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Is this a viable business idea - typing essays up for students?

(30 Posts)
SoftKittyWarmKitty Wed 08-May-13 23:01:11

I've always been good at typing - fast and accurate - and I'm wondering about setting up a business typing up essays and dissertations for students. Do you think that would be viable, or do students tend to type their own essays as they go, rather than handwrite them then type them up when done?

Is it a completely stupid idea?

I've always wanted to work for myself but suffer from a self-diagnosed lack of transferable skills (and a hefty dose of self-doubt), so I'm struggling to come up with good business ideas. Is this a go-er, or should I go back to the drawing board?

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Tue 14-May-13 11:00:59

I used to work as a note taker for a deaf uni student. I'd go to her lectures and meetings with her and take notes of what was being said as she wouldn't have been able to write and look at the sign language interpreter at the same time. I really enjoyed supporting her through her course. Would you be able to do something like this?

afussyphase Tue 14-May-13 10:57:43

Since you asked ... I'm actually doing a jazz improvisation one - and loving it! It's great. It's clearly laid out, lectures are high quality (content and production), and I'm finding the coursework useful and fun. And the student forum pages are at a high level - at least in this particular course. I was tempted by the business one but seeing as I have no time to start a business I figured it wasn't the time smile I totally agree with lovefreelance, by the way: since having children I am WAY more effective at managing my time.

lovefreelance Sat 11-May-13 14:33:53

Another soft skill to add to the list ;)

As mums we actually have many, many more skills than we acknowledge (or are even aware of). We usually need to develop the ability to multitask, manage people, manage time etc just to stay sane raising kids! Instead of viewing time out of the workplace as lost time/worthless, by looking at what we were doing in a different way we can actually turn it into a positive. I was a much more effective and appreciative employee once I had kids, and though I always left promptly at 5:30pm every night, I actually accomplished more in my day than colleagues who stayed until 7pm most evenings.

SoftKittyWarmKitty Fri 10-May-13 22:23:45

It's ok, I looked up soft and hard skills. See, I have a skill - I can google grin .

SoftKittyWarmKitty Fri 10-May-13 22:19:53

Thanks afussyphase I'll check it out. What course are you doing, if you don't mind me asking?

What are 'soft' and 'hard' skills please, lovefreelance?

afussyphase Fri 10-May-13 12:02:27

I'm doing a free online course (on something completely unrelated) and they advertised a 5-7 week course on how to conceive and develop business ideas. You could try something like that! It was coursera. I'm having a good experience with the one I'm doing...

lovefreelance Fri 10-May-13 11:53:58

I met a lady today who had set up a virtual assistant business and she loved it, so that indeed may be one way to go.

I'd also maybe try to look at your skills (soft and hard) a little differently. Maybe in vest in a couple of sessions with a life/business coach to help you understand what you want out of work/career and exactly what your capabilities are. You may be selling yourself a bit short smile

FreddieMisaGREATshag Thu 09-May-13 22:06:17

I used to do that exact job in the late 80's early 90's worked from home with a word processor, which was mighty high-tech at the time.

Sadly, decent computers, and good cheap printers killed it stone dead deader than a dead thing.


NotYouNaanBread Thu 09-May-13 22:03:19

Start a profile as a virtual assistant on People Per Hour.

ChocsAwayInMyGob Thu 09-May-13 14:33:10

I've used voice recognition and it's really bad. You still have to format, correct and often retype big bits of text. Maybe it's improved since I used it!

EasterHoliday Thu 09-May-13 14:30:27

the big city firms have teams of late night / overnight secretaries who are literally just there to bang out typed documents (or at least they did before voice recognition software became popular / accurate) - do you do audio typing?

ChocsAwayInMyGob Thu 09-May-13 14:24:56

Why not start your own virtual PA business? more and more people are working from home and need letters and documents typed up and sent off but are using virtual assistants and doing everything by email. You could start your own virtual PA Agency?

SoftKittyWarmKitty Thu 09-May-13 13:51:44

Thanks everyone. I already have a pt job so I have to be careful what I offer to people because I'm currently not available every day so my flexibility is slightly limited due to that, but I'm a skint single parent so I'm looking to earn extra income alongside my current job.

I'd love to work for myself and set up a business that would eventually replace the pt job (and hopefully overtake it in terms of earnings) but I've no idea what to do. I could easily do web content management as someone suggested, because it's part of my job, but no idea how to start with that. I expect most people who have their own website manage it themselves. Unless I set my own up of course, but doing what?! I'm just not sure what to do and where to go next.

ChocsAwayInMyGob Thu 09-May-13 09:09:51

When I was a legal sec all I did was audio typing all day long. I wasn't brilliant and can't touch type, so someone like you would be a dream employee OP!

Delayingtactic Thu 09-May-13 09:03:38

Medical typist would be the better way to go. Often hospitals lag behind in getting letters typed so there are one or two people whose sole job is to type letters (no secretarial work). Certainly the case in my department. All our dictation is electronic but I don't think you could work from home though am not sure.

megandraper Thu 09-May-13 08:49:29

Website content manager?

megandraper Thu 09-May-13 08:49:15

On the audio typist front there are jobs typing up doctors notes/dictated (into a recording device) comments etc. You have to know/learn the specialist vocab of course.

QuintessentialOHara Thu 09-May-13 08:41:09

Audio typist? Legal secretary?

Salbertina Thu 09-May-13 07:45:23

Kitty- you have "fast & accurate typing" but no transferable skills?! Hope you can see the huge contradiction there!

People like you are always in demand -just not for student market you originally suggested- set self up as virtual PA, clerking for council, advertise locally to offer services to local small firms? Temping?

exexpat Thu 09-May-13 07:36:51

I'm a student now and all our essays have to be submitted online. Everyone has computers and does it themselves.

There might be a market in proof-reading and correcting the English of work by the growing numbers of overseas students - the only way my uni can make ends meet at the moment is by taking on huge numbers of Chinese students, who don't always have a high standard of English.

GoblinGranny Thu 09-May-13 07:36:17

There is a niche market for proof-reading and checking student essays before submission, but it seems to be very informal.
DD does it for several students at her uni, particularly EAL and those who may have excellent ideas but poor grammar.

Salbertina Thu 09-May-13 07:28:28

Agree something like virtual PA might suit.
Only handwritten essays now will be under exam conditions! Students type, draft, redraft as they go and even now often submit online without hardcopy, so market long gone!

DolomitesDonkey Thu 09-May-13 07:13:00

What was your degree in? Perhaps you're (and I bet you are!) under-estimating your actual skills and knowledge and your specialist subject Magus, is in fact the "Norwegian Leather Industry" and therefore you could edit a thesis? Or is that on dodgy ethical ground as Joan suggests?

joanofarchitrave Wed 08-May-13 23:29:51

I understand there may be more work in writing the essays for the students to buy...

Yes, I'm afraid this particular bit of the market has gone IMO.

However, what about trying to get work as an exam scribe for disabled students? Do you have any areas of specialist knowledge that could help with that? Maybe talk to some universities about freelance work in that area?

LoganMummy Wed 08-May-13 23:28:37

If you're good at typing etc what about becoming a virtual assistant?

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