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August 13, 2020

Notaries and test questions during Covid19

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 8:45 am

I have a little quiz which I send by email to some of our newer notaries to get a reading on how smart they are at handling situations. This Covid19 panic has turned many people’s brains to mush including many Notaries. This is a problem. You need to be able to think, read, and reason. If you lack this ability, anyone can control you and make a virtual slave out of you.

Americans are like a sleeping tiger. It takes us a while to wake up and fight back. It took 33 days for Americans to protest shut downs and now it is a force to be reckoned with.

But, those not fighting are afraid. I ask a question where I ask what the Notary should ask the signer before driving to the signing.

The types of answers I am looking for involve asking for how the name reads on the ID to compare that with the documents. Also going over if funds are due, other signers need to be there, witnesses, tables, 90 minutes available, etc. The types of answers I have been getting in the last two months have been mostly about Covid19 and NOT about Notary related questions.

Sure, you can go over your N95 mask and gloves, but that doesn’t solve the problem of whether their ID says John W Smith. If their ID says Sam Smith and the documents say Samuel T Smith, you can’t do the signing even if you talk for two hours about socially distancing and sitting in the lawn during the signing. The priority is to think about Notary issues first and THEN talk about Covid19. But, there is little to talk about.

As a Notary, you should know the drill for Covid19. You either stay outside the house while they sign, do the signing outside, or sit far apart.

If you are not in bad health and don’t live with someone in bad health, Covid19 is not likely to get you sick or kill you. You might get infected, but 96% of infected people don’t realize they are infected according to new data. The flu is much more dangerous for healthy people, yet we don’t make much of a big deal out of it. Why? Because nobody brainwashed us into fearing the flu AND because it is familiar. People fear what is not familiar.

I am so used to Covid19 now, that it is familiar to me. I am no longer scared. I hope the rest of America comes to its senses before we are all living in refugee camps waiting in long lines for bread and soup.

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August 5, 2020

Have you ever been asked to give legal advice during a signing?

Filed under: Best Practices — admin @ 8:11 am

At signings, you might be asked all types of things. You might be asked to explain documents, notary procedures, or even mortgage information. As a Notary Public you are authorized to explain notary procedure only. Anything else must be referred to a Lender or Attorney depending on the question.

But, how often do you guys get asked legal questions? It could happen? The borrowers might not know who to ask or even realize that their question is legal in nature.

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August 3, 2020

Have you ever gotten into trouble asking the signer a question?

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 8:10 am

You know how touchy people are these days. You ask the wrong question and then someone brings in the artillery. We might as well not have freedom of speech anymore. What good are amendments if you can’t use them?

In any case, there are many things you might ask a signer. But, some of those things might get you hot water. If you ask about family relations, medical conditions, or pets in the house, you might not get a response that is as friendly as you might like.

So, let us know how you got in trouble saying the wrong thing.

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July 29, 2020

Review your own phone etiquette & get more market share!

Filed under: Etiquette — admin @ 10:27 pm

Most Notaries have a very inflated self-image. But, when I talk to them, from my point of view it is like pulling teeth to get basic information out of them without a whole lot of digressing, rambling, and extra information crammed down my throat that I didn’t ask for.

Did I mention the endless cover ups for low experience? If someone has a low count of how many loans they did, they insert in a desperate, frantic and worried tone of voice, “But, I tagged along and shadowed someone very experience and saw many more signings — oh, and that person was very good and very very experienced.”

That’s nice, but someone viewing your listing is considering hiring you and not that person you shadowed, so leave him/her out of it!

You guys really need to listen to yourselves and hear how unprofessional most of you sound. Anyone who calls you wants the facts THEY WANT to hear and not the facts you want them to hear. Unless they ask you to sell yourself in a free-style way, just answer their questions in a confident and honest way with NO ADDITIONAL INFORMATION. It makes the conversation much nicer, less exasperating, and you come across seeming a lot more professional.

You can claim to be “very professional” until the cows come home, but if the way you come across is desperate, disorganized, scatter-brained, and inept, the caller will have a bad impression of you. Even the more experienced Notaries with 10,000 loans signed are not usually good over the phone. Around 1% of Notaries are good over the phone. You would probably increase your market share by more than you think by just mastering Zen and the art of having a good phone conversation with a prospective client.

It is not that hard to have good phone etiquette, but it will only happen when you stop telling yourself how great you are and start paying attention to how you behave and communicate, take notes, and make improvements.

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July 23, 2020

What do you do during your downtime? Study certification?

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 10:26 pm

Most Notaries complain that they don’t get enough work. But, when you ask them to study, they never have time. I get this because I want to study Chinese but never have time, at least not in the last six months.

Studying needs to be a priority. You need to think about it regularly. It is studying that can get you ahead assuming you do a good job, and we are here to help you master our materials.

You need to have a system. When you have down time, what do you do during that down time? You can do billing, call companies that used you in the past. Call companies you want to use you in the future. You can go shopping for toner, and study.

Studying is easier if you make it a habit. You will not make it a habit unless you realize that it is a priority. Doing a good job of studying is hard especially if you have bad study habits. Even people with college degrees are lazy about studying. When I went to college it was hard, and they didn’t help me hardly at all. I had to fend for myself. What a waste of tuition and food money when they didn’t help. I told my dad that college was a waste of money, but that piano lessons helped my self-discipline in amazing ways.

We have free courses on our blog and we sell courses on certification too. There are courses that our competitors sell which are often good too. But, if you study the minimum and in a lackidaisical way, that is not going to cut it. So, make it a habit to read blogs, and study during your down time and study with the intent of mastering the contents. You can even review with us if you like.

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July 21, 2020

How many loans can you sign in one day?

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 10:25 pm

Things are not busy like they were in 2004. But, it is fun to think about the old days. I think I once signed 11 in a day and that was a record. I started in the late morning and got home at 3am. I had to reschedule a lot of signings and had a few readers who messed my timeline for those down the line that evening. I don’t think I had time to eat either that day.

But, how many signings can you actually do in a day? How many have you actually done? Do any of you have a world record you would like to share? Leave your comments, we would all like to hear.

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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 23, 2020

Do you have a favorite pen?

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 10:18 pm

I have never written about this partly because I do not use pens much. I personally like the Pentel RSVP fine.

Carmen likes the Uni Balm Gel Pen fine. She also likes the Pilot G2 which also is a gel pen. Both come in blue and black.

Jeremy’s comment – Players like it because it’s fine. Also, keep pens in stock because they run out of ink, break, and you will probably lose them over time.

What about you guys? What do you think?

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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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