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July 6, 2020

Notary confidence

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 9:43 am

There is real confidence and there is a false sense of security. Many Notaries go through many stages in the evolution of their Notary confidence.

Complete beginners go through terror and a complete lack of confidence. They don’t know what to do. I remember being there back in 1998 and 1999. Those were the days. The solution is to take courses and get experience with companies who will babysit you. These days there are many companies ready to micromanage you. Treat it like a blessing.

Then there are those with a little experience who get too confident when they know very little. They boast about how dependable they are and their .0001% error rate. Both of these claims are completely unverifiable and anyone can make those claims making them not worth saying. But, the least dependable and least knowledgeable notaries tend to make the highest quantity of BS sounding claims. It is counterproductive to make these claims. Having a false sense of confidence is bad. It pays to be modest until you have some verifiable evidence that you are awesome.

Next, there are those that studied hard and mastered basic notary and signing concepts. They might have book smarts, but do they have life smarts? Many cannot function in real life situations and may or may not have good phone etiquette or business skills. In the notary business, those with masterful business skills tend to do well. Those who were successful in another career tend to transfer that success on over.

Finally, there are Notary Signing Agents with 5000 loans signed, and that have passed many different certification tests from different agencies. These Notaries can masterfully answer any notary question and don’t whine when you ask them technical questions to verify their ability. These Notaries realize how critical it is to verify their skill because these are the Notaries who clean up after other Notaries who are idiots who make a mess out of Acknowledgements, Jurats, and people’s loans.

A Notary who has Notary confidence doesn’t need to boast like the other novice Notaries. They have an air of confidence. They are more than happy to indulge you with even the most nit-picky and annoying of technical notary questions and give you the most professional answer without making it a point to inform you that they are, “very professional.” They routinely show up on time to all of their appointments and get documents back in a punctual manner without needing to inform you that they are, “reliable and dependable.” These Notaries show you how great they are with their behavior and question answering capabilities without all of the song and dance that the other Notaries give — always trying to show off and give you an answer five times as long as what you asked for so they can squeeze in more information that you didn’t ask for. Always doing a sales pitch is annoying and a sign that you have fake confidence. Someone with real Notary confidence knows it all, but doesn’t need to advertise it — it just shows. So, don’t be like these cheap sounding Notaries always boasting as much as they can and covering up for what they don’t know. Know your stuff, pass some certification tests, get some experience and be a signer with real Notary confidence!

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June 21, 2020

Your time on the clock analyzed in the Notary business

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 10:18 pm

In any business, you put in a particular number of hours of work. Your work time is divided into particular activities. There is a limit to how many hours you have in a particular week. Few of us can work infinitely, and few can work 80 hours a week. I used to work 70 hours a week and I will never repeat that although that is how I got my business going initially.

MY BUSINESS RESPONSIBILITIES
I have the same problem in my business. I am in the directory business. My time is divided between:
Managing programmers
Adding new listings to the directory
Calling new people, calling old people to see if they are still in business
Writing Blogs
Answering emails & Processing orders

Sometimes I have to figure out which activity not to do when there is a time shortage and it is difficult to choose at times.

WHAT DO NOTARIES DO
But, what do Notaries do? Below is my itemized accounting of what Notaries do in their work time. I ordered the components in order of immediate importance to your career. The topics near the bottom are more long term in their importance.

1. Notary jobs – 31 or more hours per week (or whatever you can get at a market rate)
This involves answering the phone, looking up companies to see if they pay, scheduling, printing, faxing, scanning, driving and supervising signings which includes notarizing. Followups and giving tracking numbers would accompany a notary assignment in many cases as well.

2. Billing – 1 hour a week depending on need (recommended: bill each company you work for once per week)
Faxing bills, keeping records, and threatening companies with demand letters from time to time.

3. Miscellaneous – 1 average hour per week (varies depending on time of year and need)
Buying equipment, toner, paper, supplies,business licenses, taking state notary exams, and doing paperwork for taxes.

4. Marketing – 2 hours a week (recommended)
Contacting new companies, handing out business cards, online advertising, getting reviews, updating your notes, keeping your information straight everywhere it is listed.

5. Education – 4 hours a week (recommended)
Studying certification materials, testing, asking questions, reading blogs.

SUMMARY
Basically, most Notaries who are unsuccessful put too much time into doing jobs and not enough time into the other things that they need to do. Doing jobs provides immediate income, but does not provide for long term success in the business. As indicated above, I recommend doing 31 hours or more of actual notary work per week and the rest of your 40 hours should be doing other activities. You will make more money in the short run doing more work work and less preparatory work. But, you will do better in the long run doing more work that helps your skill level and online presence.

Notaries that know more according to impartial sources (or intrinsically) get more business. Through the use of metrics and analysis I have proven that Notaries who ace my hard tests get a lot more business and get paid more than the others. Acquiring this knowledge takes study time, and perhaps getting some tutoring from Carmen and myself. If you spend too much time making short term cash, you will not have time to study. I put that I recommend four hours a week or study or reading time. To be frank, in the beginning of your career I would put more than four hours. But, once you are established, perhaps only two hours a week. You still need to keep in touch with what people in the industry are writing about to stay informed and keep learning.

Spending more time maintaining your listings makes sense too. Many people online just do not login for half a year or more at a time. Many people’s notes section continue to stay the same when there is a lot more information they could constantly be adding. Most people do not get enough reviews on their listing. Paying attention to these things can increase your market share and demand for your services. If more people want you, then you can charge more for the same type of signing than you could before.

Increasing your value through being methodical and organized about maintaining your online presence, and continuing your education makes a lot of sense. Notaries do not value these things because they don’t have time, lack the discipline to study or write compelling paragraphs about themselves, and just plain don’t see the value. The value is, that by maintaining your education, and presence, you could get paid in my estimate 25% more per signing simply by increasing demand for your service. Additionally, you would get a higher quantity of work. In short, your total income could be a lot higher if you would play by my rules which look at the long run. Less whining and more mastery pay the bills. So, analyze and keep track of how you spend your business time and see if you can make some adjustments that will help you in the long run.

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June 15, 2020

I dropped the documents!

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 10:14 pm

Anybody who is a loan signing Notary knows that they need to drop documents. We have written articles on this topic before, but it is a loaded topic.

You can claim that you dropped the documents. But, some Notaries are liars, and how can title know that you aren’t? Should they just take your word for it?

If you drop documents in a drop box, there is a small chance that it will get picked up late, or not at all. The courier assigned to pick up from that box might quit and a new person might take the job not knowing that they are to pick up from that box. People do screw up in real life. Your package could be sitting in that drop box for a week while FedEx figures it out although that is rare. But, it happened to me once! Once contents of a drop box got stolen according to a story from one of our Notaries. I only heard of that once. There is a 1 in 1000 chance that your drop box might not get picked up. If you do a lot of signings, that could cost you a client or get you in big trouble. Additionally there is no proof that you dropped it in a particular box and you might not even remember what box you dropped it in.

If you drop at a manned station, that is a better idea. The box in their office will always get picked up, and often at a slightly later time than the drop boxes on the road.

I highly recommend you get paperwork from FedEx stating that you dropped the package at a particular time and place. You might need that evidence if you get in trouble.

The bottom line is be prepared, think ahead, and have as much evidence for what you did correctly. It is just like keeping your journal correctly. It is rare that your journal will be checked, but when it happens (roughly 1 in 2000 jobs gets checked, so it will happen eventually to you.) you need to be prepared or you get in a lot of trouble. You could even get arrested.

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June 5, 2020

How often do you ask Jeremy for advice?

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 9:47 am

Notaries are quick to complain about their situation, but how often do they ask for help? I love giving tips, and I have 20 years experience at it. When Notaries ask, “What could I be doing better?” I normally have about five quick tips for them to work on. When they finish with those tips, I can move on to other tips. But, if you don’t ask, you will be doing all types of wrong things that will cost you business.

Asking for help is free. Asketh and you shall receiveth. Hard to say if you have a lisp.

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May 6, 2020

Girls just want to have fun; Notaries just want to get paid;

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 9:39 am

I remember that Cyndi Lauper song from the 80’s – Girls, just want to have fun. It was popular at one time. But, during this decade, we have a different dilemma. Notaries just want to get paid. Why is it that so many Notaries don’t get paid? It is a question of doing your homework. There are various reasons why Notaries don’t get paid. Here are my points on the matter:

1. Notaries who lack experience are seen as less valuable to companies. They typically get paid last if there is a monetary constraint. This is especially true of Notaries who come across as unprofessional, whiny, or make mistakes. The way to remedy this situation is to be more professional and punctual rather than claiming to be as such. Additionally, getting more experience would help as well.

2. Research all companies you work for. If you think you can just blindly accept jobs from companies, I recommend thinking again. Roughly half of the companies out there do not pay on time, or sometimes at all. If you visit the various forums you can easily see who the good apples and bad apples are. You are not just comparing apples to apples — okay, bad example, you are just comparing apples to apples.

3. Have companies paypal you up front. After all, you are not in the finance business. You are not a lender. So, why should you extend credit to a complete stranger? Beginners may have trouble attracting people who will pay up front. But, you can reduce your fee to gain this privilege. It might be worth sacrificing a few bucks to avoid the hassle of chasing people around for petty cash and to avoid the risk of not getting paid at all.

4. Billing regularly and keeping good records is essential. If you go easy on people who owe you money, that will not get you paid.

5. Sending threatening letters to those who have owed you for more than 60 days makes sense. 123notary has a template of just such a letter in our resource page.

Summary
Getting paid is not a complicated art form. It is a matter of following some basic common sense protocol. I hope you learn this and make a habit out of it. Otherwise you might be on the hook for thousands.

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May 1, 2020

What are dangerous places for a Notary to be?

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 8:25 am

Female Notaries think a lot more about safety than males do. But, even big strong guys can get into danger. If someone is crazy, they might attack anyone, even a big strong guy with a military background.

People’s houses at night.
Going to people’s houses sounds scary. But, in real life, if they have been screened for a Mortgage, they do not stand much of a chance of being dangerous, at least in my experience. However, their neighborhood might not be good at night.

On the other hand, going to a house for a single document might be dangerous. You don’t know who these people are, they have not been screened, and you might be going there at night.

Realistically, the danger is more than you will get into a car accident or bitten by a dog than have an incident with a crazy human being. In my twenty years in this industry I have heard of one Notary getting pushed down some stairs. That is out of 60,000 Notaries on hundreds of millions of assignments.

You might be okay at the house but run into gangs at the local gas station – it happened to me, and we covered it. I know a thing or two because I’ve seen a thing or two.

You might be at a tenement building and some rowdy intoxicated people might be outside. I have heard of this happening once in The Bronx. You could also get harassed by hoodlums on your way back to your car. It might be time to have the appointment at a Starbucks in a better neighborhood. But, it’s up to you.

Nursing homes
If you notarize at nursing homes, your chance of ending up in court is high. That is another type of danger.

Cafes
Some Notaries might notarize at a cafe late at night. Our local taco place is notorious for having crazy people, arguments, and police. The problem is that the police don’t seem to be there at the same time as the crazy people. Just because you are at a “safe” neutral location doesn’t mean a meth addict won’t walk in and start trouble. Being afraid of your clients is a legitimate fear, but the real danger is more likely from a drug addict, bad driver, or inclement weather.

Jails
Many Notaries are afraid to notarize at a jail. That is the safest place to notarize because the bad guys are on the OTHER side of the bars and there is tight security and check points.

The Street
If you notarize on your trunk on the street, you could get hit by a car. I had to park illegally and made the signer come out to sign on my trunk. They complained. I said that this is the only way I could do it otherwise I would have to leave as there was no place to park.

General Tips
It is generally a good idea to be aware of high risk individuals. Those who seem intoxicated or who are acting unusually. People might seem agitated, angry, or afraid for example. Additionally, people might get upset if you refuse to do an illegal notarization and that could trigger a situation. Other people might get upset that their rate is higher than expected. You need to know what to say and how to handle these types of situations. Personally, I have been to about 6000 total signings two thirds of which were loans. I have never been in a dangerous situation. The only disconcerting situations I have had involved animals and gang bangers who were “around” when I went to bad areas to do signings. But, these dogs and gangsters didn’t actually actively do anything to threaten me — I just felt threatened by their presence. Maybe I am worried about nothing. Maybe I overreact to certain things because I am not from that type of neighborhood and because I don’t like dogs.

As a rule, use your senses, and if you feel something is not right, step out. Also, make sure you know your escape route, because there is a small possibility you might need to use it.

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April 21, 2020

story about a counter offer on snapdocs

Filed under: Business Tips — Tags: — admin @ 9:24 am

Story by Steve Weinstein

I don’t know if you want to post this, but it happened to me: Snapdocs posted: $65 Reverse Mortgage application with 20 pages to fax back, I countered $85. turns out the print was 285 pages, plus ever Notary knows Reverse Mortgages are never easy at the signing table. I My fee got bumped up to $95. When I spoke to the Signing Company that I did not think it was right to low ball the fee on Snapdocs, they said it was just a baseline and Notaries could ask for a higher fee. My concern is that Notaries are accepting low ball fees. Seems like there should be some kind of industry standards..

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January 19, 2020

How to be a cool Notary and why it is so important

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 10:37 am

Are you a cool Notary? Have you ever wanted to be? We have a Notary in San Francisco whose clients describe him (in reviews) as being young and hip. I think he is the only successful notary on our site who is both young and hip, not to mention articulate. But, what about the rest of us. What makes a Notary cool, and how can you become cool. Or is this a zen paradox and you become cool by not trying to be? Hmmm.

1. Knowledge
I think a cool Notary would be one who either knows his stuff so fluently that he can spout out information in a calm tone of voice without breaking a sweat. Most Notaries get flustered with easy questions like, “How many loans have you signed?” To most that is a trick question.

2. Coolness
A cool Notary would be too cool to care, but would also never miss deadlines for Fedex. It would be kind of a James Bond type cool where you are responsible and cunning in your coolness.

3. Savoir Faire (That’s French for being able to handle tough
situations gracefully) The “cool” Notary should know martial arts and swordsmanship (speaking of James Bond) and be able to go to a signing, fight off intruders using num-chucks, wipe the sweat off his brow after a stunning victory and then say, “now where were we?”

4. Dress
A cool Notary should dress the part. Smart Italian shoes, slacks that fit impeccably, and a leather jacket that says bad boy all over it. For women, a snazzy outfit, not sure what type because I’m not a woman, but definitely flashy and with high heels with an accompanying noticeable hair style.

5. The Car
You cannot be a cool Notary without a cool and hip car. New is usually hip. But, a classic car would work even better. Just tell them you’re a Leno fan and everyone will understand.

6. Poise and Posture.
The proper gentleman stands up straight. But, the cool Notary casually leans on things and holds his head at an angle to show style and perhaps a little bit of attitude too. But, not too much attitude, because too much attitude is edgy which is just as cool as cool, but not the same thing as cool — I guess. How would I know anyway, I’m neither. Just kidding — I’m both, baby!

7. Smoothness
If you are able to work your way smoothly through the package anticipating and answering their every question before they even ask, that is cool. Dealing with all the snags and changes of plans in your signing schedule without even blinking? Yes, once again, that spells cool.

Being a cool notary may sound like it is merely cool. But, think about it from the borrower’s point of view or title. Do you want to deal with a Notary who is awkward and doesn’t know how to handle things or would you prefer someone like Carmen who is the most graceful Notary alive who can handle anything seamlessly without even trying? There is a reason why Carmen gets paid triple what the rest of you get paid. That is because she is a flamboyant, and polished Notary who is cool in her own way — and yes, she has a cool sporty car to match as well. Being cool attracts good clients, so if you think being cool doesn’t matter — turn down the heat because it does!

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January 18, 2020

Jeremy’s tips helped a Notary with title

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 9:32 am

I just talked to a Notary in San Diego about an upgrade. She was the star of the show and I gave her a huge discount as a result. She said that she used to think I am mean, but now realizes that all of the tips I gave her personally and gave via my courses really helped her with title companies and helped her to be a better Notary (and a better person.)

1. Using clean acknowledgements instead of doing cross-outs helped her be a lot more popular with her title clients. Not all companies appreciate clean work, but her clients did. Cross-outs are messy and can lead to complications when financial companies sell loans, and can also cause confusion if a loan ever goes to court which is rare, but happens.

2. I reminded her many times to get reviews, and she followed that piece of advice and all of my other advice and has the highest points in my points algorithm of almost any notary on the site. The reviews got her a lot of business and she keeps getting new ones too which is key.

3. My tips in general made her a better Notary because she is never sloppy about anything, understands the intricacies of all Notary and signing procedures, and always asks for clarification when necessary. Being meticulous as a result of her education with me made her more popular with her title clients.

So, if you are in doubt about what to do with your Notary situations, listen to what Jeremy and Carmen say as a general rule because we are experienced and know how to handle most situations cleanly and effectively.

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December 2, 2019

Lies and deceit that Notaries engage in

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 6:01 am

Oh, such drama — lies, deceit, treachery, and more. Yikes! Here are some things that Notaries BS about. See if you see your own behavior anywhere here and then fix it!

1. Experience
When I ask Notaries how many loans they have signed, the answer normally comes in years. That is a bait and switch. I ask one question I get an answer that is completely unrelated to the question. 16 years of notary experience doing one signing per year is not much which is why I want number of loans. But, when I ask a Notary on Monday how much experience they have and then again three months later, often the number goes down, not up. Doesn’t # of loans signed mathematically have to go up with experience? It is kind of like age, most people I know don’t get younger.

2. Familiarity with the docs
If you are so familiar, then why can’t you pass our certification test? You say that you are a Realtor and therefore you are familiar with loan documents, yet you can’t explain more than 20% of them. This is a snow job once again.

3. Bragging
If I ask a question, most Notaries have to answer the question and then insert a lot of unasked for additional information which just sounds cheap and cheesy. If you are from Wisconsin, I can understand cheesy, if you are French, then perhaps a Brie, and if you are from Nebraska I can understand corny. But, the rest of you have no excuse. Just answer questions as they were asked.

4. Saying you dropped the package.
Some Notaries claim to have dropped the package at one time when they really did not. Hmm.

5. Drama
Sometimes a borrower will be rude to the Notary and then the Notary will be rude back. When the complaint comes in, sometimes the Notary will discuss mainly all of the terrible things that the borrower did and not be honest about what they themselves did.

6. Certifications
Many Notaries who are not or who are no longer 123notary certified will say that they are in their profiles. Hmm. It’s hard to prove your 123notary certification when you don’t have the green icon, isn’t it?

7. Error Rate
Bragging about your 0% error rate is stupid, because anyone can claim it and there is no way to prove it. We all make mistakes. The same people who brag about their perfect performance are the ones who make spelling mistakes in their profile.

8. Vagueness about their Mortgage experience.
It is sometimes a bad thing to be a Mortgage Broker as that can indicate that you are a competitor. So, many just claim to have been in the Mortgage Industry for ten or twenty years. This is really beating around the bush. It is better to state what position you had or leave it out.

Summary
Notaries are notorious for snow jobs, smoke screens and all out blatant dishonesty. In a profession that is based on integrity this is really outlandish, but reality. Trying to pass yourself off as an expert when you know very little or hiding information about yourself is just not honest or straightforward. Very few Notaries can just stick to the facts, but those are the ones that buyers like. So, try to think of how they feel on the other side of the table.

You might also like:

When a title company lies to you
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19349

Protecting yourself with a contract
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2593

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