What does a transcriber do and what is audio transcription?

Outsource freelance transcriptionist

Recording interviews, conversations, meetings and such like is easier now than it ever has been.  Technology has advanced so far where now we can record on our smartphones at the touch of a button.

Using modern technology in this way, as a back-up for detail discussed in a meeting, for example, or interviewing someone for academic study or a journalist interview.  Most of these recordings are made with the intention of converting them into text, and this is what’s known as audio transcription.  Audio and Video Transcription is the skilled art and process of converting recorded speech into written documents, commonly called transcripts.

Foot pedal for audio or video transcription
Transcriber’s Best Friend the Foot Pedal

Producing a document or transcript can be very time-consuming, even for the quickest of typists, without specialist transcribing software and a foot pedal to avoid taking your hands off the keyboard, rewinding even for a few second to replay can be difficult and frustrating.

This is where outsourcing your recorded audio or video to a general transcriptionist (depending on the subject area) can be very beneficial.  The time it saves you, against the cost of a freelance transcriptionist will be to your benefit.  You will, in an agreed time, receive an accurate transcript that has been transcribed manually, directly from your recording.

The Transcriber’s Role

“A transcriber is someone who writes down what someone else is saying.” 

Initially, a transcriber was a person that wrote things down in shorthand, but this art is dying out.  Technology and the fact it isn’t taught anymore means, unfortunately, this art of note-taking is no-longer used.

Instead, recordings made on your laptop or tablet, for example, can then immediately be uploaded to your transcriptionist, via email or a sharing application like DropBox or Google Drive.  They then download the audio, upload to their professional software player and begin to type what they hear in the speech content into a transcript for you.

As part of the transcriber’s role, unlike years ago where commas, full-stops and new paragraphs were dictated, in today’s advanced world, an experienced transcriber will insert the appropriate grammar for you, as a matter of course during typing.  This is certainly something here at Virtuadmin that I do for clients; it is a natural thing to do.  Without it, I cannot read if the transcript makes sense or not.

How long does transcription take?

A professional touch typist should be able to type in the region of 75 words per minute.  At this speed, the industry standard states a minimum of 4-5 hours to transcribe 1 hours recorded audio or video.  However, there are other factors that the client and transcriptionist need to consider regarding the audio for transcription.  They are:-

– The speed at which the participants of the audio are talking

– The number of participants in the audio talking (cross talking)

– The clarity of the recording (background noise, phone interview, interference)

– The speech clarity of the participating speakers (accents, speaking English as a second language, mumbling, no close enough to the microphone)

These are the variables that will add time to transcribing an hour’s recorded audio.  It is difficult to say how much time should be allowed for these variables, so it is worth keeping in mind that a professional transcriptionist cannot type at the same rate as the average person talking, no matter how fast they are.  People generally speak 4-5 times faster than what an experienced transcriber can type. 

How to hire a professional transcriber?

Professional transcribers can commonly be found on freelance websites, People Per Hour, Fivesquid, UpWork, are examples of these.  Using these types of websites gives you the ability to see the service provider’s feedback, as well as protecting your money against a poor job, or no delivery at all.

There are transcription companies as service providers; they are specialist businesses that only provide the transcription.  The employ teams of transcribers, either remotely on in-house.  (You don’t get the same direct contact with your transcriptionist as compared to using a freelancer.)  These are a self-service type website, you upload your audio and either pay a deposit of invoice after the audio or video has been completed.

Another option is to contact a professional transcriber directly.  Search on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram to mention a few social networks as a source to find a transcriptionist.  Search by a hashtag #transcriber or #transcriptionist and up will pop the latest tweets, on Twitter for example.

If you choose to contact directly, saving yourself time and money from not using a 3rd party freelance website like People per Hour, for example, there are some questions you can ask them as tips as to how professional and experienced they are.  Someone may think they can type quickly, but listening to an interview, for example, can be very tricky to rewind a few seconds without a foot pedal and professional transcribing software, like NCH Software, something Virtuadmin has had for many years.  (When I downloaded the free version you couldn’t use a foot pedal with the software, you had to purchase the professional version!)

What rates do transcriptionists charge?

For audio transcription by an experienced transcriber, you would usually pay by the recorded audio minute.  The rates vary from company to company or transcribe to transcribe.  But, charging in this way helps you know the cost from the outset.  Here at Virtuadmin for example, my rate starts at 60p per audio minute for a single speaker audio that is of very good quality.  It is 70p per audio minute for a 2-speaker clear clarity recording.

It is usual for a speech-to-text service, either company or freelancer to add on per minute, 30-minutes or per hour for audios that contain background noise, or the speech clarity is difficult to hear, for example.  For these types of audio to be transcribed the transcriptionist must first get the audio to a quality that is suitable listening volume.  This can take sometimes a few hours for this, so don’t think if you have a difficult audio that they are just looking to increase the cost, it is genuinely time-consuming to repair a recording to suitable levels for a transcript.

Conclusion

A transcriber is a professional touch typist that listens to recorded speech and types what they hear.  A professional will insert the necessary grammar, and intelligently paragraph where necessary within the transcript.  A transcriber will touch type between 50-80 words per minute (WPM) and would usually take 4-5 hours to transcribe one hour of recorded audio, as an approximate guide.

A transcription company that hires typists either remotely or in-house will probably have a higher fee, due to their overheads and profit before paying the transcriptionists.  It is more usual for a professional freelance transcriptionist to be more affordable due to their fewer overheads.

Dealing with a transcription company you don’t always get the direct communication or personalisation as with using a freelancer.  An independent transcriber, either working with them directly or through a freelancing website and working with them, you can expect more flexibility. 

Most freelance transcribers will accommodate a template if you have one, or use their own if you don’t.  If there is noise interference, you can discuss with them.  For another example, let’s say you only wanted a certain part of the audio transcribed, or a certain part time-stamped for ease of reference.

Using a freelance transcription service, like Virtuadmin for example, is the quickest and most affordable way to go.  Work is usually turned around as soon as it is received, therefore, approaching a freelancer offering a transcription service, they are most likely in a position to start it immediately, rather than wait in a queue for one to become available with a transcription service company.

Guest Posting and Link Building: My Warning

Warnings of who is asking to guest post

On Thursday 25th May 2017 Matt G Southern a well-known and respected writer at the Search Engine Journal published the article “Google Issues a Warning About Guest Posting to Build Links“.

I began to read the article hoping that an issue that happened to me recently would be mentioned, but it wasn’t.  This article is also a warning, but of a different kind when accepting guests posts onto your website for the purpose of forming genuine, respectful links.

However, as already stated in the published post by Matt Southern, the posts can be misleading and the links are in fact spammy.  This was what was quoted yesterday directly from Google.

Google has issued a warning to remind site owners about the dangers of publishing content on other sites for the purpose of building inbound links.

The company doesn’t frown on guest posts or syndicated posts in general, but lately there has been an increase in spammy links stuffed into these types of posts. That’s the reason behind this sudden warning from Google.

Distributing content on a large scale when the main intention is to build links back to your own site is strictly prohibited under Google’s guidelines on link schemes.

But what if there is another reason that people are approaching small businesses to guest post?  I, from experience, can tell you there is.

Is Guest Posting What it Seems?

I have been approached by email on several occasions over the years I have had my website asking if I accept guest posts.  Surprised at this as Virtuadmin.uk to be perfectly honest doesn’t have a tremendous amount of traffic, so together with other SEO (search engine optimisation) publishing guests posts is an ideal way to gain genuine backlinks to improve my SERPs results myself.

The person that contacted me introduced themselves to me as a “Content Writer & Editor” full of praise for my website and to quote in their opening statement “I am a business content writer and I chanced upon virtuadmin.uk“.

I am no website designer, personally, I feel that my website is somewhat amateurish but enjoy the challenges of attempting to improve it to what I consider a professional standard (not there yet but trying!); I am not a website designer but an experienced touch typist and transcriptionist!

Emails were sent back and forth, not very frequently, once every two weeks or so.  They would send an email to say they were working on my article and would email once it was ready for review and any edits I would like.

When the final article came back, I read through it very impressed, suggested some edits to the post, which were duly done.

In the meantime of waiting for the finished article to come back and then be published on this website, I decided to do a bit of research into the person that had contacted me.  I usually do this when I get requests to accept guest posts or infographics.

My Shock

I was horrified to discover the person that had initially contacted, maintained communications with me so professionally, written such a brilliant post I couldn’t wait to publish it, was my biggest competitor. 

Just to be sure of my facts, I looked for information on the person on the professional alternative to Facebook, LinkedIn and Tweeted the company directly to ask if they had a content writer of that name, to which they replied they had and gave me their email address!

This company did not just provide the service in the niche area that I am working solo as a transcriptionist and typist, but many other types of administration duties that can be outsourced and carried out online.  They are very established, very large.  In my mind, if someone chanced upon the article upon my website, I always reference guest post at the beginning, therefore technically I would have been sending business to them.

Personally, I just can’t help wondering for a company so large why are they trying to take out small-time work-from-home Mums like myself?  It’s not just that, why the underhanded way in which they approached me, not even volunteering the information of who they worked for as a Content Writer and Editor!

My Warning and Advice

My warning to anyone that is trying to genuine improve their website rankings without the budget of hiring SEO experts or other tactical ways of achieving page one on Google SERPs, if you are approached out of the blue, just like I was, be polite, the might be genuine but check them out.

How?  Firstly, Google or Bing is a great start.  If it is a common name like the person I was researching, narrow the results down with the details you have.  Location, their job, email address, alternatively LinkedIn.

Even with minimal information, I only had a name, email address and job title, for example, but believe me, you can research the person concerned, you can find out who they are that has contacted you to make this request it.

Hopefully, unlike my unfortunate experience, they are equally a small-time business or stay-at-home Mum or Entrepreneur looking to make genuine backlinks because you share a common niche area.

 

 

 

 

Freelancing – Two Popular Freelance Sites Analysed

Freelancing and procuring work on a regular basis to keep the cash-flow circulating in on the context of submitting proposals, quotes, or setting up gigs or services is hard to do. I’ve been freelancing as Virtuadmin on a variety of sites for the past few years but work has suddenly come to a halt and wondering why.  I’ve been marketing Virtuadmin regularly the best way I know how; posting to our website by sharing great tools and information and generally being active on Social Media platforms such as Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ to name a few.

The most success I had was on Fiverr.com, unfortunately, the exchange rate of ‘$’ to ‘£’ doesn’t make working in a professional niche viable sometimes. To explain further, my success was transcription and was getting regular orders. It takes the average transcriptionist with touch typing speeds in excess of 70 words per minute 4 hours to transcribe one hour of good quality clear audio. To transcribe say 30 minutes for ‘$5’ would give the freelancer, me, ‘$4’. At the time of writing the exchange rate would convert that $4 into approximately £2.82. Break that down even further and it works out to £2.82 divided by the 30 minutes of audio is 0.09 per audio minute.

After discovering Fivesquid.com and the British equivalent to Fiverr.com in as much that it is working in £’s and not $’s suited me better. This would make £4 and not $4 for 30 minutes of audio to be transcribed (An example for ease of explaining and this would then make the audio 0.13p per audio minute. Other freelance sites offer multiple currencies to pay or receive payment in.

Fiverr.com and Fivesquid.com are two very similar sites with the same objectives of providing quality low-cost freelance services. This got me thinking why I’m not getting the views of my services on Fivesquid as I was getting on Fiverr.com (my account is closed on Fiverr). My ‘gigs’ are active on Fivesqid.com but even after cross promotion on various platforms, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Digg, Flipboard some days I am just not getting the views or orders.

A quick search on Google to see if there was a website out there that would show traffic rates and comparisons of traffic; hey presto I found www.similarweb.com. These two graphs have been generated by this wonderful website and show the difference in volumes in traffic and their sources.These two graphs are a comparison of estimated monthly visits website traffic between fivesquid.com and fiverr.com. To clarify this is the estimated number of internet users who visited fivesquid.com compared to its American competitor fiverr.com.

Estimated Monthly Visits

The reason for my comparison is to ascertain if Fivesquid as a freelancing website is actually growing in popularity or are regular users maintaining it? Are more people actually looking for and hiring freelance services via Fivesquid?

To look at the graph above for the last 3 months looking at the first two indicators, ‘Direct’ and ‘Referrals’ the answer would seem to be no. However looking at the results of ‘Search’ which is Search engine traffic is that traffic that comes from visitors clicking on links on a search results page this would change my opinion a little. There is a significant number of more clicks from search results for Fivesquid as opposed to Fiverr.

Engagement

Fiverr has a much higher engagement rate to that of Fivesquid, it would appear that Fivesquid is remaining steady in popularity and Fiverr is decreasing in popularity. Certainly, over October, November and December their visits have fallen by approximately 10 million. In referrals, they are much pretty neck and neck but with the decrease in visits and referrals staying the same Fiversquid is getting a more trustworthy site to hire freelancers on. Their rate of conversion at roughly 9.58% compared to Fiverr shows that Fivesquid has a much stronger email marketing strategy and therefore better conversion rates.

 

Conclusion

This is only my opinion as an experienced Professional offering digital services as Virtuadmin Services working with years of experience working in an office and freelancing.  Our conclusion and belief are that Fivesquid has a lot to offer small businesses and organisations or businesses or anyone looking for cost-effective digital solutions.  Fivesquid has an awful lot to offer where benefits are to be gained outsourcing in the currency Great British Pound but unfortunately are not promoting.

It is encouraging that ‘Search’ results and ‘Mail’ initiatives provide much higher traffic sources and conversions hoping that one day they will increase their hundreds of thousands of visitors to millions like Fiverr.

Entrepreneurs, Solopreneurs, Small and medium sized businesses, organisations, self-employed are turning more using the professional services offered by freelancers that ever before.  Outsourcing to a freelancer is a cost-effective solution and hiring freelancers via freelance websites ensure security for both parties in the buying and selling of a service, flexible that you can hire them to do a one-off job or long-term pretty much hassle free. The only drawback to a site like Fiverr for freelancers where the exchange rate is not favourable to their native country’s currency they cannot work for any decent amount of money without severely dropping their working rates of what they are willing to accept for a certain task. Many, many freelance professionals produce high-quality work and this alternative of compromising working rates does not seem at all fair.

I hope in the future that contractors using freelance sites will consider the currency aspect and appreciate that the digital world operates in different types of currency values and unfortunately, therefore, some parts of the world can outsource their quality services cheaply and work happily on sites like Fiverr whereas others like myself have to remain on less popular websites like Fivesquid.com that haven’t got anywhere near the same volume of visitors or traffic but the buying and selling of services are conducted in the native country’s currency.  The quality of services is not to be doubted in any way, they are absolutely top quality and professional.  It needs is recognition in countries that can operate on a sensible valuable level to the contractor and freelancer operating from their habitual residence.  What would you want for £5?  What would you do for £5?  Visit www.fivesquid.com or visit fiverr.com for the alternative and see for yourself what works best for you, your wallet and your business!

If you are interested in hiring our professional freelance services please feel free to drop me an email or visit our profile on https://www.fivesquid.com/freelancer/Virtuadmin. Quality low-cost transcription service and Construction (CnDM Manual compilation.

What’s your experience of working on Fiverr.com or Fivesquid.com?  Let us know your experiences as a buyer of freelance services or seller of skills and knowledge, we’d love to hear from you.  Thanks for reading. – Virtuadmin

The Ultimate List: 70+ Best Tools For Skyrocketing Business Growth in 2016

If you want to be an effective business owner in 2016, you can’t manage everything on your own.

In order to scale the progress you’ve already made, or simply experience real growth for the first time, you have to be willing to delegate responsibilities, standardize processes, and use the right tools.

The problem is, there are a lot of tools out there to choose from. Knowing where to start or which tool to try is not always easy.

This collection of tools can help you narrow your search results and quickly find the right tools for your business—the ones that are really going to help move the needle and take your business to a whole new level.

The tools are separated into eight different categories:

  • Marketing
  • Conversion & Lead Generation
  • Business Management
  • Project Management & Communication
  • Customer Service & Retention
  • Outsourcing
  • HR, Employee Engagement & Appreciation
  • Social Media Marketing

As you go through this list, think about your business goals for this year, what your plan is for achieving those goals, and whether you think any of the tools listed could help you get you to where you want to go.

Here are the 70+ tools you should be using in 2016 to grow your business:

Marketing

1. CuratedCurated is a tool that allows you to quickly find and save content to share with your email list in the form of a beautifully simple weekly email digest. It’s a great tool for providing extra value to your audience. Pricing: Starts at $25/month

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2. Referral SaasquatchReferral Saasquatch is a great tool that can be used to build and manage customer referral programs for your business. Referral tools like this one make it incredibly easy to incentivize and encourage more word-of-mouth advertising of your business. Pricing: Starts at $99/month

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3. Content MarketerContent Marketer is the best tool on the market for promoting content, building links, and connecting with influencers. It’s the tool you want to use when you’re ready to take your content marketing efforts to the next level and start seeing more ROI from your efforts. Pricing: $19/month

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4. QuuuQuuu provides you with hand curated content to increase your social media activity. After selecting a few categories that represent the type of topics you’re interested in, Quuu automatically sends hand curated content to your Buffer account. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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5. CanvaCanva is one of the easiest tools out there for creating compelling, original images for social media and blogging. The tool offers a wide variety of backgrounds, icons, and fonts to fit the needs and dimensions of any platform you’re using to connect with prospects. Pricing: FREE

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6. Campaign MonitorCampaign Monitor is one of the top email marketing platforms on the market. The drag-and-drop email builder allows you to create a customized email campaign in a matter of minutes. It also offers a lot in terms of personalization, segmentation, and A/B testing. Pricing: Starts at $9/month

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7. BuzzsumoBuzzsumo is the top tool for performing content marketing research. The tool makes it easy to evaluate the performance of any blog post, website, or competitor. It’s a great tool to use when you’re ready to start investing in advanced content promotion and outreach. Pricing: Starts at $99/month

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8. Death to the Stock PhotoDeath to the Stock Photo is a site that offers fresh, inexpensive, and non-cheesy stock photos that can be used in a wide variety of marketing campaigns. You can sign up to receive new photos each month, or you can go premium and get access to all photos at once. Pricing: $15/month

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9. SEMrushSEMrush is a top tool for performing advanced advertising, keyword, baclink, and competitor research. The tool provides powerful analytics reports that can give you valuable insight and help you decide where to take your strategy next. Pricing: Starts at $69.95/month

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10. Sticker MuleSticker Mule is a tool that can be used to create and order custom stickers and graphics for your startup. The tool is relatively inexpensive and provides fast delivery and free shipping. Pricing: Varies depending on quantities

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Conversion & Lead Generation

11. SumoMeSumoMe offers a suite of tools that can be used to drive conversions and engagement on your website. Examples include the Welcome Mat, the Scroll Box, the Smart Bar, and others—all of which can be added to your site and customized to fit the look and feel of your brand in a matter of minutes. Pricing: Starts at $10/month

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12. OptimizelyOptimizely is one of the top tools for easily and quickly building and running A/B tests on your website. A/B testing is an important tactic when it comes to influencing more engagement and conversions, and with Optimizely, you can test everything from color, copy, button placement, entire landing pages, personalization, and more. Pricing: Varies

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13. LeadChatLeadChat (shameless plug) is a tool that you can use to insert sales staff right into your website. The tool makes it incredibly easy to add their ready-to-go live chat agents to your site who can chat with visitors and convert them to customers. Sound interesting? Ask for a trial now. Pricing: Starts at $99/month

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14. Import.io – Import.io is a tool that allows you to scrape the web for relevant information about products, businesses, and competitors. The tool automates the data collection process and presents it in an easily digestible manner for business owners looking to quickly identify and take advantage of gaps in their market or industry. Pricing: Varies

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15. Datanyze – Datanyze is a sales intelligence tool that allows you to uncover, research, and reach the right prospects. Alerts tell you which websites have started or stopped using a particular provider’s tool, Research helps you understand your prospects better, and their predictive modeling helps you determine which leads are worth pursuing first. Pricing: Request a demo to find out

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16. LeadPages – LeadPages is one of the top tools available for building customized landing pages on your site. The tool offers hundreds of templates that can be used to drive conversions and nurture prospects. Pricing: Starts at $25/month

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17. ConvertKit – ConvertKit is a tool that can be used to nurture leads down your sales funnel. The tool allows you to easily make customized opt-in forms that can be placed in content and around your site. You can also design landing pages, create drip campaigns, and send important one-off emails to your subscribers. Pricing: Starts at $29/month

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18. Crazy Egg – Crazy Egg is another tool that can be used to gain more insight into the actions and experiences people have when they land on your website. With this tool, you can analyze where people are clicking, how far down they’re reading, and where people are coming from when they land on your site. Pricing: Starts at $9/month

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19. Drip – Drip is a tool that you can use to create simple drip email courses. You can use the tool to easily repurpose your best blog content into a compelling email course that educates, nurtures, and converts your website visitors. Pricing: Starts at $49/month

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20. FullStory – FullStory is an amazing tool that allows you to actually record, replay, and analyze the experience people have when they land on your website. It’s a great tool to use for improving customer support, making decisions about development or product updates, and empathizing with users. Pricing: Starts at $199/month

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Business Management

21. Recurly – Recurly is a tool that automates recurring billing for subscription-based businesses and products. The tool is incredibly easy to set up and seamlessly integrates and connects with your existing merchant accounts and website. Pricing: Starts at $99/month

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22. Xero – Xero is a beautifully designed online accounting tool. An alternative to QuickBooks, this tool can help you manage invoices and quotes, inventory, purchase orders, bills and expenses, employee payment, and more. Pricing: Starts at $6.30/month

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23. Chartio – Chart.io is a cloud-based business intelligence tool. It’s a tool that you can use to quickly organize, visualize, and analyze complex data related to your products and business. It’s a great tool for any business looking to become more data-driven in 2016. Pricing: Sign up to get pricing information

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24. TradeGecko – TradeGecko is an inventory management tool for business owners looking to automate painful and repetitive tasks. The tool can help streamline order management, stock levels, tracking at multiple warehouse locations, multi-channel sales, and more. Pricing: Starts at $39/month

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25. Segment – Segment is an incredibly convenient tool that allows you to collect customer data with one API and send it to hundreds of tools for analytics, marketing, and data warehousing. Pricing: Starts at $39/month

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26. Google Analytics – Google Analytics is an essential tool for any business owner looking to gain a better understanding about website visitors. With Google Analytics, you can track metrics, set up goals and events, and find ways to optimize your website in order to boost conversions, engagement, and repeat traffic. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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27. UpCounsel – UpCounsel is a tool that offers on-demand legal help for business owners who don’t necessarily have the funds to keep a full-time lawyer on retainer, but need legal assistance from time to time. The tool can help with agreements, trademarks, patents, labor and employment, and more. Pricing: Varies depending on work

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28. Toggl – Toggl is a time-tracking tool aimed at helping business owners boost daily productivity. The tool streamlines time-tracking and makes it incredibly easy to identify where time is going and how to become more productive throughout the day. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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29. Zirtual – Zirtual is a tool that can be used to find U.S. based virtual assistants. The tool now falls under the Startups.co umbrella, and is a great resource to take advantage as you continue to scale your business in 2016. Pricing: Starts at $398/month

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30. HelloSign – HelloSign is a tool that can be used to send and receive legally binding electronic signatures for business purposes. It integrates with familiar apps like Gmail, Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox, and more. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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Project Management & Communication

31. Trello – Trello is a fantastic project management tool that can really bring your projects to life. The tool creates a visual representation of your projects in the form of cards that can be moved from column to column as a project progresses. It’s a great tool to use for managing freelancers. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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32. Basecamp – Basecamp is another tool that can be used to manage projects. It’s different than Trello in that it’s less visual-focused and more centered around team collaboration. The tool just launched a brand new version, which can be explored here. Pricing: Starts at $29/month

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33. Asana – Asana is a project management tool that works well for teams that are moving a lot of projects through the door at a given time. It’s one of the most flexible and customizable project management tool available. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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34. Evernote – Evernote is a great tool for managing personal projects and to-do lists. It’s a cloud-based tool that can be accessed from the mobile, web, or desktop. It’s a particularly useful tool to use when you want to pull in various types of media (photos, screenshots, notes, etc.). It does also offer the ability to collaborate with others. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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35. Slack – Slack is one of the most popular real-time messaging apps available today. It’s incredibly well-designed, and easy to implement across multiple teams. The tool can also be used to manage specific projects by setting up different channels within a chat group. It’s a great option if you have or plan to grow a remote team. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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36. Google Apps For Work – Google Apps For Work offers professional email, online storage, shared calendars, video meetings and more. It’s also a great alternative to the Microsoft Office suite—it has a word processor, a presentation tool, a spreadsheets tool, and a form builder. Pricing: Starts at $5/user/month

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37. Wrike Wrike is a versatile project management tool that can be used by marketing teams, product development teams, department heads, and more. With the tool you can easily create tasks, mention team members, collaborate in real-time, and seamlessly integrate with your other tools. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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38. Projects by GrowthHackers – Projects is still a bit of a mystery, but early previews make it appear to be an incredibly user-friendly project management tool. To try this tool, you’ll need to request early access to join their beta program.

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39. Join.Me Join.Me is a simple tool that can be used to host video and audio conferences, share your screen, record meetings, and more. It’s a great tool to use when you need to quickly pull up a presentation or reference your screen while on a group call. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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40. Dropbox – Dropbox is one of the top cloud-based file storage tools on the market. It’s a convenient way to store and share important documents with team members, customers, investors, and anyone else involved in the growth and success of your business. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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Customer Service & Retention

41. SatisMeter – SatisMeter is a tool that helps you gather customer feedback through NPS surveys. Net Promoter Score surveys are an incredibly effective way to gauge how loyal and happy your customers really are. The tool can be installed onto any website or app in less than 10 minutes. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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42. Intercom – Intercom allows you to easily communicate with your customers through targeted in-app and email messages, triggered by time or behavior. The tool can be used to collect customer feedback, chat with customers in real-time, create marketing lifecycle email campaigns, and provide support. Pricing: Starts at $49/month

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43. Packs By Startup Threads – Packs By Startup Threads offers a convenient way to create and send customized swag packages to your customers. The tool is incredibly easy to use. All you have to do is build your pack, order a reserve amount to store at the Startup Threads warehouse, and use their API or dashboard to send out to customers in an effort to boost loyalty and retention. Pricing: Varies

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44. MailLift – MailLift is a handy tool for sending handwritten thank you cards to customers. Handwritten thank you cards are a great way to boost customer happiness, but as your business continues to grow, it’s important to take advantage of tools like MailLift that can help you automate time-consuming tasks, while still keeping things personal. Pricing: Varies

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45. Zendesk – Zendesk is a web-based customer support platform. The tool allows you to accept and manage support tickets from a variety of channels—web, email, social, chat, or phone. It also provides the ability to create and manage a Help Center for your website. Pricing: Starts at $5/agent/month

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46. UserVoice – UserVoice is a tool that allows you to collect and prioritize feedback from customers, partners, and teams that can influence future updates to your products. The tool makes it easy to collect feedback right in your app (web or mobile), from your website via a private forum, and in real-time chat. Pricing: Starts at $499/month

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47. GoToMeeting – GoToMeeting is a top tool for coordinating and hosting webinars. It’s a great tool to use when you’re ready to start educating prospects and customers about product benefits, protips, and other topics that can help them use your product successfully. Pricing: Starts at $24/month

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48. Snagit – Snagit is a tool that allows you to easily create screen captures and videos that can be used to create tutorials for customers. It’s another great tool to use when you’re ready to start spending more time and resources on educating your customers. Pricing: Starts at $49.95

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49. TypeForm – TypeForm allows you to create visually-compelling survey forms. The tool makes it incredibly easy to design custom forms to use for social media contests, customer feedback, hiring, and more. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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50. Customer.io Customer.io is another tool that you can use to send targeted messages to users and customers. The tool allows you to leverage user behavior data in order to send more effective messages. With the tool, you can A/B test, build campaigns, track conversions, segment messages for specific audiences and traffic, and more. Pricing: Starts at $100/month

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Outsourcing

51. Upwork Upwork is a tool that you can use to find freelancers to help you grow your business. This site can connect you with developers, creatives, customer service agents, virtual assistants, and other consultants. Pricing: Varies

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52. ScriptedScripted is a tool that you can use to scale your content creation efforts. It’s a tool that can connect you with on-demand writers to help you produce content for blog posts, landing pages, white papers, social media updates, product descriptions, and more. Pricing: Varies

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53. FiverrFiverr is comprised of an incredibly vast network of freelancers who can help you complete almost any task, no matter the size. Categories on the site include graphics, marketing, writing, video and animation, video and audio, and more. Pricing: Starts at $5, then varies depending on project scope

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54. 99designs99designs is a site that primarily focuses on helping connect designers with business owners looking for help creating brand-specific collateral (logos, brand identity, t-shirts, etc.). Pricing: Starts at $299/month

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55. Toptal Toptal is a site that connect business owners with the top 3% freelance software developers and designers. Pricing: Varies

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56. PeoplePerHourPeoplePerHour is a site that connects you with freelancers who can help with design, development, content, and promotion. It’s a great tool to leverage when you need help fast. Pricing: Varies

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57. WriterAccessWriterAccess is another tool that you can use to find freelance writers. Pricing varies, but can be as low as two cents/word for content. 

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58. GuruGuru is a site that can connect you with admin support freelancers, engineering and architecture freelancers, legal freelancers, and more. Pricing: Varies

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59. Gun.ioGun.io is a tool that you can use to connect with and hire the best freelance developers in the world. The site offers a unique concierge service that matches you with a representative who can help you find the right person for the job. It’s a good site to go to when you’re looking for help building apps for mobile and desktop, when you need help scripting, building a UX strategy, and more. Pricing: Varies

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60. GigsterGigster is a site you can go to when you need to hire an entire freelance development team. Pricing: Varies 

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HR, Employee Engagement & Appreciation

61. TinyPulseTinyPulse is an employee retention tool that allows you to create surveys for your team to anonymously answer each week. It’s a great way to sync up with your employees and make sure they’re getting everything they need in order to be successful in their roles. Pricing: Starts at $5/user/month

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62. AnyPerkAnyPerk is a convenient tool that allows you to show appreciation and offer rewards to employees who go above and beyond in their roles. The tool offers a wide variety of perks that employees can choose from based on their interests—such as travel discounts, gym membership deals, restaurant coupons, subscription services, and more . Pricing: request a demo

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63. KinKin is a tool that allows you to completely streamline your human resources department. The tool makes it incredibly easy to onboard new employees, keep track of important employee information, manage communication with employees, track time off and vacation, coordinate employee performance reviews, and more. Pricing: $5/user/month

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64. 15Five15Five is a tool that allows you to keep track of what’s going on at your company week by week. The tool allows you to send customized surveys to employees in order to celebrate wins, identify challenges, and determine what people need in order to keep moving your company forward. Pricing: Starts at $49/month

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65. GlassDoorGlassDoor is a site that you can use as a tool to recruit top talent. As a company, you can create a presence on the site to attract job seekers, advertise jobs, and promote your company against competitors. Pricing: Request a quote

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66. Zenefits Zenefits is another tool that you can use to streamline your HR tasks. The tool can be used to manage payroll, benefits, time, talent, compliance, and management. Pricing: Free

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67. KudosKudos is a tool that allows you to give recognition and appreciation to team members in real-time. The tool makes it easy for managers to give praise to peers and for peers to give kudos to peers. It’s a fairly robust platform, and definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a way to boost employee morale at your company. Pricing: Starts at $2/user/month

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Social Media Marketing

68. CoScheduleCoSchedule is a top tool that marketers use to build editorial calendars, manage social media updates that relate to content, and manage the content creation process. Pricing: Starts at $15/month

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69. BufferBuffer is the top tool that marketers use to schedule social media updates. The tool makes it easy to schedule and share updates when your audience is listening in order to boost engagement, grow your following, and get the most out of your social media marketing efforts. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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70. GleamGleam is a popular tool that allows you to create and manage social media contests and reward campaigns. Examples of the types of contests and campaigns you can create include 1-click entry competitions, refer-a-friend campaigns, coupon offers, and more. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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71. GrammarlyGrammarly is a tool that you can use to identify and eliminate common spelling and grammar errors in your content. The tool also offers content optimization features aimed at improving your content and your writing abilities. Pricing: Premium plans start at $29.95/month

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72. FlareFlare is a tool that you can use to create a social media share bar on your website content. Social share bars can boost engagement and brand authority. The tool allows you to track social and engagement analytics in order to determine the effectiveness of your blog content. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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73. MentionMention is one of the best ways to monitor your brand, your name, and the names of the people you work with (executives, coworkers, partners, etc.). The tool helps you keep track of mentions from the web and from social media, making sure you never miss an opportunity to engage with a fan or prospect. Pricing: Starts at $29/month

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74. NarrowNarrow is a tool that makes it easy to grow your Twitter following. The tool helps optimize and automate the process by working with you to identify the right types of followers you’re looking to connect with on Twitter. All you have to do is enter target keywords, and Narrow does the rest. Pricing: Starts at $9/month

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75. Notifier Notifier is a tool that you can use to boost traffic and engagement on your site. You can use the tool to scan your latest blog posts in order to automatically find and organize the influencers you know you want to reach out to. Once you scan your post and build your list, all you have to do is compose your social media outreach message template, select the people you want to reach out to, and send or schedule your tweets. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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What other tools would you add to this list? Leave a comment below and tell us what tools you’ve been using to grow your business! We’d love to hear from you.

Outsource Project: Freelancer vs Outsourcing Service Provider

outsource vs freelanceThe concept of project outsourcing has gained a tremendous amount of popularity in the recent years. Every business owner of today trusts on outsourcing his/her projects. There are some business owners who prefer to offer their outsource project to the Outsourcing Service Provider while others choose to hire a freelance artist. In my article I would like to make you aware about some of the pros and cons of both outsourcing techniques viz. a freelance artist and an Outsourcing Service Provider.

Well, outsourcing has actually been of immense help to all those business firms which need to undertake a large number of tasks within a limited amount of time. The owners of such business firms find it easy to complete their projects by assigning the important part of work to either a freelance artist or an outsourcing service provider. If you hire an Outsourcing Service Provider, you can actually complete multiple number of projects within a short span of time because you get a chance to hire a group of professionals who are there to undertake all the important programming part involved in your projects. By hiring an Outsourcing Service Provider, you are actually free from the hurdles of paying an individual programmer on a monthly pay basis. By hiring an Outsourcing Service Provider, you can easily free your human resources department which can then work on other important aspects related to the progress of your company. Apart from these advantages there are also some cons related to offering the outsource project to an Outsourcing Service Provider. One of the major disadvantages is that you cannot communicate with all those programmers who are basically working on your project. This can lead to problems that arise due to half-understood projects.

Talking about the concept of hiring a freelance programmer, I would like to mention that by hiring an individual freelance programmer you can actually be sure about the efficient completion of your project because you get a chance to be in continuous interaction with the freelance programmer who is working on your project. By choosing the best freelance programmer you can also add extra efficiency to your project because the programmer would put in all his/her best programming skills into your project which can make it all the more proper. Since a freelance programmer works from his/her home, you can expect the completion of your work well on time as he/she is able to work according to his/her convenience. You can easily find the freelance programmers who possess excellent programming skills and are willing to work on low prices. Apart from these advantages attached with the hiring of a freelance programmer, there are also some disadvantages attached with the same. One of the major disadvantages of hiring a freelance programmer is the unreliability. If a freelance programmer gets a lot of work during one month, then he/she prefers to take a might take a break from work as per his choice and convenience.

A freelance programmer might also lack a good amount of dedication towards the task assigned to him/her. Since a freelance programmer is free from any sort of pressure from the boss/firm owner he/she might be negligent in his/her work. An outsource project can allow you to grow your business at a faster pace. You can either choose to hire freelance artist or an Outsourcing Service Provider which can help you achieve your goals within a very short span of time.

What is Audio Transcription?

Transcribing is the art of listening to audio and converting the spoken word into a written, readable form.  Sounds easy right?

Just listen and type.  Not true.  

One who transcribes has worked hard to gain the skills and experience necessary to perform this task.  An audio file (MP3, WAV, DSS etcetera), which let’s say is 15 minutes in length, can easily take an hour or more to transcribe.  

The transcriptionist doesn’t necessarily have to be fast at typing (it helps, though!) but must have expert listening, spelling, and grammatical skills.

Listening skills mean you understand:

• More than one speaker
• Heavy accents
• Coughs, stutters, uhs,uhms (known as verbatim)
• What the speaker is saying (accurately typing technical terms)

Grammatical skills you have:

• Excellent spelling
• Can differentiate between English and American English spelling
• Excellent grammar
• Know how to paragraph the content

As well as the above, if your client doesn't provide you with a template to transcribe directly into, then you need to know how to set-up your Word (or the format you are using) document page correctly.

To help you understand and remember what audio transcription is, I have designed an Infographic.  It was created and designed by me, the writer, 3 years ago.  It has now had a revamp in style to be 'up-to-date' but the content is the same.

 

Transcription acronym by Virtuadmin

Introducing ‘Virtuadmin’

Hi and welcome to the blog of Virtuadmin.  This our very first every blog post and I am very nervous even as I’m writing it, and why is that?  I’m Joanna one half of the team, the typist and administrator with over 20 years experience in Secretarial and Administration roles.  Alan, my husband and the other half of Virtuadmin brings the Graduate knowledge of Public Policy and Administration to our business.

We have been active for a year, our website www.virtuadmin.co.uk has been designed and built by Alan.  Initially we set up profiles on Freelancing accounts such as People Per Hour, Elance, and Guru to name a few; we began the hard and painful job of submitting proposals offering our Business Administration Support Services.  It was a long and tedious, and to be honest after a few months of constant day in and day out logging onto these sites, sending proposals and not really getting anywhere we gave it a break.

It wasn’t a conscious decision we just naturally slowed down how active we were on those sites.  Then surprisingly one day out of the blue we received an email from a guy asking if we could write a review.  Until then we didn’t even know about reviewing products, e-books, android apps or anything of the like.  

Alan is the content writer of anything (apart from writing the first post for our blog!) and he got to work on his very first review.  That one review was enough then for someone else to hire our services and he has since written a Business Plan for training industry employees in Nigeria on First Aid.  It was his/our biggest project and took 3 weeks to collate the data and then present it to the client.

  Those first few orders gave us the confidence we needed to really get the business out there and business has been steadily growing ever since.

We would like to thank all our initial clients, and welcome all new clients to Virtuadmin.  Thank You Everyone.