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:
Adding new listings to the directory
Calling new people, calling old people to see if they are still in business
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.
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.