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July 11, 2016

How to write a notes section if you are a beginner

We wrote a similar article on this aspect of Notary advertising a few years ago. I think it was very helpful. But, let me structure this article as a quick tips article with itemized things to add to your notes section. The basic idea is that if you have no experience, you cannot talk about what you’ve already done. So, talk about what you are willing to do, where you go, or what training you have had.

Don’t write three paragraphs telling us how many years of experience your mentor has otherwise we’ll stop looking at your profile and start looking at your mentor’s profile. Remember, you are selling yourself, not your mentor.

Don’t write six paragraphs telling us about your Real Estate career as nobody is hiring you as a Realtor on 123notary.com. That is something to write a single line about LOWER in your notes.

Don’t waste space telling us how you respect the integrity of the transaction and how confidentiality of the transaction is of utmost importance. That tells us nothing except that you are claiming not to be a conman.

Don’t tell us how important it is to hire a Notary who is experienced and knowledgable. You think the browsers don’t already know this? They have hired tens of thousands of Notaries and are hiring Notaries daily. They know what is important, the question is, are you the kind of Notary they want?

Don’t write two paragraphs about how you are a new mom. People will assume that when they call you they’ll hear screaming in the background. Focus on Notary work.

Don’t use adjectives. people who claim to be reliable, responsible, experienced, professional, accurate, etc., are people who have nothing good to say about themselves who compensate by using a bunch of unverifiable claims about themselves which are usually not true. Experts who hire Notaries see through the nonsense faster than you can say, “skip my listing.” So, don’t use adjectives unless you can back them up with real information. So, what should you write about?

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BASICS

Basic information should go at the top of your notes section. If you bury the most critical information where nobody can find it, they won’t hire you. Pertinent knowledge, radius, and special services are what people need to know about first. Don’t bury this in a long paragraph about how wonderful you are!

Last Minute Signings — It is sometimes hard to find someone who accepts signings at the last minute. If you do, that really helps.

Hours — Letting the world know how early you start and how late you finish can really help.

Languages — Fluent in Thai? Let them know. There is more demand for Spanish and Vietnamese though based on word on the street. Also let us know if you are fluent, or only conversational. If you cannot get through a signing with your language, save us the trouble and don’t mention it.

Hospitals & Jails — Most Notaries aren’t experienced with these types of signings which are more demanding. Let people know if you do.

100 mile Radius — Most Notaries are wishy-washy about how far they go. They have three paragraphs of information about exceptions to the rule like if their coffee wasn’t good that morning, they won’t go too far into Morgan County, but if you pay extra they might consider Strantom County. Just list your radius and your counties without all of the hype please. Nobody has time for this.

Counties Covered — List as many counties as you can if you want to get lots of jobs. If you cover counties that nobody else does, even if it is a long drive, you might get a lot of new clients as a result.

Loans & Documents — List all types of documents or loans you know how to sign including types of loans. Most Notaries say they are familiar with most legal documents. This is vague. It is better to list the top several legal documents you see a lot of.

Catchy Phrase — Sometimes a catchy phrase about yourself, your business or service can win the game. Often it is a one-liner that is artfully phrased and catches people’s attention. Don’t bore them with fluff, dazzle them with class!

About You — What is unique about your service or about you that the reader might want to hear?

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EXPERIENCE

All of us have some type of experience. Mortgage and Escrow are the most valuable. Real Estate experience doesn’t translate into being a better Notary, and doesn’t make you that familiar with the documents despite what you may think or claim. However, you can mention it in a one liner. Mention other experience, but don’t write paragraphs on it. Keep it short. Military and Police experience are actually very helpful if you are a signer. That way you can keep the peace and use real bullet points in your notes sections!

Mortgage Experience — List any pertinent past experience, particularly if it is in Mortgage, Escrow, or Legal. Don’t be vague about the experience either. If you say you have experience in the legal industry we’ll assume you were a janitor or secretary. If you were a legal assistant, then say so.

Unrelated Experience — You can mention what you used to do for a living. It might be impressive if you were a bank president or dictator of a small country.

Military — If you were in the military, say so. That might prove that you are careful or on time.

Police — If you were in the police, that proves you know how to deal with difficult situations and crazy people. Mention it.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The bottom of your notes section should list all of your “other” information in an easy to read format. Some people use bullet points, and others just list it clearly so it is easy to read. Do NOT put this information in a long jumbled paragraph please.

Certifications — Are you NNA certified, Notary2Pro Certified? Say so

Memberships — Are you an NNA or AAN member? What about PAN or NotaryCafe? List all memberships.

E&O Insurance — Tell us how much you have. Some people only have $15,000 while some have a million.

Equipment— Is your printer a specific brand? Is it dual or triple tray? Does it print 200 pages per minute? Say so.

Closing Phrase — Thanks for visiting my profile on 123notary. I hope to hear from you soon. But, put it in your own words so it sounds a little more unique.

Uniqueness — Uniquess really counts. People who hire Notaries have read through thousands of profiles. If yours is unique and factual, you will stand out in a very positive way as most other people’s notes are jumbled, disorganized, and have no interesting information. Additionally, many of the others ramble on and on about how they value integrity which is a useless and unverifiable claim that is a waste of the readers time. If you waste the readers time, they are statistically less likely to use you. Give them unique and factual information and win the game. Many beginners do quite well on 123notary, especially those who express themselves well.

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You might also like:

How to write a notes section if you have no experience
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4173

What goes where in your notes?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1076

Everything you need to know about writing a great notes section
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16074

Unique Phrases from the Ninja Course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14690

2014 Excerpts from great notes sections
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13613

2011 Excerpts from great notes sections
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1043

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June 27, 2016

How much should you spend on advertising?

Filed under: Advertising,Ninja Theme Articles — Tags: , — admin @ 5:42 am

Many Notaries don’t want to spend much on Notary advertising because they don’t make much money or are just getting started. You cannot make money without spending money. Other Notaries have a presence on our site, but left their notes section blank, have no reviews, are not 123notary certified, and then blame us if they didn’t get any business. That is your fault for not dressing your listing up! If you pay $100 to go to a formal dance and show up in ripped clothing with your hair messed up and nobody dances with you — is that the fault of the people you paid $100 or your own fault?

1. Get a foundation before you pay big bucks
You need to get Notary certifications, reviews, and a good notes section before you pay big bucks for advertising

2. Assess the value of your advertising
All serious Notaries track their new sales. They keep track of where the sale or lead originated from. If you get 27% of your new sales from 123notary, then that is a factor in how much you spend on advertising the following year.

3. Base spending on income
If you have a listing with a good foundation as we described above, see how much new business you got from us. If you got a lot, then you should reinvest about 10% of the income you made in new business from our site. Or, you could figure out how much residual business you got from leads from our site as many will use you again and again for years to come. You might want to pay us 2% of the total long-term value of the business you got including residuals. The math is a bit complicated and involves some guess work as well. But, you have to do it otherwise you will be a poor investor.

4. Additional Areas
If you want to advertise in several counties on 123notary.com, see how well you do in those counties. If you spend money on one county and nothing comes back — try another county. Find the counties that work for you and stick with them as long as they continue working. Your success in a particular area might depend on proximity, the current competition (which could change overnight), population, and other factors.

5. How should you start?
Start by investing $100 in a listing with us, get our Notary certification and pass it. Get some reviews, and polish your listing. If things go well, then get a prorated upgrade with Carmen and move up the list and get other areas. If things don’t do that well, then keep what you have.

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You might also like:

A comprehensive guide to Notary pricing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16504

Get certified with whomever you advertise with in the long run
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14205

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June 9, 2016

A comprehensive guide to Notary Pricing

It’s been a long time since I have written an article on pricing, so I feel it is high time! Most Notaries want to have a fixed fee and make tons of money. This is not always possible. The Notary market is a market with lots of little ups and down that a smart Notary needs to constantly adjust to. It’s smarter to have systems and formulas worked out ahead of time so you know how to react to these fluctuations.

There are fast days and slow days, monthly highs and lows, as well as changes in the market that happen over the years. There are also changes in who is competing with you in your area at a particular time. The key is to be flexible and learn how to charge accordingly. Here is how I would set my prices.

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1. Time Involved
A smart Notary should charge based on how much time is spent. Notary jobs during rush hour involve more time. Jobs that involve printing more than the average amount of pages should be billed accordingly. Smart Notaries ask who the Lender or Bank is. This is because the name of the Lender can determine with some accuracy the size of the package. Signing companies lie about package sizes which is why smart Notaries ask. Additionally, there are many loan types and some require more time. Refinances are faster, while Construction Loans are longer but have more professional and businesslike signers. Reverse Mortgages, VA, and FHA take more time. Piggy Backs are double signings and have double the pages and double the Notary work. Time for doing a signing is based on these components:

Negotiating Time — Some companies are easy and pleasant to deal with. If it is fast getting assignments faxed or emailed to you and easy to confirm with the borrower, take notes of that time. It can differ from company to company.

Printing Time — Notaries should charge by the page for e-documents. Printing takes time, and often involves waiting for documents to be ready which can be hours if you work with irresponsible companies.

Driving Time –Factor in how much time it takes to get from point A to B. Keep notes so you’ll know how to charge for jobs to particular cities in the future.

Signing time — Some Lenders have loans that get signed quickly. Some Lenders answer the phone and get situations handled quickly while others don’t.

Loan Type Influences Time Spent — VA & FHA signings are just plain longer. Reverse Mortgages are for the elderly who are less businesslike and might need a lot more time to sign. Power of Attorney signings are the most likely not to fund, so take that into consideration. Piggy Back loans are double the signatures and double the notarizations. But, once everyone has sat down and you have your journal out, it goes quickly.

Fax Back Time — Fax Backs are a pain in the rear, but they serve a purpose. Signing companies can hire newbies and get away with it, because the signing company can check your work before it gets sent back to Title. They no longer need experienced Notaries. However, fax backs take time, so if your time is worth something, charge for each page faxed back.

Cancellation Rate Time Waste — Factor cancellation rate and billing time into the price.

Billing Time — Some companies pay on the first request while others require hounding.

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2. Expenses Itemized

Printing Documents — is not only time consuming but costs money. You are using up paper, toner, cartridges, ink, and using up your time to restock what you used up. Charge accordingly.

Car Expenses — Driving a car is not free. Tires wear down, brakes wear out, plus you need to change the oil, filters, shocks, transmission, and more. So, in addition to time, try to work a mileage fee into your pricing in addition to charging for time.

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3. Track Record & Risk of Not Getting Paid

Late Documents — If the signing company or title company was late getting your edocuments in the past, make a note of that. Keep detailed records of each company. Record how fast they paid you on each job. Recalculate their average days to payment every month just to keep records updated. Also, keep records for how late they are sending edocuments or how incompetent they are about keeping their borrowers informed. If you are dealing with a flake, charge more.

Unknown PartiesIf you accept a job from an unknown lender, or one with a bad reputation online, you might charge more, or make them pay up front. You should always charge extra when there is any type of risk involved. . These signings assume risk. Some of the risk is spending an unpredictable amount of time or not getting paid at all.

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4. Payment Terms
If a Lender will only pay you if the loan funds, you need to charge more. Some Lenders will not pay your printing fee if the job gets cancelled, so make sure you know what the terms of the agreement are. Some will pay part of a travel fee if the job gets cancelled mid-way. However, the signing company booked your time, and you can’t give your leftover time to some other company at the last minute just because they needed to cancel. You have to commit your time to them, but do you make companies commit to paying you?

I personally feel that Notaries should set their own terms. You are not a bank, and it is not your job to gamble on whether or not a loan funds. You should be paid before, or within 72 hours of a signing in my opinion. But, you can make your own terms. Beginners have to accept the terms dictated to them, but old pros can make their own terms and get away with it. However, if you do accept terms that limit your ability to guarantee payment, charge a lot more.

Recommended Reading:
Issues to consider when creating a signing agent services contract
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2593

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5. Travel Fees for Non Loan Signing Work
Most Notaries charge $25 to $50 travel fee, and more if it is for jails or hospitals. You also charge by the signature on top of the travel fee. Charge based on how valuable your time is worth. If you are desperate for work, charge less. If your time is limited, charge more. If you have lots of other things to do, you have less supply of time so you can charge more — this is a strategy to consider — so stay busy my friends.

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6. Jails & Hospital Notary Jobs
Charge more for jails and hospitals because these are the jobs where there is a lot more that can go wrong. You also will not be dealing with the cream of the crop. You can get stood up at a jail. Inmates do not have ID and your credible witness or ID carrier might not show up. ID’s might be expired. Hospital patients are often drugged making it impossible to notarize them. Half of them can’t even hold a pen, so how can they possibly sign? Consider this when deciding upon your jail & hospital travel fees which should be $60 to $150 depending on how greedy you are! Some Notaries are afraid to go to jails, but it is safe, and that is where you can make money fast. Just make sure you have them read their ID to you over the phone including expiration date or you will be very sorry. Also, get your travel fee in cash at the door BEFORE you see the signer. They might not be available or might not want to sign! Be prepared!

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7. General Pricing Models
Keep in mind that a few years ago, Notaries could get paid a lot more. With Snapdocs and lower demand, companies can pay a lot less and get away with it.

Situations where you charge more or less
(1) Charge less during the first 17 days of the month. It is slower, and you have more time.
(2) Charge more during the end of the month. Additionally, you can charge more if you schedule a job several days in advance because you might miss out on a better offer. Additionally, jobs scheduled in advance in my day had a 25% cancellation rate which will wreak havoc on your schedule.
(3) Charge less if you are having a slow day and someone needs a last minute signing. If you are doing nothing, why not sell that time.
(4) eSignings have less physical pages, but often take longer because the signer and their spouse need to take turns looking at the computer screen not to mention the chance of delays due to technical issues.
(5) Charge extra if there are three or more signers on a loan.
(6) Charge more if the company cancels a lot
(7) Charge less if a company has a good track record and is easy and fast to deal with — or pleasant!
(8.) Charge more if there are lots of signatures to notarize.

Pricing Recommendations For Beginners. 0-500 signings

Basic Signing $60-$80
E-Documents: $10-$25 extra per double set or 7 cents per page
Pickups: $25 extra
Dropoffs: $20 extra — there is less waiting time during dropoffs
Reverse Mortgages: $100
Piggy Backs: $100
Regular Notary Work Travel Fee: $30 if within 30 minutes
Jail & Hospitals: $50

Pricing Recommendations for Intermediates. 500-3000 signings
Basic Signing: $80-$120; E-Documents: $20-$40 or 10 cents per page; Pickups: $30 extra; Dropoffs: $25 extra; Reverse Mortgages: $125; Piggy Backs: $125; Regular Travel Fee: $40 if within 30 miles; Jails & Hospitals: $70

When to charge in advance
You are not a bank and you should not offer endless credit to any signing company. Some of them will string you along and not pay you or play games with payments making it unclear which job they are paying for. Decide in advance how much credit to give each company and keep records. If you have a six month track record with a company and they pay you on time, you might offer them credit for six jobs. For all others, do one or two jobs, but don’t do any more until you get paid. It is not a bad idea to charge up front with Paypal, but few companies will pay a beginner up front. Ken, our seasoned Notary always gets paid up front, but he is a pro.

(1) New Companies — do one job, but don’t do a second until you get paid for the first unless they have a stellar record for payment on the forums.
(2) Some Track Record — do two jobs, but don’t do a third until you get paid for the first.
(3) Good Track Record — Watch out: good companies can turn bad if they experience financial difficulties or labor shortages. Do not offer credit for more than six jobs no matter what. A good track record should be over at least six months.

Don’t complain
There are many Notaries who have gone out of business because there is too much competition for too few jobs. If you are getting paid, getting experience, and staying afloat, you are ahead of the game. Many Notaries have this idea that they should get $125 per signing ever time. Unfortunately, it no longer works like this. So, take what you can get and just do your best! If you get more experience, you will be worth more in the long run. Additionally, the market could have an upswing at any time, so keep a positive thought.

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You might also like:

Do you have to be a CSS to get work these days?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8914

A great attitude gets most of the jobs
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6493

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April 25, 2016

123notary’s comprehensive guide to getting reviews

To do well on 123notary, you need our certification (not someone else’s,) a good notes section on your profile, and a few good reviews. You don’t need a million reviews (although Ken in NYC thinks he does and has close to a million now.) But, at least one solid review every quarter will keep you far ahead of the game. The catch is how to get reviews, how to ask for them, who to ask, when, and what else to do? Here are some pointers, and then the articles listed below will keep you entertained for the rest of the evening!

1. Get a new review at least once per quarter.
You don’t need a new review every week, just once every few months. This will keep you ahead of the competition in most cases, or at least not far behind if you live where the real review sharks are. Ken has over 400 reviews now, so competing with him will be impossible. But, doing your best will impress all.

2. Understand the 8% rule
Only 8% of people you ask will give you a review. You might have better luck if you deliver stellar service, show up on time, and offer to do extra at no cost. You get more by giving more without asking for return, so give to charity, help thy neighbor, and do extra for your Notary clients.

3. Only ask those who praise you
It is a waste of time to ask for reviews from those who didn’t like your work. Ask those who liked your work and ask right after they say how much they liked your work.

4. Individuals are easier to get reviews from than title & escrow or signing companies.
Signing companies and big companies that hire many Notaries are bombarded with requests for reviews. Yes, ask them, but don’t base your success at getting reviews on the big guys. You stand a 3% chance of getting a review. If this means you should accept a few jobs from regular clients who just want an Affidavit notarized, it might be a good idea as reviews are life and death.

5. Email a link
It is difficult for people to maneouver 123notary. There are too many pages, and too much going on. Make their life simple and email a link to your review page. Ask for their email and send a link. If they can’t find the review page, they won’t write a review.

6. Don’t get three reviews the same day
Many Notaries do this and it looks tacky. They get three reviews within hours of each other and then no reviews for years. If you ask a list of people for reviews, then spread it out over time. If we think your reviews are fake or that you posted them yourself, you are in trouble!

7. Old reviews lose their steam
If you have all of your reviews from 2012, and no new ones, you will get as much business as if you didn’t have any reviews. Keep your reviews current if you want to get business.

8. Five or Six reviews doubles your business!
What? Oh my God! Only five or six? That might mean asking eighty or so people. But, the benefits of these reviews will last for years. Imagine paying 123notary the same amount of money, but getting double the output from your listing, plus having more pride!

Review oriented articles you should read

5-6 reviews doubles your business!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8484

Do you have reviews? Are they old?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15889

Don’t ask for a review at the wrong time!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15800

Testimonials about how good our review system is!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3902

How to write an email to ask for a review
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15800

He got 7 reviews the same day and I suspected fraud!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14186

Removing a negative review for a Notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13622

If movie reviews get up to four stars, why not Notary reviews?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8714

Word of mouse is important
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8827

How many reviews makes a difference?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1148

Fake reviews, how do I know they are fake?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4211

Reviews from Title companies
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4176

The technique — getting reviews
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2625

—————————————–
Tips for your notes section
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What to write in your notes section
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6651

You’re Unique — you don’t say (in your notes section)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13170

10 quick changes to your notes that can double your calls!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4499

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February 1, 2016

Everything you need to know about writing a great notes section

Most Notaries underestimate how critical it is to have an amazing notes section on your listing on 123notary.com. They just write how they are background screened and have E&O insurance. They stop there. Yes, this is important information and it can be a deal breaker if you don’t have the right background screening from the right agency, etc. However, the Notaries who get lots of work from 123notary tend to have 123notary certifications, reviews from satisfied clients and a very thorough notes section. So, what is the secret? The secret is to be specific, unique and well organized in what you write about yourself.

(1) Selling Features
The top of your notes section should stress selling features. What can you say about yourself that others might not be able to say that would make someone want to hire you. “I’m reliable.” Everyone claims to be reliable, and then they show up late making a mockery out of their claim. Try something that you can put your finger on. But, I really am reliable? Yes, but your notes section can’t prove it — so skip it. Instead, let’s think about what types of loans you know how to sign. Don’t just say, “all types.” List them one by one. Do you have some unusual qualifications? Were you Notary of the year? Do you do jail or hospital signings? Are you fluent in Uzbekistani hill dialects? These are things that help you stand out. Were you a CEO of a Mortgage company? That helps too. If you have Escrow, Title, Underwriting, Processing, Settlement, or general Mortgage experience, that is a huge plus on your notes section. Make sure to indicate that high in your notes. Remember — the first 200 characters of your notes show up on the search results for your area, so digress to impress! (actually don’t digress, but use that space to squeeze in as many selling features as possible)

(2) Specialties
One of the most valuable pieces of information you can include in your notes are your specialties. Instead of bragging about how you are error-free or dependable (which nobody wants to read,) instead list the types of loans you know how to sign, types of major documents or procedures you are familiar with. Do you go to airports, offices, or jails? Do you do Weddings or Apostilles? People are very impressed when you have highly specialized skills, so mention them.

(3) # of loans signed
Most Notaries up date the # of loans signed once in four years. When I mention that their profile says they signed 200 loans, they say, “Oh, that was five years ago. I must have forgotten to login — I’ll go in there.” You need to “go in there” and update your info every few months or you will have information that is collecting cyber-dust.

(4) What is hot and what is not?
Radiuses are hot. If you have a wide radius, tell the world. 100 mile radius shows you are serious (or crazy.) Last minute signings are a good thing to mention. Do you accept faxes or are willing to do fax backs? That narrows it down. Are you background screened? Is it by NNA or Sterling or someone else — if you’re screened by the wrong agency, you don’t get the job! Do you know how to do eSignings? That will make you stand out!

(5) Professional memberships and certifications
Are you NNA Certified, Notary2Pro certified, 123notary certified, or trained by some other agency. It is impressive especially if you have four or five certifications. Mention these as well as your memberships. But, please don’t say you are an NNA member in good standing. The only way to be in bad standing with any agency is by not paying your bills or perhaps being convicted of a felony.

(6) What is unique about your service?
Is there something unique about the way you do your work? Or do you have a catchy unique phrase about yourself? It is very hard for most people to think of anything unique about themselves. But, if you really put some thought into it over an extended period of time you might come up with something good. We have two blog articles below with some of the best unique information we’ve ever seen.

(7) Avoid vagueness
Did you work for 10 years in the legal industry? What does this mean? Were you the company president or did you mop the floor for an Attorney. State your job title or what you did very clearly. If you were a legal secretary of Paralegal, that is good to know. Not a selling feature. Additionally, try to be specific about your claims. Rather than saying how good you are with people, give a concrete example of how you are good with people, or what experience you have that proves you are good with people.

Also read:
General (vague) vs. specific information in your notes section
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4602

(8) Avoid restating information
Many Notaries restate their company name, their company mission, phone and email in your notes. Your notes is to give additional information about your service, and not to restate what the reader already knows. Remember, those top 200 characters go in the search results, and if you say, “We are here to serve” nobody will click on you.

(9) Counties served
There are 12 boxes where you can indicate your counties served. If you wish to restate this info in your notes, put it near the bottom as this is not a selling feature. If you want to indicate which parts of which counties you serve, the notes section is the only place to go into such detail. Others choose to mention specific towns or cities served. Please avoid stating which zip codes you go to as that is too nit-picky.

(10) Writing about your mentor
New Notaries always want to bend my ear about how they don’t have experience, but their mentor has signed 10,000 loans and they have been to many signings with their mentor. After hearing ten minutes about their mentor I say, “I’ll hire him — I’m convinced — But, I wouldn’t hire you in a million years because you don’t stand on your two feet!” Don’t talk about your mentor. Talk about what training programs you have passed.

(11) Writing about your Real Estate background
Notaries regularly write, “I am a Realtor and therefor am familiar with the documents.” But, when I quiz them on the documents they fail almost every time. Also, many Notaries will write three paragraphs about their Real Estate business or Process Serving, etc. People are coming to 123notary to find a great Notary, not a Real Estate agent. If you want to quickly mention in the middle of your notes that you are a Realtor, that is fine, but don’t make it the central point of your notes.

(12) Educational background
If you want to write about your degrees or former professional experience, unless it is Mortgage related, it should go in the middle or lower middle part of the notes as it is not critical information in the eyes of the reader.

(13) Equipment
Yes, you can write about your equipment. Sometimes we recommend using bullet points for quick points such as E&O, certifications, and equipment. You can mention what type of printer, scanner, fax, or mobile office you have. Just don’t put this up top. It belongs in the middle or lower middle of your notes.

(14) Closing statements
Some Notaries choose to have a closing statement while others don’t. We like it when Notaries do. You can say, “Thanks for visiting my listing.” Or say something a little more unique.

(15) Don’t jumble everything in one paragraph
A good notes section is divided into several logical sections. We normally like to see an intro with selling features, an about you paragraph, some bullet points, and a closing statement. There are many formats for winning notes section and you can decide what is best for you.

(16) Ask for help
123notary gives free notes makeovers. However, we cannot write the content for you. We can filter and reorganize it though. When we redo people’s notes sections they average an increase of 55% more clicks per day to their listing. So, ask! And get some reviews on your listing while you’re at it!

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Other Great Notes Articles

How to write a notes section if you have no experience
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4173

10 quick changes to your notes that can double your calls
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4499

What goes where in your notes?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1076

2014 excerpts from great notes sections
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13613

Notary Notes makeover
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=2057

Personality and expressing your uniqueness
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4352

Which Notary would you hire?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13616

Unique phrases from people’s notes sections
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14690

Stating the obvious in your notes section
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14146

How to write a notes section without saying anything of substance!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13606

A Notary included a copy of her testimonial in her notes
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4680

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January 19, 2015

What’s the difference between a listing getting 16 clicks/month & 100+

Most notaries just think that a listing is a listing. They think that if they are listed on 123notary, that something wonderful will happen, but if it doesn’t, that’s our fault. Nothing is further from the truth. Some listings get a monopoly on clicks even if they are far down the list simply because they stand out and have quality information. Let’s get more specific.

Go and get some Reviews
We’ve been telling notaries for years now that they need to get reviews. If you were searching for a notary, a restaurant, or a bus tour of San Francisco, wouldn’t you read the reviews? If you were smart you sure would, otherwise you would waste your time and money on a service that was far from being the best. Put yourself in the position of the customer looking for a notary. You know you are good, and therefore you don’t think you need reviews, right? Or perhaps you are too shy to ask for fear of offending your clients who might think it is inappropriate. If you are appropriate, you will be sitting home all alone every Saturday night without a date so to speak, because you didn’t ask anyone out of fear of rejection or being inappropriate. You will lose at least half your potential calls if you don’t have reviews, so go and ask for some. Email them a link to your review page after you call them and ask too, so they will be able to find the review page.

Notes – be unique
Most notaries write very boring notes sections. If you have read 30,000 notes sections like I have, they all begin to look like they were written by the same person. They all mention E&O insurance, how responsible and error-free your work is, and how people-oriented you are. People are tired of hearing this. Yes, it is pertinent information, but start your notes out with something specific and unique. Read what the top notaries are writing in the various metros across our great nation to get ideas. We have written, and will continue to write articles on how to write a great notes section, so please read those, and think about what specific types of skills you have that are worth mentioning, and what is different about how you do your work.

Certification – stop complaining and just do it!
But, I don’t NEED another certification. I’m already “certified,” she said. I’ve heard this thousands of times. It is true that NNA’s new certification is somewhat necessary for inexperienced notaries to get work these days. However, those on 123notary who don’t have our certification icon next to their name lose more than half of the jobs they would have gotten if they had our certification. If you are so smart that you don’t need to take our test, then the test should be a breeze, so why complain about taking a wimpy test? Just do it! Pass it and get it over with. We only require notaries to pass our test once in their career.

Company names make you look professional
Having a company name won’t revolutionize your business, but it will make you look more professional and does attract about 17% more calls. Do it legally please and register with your county clerk.

Being higher on the list at a price you can afford
123notary makes its money by selling high placements. Being high on the list really does help get not only more work, but the cream of the crop of the jobs. The high paying companies start at the top and assume that those higher on 123notary are higher class notaries who know their stuff which is generally true (but, not always.) The companies that go down the list as a matter of habit are generally low-ballers. Sure, they might hire you, but do you really want $75 to print out two sets of documents at 150 pages per set, do fax-backs, and then find out that your job got cancelled after you printed everything out? We understand that not everyone can afford to be #1 on the list. But, upgrading to a preferential or a p#13 can make a big difference in the performance of your listing, and you can email us for a quote. P#10’s and p#13’s will not break your bank, but are a great intermediary step in moving up our list!

Answer your phone
Last, but not least — answer your phone. Many notaries have a policy of not answering their phones during a signing. If we call you to remind you about your renewal, or to offer you the #1 spot, and you don’t answer your phone, guess what happens? We don’t call a second time! You snooze you lose. Signing companies have a list of twenty notaries to call for each job opening. If you don’t answer your phone out of consideration for those who hired you, you will lose out on your next job of the day, or tomorrow’s job. Each phone call you don’t answer could cost you $20 as one in five is likely to be a serious offer. Do the math, think about it, but if the phone rings while you’re thinking about it — then answer your phone.

You might also like:

What to write in your notes section
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6651

How often do you update your # of signings?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4655

10 quick changes to your notes that double your calls
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4499

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June 6, 2014

Poo Picking – getting the best notary jobs

Poo Picking
You are probably much more used to the phrase “cherry picking”. It’s a phrase that pays homage to the selection of the best fruit. Without belaboring the point; there is an analogy to picking the best notary assignments. But what about the rest of the assignments? Clearly there is a broad range. The cherries are close by, easy to do; and pay a high fee. The majority of the assignments offered to us are not cherries; they are average. Average, in that we work hard to earn a fair wage. However, there are also the “Poo” assignments. Difficult, far, time consuming, and with a bunch of special added requirements; often at bottom dollar.

How do you get the cherries and avoid the Poo? As the First Lady said “Just Say No”. It’s very bad business to accept every offer made to you. Some say it’s necessary to take the bad with the good. Why? I take the cherries and the average and reject the Poo. If you have been a mobile notary for any length of time you should have developed a good sense of what is a Poo situation. One classic warning sign is that the situation takes a large amount of your time, prior to actually doing the assignment. Do you have time to spare? Probably not.
Quote by Abraham Lincoln: “A Lawyer’s Time and Advice are His Stock in Trade.”. Swap Lawyer’s for Notary’s and that is reality. You have only so much time to devote. Any task that takes an unreasonable amount of your time needs to be abandoned. Sometimes you have to just “let go” – as what starts time-consuming will probably become more so. There are no exact guidelines for me to give you. If you feel you are descending into a pit, climb out!

Now to the real “meat” of this entry. Your calendar is the single most important time management tool. Do you guard it carefully, aware the entries represent the commitment of a slice of your time; unusable for other matters. Some feel anything is better than nothing. If you accept a “Poo” assignment you will be forced to decline all others. Thus, you are, if you are really managing your business; forced to determine the quality and “worth” of the offer. It is in this aspect of time management that so many fail miserably.

“Shields Up” shouts the First Officer on the Enterprise, the Star Trek Starship. It’s the duty of the First Officer, first to protect the ship; second to protect the Captain. You are the Captain of your business, and your experience and judgment must serve as the first officer. But what of the Starship? That’s your “bottom line” – does your business model protect both yourself (from legal action, danger, etc.) and protect your income flow? Assuming you don’t want to fire the Captain (you) then you might have to rethink how you apply your experience and judgment.

“Let me try to have that fee approved” a/k/a “as soon as I hang up I will be looking for someone cheaper, but if I can’t find one; only then will I call back”. One possible response is “fine, but I cannot make a calendar entry until we have an agreement; the time slot might not be available when you call back”. Some are a bit more “pushy’ – “pencil me in for that time” they ask. Sure, I reply but be aware that the next caller who wants that time will cause me to use the other end of the pencil and erase your entry.

Back to Poo, your time; and now add commitment. Today a Poo caller, this one an Escrow Co. (or so they said); made a solid commitment to having both payment and assignment sheet to me by noon for a 3PM assignment. As I write this it’s now 12:30 – nothing received. What to do? For http://kenneth-a-edelstein.com “it never happened”. No, I’m not going to call them; they were able to call me, and have chosen to just ignore their agreement with me. It’s not worth my time to call them. They never had a calendar entry, so there is nothing to erase. It’s unlikely, but if they suddenly resurrect themselves and call at 1:30; and I am “open” – perhaps I will be able to accommodate them. But it’s my rules that govern.

The key to Poo management is establishing deadlines for events; and mutually understanding what will happen when the deadline passes. Then stick to it. Nobody owns you, or manages you; unless you let them.

Tweets:
(1) Re: Notary Assignments; Do you know how to pick the cherries and leave out the undesirable jobs?
(2) Any task that takes an unreasonable amount of your time needs to be abandoned. Sometimes you have to just “let go”
(3) Nobody owns you or manages you unless you let them! When it comes to the worst notary jobs, “just say no”

You might also like:

$10,000 a month on a bad month
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3891

Interview with a Title Company
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3724

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May 20, 2014

Dress British, Think Yiddish

Dress British, Think Yiddish
Long ago, about half a century (honest), I was given those four words as the secret to success in business. The same sage advice applies equally to both sexes; to all races and, well, to everyone. A very compact and easy to remember slogan – its simplicity hides a multiplicity of actions that you should consider. It’s time for me to delve into those four simple words.

Dress British – it does not mean that you need to purchase a wardrobe from the UK. The words acknowledge that the British are well renown for dressing impeccably. Clothes make the (wo)man. You do not need an expensive wardrobe to look like the professional you are. You do need immaculately clean and wrinkle free attire. Are you a fugitive from the barber shop? Is there something about your appearance that, at a glance, is highly memorable? When I was in the corporate environment we often had “dress down” days on Friday. However, management would remind us that “dress down” is not to be confused with “dress clown”.

I’m not going to insult you with a litany of the obvious. I also take offense when receiving a signing assignment that asks me to check if my finger nails are clean. But there are subtleties that are worth mentioning, especially if you aspire to dress British. Your attire should be subdued and somewhat bland, the borrower should be paying attention to what you are saying; not what you are wearing. Your professional “uniform” should be changed out of the moment you return home; replaced by “home attire”. True, you will change clothes often; here is a little tip on how to handle that. My work pants have two cell phone cases on the belt, wallet and billfold in the back pockets, business cards and tiny notary stamp in front left pocket, and my current promotional item in my front right pocket. I just hang the pants “loaded” rather than unloading the items. Thus, the pants are ready loaded to put on and I don’t have to look for items.

Think Yiddish – no you are not being asked by http://kenneth-a-edelstein.com to learn a new language. At the risk of offending some of my Jewish readers; the words translate to “keep an eye on the money”. You are working to make a Profit. Not just to receive revenue. Doing a lowball job that, after your expenses nets “chump change” is not working for Profit. Know your expenses and set a realistic fee for your professional skills, time and efforts. I used the term “nets”, it implies that you actually receive payment. Run your business as a business. The accumulation of toxic accounts receivables is to be actively avoided. Carry a “duds” list of firms that must PayPal (or similar) prior to printing – and within 15 minutes of their call to you. Strictly limit their “I’ll have to get back to you” to protect your calendar. If you later discover their last check was issued when Hoover was President contact them. Send them a screen shot of the bad reviews you found online; with the choice of immediate payment or you must relinquish the assignment. It’s valid to reply to “you took it you must do it” with “I took it prior to learning about your terrible reputation”. Unpleasant yes, but worse is dunning for your cash and being stiffed.

Some other types of assignments should prepay. The objective is to eliminate risk. A prime example is an assignment at a hospital. Make it clear that the payment received is for best efforts within the bounds of legality. If the patient is unconscious or not available; the fee was earned because you made the trip. Nobody, repeat nobody, else is looking out for your “bottom line”. It’s up to you to be wary of situations that might not proceed smoothly – shift the “risk” to your client; but make the rules very clear prior to accepting any money.

Thus, the ancient advice given to me of “Dress British, Think Yiddish” has served me well for a very long time. Few are the long drives only to find nobody home; as they found a cheaper notary and did not bother to call me. It’s interesting how diligent folks become about having government issued photo ID available when they prepaid for my visit. Again, it’s vital that you communicate the “rules of engagement” to your client. Neither giving nor receiving “surprises” makes for a smooth transaction, pleasant to all.

Tweets:
(1) Half a century ago, I was given these words as a secret to success in business! Dress British, Think Yiddish!

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Want some extra hours in your day?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16976

Don’t confuse observation with opinion
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15785

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October 24, 2013

He made $35,000 a month his first year in business?

He what? He made how much? Am I dreaming? Who is this guy?

I just got off the phone with him. I will not disclose his location or name for his privacy. I just talked with a gentleman who has multiple listings on 123notary.com. He says these listings bring him so much business that the phone is ringing off the hook and he is reeling in the business. But, $35,000 a month? He says this is his first year in business. He hires people on salary to drive around and do signings. He pays for the car and other expenses himself and pays them an hourly salary (not big bucks, so don’t get your hopes up). The sheer volume of business this guy is getting is amazing.

Honestly, from talking to him, he sounds like a very cool guy, and very motivated. He fits the profile of a winner in my book. But, still, this type of success is unprecedented in someone’s first year. I understand that the market is picking up for notaries, but still. We have another gentleman who is running a very similar type of operation and very successfully. He has notaries in four or five states and pays them on salary. He gets business right and left and has a huge staff in the office and in the field.

So, if your business is not all it can be, think about what the personality traits of a success story are. There are many successes on 123notary, and you can be one of them. Be an up beat person who gets the job done and doesn’t create obstacles for others. If others create obstacles for you, then create systematic policies for dealing with these problems instead of complaining. Remember — winners find solutions. My idea is to try to adopt the mind-set of someone whose business is off the hook, and that will help you be one of the notaries who is on your way to a huge success!

Tweets:
(1) He bought 8 listings on 123notary.com, hired people to do signings for him & made $35000/month!
(2) If your business could be better, think about what the personality traits of a success story are.
(3) Be an upbeat person who gets the job done and doesn’t create obstacles for others.
(4) If others create obstacles for you, then create policies for dealing with these problems instead of complaining. Winners find solutions.

You might also like:

$10,000 a month on a bad month
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3891

The Notary, The Mafia & The FedEx Drop Box
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3891

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September 21, 2013

$10,000 per month on a bad month

I just got off the phone with a notary who is doing really well who advertises on our site. Business has been better for most notaries recently, but not as good as for this husband and wife team. I will not mention their names or locations to protect their identity.

I talked to them about their renewal. Since our prices can go up or down for a particular position at any point in time, some notaries complain about their new price. If the price goes up, they argue and try to reason with me about how it was less last year. If the price goes down, then they think I was cheating them last year. Either way they get upset and criticize me.

This husband and wife team had a different approach. He said something to the tune of — You doubled my rate, but that is okay! Your site is amazing. We get almost all of our business from your site. I don’t know how you do it. We are making more than $10,000 a month in our notary business.

I was flabbergasted. I had heard the story of the new notary company making $35,000 per month which was an amazing story. But, now another notary making six digits. Unbelievable! So, my faith is renewed in a mobile notary public’s ability to make the type of living that makes other people drool.

Please take this blog entry as an opportunity to take a leap in faith that YOU can make six digits in your notary business. Yes, you have to do everything right, but you can do a bang up job, right?

You might also like:

A detailed look at the Ninja Course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4621

Uncertified and not a single call
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3887

From 3 jobs per week to 3 jobs per day!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3940

Notary accidentally arrested for robbing a bank?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6541

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