put them on a scale, I can make those sides balance each other out for as long as I want them to. As long as I don’t move these blocks, these blocks are not going to change, and that’s going to stay balanced.

The problem here is you’re talking about fluid metrics: my kids and my work. And let’s just be honest. Those aren’t the only two scales here, okay? There’s other things like my mental health and my housework and my marriage that also needs balance here. But since you’re asking specifically about motherhood, they’re fluid metrics, and they change like the weather.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Samantha Thomas: Both of them do, and I think that’s why we get frustrated with, well, she’s balancing her work and her motherhood, and I’m not balancing mine. That’s because we need to understand, because they’re fluid, it’s a give and a take. Hour by hour, day by day, you have to assess the situation at hand and say who do I need to give to, and who do I need to take from to give that?

So if my clients come at me like they did today, and they come at me and say, hey, I need this done by this afternoon. Can you please take this? And I realize my schedule with my kids doesn’t necessarily need me to really engage. I’m going to turn on the TV, and I’m going to get the work done. If I’m strapped for cash, I’m going to market and I’m going to take more jobs, and then maybe I don’t invest in my kids as much. But you only have so many hours in a day. You only have so much energy in your fuel tank, and you have to give and take.

So it’s not about having a routine and a set thing of boundaries because if you’re a mom, you know they don’t care. They don’t care, and you are raising them to be respectful of you and your time, and I will vouch for that all day long. But at the end of the day, they’re fluid metrics. Today, I have more work than I will tomorrow or I did yesterday, okay? Yesterday, my kid was super needy and obnoxious and needed my undivided attention for 30 minutes because he needed to be seen. He needed to be heard. So that was 30 minutes that I wasn’t making money.

But it’s about giving and taking and assessing the situation at hand. If my mental health needs me to just stare out a window with a cup of coffee for a minute, then I’m not doing any work, but I’m also not investing in my children right then because my mental health needed me to take from those categories to put it there. So the balance part and the problem that people struggle with I think is that it’s fluid. You have to constantly assess and give and take. It’s not about setting it there and leaving it there and expecting it to always be that way. That’s not how it works.

Elizabeth Wiegner: My head is going to nod off. If you could see my just keeps nodding yes, yes, preach it.

Samantha Thomas: Well, I was thinking I could come up with a whole list of things like yes, I bought the headphones. I haven’t bought headphones to noise-cancel my children because I feel so guilty about that, but I feel more guilty if my husband comes home every month and says we don’t have enough money. So I bought noise-canceling headphones. They’re downstairs watching TV right now for the umpteenth hour because I had a podcast that I wanted to do. I’m like, I don’t even care

It’s about giving and taking and deciding what are your real priorities right this second because in an hour it could change. I’ll get that rush job done, that 50-pager done and sent off and then, yes, then I will focus on my children, and maybe they wanted me to focus then, but you’ve got to choose. It’s fluid. It doesn’t stay the same.

Elizabeth Wiegner: I cannot agree with that more. I mean, I don’t have kids, so I’m not coming at it from a kid’s perspective but just…

Samantha Thomas: I think it’s applicable across the board.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes, it really -- anything -- and I love how you mentioned like your marriage, your house, your mental health, which is so important. It -- and that’s one of the things, the beauties about proofreading is if you need that break, then take it. And if -- and you have an amazing grad community there who can -- if you get a job you can’t take, it’s not like, oh great, I’ve got to take this, and then you’re suffering in something else. You can make sure another grad is covering it for you, working with a court reporter.

So yes, it means that you’re not always -- like if you’re not working, you’re not making money, but it also means that you have the freedom to decide when -- if your kids need you, then you can focus on them, and that’s the beauty of making your own schedule and making your own decisions. You’re right. There’s no such thing as balance. There really isn’t.

Samantha Thomas: Well, I know it’s a hot topic because people want to know. How do I balance my home life with my work life and all the in betweens? And so -- and then you have the moms who will jump on there, and they’re like, there is no balance. It’s a theory. It’s a myth. It doesn’t exist. I think the balance -- I think it’s a thing. I just think that we’re defining it wrong.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Samantha Thomas: I think that we don’t understand what balance actually is because we have this picture in our head that the scales are like the solid blocks that don’t change. But then we try to insert our priorities as blocks, and those are ever changing and moving.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Samantha Thomas: It’s not going to be the same. So I think balance is a thing. I just think that we misunderstand what we’re asking of balance.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes. And like you said, it changes every day, so for like -- you may feel great one day, and the next day you’re struggling a little bit. And if you need to -- especially if you have a job that can take a little longer to do and you have more time to work on it, then you can adjust it.

I like to take Fridays off, but I’m not every time like, hey, clients. Fridays is my day off. I just readjust. It’s like I’ll work a little extra on Thursday, a little extra on Saturday, and that will give me the time on Friday that I want. Or if your weekends are important to you, then you structure your proofreading around that. It’s just -- it is -- and that’s how you create balance for lack of a better word.

Samantha Thomas: Absolutely.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Do what works for you at the time that you’re in, and don’t try to make it where you have to have a perfect routine or a perfect time that you sit down, although I will say there are some people who need more routine in their life than others.

Samantha Thomas: Absolutely.

Elizabeth Wiegner: And if you are that type of person, which you and I are not that type of person, but if you are the type, then you absolutely can structure your days around that. But that’s not my season of life, and it’s not your season of life, and it’s not our personalities either, and that’s completely fine.

Samantha Thomas: Well, and I think it depends on how much routine because we have to have routine having children and dogs. I do have a routine as far as what do I do before the other things. But I think the -- I don’t live according to a time clock necessarily. I don’t know what day it is, and I love that. My husband and I just had that discussion the other day. He was like -- oh, I think it was about my daughter’s birthday, and he was like, that’s on Sunday, and I was like, I guess. And he’s like, well, yeah, it’s going to be on Sunday because what is -- he was trying to ask me. He was like, well, what’s today? And I was like, I don’t know. I don’t know, okay? I don’t know if it’s Monday. I don’t know if it’s Saturday because I don’t live for the weekend anymore, and I love it.

And now he is watching me get to live that, and now Mr. Blue Collar, dedicated, responsible for 30+ years is like, oh, that might be nice to not have to live for the weekend because I hate Mondays. It would be nice if I didn’t have to hate Mondays or Sundays. Now we all hate Sundays because we’re like -- it’s just that much closer to Monday, you know? I love that. And, I mean, when I was working nights, I didn’t know what day it was anymore either.

Elizabeth Wiegner: That’s true. It all bleeds together.

Samantha Thomas: Because it was just overnight, and then the time -- it would be the next day by the time I crawled into bed, so it didn’t really -- I never knew what day it was then, and I worked weekends, so weekends didn’t really matter either. I never got -- they never let us have two days off in a row. That was not allowed. I was like, well, I’m not okay with that.

And then like you said, the being able to work around its routine as far as like -- so if I were to -- I was in a warehouse. So if I were to go back there, and I was pretty much left to my own. My supervisor said he called us his Beyblades because he could just like rip us off and let us go, and we were responsible to get done what we needed to get done, and we didn’t -- we met quota. We were breaking records with the numbers, and nobody had to touch us basically because we were just really responsible. I did good with my team back there.

But at the same time, sometimes you would have people that would supervise you that weren’t your normal supervisors, and they would come back there, and they’d be like, well, why are you doing this now when you’re really -- the routine is to do this now? And I’m like, because timeline and numbers, it doesn’t work tonight -- tonight. It might work tomorrow, but it doesn’t work tonight. So the fact that I can say that with my current business and not have anyone question my logic --

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Samantha Thomas: -- I’m just like, oh, that’s such a -- that’s an extra little bonus relief right there is that no one’s questioning the way that I’m running this show. It doesn’t matter that my numbers spoke for themselves. It doesn’t matter that I was extremely successful with all of the things that they cared about. It was sometimes they felt the need to micromanage, and I don’t have anybody micromanaging me right now --

Elizabeth Wiegner: Isn’t that such a good thing.

Samantha Thomas: -- which is nice because I’ve got too many things that go under -- like if I’m up here and these are all the things that I manage as a mom, as a housewife, as a businesswoman, I don’t need somebody micromanaging me because I’ve got too many tabs open in the brain. I’ve got too many things going on for you to come in and question any of it. Just let me roll.

Elizabeth Wiegner: That kind of freedom -- I know we keep using the word freedom -- is just --

Samantha Thomas: That’s true. It’s freedom.

Elizabeth Wiegner: I mean, it feels so good.

Samantha Thomas: Yeah, it does. You handed me the keys to unlock -- to the freedom. That’s exactly how it feels.

Elizabeth Wiegner: I love that for you. That just makes me so -- because I just -- I see your pictures that you post on social media and your stories and your encouragement to the students and your wins inside the grad group, and it’s obvious that -- it’s obvious that you’re happy, like truly happy. You’re not just doing it for all the money, which, hey, the money is great. But you’re also not doing it just for that too. It affects so many other areas of your life too.

Samantha Thomas: No, it’s true, and that’s something I’ll tell other people. Like I was talking earlier about playing the long game. It was never about the money either. It wasn’t about the shift work. It was never about the money. It was about what -- you ask us this in the course very early on. What are your whys? Why are you doing this? And I understand a lot of people skip that part and they shouldn’t, and then they bite themselves in the butt when they do because then they come back later in the course, and they’re like, guys, I don’t know. And I’m like it’s because you didn’t do your why. Go back and do that lesson because you need to know what your priorities are for real.

We’re adults now. It’s not like you’re in high school or even a child and you just like -- oh, I think I want mac and cheese for my birthday. It’s not like that. It’s the long term, and unfortunately, the way our culture is going and the economy is going, they’re forcing us more and more to think more long term and immediate, just stressed about all of it all at the same time, right?

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Samantha Thomas: So you need to have some form of the game plan and Miss Me, who doesn’t know what day it is, who doesn’t really have a routine, who loves flexibility -- you have to have some form of a direction.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Samantha Thomas: That’s really what it was about for me. It wasn’t about the money. It was about the direction that I’m going. I’m raising three children. Jesus has asked me to raise these three children, and he got my attention so quickly with that that I better do a good job and actually invest in these children. And we’ve just -- how do we want to spend our time? When these kids fly the nest, what do I want them to reflect on? How do I want them to remember that time? How do I want to remember that time? The majority of my life is going to be spent without my children, so I’ll have all that time. But the time that they’re here, what do I want them to see?

So -- and it’s going to be mom was a retail worker, and now she owns a business. Our mom refused to take no for an answer and found something and did the research to validate what it was and then pursued it wholeheartedly because she had facts to back her up. She didn’t just go -- a lot of people get the facts. They fact check all the things, and then they don’t move on it.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Yes.

Samantha Thomas: They don’t move on it. But mom was not afraid to move on it because she saw that we would like to have Christmas presents this year, and she saw that we want to go camping out west and we needed time to do that. And dad told her she wasn’t going to be not making money.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Oh my gosh. I love how you said that it’s more than the money, which obviously you want the money. You need the money. We all need money to live. And it’s not just about the flexibility even. It’s showing your kids what’s possible in life, and that if they want something, to go after it and not to doubt yourself. I mean, you’ll doubt yourself. Everybody does, but not to let that part hold you back. And I feel like when you can learn that early, you just -- you’ve handed them a gift that they could take through their whole life.

And when they have kids, they can show it to their kids too, and it’s just -- it truly is a -- people talk about generational wealth. A lot of times that’s passing down lots of money to your kids, but this is a generational wealth of you don’t have to follow the norms. You don’t have to do what people tell you to do. You can do what you want with your life if you're willing to do your best and learn.

Samantha Thomas: Yeah, I love that you just -- that you said that as generational wealth because we come from -- my husband’s family -- he’s an only child, and so his family has not been happy with us for moving out of state. They say that we’ve rejected the generational inheritance or whatever, but it came with strings attached, which is one reason we left. And I love that you’ve put it in terms of generational inheritance because it’s not that we don’t -- they question us all the time on that.

You’re not leaving anything for your kids, and that’s what it’s about. But I am. I’m leaving this idea and this freedom and this inspiration. It’s not tangible. It’s not thousands of dollars, which maybe someday will be. Who knows? But it’s the ability to believe that you can pursue what your priorities are. They’re your priorities, and you can make them happen if you care enough about them. Mom didn’t -- I -- I, me, being their mom. Mom did school while she was pregnant with her third baby and raising two toddlers, so they already had that inspiration. Mom finished getting her degree, but then mom could only work retail work and minimum wage work, and she did. She sacrificed her nights and her weekends so that we could afford to rip out our only bathroom and make it usable. So mom did that.

And then on top of that, mom went back to school and took a course and took a chance, and dad backed her up and invested the money that they had, the little extra that we had, and now our mom owns a very successful proofreading/whatever business because we know it just grows from there. I’ve seen so many grads that have dabbled -- just because of this one thing that they took a chance on, it enabled them to take a chance on everything else that they ever wanted to do. And that’s been so incredible to watch.

I might never do anything else. I love this. I love this. I was reading -- right before we got on here, I was reading an arbitration. I was like, what? I’m privy to this information? Are you serious right now? I don’t feel qualified. But it’s so -- if I never -- if this is all I ever do, which you had a podcast episode I think where you interviewed a scopist. It was a scopist, and she was like, this is all I’ve ever done for this long, and I was listening to that in the warehouse, and I was like, so I can do proofreading as long as I want to. I can, and I can build up this clientele, and I can keep that and make it part time, full time, whatever time I want, but it can ebb and flow and still be fulfilling because I have found my niche. I feel so blessed to say that.

I’m not even 30. I didn’t go to school. I’m a mom. I already got the kids out of the way, man. Do you know how many -- I get to have all this cake and eat it at the same time. That’s how I feel right now, and I didn’t feel that way this time last year. I was selling everything I could possibly part with so that my kids could have Christmas, which I was willing to do. It was whatever, but I was so sick of being in that season, man. That was not the only year we had to do that, and I don’t have to do it this year. I need to purge. Gosh, I need to purge. But I don’t have to. It’s not a necessity to afford the heating bill this month. You know what I’m saying? Which with the fires raging, we probably won’t have a heating bill.

Elizabeth Wiegner: We’re not going to talk about that part. Oh gosh.

Samantha Thomas: It’s so amazing just -- you handed me the keys, and I am. You say I look happy. I’m very happy, and I want to just shout it and share it. I don’t mind who all is in my instant messages. Tell me about this thing, and I’m like, I’m not selling anything. Here’s her link. It’s like, just go get it for yourself.

Elizabeth Wiegner: And then, y’all, when you do -- like if you decide -- if you’re like, you know, this totally resonates with me and you’ll be like, oh, this will be perfect, when you do join and you get inside the community, which you get inside it right away, you’ll meet Samantha. She’s right there, and she will be one of your biggest fans inside the group. I mean, she will not -- like if you have a goal, she’s not going to let you forget it. She’s going to be there to kick your butt if you need it.

Samantha Thomas: [indiscernible]

Elizabeth Wiegner: And she’s going to love you right -- and that’s what you need. You need a little bit of both. You need a little bit of love and a little bit of nudging. We’ll call it nudging. And that’s what makes it happen.

Samantha Thomas: It is. You’ve got to have people that hold you accountable, and people that have the same goals can absolutely hold you accountable. They’re like the best people to hold you accountable if they have the same goals as you. So get in there with the students. Get in with the grads.

One of my favorite quotes, and it’s hanging on my wall; we bought it as a cheap puzzle from a dollar store at a random seasonal item that wasn’t even applicable, but now it’s hanging on my wall. And it says, When we stop re-reading the last chapter of our life, we leave room to write a new one. So if you’re sitting here and you’re listening to this episode and you’re thinking about getting into transcript proofreading, so I will say if this is the first time you’re thinking about getting into transcript proofreading, if this is your first introduction, your first inkling that you’re like, maybe this is for me; maybe I would benefit from this, then I’m going to tell you go rip apart Elizabeth’s social media and her website. That’s what you need to do.

Go listen to every single podcast episode, and then revisit. And if this is your umpteenth podcast and you’ve already done that and you’re sitting here thinking this is something for me, I would benefit from this, then do it. Choose your future. Choose the long game, and decide that it’s good for you. Stop re-reading that last chapter of your life, and that implies that you’ve already read it at least once, and it’s beneficial. We’ve learned from it now, but if you stop re-reading it over and over, you leave room and time to write the next part. And what do you want to write there? What’s it going to look like? I mean, what do you want to happen? You’re the writer. Make it happen. You’re the main character. Make it happen.

Elizabeth Wiegner: And it feels so good, so good. Oh, I love that. I love that quote that you got it -- I love you said you got it at the dollar store.

Samantha Thomas: It’s on a puzzle on my wall.

Elizabeth Wiegner: And it’s hanging there now, and all the meaning it has for you now. Oh, I love that.

Samantha Thomsa: Do you know how many times I’ve moved this puzzle and it hasn’t been applicable at all in my life? And now it’s hanging next to the desk that I proofread at six months later. That’s incredible. That’s what I’m saying. The tiny things that just fall into place and affirm. You’ve just got to look up and see them. It’s amazing what will guide you.

Elizabeth Wiegner: It’s -- when you take a chance on yourself, it is -- you do -- are kind of taking a chance because you can’t tell your future. You don’t know what it’s going to be like. And like, yeah, you can do all your research, but until you actually start doing it, you won’t know for sure.

It’s kind of like people who go to college to be a doctor for umpteen number of years, and then they get out. They’re like, oh. I mean, with transcript proofreading, it’s not that intense thankfully, but you won’t know until you get in and do it. But wouldn’t you much rather try and see what happens than wonder? And like you said, just keep re-writing the same thing and keep -- in a year from now, are you going to be in the same place? Or are you going to be like Samantha where this Christmas you’re like I don’t have to sell stuff this year. My kids have presents. I’m -- and it’s not like you didn’t work hard.

We’ll do this one last thing to wrap it up because I have told Samantha this more than once. I was like, Samantha has said it feels like I’ve just got this overnight. Like I went through the course and now I have clients, and I quit my job, and it’s great. And I’m like, well, Samantha, it took you four months to go through the course, and yes, you got a client right away, but you built up your clientele. I said this didn’t just happen. You didn’t just name your business and then suddenly you have everything you want. But you’ve said -- I’ll let you -- I’ll stop talking and let you tell it in your own words.

Samantha Thomas: No, I did. I feel like I’m reeling. I feel like I’m reeling because I feel like it just happened yesterday, and we had a lot going on. But it just felt like it happened overnight and that’s why I tell people the time is going to pass anyway. You and I both say that all the time. It’s going to pass anyway, so what would you have accomplished? You’re listening to this podcast right now, and if it’s your umpteenth podcast and you’re sitting on the question of I think this is for me, maybe I should.

If this is your umpteenth podcast, you could have been listening to a podcast or an episode in the course that’s teaching you how to get there, how to build your business in nine weeks, in five weeks, in two weeks, tomorrow. You have that tomorrow if you already pulled the trigger.

So the time is going to pass anyway, and it passed so quick, like lightning for me. I mean, I look up and I’m like, Elizabeth is always telling me you put in all this work and effort, and I’m so proud of you. And I’m like, that was yesterday. That was yesterday, and I mean, I have been in business for two or three months now. It’s been two or three months since I graduated that I have been working and making money under my own business name, being my own boss, and I’m like, no, that was yesterday. I still feel like a baby. Who qualified me for this? Because six months ago, this was nowhere on my radar. I should say nine months because it’s November now. I’m telling you I don’t know what day it is. I don’t know what month it is.

Nine months ago, this was nowhere on my radar. I was like, five years retail. It passes so quickly, and the days -- like sometimes you’ll be in there, and like I said, I worked on the course every day for four months, and there were some days where it just slogged, and I was like, I don’t know that I’m cut out for this.

You have those days of discouragement even if you write your whys, but that’s why you write your whys because you’re like, I don’t know if I’m cut out for this. But that is why I’m going to try anyway. That’s why I’m going to go in the student community and get all the encouragement to keep going because the time is going to pass, and I want to be a business owner by the end of the year. I don’t want to have to work retail anymore when the holidays come around and you’re working Black Friday. And you don’t want to do that. Trust me.

Elizabeth Wiegner: No, I don’t.

Samantha Thomas: No, you don’t. Build it today so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor tomorrow.

Elizabeth Wiegner: So much yes. I can’t say yes enough. That would just be the rest of the podcast. Oh my goodness. Samantha, this was -- I knew it was going to be amazing because you’re so passionate about it and you’re so encouraging, and you love to share your success with others, not to be like, guys, look at me, but to encourage, to be like --

Samantha Thomas: Go do it too! Come on!

Elizabeth Wiegner: I want this for other people too because there’s enough work out there, and just the -- everything that you’ve said is just -- is there waiting for you if you’re willing to show up and put in the work. And like Samantha said, it will go pretty quickly, and especially -- even if it did take a long time and you felt like it took a long time, the amount of time that you’ll have as a proofreader in your future and anything else, any other doors that open for you, and the legacy you’re leaving for your children is so worth the time that you’ll put into it now for it. Well, thank you so much. I know I got a little emotional a few times, and I was like, I’m glad I’m not the one talking.

Samantha Thomas: I thought I was going to, I think because I practiced.

Elizabeth Wiegner: Y’all, Samantha was prepared. All right, well, thank you so much, Samantha. This has been absolutely wonderful. Y’all, if y’all would like to contact Samantha, like if you’re a court reporter listening to this and you would like to connect with Samantha, I’ll link her professional Facebook page and her Instagram below so you can reach out and connect with her. Thank you so much, Samantha. This was everything and more I’d hoped it would be, getting to talk with you.

Samantha Thomas: Thank you for having me. It was so fun.

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

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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.