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June 15, 2019

Organizing the table for efficiency

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

I’m doing what I do every half year or so. I call it filtering through the comments on my blog to see if any of the ideas stated are worth developing upon. I came up with some good material this time. This idea was called: organizing the table for efficiency.

The lady who left the comment on this topic said that she had a technique for doing this. However, what are good table organizing techniques? Believe it or not, this was a popular topic for Japanese Notary discussion boards during the Edo Period (which precedes the Meiji period just for the record). In 18th century Japan, a great emphasis was placed on “correct technique” for organizing a table. The Notary procedure would start with the Notary knocking on the front door at the appointed time (punctuality was and still is a requirement for not getting your head cut off in Japan.) Then the Notary would do a special type of bow only done by official Notaries Public of the state. Next, the Notary would proceed to remove his/her shoes and then put on a set of guest slippers (commonly referred to as “gesto-srippa”). They would sit at the table.

No signing could take place without enjoying a little tea with some koto music in the background. The expensiveness of the tea would correspond directly to the amount of the loan. Making a mistake by buying run of the mill green tea at Trader Joe’s (because it was on sale) would not only cost you your loan, but in some cases…. your life!!! If you were the tea buyer, you would have to go to one of those fancy tea stores which I refer to as a bou-tea-que (boutique), and engage in a long and drawn out sniffing process having small oral tastes of particular fancy green teas. There would be a long and careful process that would proceed actually purchasing a small quantity of some varietal of tea. Sounds cumbersome, but I bet Mrs. Meao would like the sniffing part.

After the tea ceremony was over and everybody had said a Shinto style prayer to the local Notary Gods, then the signing would begin. First, there would be an organizing of the table. Since in Japanese culture (and in Jeremy culture, whatever that means) there should be nothing else on the table during a signing — no babies, no other papers, no objects, marijuana paraphernalia, samurai swords, and above all else — definitely no liquids. Liquids can go on a chair to the side of the table if you really need them.

Next, you could have the Notary sit at the head of the table and have the signers sit next to each other on the side. Or, the Notary could sit across from the signers on the other side of the table. The main thing is to put the documents face down to the right, or left of the head signer. In Japan that would traditionally be the man, although with all of the women’s rights movements, it might be a woman or a gender neutral person these days.

The main thing is that you have a stack of documents. If you want to go over some of them first before you sign, that is not a bad strategy. But, the documents should flow in an assembly line fashion from one end of the table to the other with no interruptions to then be checked by the Notary and then put in the FedEx Package.

What are your techniques for organizing the table for efficiency?

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June 12, 2019

To be a good signing agent, do you need to be full-time?

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 10:15 pm

One of the comments on our blog stated that one lady believed that you needed to be full-time to be a good signing agent. But, does “good” depend on how many hours per week you devote to your practice? In my opinion, being “good” means having a few thousand loans under your belt, having passed our test, and having a lot of good reviews.

To get to this point of being good you would have had to have been full-time at some point, but does it mean you have to keep being full-time forever? These days there is hardly any work, so how can you be full-time anyway?

So, what do you guys think? Full-time = good, or is that a crock?

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June 3, 2019

I’m a high end Notary in a low ball world

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 11:24 pm

Are you a highbrow Notary in a low-brow world, or a high-end Notary in a low-ball world? join the club. There are lots of Notaries out there with tons of experience who have a lot of trouble getting paid well or getting work at all. On the other hand, there is what I call the double bell curve effect in the Notary world. There are lots of new Notaries, lots of mega-experience Notaries, but not so many people in the middle.

The problem as I see it is that there are many Notaries who perceive themselves as being high-end simply because they have experience. They hide behind their years of experience to compensate for the fact that they cannot explain a single Notary act and don’t have a clue how to deal with many common Notary situations. Another problem is that in today’s economy there are too many Notaries and too few jobs. With Snapdocs, if you are not fast to respond to texts you will be put lower on the text order algorithm and might stop getting offers altogether. So, how can you win during these desperate times? The answer is that there are no guarantees. However, being high end in virtue instead of high end in claim will help you a whole lot more. What do I mean?

I recently emailed about 150 notaries regarding their certification. I wanted them to study and quiz again at no cost. Half of them emailed me back and the other half did not. The ones that emailed me back did not read the email carefully. They omitted to read the part that said they had to study a lot. So, I responded to people one by one reminding them (the same way you remind children) that you have to study. I only got four requests from people who had studied sufficiently, and most of those four passed. What about the other 150? Why are people so stubborn, lazy, ignorant and uncooperative? If you can’t pass our certification test (which is really hard these days) then you are NOT a high end Notary. You are only a poser and a chump.

Additionally, getting more reviews on your profile will attract browsers, and so will having a well written notes section. To sum it up, a lot of expertise goes into being a Notary, but less than 1% of the people on our site have that knowledge or have any interest in acquiring that knowledge. This whole industry has turned low-end on me and I’m getting really sick of it. Even if it gets you nowhere, there is a certain dignity and professionalism in knowing your stuff. So please do so.

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May 20, 2019

Are you a residence or a business owner?

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 11:05 am

Many of you Notaries behave more like a residence than a business owner. It is not very professional. When I call you I get a “hello?” and not a “Sampson signings, Judy speaking.” I am not the only one who cares about professionalism. The other thing is that if you are eating dinner you often refuse to talk. If you are a business forget about dinner and focus on the task at hand. Do you complain that people call you on a Sunday? That means you think of yourself as a residence. If you get mad when people call you after 9pm that means you think of your operation as a residence.

The fact is that whether you are registered or not, since you take money for offering a service, or are offering to do so, technically you could be legally construed as a business. So, get registered to keep it legal and start thinking of your self as a business. Maybe then you will start acting like a business.

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April 25, 2019

A resurgence in interest in 123notary certification

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 10:51 am

More and more Notaries are becoming a lot more serious and interested in 123notary.com certification. In the old days people said, “I am already NNA certified so why do I need yours?” The answer was always — how much work do you get from signing agent.com. The answer was generally, “not much.” Our site is based on quality and our certification gets people more work.

The amount of interest is like drops in a bucket. Every week a few people express interest and some of them will study enough. But, this can add up over time. Carmen and I like teaching people and we have given a lot of free time to those who expressed an interest in Notary knowledge.

I hope that in the future people start taking notary education more seriously. Although the general climate in the notary industry is low-balling and not quality, quality notaries do get more business and do make more money. So, there is a huge benefit in being at the top of the food chain even in today’s market.

People love our Notary Public 101 course on the blog. We have had more than 10,000 people visit the home page of that course. Most people read it for pleasure and not for mastery, but that is better than nothing. I hope that more Notaries express an interest in learning regardless of who they learn from. 123notary is not just a job, it is my craft and I seek to be the best craftsman I can be by having the best directory. Having the best directory means having the best and most desirable Notaries and that means that you guys need to study and be your best.

Many of you have the intellect to be masters of this trade. However few of you start out with the knowledge. Knowledge is there for the taking. It is just a matter of approaching the information with the intention of mastery. This takes time, patience and perseverance, and perhaps a little tutoring from the people here at 123notary.

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April 22, 2019

Why Notaries should get up at 5am…

Filed under: Best Practices — Tags: , — admin @ 10:50 am

The age old saying that the early bird catches the worm is more and more true, especially in today’s cattle call Notary market. The texts have been coming from Snapdocs for a few years now. But, now Notaries are getting emails from title companies. Title is tired of calling people (perhaps due to bad phone etiquette — read our guide on etiquette to know what I am talking about) and emailing people. But, Carmen says that the emails are starting at 6am if the Title company is East coast.

Personally, I am tired of this East Coast West Coast rivalry which used to only be in hip hop, but now it’s in the Notary industry. But if you don’t answer your emails at 6am, say good bye to East Coast jobs.

Since 2008, 123notary has tracked people’s phone answering rate in the form of a percentage. However, now, it looks like how fast people answer emails will be the analytic of the future. The sad fact is that my emails typically get ignored. Hmmm. So, how can I find Notaries to give sweet discounts for upgrades if they are ignoring the few people who can help them.

So… you snooze you lose. Be a little more attentive to emails. Check them more often. Or get iPhone alerts for emails, especially if they are from Title companies. Additionally, my guru claims that people should rise before dawn and meditate right at the time when the sun is coming up. It is a state of equilibrium in the atmosphere during this mystical time.

On a final note, one of my most striking memories of 5am was in Darjeeling India. I went to see the sunrise at Mt. Kanchenzhonga (good luck pronouncing that mouthfull). I got up at 3:45, got in a van with some others, and saw the runrise. I remember waiting and waiting. Finally between two peaks a little dot of light inched itself up. Then it went up another inch. And then you could see the entire sun a minute or two later. There was great applause. And then we had mo-mo’s and noodle temtug soup which is a Himalayan favorite. Personally I think that part of the planet is sexist because they have the Himalayas, but not the Heralayas, but maybe with some idealogical counseling they will change their thinking.

In the mean time, check your email more often, and when someone says something and then says, “But, don’t lose sleep over it.” consider losing sleep if it means making your daily pay.

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April 13, 2019

How to deal with dogs, messes, and other signing nightmares

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 10:47 am

As a signing agent, you have to deal with more than identification, documents and signers. You have to deal with people’s unstable mental condition, dogs, guns, kidnappers, sexual harassment, anger problems and more. So, how do you deal with all of this?

1. Messes
If you are a Notary confronted with a mess, keep in mind that there are different types of messes. Some are just a nuisance. Others are dangerous because you might trip on something. There could be insects or vermin. What’s worse, a house might have diseases or bacteria in it which could prove deadly. It is not worth risking your health. If a house is too messy for you, meet the signers at Starbucks. Do the signing with a Jurat-accino, but no drinks on the table.

2. Dogs
Dogs can be annoying or dangerous. Yet the owners see the dog jumping all over you and licking you and see you extremely upset and say, “Oh, he’s okay.” If a human touches you that is molestation, but if a dog does it, “Oh, he’s okay.” You need to give them the lecture that just because they love dogs doesn’t mean that you gave permission for their dog to jump on you or come near you. Dogs need to be behind locked doors. I remember going to a signing long time ago. I had them put the dog away. But, the door never latched. Ten minutes later the dog came out of the room and was creating havoc again. Dog owners get really mad at me for not liking their dogs. Rather than being mad at me — keep your dog quarantined! I am a cat in a human body and cats don’t like dogs.

3. Children
If children are running through the house, you can tell the signers that they need to be fully focused on the documents and the children need to be somewhere else having quiet time. It is too distracting having children buzzing around.

4. Naked people
This doesn’t happen that often, but it is possible for you to go to a signing to have a naked person walking around. Perhaps someone got out of the shower, or perhaps someone is an exhibitionist. There are also children who don’t know any better. You could ask them to put on clothing or you could just pack up and leave if it is too disconcerting.

5. Guns
We have a Notary who did a signing for the Klan. The wizard guy asked, “Is that a gun you have in that there bag?” Our Notary said yes, so as to appear normal to the wizard, although she didn’t really have a gun. It’s moments like this you feel glad or relieved to be white (or hwite as the case may be, not sure why the h comes first… must be a Southern thang.) The important thing to understand about this situation was that it is good that the wizard did not say, “What did you say about my daddy?” Then you know you are in trouble.

6. Single Men
If you are a young lady in the house of a single man who shows interest in you, just understand that men cannot get married unless they express interest in ladies. Ladies always complain about men showing interest in them. In the last several years with all of the new technology and social media, men are ignoring women more and more. It is hard to get married now. Women were better off with men interested. But, if you are in a situation where you feel uncomfortable, or you just want to take precautions, here is a list of things to do:

(a) Let your husband know where you are so he can call the police if he doesn’t hear back from you.
(b) Carry pepper spray and brass knuckles
(c) Sit at the table closest to the door in a position where you can see the door as well. You never know who will come through that door.
(d) Don’t go to a part of the house where you could become cornered.
(e) Don’t respond to the interest shown in you if any.
(f) Learn self defense at one of those schools where you learn to elbow people and stomp on their toes.

7. Kidnappers
I did a signing for a kidnapper. Or at least the people with him suggested they had been kidnapped. I don’t remember the details. This was in Monterey Park, CA. I think they were his family and didn’t want to go with him, but they had no money and no place to stay. So, what could they do? I don’t know what their real situation was. If you are notarizing people who are under duress, you might end up in court, so be careful.

8. Russian Spies
Don’t worry. We need them around to make sure Trump wins a second term. And if you ask them who they are, they always reply, “My name is Nicholai, I am Russian, I love taking walks and I play the violin.” If they ask you if you are the Notary, tell them, “I am, or at least… that is what people want me to think I am.”

9. People who resist being thumbprinted
Whether it is legal or not in your state to refuse to notarize someone who refuses to be thumb printed — it should not only be legal, but should be require to thumbprint your victims. In any case, that is a red flag if someone doesn’t want to be thumb printed. It means they might be shady or up to something. But, there is nothing you can do if the law in your state doesn’t protect you.

10. Hurricanes
If you are going to a signing in bad weather, consider that you might get stuck there. Do you want to spend eight hours with complete strangers and their signatures? On the other hand, if you get a signing and it starts raining ice, you need to think twice about whether or not you will get there at all. You might get fired if you cancel a job, but you might be saving your life as well.

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April 11, 2019

The lady who studied 30 hours for her elite test

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 10:46 am

I am very honored and pleased to announce that there was a very zealous lady in California who claimed that she loved my materials on Notary Public 101. She studied an hour or two per night for close to a month for my elite test. This lady aced my test and I was so surprised and pleased. I am so tired of people with bad attitudes, it is refreshing to see people who have an excellent attitude. I wish more people could have better attitudes towards learning.

Our new elite test is by phone and it is hard as hell. There are so many different sections of the test ranging from notary, documents, situations and advanced materials too. There is a lot to learn, and some of it is hard. Typically and ironically, Notaries have the hardest time passing questions about Notary acts, because so few of them know the rules for any Notary act.

Being elite certified raises your click average by 60% on your listing based on numbers I crunched in 2018. This is a huge boost in clicks and a huge boost in jobs not to mention that people get paid more who are elite certified. If you want to get ahead, spending a lot of time studying will pay off in the long run, and even in the short run. I wish I had more ladies like this one who studied so hard. It makes me feel good when people respect me, my materials and high standards. It makes our industry great (but not great again).

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April 9, 2019

He lost his 123notary certification and calls from Title dropped to nothing overnight

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 10:02 am

I just talked to a Notary who is on our directory. He was certified, but failed his re-certification test. I had to ask him to study some more before I could recertify him. He said that the minute I took his certification away that calls from Title companies dropped to nothing right away. He was receiving four calls per week from title and then …. nothing…

When I talk to title companies the standard line is that they don’t care about certification. Their mouth says no, but their clicks say yes. The fact is that who they hire is based on a lot of things, and those criteria depend on the individual title agent. But, many people do value our certification especially now that we cleaned it up.

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April 5, 2019

What title says and what they do are two different things

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 10:03 am

When Carmen and I talk to signing and title companies the answers are consistent. Hiring parties want experience (a minimum of 2 years) and they generally like reviews. They care how many years you have been in business especially.

But, when I pulled a list from signingagent.com that was segmented on how many years you had been in business — I called those people and found that they had hardly signed any loans if any, and had no clue what they were doing. The two years of experience title and signing companies typically say they want is worthless and stupid. Additionally, these people fail our quizzes miserably.

Those who do well on our quiz typically have 5000 or 10,000 loans under their belt (or kimono if they are female.)

However, the people who have certification get a lot more high paying jobs and a lot more title jobs. Those with standards prefer 123notary certified members even though when they talk to us they claim not to. One guy on our site who lost his certification lost ALL of his title calls over night. Hmmm. He wants his certification back and all I ask is that he studies.

So, title says they want experience, but what they really want is knowledge. Experience, perceived experience, and knowledge of how to handle situations is different.

You cannot judge someone by how many years they have been doing this. Twenty years looks great until you find out they know nothing about notary law. And then # of signings is a better analytic but people lie. If they say 5000, it might be closer to 800 which is a big difference. I have no way to know if a person is lying, but if I ask them how many loans they have signed, and their profile says 10,000 and they say 2000 over the phone — I know they are lying — that is proof.

Title companies like our certification — they are too ashamed to say it but they like it. They like reviews and experience too. How you write your notes section really matters as well. Take this all seriously as this is how you get work.

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