Dear Nancy: I have been a court reporter for nine years and I am going to become an agency owner. In order to become a successful business owner, what is necessary to believe? What habits must I attain to make it in this industry? Signed, Kaizen
Dear Kaizen: You’ve got the answer in your name. For our readers, it is Japanese for “improvement” or “change for the better”. Read about it. It’s good stuff!
When you feel like you want to become an agency owner, my advice is: Lie down and wait for the feeling to pass. Just kidding! I would never say no to that ambition. Unlike an earlier Nancy whose advice was “Just say no,” my advice to you is evaluate who you are. Who is this person who wishes to become a successful agency owner?
Meet Nancy No and Nancy Yes. Nancy No is in her twenties, having fun, working hard, paying the bills. She passes her RPR. In her thirties, she’s Super Mom – two kids to raise, lots of pages to edit, transcripts to proof, deadlines to meet. There’s no time work on her realtime skills, or pas the RMR, no time to volunteer for her state association or mentor a student. In her forties she’s a hard worker and does what her agency asks her to do – as long as it’s not a LiveNote job or a quick draft transcript, and nothing too-too technical, or anything that’s going to run after 5:00 p.m. In her fifties she’s struggling to keep up with the latest technology. She’d love to do CART, or run her own business, but she doesn’t feel prepared for those challenges. She’s tired from decades of long hours. What about a career change? Hmm. Too old for retraining. The money’s too good to walk away from. Well, I’m getting close to retirement; I’ll just stick it out.
Nancy Yes is in her twenties, attends seminars, practices, gets her RPR, then her RMR, and looks forward to her CRR. She builds her career and her network of reporter acquaintances throughout her thirties, in addition to taking care of her two kids. Her agency values her can-do attitude and makes sure she gets the best jobs. She pays attention to CE and is a regular at state association meetings and a regular volunteer. Her career is at a high point – she’s talented, credentialed, hardworking, and she has earned the respect of her peers, her agency, and the attorneys she works for. She decides to open her own business. Now in her fifties, her business is growing; she trains new reporters, manages staff, attends owner conferences, stays abreast of technology, and keeps learning. She gives back to her profession: serving on committees, chairing committees, promoting our profession to the bench and bar; introducing technology to the lawyers she works with; promoting the highest standards of reporting to her reporters and instilling a sense of professional pride and mission in them. Now in her sixties, the Empty Nester years, she looks back with pride on her career, the business she’s built, and the reporters, young and old, she has influenced. A role model. She has no regrets.
Court reporting is more than a job; it’s a profession. If you make sure to acquire the necessary skills, you can face each challenge and succeed. Such success brings a justifiable pride of accomplishment – not a smug contentment, but the satisfaction of knowing you set goals, you worked hard to achieve them, and you succeeded. Best of all, you won’t come to the last decade of your career wondering whether you’d rather be doing something else.
Nancy No and Nancy Yes are two ways of coping. Nancy No survived; Nancy Yes succeeded.