I nominate my “Pet Rock” as the most perfect device never invented. Without any maintenance, patches, updates, or ongoing costs it really informs. When I can’t see it, it’s letting me know it is night. When it’s wet I know rain is falling, etc. You are probably thinking “This time Ken really lost it – he’s just plain nuts”. Perhaps.
Unlike my happy to be left alone Pet Rock, as Notaries we have LOTS to maintain. Some are so routine (and usually done) they are not worth detailed comment: car maintenance, inking/cleaning notary stamp, personal grooming, record keeping; are just a few that I assume we all remember to do.
Notary Law – do you regularly download and carefully read your jurisdictions regulations? They DO change from time to time. Here in New York there is a test to obtain a commission, based on Notary Law. At the very least NY Notaries read the rules, if only to pass the test. It’s not just common knowledge, for example it is not permitted to notarize a Civil Deposition on a Sunday in NY State. Make it a point to download, print, and slowly read your current regulations – at least twice a year.
Personal Health – I’ve mentioned this from time to time. It’s worth repeating. Many of us have a fast food diet. One that is rich is fats, sugar, grease, and similar junk. When is the last time you had an apple? How about a meal with lots of vegetables, not just the decorative broccoli served with that Sesame Chicken? We are blessed with amazing medical advances; does your car receive an annual inspection but your body does not? Include some “good for the soul” events. A trip to the Museum, a picnic, fly a kite; take time to enjoy life.
The Web – Some of us have web sites; virtually everyone reading this has a profile with notes on 123notary.com. Is the information up to date? Even if it is – is it “working” for you? Perhaps a rewrite is due. I consider “social media” the leading waste of time ever invented. But, I am well aware that many use these tools to great advantage in securing additional business. If they work for you – great – but, is the information about you current? Perhaps it’s a good idea to review and refine “everything” that represents you on the web.
Advertising – Your competition is doing it, some make a major effort to be “first on Google” (that’s usually very expensive). For me the ideal (and very cost effective) technique is the humble business card. I order 5,000 at a time from Vista Print. When you specify their slowest service, the price drops dramatically. Having thousands to give away means that I actually can. When I go to a doorman building a few to the doorman works wonders. A trip to the local shopping center – giving a few cards to the office is time well spent. Doctor offices too.
Your Notary Kit – Review your kit, are there areas for improvement? Having just one notary stamp is a “single point of failure” that can put you “off line” waiting for a replacement. Some forms have just a tiny space, do you have stamps in multiple sizes. A very fine point pen (I like the Pilot Precise V5 RT) can help when the affiant name is long and the space for it is short. Automate repetitive tasks. I am located in New York (which is both the state and the county). I have a “New York” self inking stamp, just right for those Venue entries; perhaps you will need separate State and County stamps – it’s worth the cost and looks great on the documents.
Your Reputation – Yup, you will actually have to work at maintaining your good reputation. A great start is by obtaining lots of positive reviews. They will counterbalance the inevitable that will be (unfairly) dumped on your reputation. Take a look your reviews on the various rating sites: 123notary, Yelp, Google, etc. Your reviews and reputation soars when you do more than is expected. I’m hired by a law firm to print and bring an affidavit to their client. I print 3 copies, 2 are returned to the law firm; one fully notarized is left with the affiant. Reputation “stars” received for doing more than required; it just takes a tiny bit more effort on my part.
Perhaps I was wrong about my Pet Rock. I’ve been listening to it and now it’s starting to make demands. It wants me to find it a mate! I thought it would be “low maintenance” and passive. But it seems to know that I am writing about it and it wants compensation for using its identity. It’s threatening to sue; gotta go I’m calling my lawyer. I blame my mental state, and the “Pet Rock Uprising” on Jeremy – all bad things can be traced to him.>