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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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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 30, 2020

Are you in a good enough state of mind for Notary questions?

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 10:10 pm

If you are a professional, you should be able to handle professional questions in your sleep. Particularly if they are routine questions.

I have stopped phone testing people partly because people hate it so much, partly because it is so disturbing to me, and partly because it is so time consuming. Last, the companies that use 123notary care about the knowledge level of the notary, but they don’t care enough for me to merit training and testing people who didn’t pay for a program.

During the days when I was testing, people got mad because I called when they were not in a good state of mind. They were sleepy, busy, with friends, going to the hospital, and this was somehow my fault. They are “professionals” and they answered their phone, yet they could not talk about intelligent topics with me.

Is the problem your state of mind or is the problem that you don’t know your stuff and don’t have the discipline to learn your stuff or act professional over the phone.

Notaries want to get paid more, but I can make a list of Notaries who merit getting paid more. Those are people who are elite certified by us. It takes discipline to master Notary knowledge the point that you can pass that test. Those who are faking it will fail miserably. Getting 95% on Notary questions under time pressure narrows the population down to a fraction of a percent. Why the others cannot function with that level of knowledge is beyond me — after all, that is their profession.

Take your profession seriously and professionally. Don’t just claim to be professional because that sounds phony and corny. Master Notary knowledge. There is not that much to know, and if you got through college, this is much easier than college.

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May 16, 2020

Do you prefer texts, calls, or emails?

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 9:50 pm

I asked Notaries on our blog which they liked. One Notary said that on Snapdocs, the first to answer the text gets the job regardless of the quality of the notary. One Notary gets mostly emails and liked that. Some are old fashioned and prefer calls.

The way 123notary is set up is that people get mostly calls and some emails, but no texts. I guess we have a niche in the market and it is an old school niche for better or worse.

The bottom line is that if you are slow by email, someone else will get the job. You have to be fast in your response rate to whatever medium you use. Personally I have no idea what I would like if I were still a Notary so I will refrain from commenting. Phone calls are annoying if you are doing other things. But, texts offer you the opportunity to silently respond unless you are driving. Using the phone while driving without a hands free might be illegal but you can do it and probably not get caught. Texting on the road is deadly and should not be done no matter what unless you pull over.

So, what medium of communication do you guys prefer? Please leave your comments. Thanks.

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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 28, 2020

A notary dies and sees his whole life flash before him

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 9:33 am

We don’t always think about dying. I think about it when I am on a plane because I get paranoid during turbulence. Other people get paranoid during notarizations — what if I die while affixing my seal? But, this story is about a notary who dies.

Joe the Notary was on his last day. He drove to his notary job, drove home, had dinner and then started dying. His life flashed before him like it does in a movie, but without the special effects.

Joe was dying. Not from indigestion, although the burrito was a little to spicy. He was just dying. Angels appeared before him. He saw all of the bad deeds he had done which included quit claim deeds. He saw all the times he backdated and learned that he would be judged in heaven for those wrongful things. He also saw that he has not been paid for a handful of signing companies and that they too would be penalized on the other side. He saw his wedding, his wives, kids, mistresses and concubines. Yes, Joe had been a bad boy. Nobody knew except for the folks in the brighter world who keep tabs on these things. He saw his birth, salient childhood memories, the day he learned to tie his shoes, the day he learned to wipe in the bathroom and the day he joined the football team.

Yes, Joe had lived a good life. But, now he would be judged for backdating. Why is like so cruel… or should I say, afterlife? Afterlife’s a bitch!

So, he was sent to backdate purgatory. It was not hell, not horrible, but not heaven either. It was a particular karmic realm where people who fudged dates were sent. He was scheduled to be sent there on the 10th, but delivered on the 9th while the paperwork said the 10th. Joe asked what was going on — the clerk said, “karmic retribution sir.” He was scheduled to have dinner at 6pm but it was served at 9pm but on the form it said 6pm. Joe would be punished for three years in this realm. It really wasn’t that bad, but the dates and times were routinely fudged. Hmmm.

So, if you are thinking about committing notary

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April 23, 2020

Are you intimidated by a title?

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 9:25 am

I sent a newsletter out with the title: “Your notary stole your private information and sold it.” Many notaries emailed in stating that their stomach turned when they saw that title.

First of all, nobody other than a spammer or blog writer would use a title like that. Second of all, you ARE the notary, so nobody would warn you that another notary stole your information.

On the other hand, if a Title company BCC’ed a borrower telling the borrower that you, the notary, stole their information and sold it — that would be scary. But, how would they know And if you didn’t do that, why would you be scared when you read the title?

So, if you are afraid reading this above stated title, does that mean you are guilty of having done something fraudulent in the past? Or do you just have an abnormally high sense of paranoia?

Please understand that as a blog writer I have to pick topics and titles that will get my content read otherwise I get ignored and would have to shut my blog down. Thanks.

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