Speech to Text the Old-Fashioned Way: Jo Ann Wall's Transcription Service

by Gil Zeimer on September 15, 2011
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Jo Ann Wall was a stay-at-home mom raising two young children and working part-time when she started a business 20 years ago. Since then, her San Mateo, Calif.-based JSTS Transcription Service has blossomed into a thriving operation that serves a wide range of clients.

We recently asked Wall to tell us a bit about her transcription services, her work style, and how she markets herself and her small business.

ISBB: What sets your services apart from those of other transcription companies?

Wall: I provide top-quality client care in the initial conversation, before I even start a project. My thoroughness usually wins people over. I also specialize in digital audio transcriptions — and was one of the first companies to offer this service. I’ve since leveraged the use of free digital equipment as a marketing tool, and it’s been a huge success for me, especially for conferences, focus groups, and law firms.

How do you handle the everyday volume of work?

I’ve hired and personally trained women just like me who are motivated and working from home. They’re professional and mature, and they always have a secretarial and/or transcription background.

How do you advertise your services?

My number one marketing tool is my transcription service website that is optimized for SEO with keywords that help a broad geographic range of clients find me. My site has pulled in clients from as far away as Illinois, so I can pick up and drop off projects from anywhere. I also network with clients, and when I do a great job for one of them, whether they’re in a law firm or a university, word-of-mouth referrals help get me more projects from existing clients. Additionally, I use SendOutCards in brochure format as a thank you, to follow up with information about all of our services.

What is your biggest “pain point” as a small business?

First, the ebb and flow of work can be erratic, which entails a constant balancing act. Second, because of the size of my business, I’m responsible for marketing, but it’s not my area of expertise, so I have to work harder at it to be successful.

What do you wish you could do better?

I wish I could delegate my tasks better, so I could pass off more projects — instead of having to do all of the day-to-day tasks myself. I have to keep asking myself, “What can I take off my desk to free up my time, so I can get my name out there through marketing?”

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