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August 7, 2019

What consitutes a “bad boy” notary part 2

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 9:10 pm

11. The bad boy Notary shacks up with the bad girl Notary and produces seven signing services. The “nice guy” Notary marries a Judge and has little problem collecting his rightful fees.

12. Many attributes affect how the bad boy Notary deals with clients and tasks, basically hate is given to everyone – including himself. The “nice guy Notary” sees everyone as simply human and does his best to be respectful to all; with perfect manners.

13. The bad boy Notary does not bother to flush after using the borrowers toilet. The “nice guy” Notary relieved himself at a restaurant on the way to the borrower.

14 The “nice guy” Notary wants his client to have a work product that will meet the client needs. The bad boy notary only wants to leave as quickly as possible with as much money as possible – including short changing when possible.

15. The “nice guy” Notary is careful when fingerprinting to avoid brushing against the body of both male and female clients. The “bad boy” Notary, with a perpetual erection; “accidently” but repeatedly makes contact in every way possible.

16. The “nice guy” Notary that requires payment in advance mentions that requirement during “first contact”. The bad boy Notary runs down the clock of the caller (so they have little time to find an alternative) and demands PayPal payment only after the doc is received, or an hour to the job – whichever is less.

17. The nice guy Notary carries a handkerchief for nose blowing. The “bad boy” Notary picks his nose constantly and “flicks” boogers on the borrower carpet; exclaiming “it’s good for the rug”.

18. The bad boy Notary stepped in poo on the way – and figures the rug in the borrower house will clean his shoes. The “nice guy” Notary is careful where walking, and makes sure shoes are clean prior to entering all locations.

19. The bad boy Notary spreads his current affliction (flu, measles, lice, etc.) in pursuit of making a buck. The “good guy” notary does not accept work until he is free of contagious issues.

20. The “nice guy” Notary has a set schedule of fees, with some variation for early morning or distant travel, etc. The bad boy Notary bases his fee on the desperate tone of the caller or the wealth implied by their home address.

So, now we know some of the differences between a nice guy notary and a bad boy Notary. The question is, what can you learn from the bad boy Notary? Please write some comments if there are any other bad boy lessons you can teach us which I neglected to mention.

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Ken’s take on how to be a bad boy Notary
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More on bad boy Notaries
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August 6, 2019

I Bounced Trustee signing – Refunded – 15 Min after docs arrived

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 9:08 pm

I Bounced Trustee signing – Refunded – 15 Min after docs arrived
I asked the all purpose question – Is there anything else I will be asked to do other than print, go, legally notarize, ship, report completion. They said “that’s it”. They sent my standard PayPal fee in 5 minutes.

When the doc arrived there was a requirement to scan and email two of the pages; OK, I’ll live with it. Even though it requires finding a parking spot, scan, email, and back out to ship. But, as they paid so quickly – I just said to myself “such is life”. But, it gets worse, as usual with my telling a lot worse.

Postdate not Backdate.
Along with the scan and email was a statement from title that I could ignore the fact that the docs were dated for the day after the notarization was scheduled. That was on the Mortgage. Borrower was predated as (no changes) signing on the 5th, the witnesses (another surprise) date the actual 4th as do I. That sure would look strange. I check with American Society of Notaries – that’s prohibited. Strike One.

Notary notarize thy self
There were two documents for notary only signatures that called for venue, stamped and seal. The first had me swear to the validity of the attached borrower ID copy – also prohibited by ASN. The second asked me to “verify” that the correct person signed, again sworn by me. Strike Two.

The closing Affidavit
The borrower signed over the words “Minnie Mouse, Trustee” – but in the notary section after the before me was “Minnie Mouse, followed by a lengthy description of the trust details”. They did include a copy of the trust (to reassure me?). Thus I was providing the trust details that the affiant did not swear to! It was the same situation for several other documents. Strike Three.

Let me outta here
Fortunately they sent the docs on Tuesday, at 7PM with the task scheduled for Thursday at 3PM, about two days later. Of course nobody at title was there to answer the phone. How I wished I had asked for the person who gave me the assignment to provide their cell number. I sent emails only stating that I had issues with the documents and also processed a complete PayPal refund. I had not printed the docs as it is my custom to review the PDFs on screen to be sure I would be able to accept the task. I also sent screen images of the ASN site showing that the specifics mentioned above were prohibited notary functions.

Lessons Learned
During “first contact” I was given the choice of them emailing the doc to me or they would ship the package to the borrower. Always have the doc emailed to you – so you can take a look at it and not wind up in a situation where you must decline to proceed and also want a trip fee. That would make for everyone involved to be unhappy. Look carefully at those notary sections, they are your statement. The fact that they sent me the Trust is meaningless; the notarized document must be able to “stand on its own”. Years later if there is litigation would you have the Trust document? Has it been revoked? Are you qualified to determine if it is valid? I am only allowed in the notary section to have the name as on ID.

What to do
Run away from questionable jobs. Your defense attorney would cost you a lot more than the tiny notary fee. Don’t count on E&O to step in when your actions are clearly improper – Dump the illegal tasks!

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July 31, 2019

Ken’s take on how to be a bad boy-girl aka person — Notary

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 7:48 am

I have been asked by our foolish fearless leader to scribble on the subject of being a “bad boy notary”. It’s not often I get to dwell on all the wicked and evil things I do. Usually I try to present myself as an honest and thoughtful human. Mindful of the fact that my eternity will be in the proverbial warm place; perhaps this confession will warrant my captors to provide some mercy. Unfair Advantage against local peers.

In this competitive environment ya need an edge. Switchblade knives land people in the pokey so I have devised other edges that crush the competition. I have a car parked in an in and out as I please parking spot – 50 feet from my front door. That allows me to have with me two heavy kits. The first is for Notary, the second is for Fingerprinting. Parking is impossible in most of NYC; so I have drafted my spouse as my personal chauffeur. Thus I get driven in a somewhat beaten up Honda Civic to assignments. Spouse drives around the block till I call for pickup. That allows me to bring in an awesomely complete set of supplies, not having a heavy bag to carry everywhere. Fast or Slow the Advertising is Gung Ho.

I use Goobers pay per click. But, my bids are very very low. Some of my key words are a bit off the wall, so nobody bids higher. I don’t get many clicks, by design. But those that I get go to my site and then they are hooked. I put a lot of effort into my site. A lot. I even have an easy to remember redirected link notary.fm (no .com) that goes to the more lengthy site bearing, in all humility my name. It’s wordy; it’s lengthy, and even somewhat entertaining. It’s not just better than others, it crushes them. Add a hot link to my A+ BBB accredited status and they are in a rush to prepay to my PayPoo account. If your advertising budget is tiny, I am delighted. Bribery Works.

But you have to know who and how to pull it off. If I were to offer the office manager who hired me a dollar bill on my way out – they would be insulted. A dollar? But, the tiny keychain flashlight that I buy, by the thousands, costs me under a dollar each. Some clients call me back just to get another. While on site I also bribe the affiant. This does not work with loan packages; but most of my work is corporate documents. I ask them to have a duplicate ready so I can process two copies – no extra charge (the duplicate request is made after fee agreement) – they perceive the cost per copy as being half of my fee. Bribed with a sign, stamp and emboss. I probably have more reviews than you.

The big secret: ASK for them. Write a well written plea for a review. Install it on your home PC and on your cell phone. I don’t do a better job notarizing documents than you do. In fact most squirrels write and notarize neater than I do. But the little rodents don’t send email. Ask for that review, via email – as soon as you are out of the building. While they are reflecting on the good job that you did and that you were a bit early. Also you explained why you had to change the Venue so they do not worry later about an unauthorized change. Share your knowledge for free. Some of my reviews were earned with only phone conversations, got no money, but nuther one!

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July 30, 2019

Legality without Integrity

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 2:26 am

Most of my readers are probably notaries, but not attorneys. We have been hammered many times to not practice law. Not so fast, there are many exceptions to that edict. Ken’s nuts, you think; give me a chance to change your mind. To me the illegal practice of law is directing a specific course of action for a specific person or situation. It does not prohibit sharing what is commonly available information. Sometimes, you should share your advanced knowledge.

Eschew doing that POA.

The caller wants me at a hospital to do a POA. I cover the requirements that you already well know. The legality is there. But how about the Integrity? I ask how is the POA to be used? It is to access a bank account and to transfer funds from a brokerage account. So, I ask the caller where they obtained the POA forms, from LegalCrawl on line is the answer. Well, I know that most banks and other financial institutions require their own POA form and will accept no other. It would be a fee in my pocket to proceed, but integrity requires explaining that they will need to find specifically which institutions they will go to, and to get their POA forms first. That’s not playing lawyer, that is sharing notary knowledge about how financial institutions work. Don’t print borrower copy, we will send the borrower a copy.

We are not required to read all the forms the borrower will sign. However I know that many forms contain the statement that the borrower received a copy of that document. Worse yet, in some of the requests the borrower would receive their right to cancel way after the passing of the rescission date. I would be following instructions to the letter by not giving a borrower copy. This often happens with buyout of pension and similar situations. Clearly the high ground is to always provide a full copy to the affiant. Sometimes a subset – the borrower copy – is provided that you are told will save you paper! Integrity requires a full set of all papers processed. When you are told it would soon be illegal don’t proceed.

Another POA situation. They were unable to get the Will signed due to witness unavailability. They mention that fact and want POAs to access the very soon to be deceased person’s assets to pay for a decent funeral. Whoa. A POA has no validity when the Principal is dead. They stress that the Principal will be dying tonight, but can sign the POA. Thus, the POA would be valid only for a few hours at most. Telling them the POA limitation is what should be done. As they told me the POA would be used after the death of the Principal I decline to proceed. It’s all about sharing knowledge

Obtaining birth, death and marriage certs is time-consuming in New York. Long lines and multiple forms are involved. Sure I process them for a worthwhile fee. But, when the client has a lengthy time window – they are not in a hurry; I provide the cost effective option. An option that cuts me out of earning a fee. I tell them about vitalcheck.com – and that they can order via the internet – if they can wait a few weeks. Tell your clients what you know, get the integrity star next to your name in their file. You might lose the current job, but will be called for the next.

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July 29, 2019

Defend Your Notary Section

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 2:24 am

It seems so routine. You check/correct the Venue, check the ID, watch them sign, administer the oath, stamp and emboss; and lastly add your signature. They swore or acknowledged to what they signed – but SO DID YOU. Did you read what you are being asked to sign?

You are the boss
Don’t let anyone tell you what they want or need in the notary section, especially if it varies from your jurisdictions’ standard. I’ve seen absurd directives admonishing me to not make any changes to any preprinted text. Well, that applies to the body of the document; “they” have no authority over the notary section. Only you do. Sure, you want to please your employer; but it’s more important to “please” the Judge; so you are not questioned in court about what you did.

OPP – Other Peoples Problems
She took title in her maiden name. We understand that she now only has ID with her married name; but we still need you to notarize her former name – directly in the notary section. They have it a bit backwards. I can accept an original marriage document to prove her new name; but not the reverse. That marriage document shows a legal change of name; the former name is no longer her legal name.

Sworn to before me by Mickey Mouse rightful heir to the Dizzy estate. The attorney who wrote that would love to have my “office” as a “public official” add to the claim of Mr. Mouse. Time to redact that absurd addition. More common is the addition of a title or office. Sworn to before me by Minnie Mouse CEO of Mouse Enterprises. As told to me by the NY County Clerk “you notarize just the name as on the ID”. But there is a minor exception. When Minnie signs over the wording with her title and the little word “as” is added: “by Minnie Mouse as CEO…..” that’s OK.

Who did you Notarize
Often the Jurat does not include a name. Just “Sworn to before me on….”. Their signature is usually illegible, so I ask them to neatly print their name under their signature. In a related issue, often with corporate documents; is the issue of proper “ownership authority”. If their name does not appear in the document by what right are they asking me to notarize their affidavit of photocopy? In such cases I ask them to print under their signature their “authority to have” – such as Clark Kent, Managing Partner of Superman Inc.

Who Swears To
Answer: Both the affiant and the notary. As a sworn public official you are an officer of the court issuing an official document. One that can be used as evidence in a court of law. Every word in the notary section signed by you is, in effect, your sworn statement. Even the worst lawyer in the world will admonish you to not sign a document without reading it first. But do you actually read each notary section prior to signing – I do; and so should you. Judge to Notary: You stated that the defendant was the “authorized representative” of the Plaintiff – how did you determine that?

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July 10, 2019

When you say I DO – it’s not what you think

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: , , — admin @ 3:05 am

First the title, the entry has nothing to do with a marriage ceremony. Perhaps my details delve into a situation with greater risk. At the wedding the question is “do you take ,,,,,”. My question is (with some variations) – Do you swear or affirm that these are your signatures, that you read and understood these documents; and that the statements contained are true and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief.

I’m waiting for a yes, or I do. Very rarely (actually only once in 10+ years) do I receive a NO. But, sometimes I get a “yeah” or “whatever” or “if you say so” – how colorful. I ask the affiant if they would give the same reply in a courtroom in front of a Judge. Anger them and they have the full power to “contempt of court” you and off you go to the “window bars motel” for a few days. I don’t have that lofty power so all I can do is ask the flippant affiant for a simple yes or no.

It still amazes me that some take “the oath” lightly. They don’t understand that a notarized document is a serious matter. I ask “do you know what perjury is?” Sure, is the common answer, “it’s when you lie in court”. Are you aware that a falsehood in a sworn statement – for example the one you just signed, bears the same crime – perjury? Huuuh, you ain’t a judge. Right you are, but I am an officer of the New York State Department of State, sworn and holding a commission.

You’re serious. Yes I am and so is signing a document and swearing before a notary public. With me the oath refers to the written word; in court it’s the spoken word. That is the only difference.

Well, there is one little exception to the above paragraph. That’s when I attend a deposition to swear in a witness. Do you swear that the testimony you are about….. I do lots of those and have a script giving “for the record” covering: time, place, names, my commission number and current expiration date, etc. OK, enough rambling, time for the shocking perception of what I do.

It seems that most people don’t have a clue what notarization means. Just a few of the comments I have received: doesn’t your stamp make the document accurate? Your stamp just means that I signed it, it can contain a pack of lies; how would you know? My lawyer sent it to me, I never read what the attorney sends, and does it matter? Can this be used against me?

Folks, a properly notarized document can “usually” be admitted into evidence in a court of law – exactly as if you had appeared and given the testimony contained in the document. It IS serious, don’t take it lightly. Let me phrase it slightly differently: notaries are considered as being “officers of the court” exactly the same as the bailiff that swears you in on the witness stand.

I said it before and will repeat it again: Do you swear or affirm that these are your signatures, that you read and understood these documents; and that the statements contained are true and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief. “Fish” stories with buddies are one thing, often lies to be sure. But, have that fish story notarized, tip: you better have that fish on your wall!

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July 8, 2019

Looking Beyond the Notary Section – A case Example

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: , — admin @ 3:01 am

The classic examples
We are often told not to notarize a document that contains blank areas. Of course in reality we do exactly that in every loan package. Take a look at the 1003 (the computer version of the loan application). Lots of blank areas there and nary a single N/A. Once I was put on standby for many hours; to notarize the sale of a super tanker. The neatly bound document was thicker than the Manhattan phone book (alas no longer issued). It was about 1500 pages. I did not turn each page in a desperate attempt to find a wayward and un-entered fill in. After about 6 hours of waiting time, I notarized the (approx from recollection) two dozen affiants at the end.

What happened today
The document was an amendment to an incorporation agreement. There were to be eight affiants; even with the nicely preprinted notary sections it totaled four pages. Simple? Well there was an issue. Just prior to naming the trustees, there was the statement that the names and addresses of the trustees would follow. The names were there but not the addresses. I normally don’t read the documents, but wanted to be sure the list of names matched the notary sections. I mentioned the discrepancy to the person managing the signing. I was asked how this should be handled. I covered the I’m not a lawyer issue. They came up with three possible courses of action.

The first would be to simply write in the addresses. Second, would be to redact “and addresses”. The last was to simply ignore the matter. They choose option 2. So, when the “and addresses” had a line drawn thru (not at my suggestion), I felt compelled to raise the issue of the requirement to initial hand written changes.

The first two affiants had left the session after being properly notarized and were not present to initial the change. The other 5 initialed. Hmmmm, 8-2=5? Sorry, but one of the planned 8 could not attend and would be notarized at a later date, and also initial that redaction.

In all probability the infamous “fix it fairy” would provide initials for the two who left early; of course I did not suggest that. But, as unfair as it sounds to me; some were unhappy that I mentioned the discrepancy between the stated text and the data entered. In other words; it seemed to some that I “created a problem” – just by stating the obvious (to me) flaw.

In all probability I goofed In hindsight, as I peck away at the keyboard; away from the seven affiants who want me to
resolve the “issue I created” – I shudda kept my big mouth shut. My biggest blunder was to agree on the 3 possible solutions. Perhaps the address is an absolute requirement for acceptance of the document. I truly don’t know. And, the only reason that I sailed into that blunder was by mentioning the issue.

Resolved: At least for me – if it’s not in the notary section, don’t read it, don’t comment on it. And absolutely say nothing about how they should proceed. It’s OK to mention initialing changes, but take no “legal opinion” about “course of action” when modifications are being considered

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March 24, 2019

So the Mobile Notary Well has gone Dry

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: , — admin @ 2:51 am

I usually don’t date my scribbles. Rather, I try to write what I perceive to be “eternal” truths. Wow, that sounded pompous; even for me. Well today is March 11, 2019, and the calls are down. Not “down and out”, but significantly lower than a few months ago. I don’t know or care about your political leaning; and I’m certainly not going to share mine. Though it probably would result in some interesting comments!

What to do when the well has gone dry? Basically there are only two real options. Ya dig another well or move on to where water is plentiful. If you can think of a practical and creative third alternative please enter some constructive and informative criticism of my analysis.

Dig another Well

Very few of us are likely able to provide “revenue for a family” from mobile notary revenue. I’m not talking about the “higher ups” who get a slice of many pies. I’m referring to the “rank and file”, the troops in the field who actually stamp, emboss, administer the oath and sign. We are legions of “side gig” entrepreneurs eking out a modest supplemental income. I suspect many of us are retired and use the signing fee for a modest night out. Probably a goodly number are youth who eagerly expend major effort, using their endless energy for usually small rewards.

There are many ways to dig that supplementary well. You can knock yourself out distributing business cards and seek the direct calls. Some will take the gamble and pay highly per click. Many will up their visibility by seeking better placement on notary directories. But, as I see it; these strategies, while valid; are chasing the limited demand. Being different, or more accurately, doing different IS digging another well.

Most mobile notaries run their business the same way; no matter what. I have had emails that state “I enjoy processing loan packages and don’t want to do anything else”. OK, you have chosen to starve, certainly in the current notary signing agent environment. Diversify is the word. You have to use your notary standing to offer to do many things. Learn to do fingerprinting, to process Apostilles, Letters of Protest, obtaining birth, death, marriage, divorce and how to work with educational documents. There are many other “authorities” granted to you by your status as a notary. The more you know how to do, the greater your chances someone will hire you.

Move on to the Water

Your status as a notary is an “edge” you have making you more desirable in many functions. Of course you should still market yourself as a mobile notary – great extra income when it fits into your schedule. But, quite frankly it’s not a gold mine currently. That may change – but probably not soon. So, take a real job; one where your notary skills can be an advantage. Use some of the “real job” revenue to maintain your current advertising and directory listings. I can picture some rural lawn signs: “Notary Public and lawnmower blade sharpening”. IM(not so)HO probably the worst thing you can do is chase the 35 dollar edocs. Do the math; there is virtually no profit. Face the reality, be flexible, ADD a few additional skills; notary skills – of course; but don’t limit yourself to solely notary income. When you dig that new well you just might strike oil!

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October 29, 2018

Fix for – Your Phone Stopped Ringing

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 12:28 pm

Fix for – Your Phone Stopped Ringing
To understand why it’s not ringing you need to understand what makes it ring. Calls come from three basic origins. Repeats, Advertising, and “where you are known”. Repeats are great, and you will have them if you did a good job for a fair price. People like to deal with a known entity – especially when the prior work was great. Ads cost money, but wisely done have a good ROI
(Return On Investment). However “ads” can be free – the following link: http://kenneth-aedelstein.com

will be “picked up” by many internet “robots” – including Google. It costs noting to
post a blog, just some time to create content that is worth the readers’ time.

Now on to “where you are known”. I have often suggested the distribution of several hundred business cards. Sure, it’s work – but has the advantage of making a good face to face impression. Well, to be honest it can take a lot of low result legwork. But, it can also be done with a strategy for low effort and high return. One good potential future caller source is doctors. They often need their statement about a patient’s health notarized. You could plan a route to cover 50 doctors in one trip. It would be an inefficient plan. Sure you would leave a card (and perhaps a brief letter about your services) with the doctors; but the narrow focus would miss other potential clients – in the same building.

A better, perhaps more efficient approach would be to visit an area. Doctors might be prime candidates – but the hardware store adjacent to the doctor should also receive a visit. Think of everyone as a potential client – why not visit an many as possible, as efficiently as possible?

This is a very generalized approach. It works for notaries, realtors or plumbers. They might not need you now, but might require your type of service in the future. Can you picture them thinking “now where did I put that card” – I vaguely recall that person seemed competent.

Don’t feel like making a special card distribution trip? You don’t have to. Just be sure to carry about 50+ cards with you at all times and distribute them where you go, and to places nearby.

It’s a numbers game – the cost is very low, and to be frank – the response rate is also low; initially. But some will call, perhaps becoming repeat customers. Unlike the hated “spam” email, you are delivering your card personally; perhaps starting a relationship.

One final tip. Be sure to use the back of the card to make your card a “keeper”. I have a street guide to finding buildings in Manhattan. Some have conversion charts between English and Metric measurement, some Federal holidays. Whatever you choose make it a “long term” keep. Probably the worst is a calendar – into the trash you go on New Year’s Day.

.

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A list of things Notaries goor (or might goof on).
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Life at the bottom of the food chain
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Get off your butt — and start marketing yourself
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September 29, 2018

Now is the Right Time to become a Notary / Signing Agent

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 11:19 am

Now is the Right Time to become a Notary / Signing Agent

Sounds strange? You think the business is dying? Sure, at the moment things are slow. But, I forecast a booming future for the industry. There are many positive signs:

Baby Boomers Getting Out

The “old guard” of “seasoned” experts, born in the 40s are collecting Social Security or looking at the daisies from the root end. It’s time for the next generation. No doubt about it. They (and I) are “slowing down” and less willing to take on the pressure and rush aspects required to earn top fees. They disappear slowly, as their cells phones are unanswered; clients look for new solutions.

Cost of Entry is getting Lower

The tool set required by the modern Notary / Signing Agent is lower than in the past. Cell costs are very low with unlimited plans common. Sure, very fancy phones are super costly; but they are not necessary. As long as it can make and receive voice, text and email – it’s good enough. The cost of printers has fallen dramatically, HP Laserjet is still the benchmark, mine is a totally reconditioned 4350n (network “Ethernet” or WiFi) with duplexer for under $500. A separate FAX machine is unnecessary as Efax service for about ten bucks a month allows a PDF to be “sent as FAX” from any internet connected PC.

The Economy is on the Rise

I’m not going into a political discussion. But it’s hard to argue that personal wealth is not on the rise. This leads to more home ownership and other notary service needs. The “well rounded” notary; comfortable with Edocs and a variety of personal documents that require notarization will flourish. Case in point: I have noticed a great uptick in persons obtaining passports for their children for vacation purposes. Often only one parent can submit; with the notarized signature on the application of the other parent. I am getting LOTS of these lately.

Training is Readily Available

In addition to your state “rule book” many offer advanced classes and training. This was not so easy to obtain a few decades ago. Related to training is obtaining certifications as to your skill level. These “advanced degrees” draw clients to you like a magnet. A few hours a day, two or three for a couple of weeks can really advance your skill level. The big notary sites have blogs which are rich in real how to do information. Also read the “what not to do” equally important.

It’s not “Instant” Riches

Understand that your business, like any other business will grow slowly, At first it’s just some extra pocket money for a night out. Don’t quit your day job until you have a “critical mass” of repeat clients. Don’t forget to distribute your business card widely, perhaps with a cover letter about you and your services. Carry a well stocked “kit” of supplies, forms, embossers and stamps to meet any request. Your Notary Commission can and will yield the results you want; if you are willing to put the appropriate amount of effort into becoming the most skilled in your area.

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