Have you been struggling to find stay-at-home mom jobs that pay well? Need work-from-home options that fit around your family's schedule? Do you need to make a change in your life? Is your family's income falling short of meeting your needs? Or have you gotten stuck in a job that meets your financial needs but means long commutes and longer days? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this post is for you!
Scoping is an in-demand career you may never have heard of. It doesn't usually turn up in lists of most popular jobs for stay-at-home moms. Many people don't even know what scopists do. But, despite that, it deserves a place on any list of stay-at-home mom jobs that pay well.
Scopists edit legal transcripts for court reporters. This gives the reporter more time to focus on the reporting part of their work. And that makes scopists a valuable asset to their court reporter clients. Also, since scopists work remotely and set their own schedules, scoping is one of the most overlooked high-paying work-from-home jobs for moms. For instance, you won't find it on this list of stay-at-home mom job ideas.
What does this mean for you?
Do you have a good grasp of grammar, spelling, and punctuation? An eye for details others miss? And do you enjoy helping people? Scoping may be better suited to your skills and life than many other jobs a stay-at-home mom can do to earn money.
If you've got the right set of skills and interests, you can learn how to do one of the lesser-known but in-demand stay-at-home mom jobs that pay well.
If you'd like to know more about scoping, here's our resource roundup article.
But how Can I get started with this stay-at-home mom job that pays well?
That's a great question! Scopists are usually paid by the page, project, or turnaround time. That means that speed and efficiency are very important. Additionally, you'll need training in the specialized computer-assisted translation (CAT) software, and some legal terminology.
Internet Scoping School (ISS) has helped many people learn how to scope. There are other ways to learn, of course. But ISS will guide you from beginner to a scopist ready to create a thriving business. I know you might never have considered scoping when you Googled, “what kind of jobs can a stay-at-home mom get?” But course creator Linda Evenson has been a scopist for over 40 years. She created Internet Scoping School when she realized how desperately court reporters needed well-trained scopists. The course is even recommended by the National Court Reporters' Association.
I recently got to chat with Lauren Shissler of Golden Standard Proofreading. She's a mom and farmer's wife who left an unsatisfying job with a long commute. Lauren first turned to proofreading to meet her family's need for work flexibility and supplemental income. Graduating from ISS in 2021 allowed her to build a career that lets her use her skills and interests. Even better, she has flexibility to work around her family life with a stay-at-home mom job that pays well and satisfies her at the same time.
Do you want a business you can design to meet your needs for income and work/life balance, too? Then read on – Lauren's interview might be the key to the best stay-at-home opportunity for you and your family!
Did you have a career before you became a scopist? If so, can you tell us more about it?
Yes. I have a bachelors of journalism in advertising, so I worked at a local newspaper in the classified advertising department. Much to my surprise, they had never heard of my college (which is the number one program for journalism/advertising in the nation), nor were they happy that I pointed out numerous grammatical errors every week on a prewritten section that composed the entire front page of the automotive section.
In addition, the drive was an hour each way, and I quickly became disillusioned with how my career was going (or NOT going) and how no one at a newspaper cared about grammar.
I’d love to hear how you came to scoping. Were you looking for stay-at-home mom jobs that pay well, or was it more accidental? Did you have interests that made this a good fit?
I left my job at the newspaper without a new job lined up. We were in the end stages of building a house and I had a lot of work to do at home. While I was “retired,” I also kept the books for my husband’s farming operation. This was somewhat fun for me as it required a lot of attention to detail.
Unfortunately, as sometimes happens, we had a few bad years of weather, bottom-of-the-barrel commodity prices, and increasing diesel/fertilizer/chemical prices and it became apparent that I would need to reenter the workforce.
When you were looking for stay-at-home mom jobs that pay well, how did you find Internet Scoping School, and why did you want to know more about it?
By this time, we had two toddlers, and I knew that there were no advertising jobs in our small, rural town, or likely anywhere in the surrounding areas. I knew that whatever job I got had to be flexible, allow me to earn enough to afford childcare, and not be an hour away.
One day I was scrolling through Facebook after another job search session, and a page called Money Saving Mom came up. She was discussing Proofread Anywhere and how you could work from home, make as much or as little money as you want, and work any hours you like. It sounded too good to be true, but I had to check it out.
Once I finished that course and worked in proofreading for a while, I began to connect with other proofreaders who had transitioned to scoping and were making quite a bit more money.
Did you have any doubts or concerns about the course before you bought it? If so, what helped you decide to go ahead and enroll?
I wasn’t sure I wanted to pay for all of the software, such as CaseCat AND I had a MacBook Pro which obviously does not run Windows. There was no way I was going to buy a whole new laptop when I already had an excellent one right on my lap.
I also was nervous about truly being able to find clients. I knew from proofreading that it took quite some time to get a good client base going and I wasn’t sure that I could afford that time. Ultimately, a court reporter I was already proofreading for mentioned that she needed a new scopist and would I be able to help her?
She encouraged me to learn the trade and promised that no matter how long it took, she would be eagerly awaiting my graduation. 🙂 I asked around in the proofreading community and ISS was the most highly recommended. Linda herself seemed so impressive, it was hard to believe that anywhere else could teach me better than she could!
What were you hoping to achieve when you started the course? Did it help you create a stay-at-home mom job that pays well? Can you explain how it did or didn’t?
I was hoping to learn steno; I wanted to understand what made scoping so different from proofreading other than listening to the audio. The course definitely lived up to my expectations. Although I found the steno course much more difficult and time consuming than I anticipated, I am SO glad it is set up the way Linda has it. I learned a lot more than I would have by just blowing through it in some other course.
One thing that did frustrate me was there weren’t any files to practice scoping on that included audio.
Can you tell us about one situation where you got stuck in the course/process of starting your business? What helped you get through it?
Yes. One area that slowed me down was notetaking. I realized about halfway through that I needed to come up with some form (other than simply writing down each steno sound or shortcut) that would allow me to search quickly for a part of steno that might slip my mind now and again. For this, I created a spreadsheet with everything I learned, and I still reference it to this day when needed!
How well does scoping fit with your family’s needs? Is it a struggle to find the time you need to work?
Scoping fits very well with my family’s needs. It allows me to work from home, which I love, but is also really handy when one of my kids is sick or has a doctor’s appointment. As long as I’m not on a RealTeam file that day, I can always schedule my work around those types of things.
Sometimes finding time is a struggle because I’m a typical mom who tends to put everything else before myself and my work, so I’m learning to prioritize work as well as self-care!
What are your favorite parts of having one of the lesser-known stay-at-home mom jobs? Your least favorite?
One of my favorite parts of working from home is being able to take a break and swim or go out in the sun (during the summer). I also appreciate that my two golden retrievers, Remi and Bear, are able to come to work with me.
Sometimes I miss the water cooler talk, so to speak, of an office job, but I will never miss my former one-hour commute each way! Plus, all of my work friends are also scopists, proofreaders, and court reporters, and they’re all working from home/online too so if I need to take a break and chat or catch up on their lives, they’re actually MORE accessible than my former coworkers.
What do you love most about Internet Scoping School? How about your business?
The thing I love most about ISS is Linda! She is such a knowledgeable professional, a wonderful resource, and above all else, KIND! Unfortunately, not everyone we come across in this business is kind like Linda, and I think in her position especially, kindness is paramount. We are lucky to have her!
The thing I love most about my business is that I get to learn something new almost every day. I have ADHD, so never being tied to one topic/area for more than a week or so is really beneficial to me and scratches the itch of my many interests and curiosities.
What do you think are must-have qualities and skills to do well as a scopist?
First and foremost, a strong knowledge and love of grammar. Diagramming a sentence isn’t necessary (most of the time!) but knowing your general parts of speech and being a strong speller will aid you quite a bit right out of the gate.
Another thing is being a quick reader. Slower readers can succeed, but if you want to maximize your income, being able to go through files quickly will increase the number of jobs you can take.
Lastly, you have to be willing and able to hear constructive criticism. You will make mistakes. We all do. No one is perfect. But if you doubt yourself every time you miss a dropped “an,” this will not be the career for you.
When you first started your business, was it easy to find clients? Did the course prepare you for it? How do you find your clients? Do you have all the business you want?
It was relatively easy to find clients. I started as a proofreader so my favorite court reporter is the one who encouraged me to go into scoping. Yes, I do feel that the course prepared us for this.
I was already a graduate of Proofread Anywhere, so I knew most of the resources needed to find clients. Currently, I find clients through referrals from other scopists and proofreaders, court reporters, and Facebook job posting groups. I do have all the work I want.
If you don’t mind me asking, how many hours do you spend working every week or month? Can you give my readers an idea of how much work you need to do to meet your financial goals?
It really varies. Some weeks I’m putting in a solid 35 hours. Other weeks, maybe 6-8 hours. I am fortunate to be in a dual-income family, and my income is not the main income. In order to meet my financial goals, I need to earn around 2-3k a month. That breaks down to 200-300 pages of standard turnaround scoping per week. Since I also proofread, I usually don’t need to scope quite as many pages to meet my goals.
Do you have a work-life balance you feel happy with? If so, are there boundaries you hold? If not, can you explain where you struggle with this?
Yes. Most of the time I am very happy with my work/life balance because I am able to work from home, be around my dogs, kids, husband, or whomever needs me at the moment…or, every mom’s secret dream…in the house ALONE! 🙂
The boundaries I hold are no silly interruptions when I’m in my office. I often tell the kids, if no one is bleeding, throwing up, has a broken bone, or is dying, I’ll deal with it after I’m done working.
Is scoping actually among the stay-at-home mom jobs that pay well? Have you been able to earn back the price of the course and your setup expenses? If so, how long did that take? If you have current financial goals, are you meeting them?
Yes, I have been able to earn back the price of the course and my setup expenses. I don’t have a timeline as to how long that took, because I was already proofreading when I started scoping, so my income from that plus scoping was all lumped together. I did not keep track of when I “paid back” my course.
Can you share your top tips for parents who would like to go into scoping?
You can do this no matter what age your children are.
I began proofreading when my daughter was less than 2 years old.
If you have kids in school/sports and want to be available for their weekend/weeknight events, you need to be willing to work some odd hours once in a while.
No one teaches you that court reporters are often working on weekends to meet deadlines, and they do not get paid specifically for weekend work. That’s the point of hiring us! So, yes, it is possible to be “off” on the weekends or after 5 PM, but only if you are willing to work early/late or get a head start on some work outside of 9-5 M-F.
Have a designated office space.
I know a full-blown room in your house is not feasible for everyone. Even if you cordon off an area of your living room or bedroom, that is better. It helps your kids understand that when you are in this area, it’s work time.
Similar to how someone might sit in their favorite chair after work and accidentally fall asleep because that chair signals their body to relax or that the day is over, having a designated “office” space helps your body and your family remember you’re in work mode.
One of the things I love most about this job is the flexibility and freedom, not only in WHERE I work, but in WHAT I work on. I love to learn about different things. This week I have learned about smart thermostats, heart disease, patents, and car parts. Who knows what next week will bring? But if you don’t enjoy challenging your brain by taking on all of these different types of topics, this career may not be for you. Even on the worst, most boring/difficult days, I still enjoy what I’m doing.
Conclusion: Lauren Found Success With This Stay-At-Home Mom Job That Pays Well. Is Scoping for You?
Does Lauren's story sound familiar? Have you been searching for stay-at-home mom jobs that pay well? Are the options you've found not really what you want?
What if, like Lauren, your best option is scoping, a career that doesn't usually even show up on lists of stay-at-home mom jobs that pay well?
Internet Scoping School helped Lauren reshape her family's life without the hour-long commute. If you enjoy working with words, learning about a variety of subjects, and working on your own terms, scoping might be for you, too.
Linda Evenson has been helping students become successful well-trained scopists since 1999. But how do you know if this is the right well-paying stay -at-home mom job for you?
Linda has created a seven-day email mini-course to give you a feel for what scoping is like. You can test your own skills and see where you might need some extra learning, too. And best of all, it's all free!
If you want to get a more detailed idea of what scoping is like, check out our scoping resource roundup post. It's full of resources about this well-paying stay-at-home mom job. You'll find interviews, reviews, and a guide to what scoping is.
Are You Ready for A Stay-At-Home Job That Pays Well?
If you already know you're ready for the next steps to a better life, click the button below. It will take you directly to the Internet Scoping School site, no time wasted.
And if scoping doesn't seem like the best fit, check out our Careers page for other great stay-at-home mom jobs that pay well and fit your skills and family needs.
Still Have Questions?
If Lauren and I haven't answered your questions about scoping, or if you want to know about other stay-at-home jobs that pay well, drop a comment below. If I don't know the answer, I'll find it for you. My goal is to help moms (and dads!) like you find the right work-from-home options for your skills and lives.