June 2020 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice - 123notary.com
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June 29, 2020

He got a review, but it wasn’t in English

Filed under: Reviews — admin @ 10:20 pm

Just to remind you guys once again – reviews are the key to your success. Or at least they are one of the most critical keys. But, what if you get a review that is not in English? It still helps your score in our algorithm, but will anyone be able to read it?

It honestly makes you look like you cater to a wider range of clientele when you have the Japanese review in Hiragana, the Spanish review, the Thai review and the Arabic review. Sure, nobody can understand it except for Bashar El-Assad, but that’s okay. It makes you look good.

At the end of your signing when people give you compliments, remember to ask for a review and email them a link to your review page. If they don’t compliment you, figure out what you could do better because reviews are life and death just like Chlorine gas (now that we are on the topic of Bashar)

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June 27, 2020

How do you find time with everything you do?

Filed under: General Stories — admin @ 10:20 pm

One blog commentator wrote a response to my blog about a bar only for “cool” notaries. He asked, “Where do you find time with everything you do?”

The answer is that I get very behind on mail, cleaning the bathroom, laundry, errands, and it is embarrassing. I have vowed to be a lot more on time about mail, laundry and keeping my life in order. I realize to do that I need to focus more on cutting out activities that are less necessary so as to keep time available for things that are important or that could keep me out of trouble.

So, to answer the question of how I find time — the answer is that I am behind on so many things that perhaps I don’t have time. However, to run a successful web business, writing a good, informative and popular blog is absolutely essential, so that you could say is at the top of my priority list after answering emails and processing orders, etc.

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June 25, 2020

What do Notaries charge? Feedback from blog commentary

Filed under: Notary Fees & Pricing — admin @ 10:19 pm

Notary pricing is across the board and the people responding to my blog articles might be on the more experienced or successful side. I’m not sure about that claim though as I have no way to verify. Here are some results to my question about — what do you charge?

See the entire list of comments with what they charge for fax backs, printing, and other types of signings.

What do you charge for Notary work & signings?

For straight refinances people responding charge:
85
90
100
100
100
110
125
150-250
200-250 (must be a pro)
175-200

Summary
Of the responders who are not looking like they represent the community as a whole, but might represent a higher percentage of very seasoned Notaries, the mean price seems to be about 100-110 per refinance, but the average for them might be more like 125.

Most Notaries are complaining about being low-balled, and having to take low offers. Perhaps they are too busy working for peanuts to respond to my blog.

It is quite possible that the average Notaries get paid these days for refinances is 70 or 80 because most jobs come from Snapdocs. However, in our defense, the higher paying jobs normally come from 123notary although people low-ball using our site as well.

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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 20, 2020

Hawaii Acknowledgment Form

Here is an example of Hawaii Notary Acknowledgment Wording

State of Hawaii
County of ___________
SS

On this ______ day of ____________, 20_____, before me personally appeared___________, to me known to be the person described in and who executed the foregoing instrument, and acknowledged that he executed the same as his free act and deed.

(Seal)

_____________________
Signature of Notary Public

Print Name:____________
My commission expires: _____________________

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June 19, 2020

Is your local notary market saturated?

Filed under: Marketing Articles — admin @ 10:16 pm

Recently I have been putting more notaries on 123notary.com. Our popularity went up as a result even though the quality of the notaries I added was not good. However, Notaries in very populated areas who were at the bottom of the list did not do well.

In counties (or subcounties in parts of California where we use that division) where we have 30 or more Notaries, those at the bottom of the list who were newly added hardly got any calls.

On the other hand, in other parts of the country where areas have zero to twenty Notaries, newly added Notaries were getting a generous quantity of clicks comparable to Notaries who have been with us for years.

If your market is saturated, that is not necessarily a problem. It just means you have to stand out and be listed higher on the list. We can help advise you on all of these matters. Remember – Notaries are plentiful, but Notaries who are experts at their game are rare and stand out.

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June 17, 2020

A Notary goes to a haunted tavern for a signing.

Filed under: General Stories — admin @ 10:15 pm

I’ve experienced several of these, including the haunted building. I notarized documents in/for a bar/tavern that was on the Historic Record, was over one hundred years old, and had been a brothel at one time. Before and after Prohibition it operated in some capacity. More than one person had been killed on the premises over the years and there were some strange goings on. Photos taken in the mirror showed things you didn’t know were there, and then weren’t; you looked up into the ‘brothel’ area and could sometimes hear and see odd things; and the crawlspace was a horror all its own!

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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 14, 2020

123notary’s emergency server migration

Filed under: Social Media — admin @ 8:46 am

On Friday at about 2am on June 5th I got a call from our server people in Missouri. I recognized the number and decided to answer. They told me that they tried to update a patch on our operating system, but couldn’t get the site up and running again. I asked what to do. They told me that their technical expert recommended getting on a new server. Unfortunately, that is not so easy.

We were already working with programming on migrating to a new server. We needed more disk space, more memory, and especially a more modern operating system. Our Microsoft 2008 system no longer had maintenance, and the danger from hacking was growing stronger. But, I had no idea that our server would crash.

I normally sleep during the day and work in the afternoon and evening. But, I went without sleep on Friday for the most part. I had to get in touch with a critical person at hosting and go over a quote for a new server. I had tried to communicate and get a quote by email, but the critical contact person was impossible to get information from. How frustrating. In any case, I got my quote for the server set up I wanted. It has the right amount of extra storage, memory, and a 2016 operating system which is what the company was best set up to maintain.

They said they needed up to 24 hours to create the server environment. Programming needed 25 hours to do their end of the bargain. But, how many days would this take? That is 49 hours of labor plus coordinating from one company to the other. People need to sleep, and what if there were delays.

We were down until Friday the 12th at around noon. So, it was about 7.5 days. Carmen and I were getting very anxious. I didn’t know if my current data was safe or whether I would have to revert to older data from a few days ago. I didn’t know if things would take forever. What if there was a problem once the site was online.

To my happy surprise, there were only a few small programming issues. Notaries would not be able to login until that got fixed which I assume will be anywhere from 24 to 72 hours, but you never know.

In any case, that Friday the 5th when the site crashed — I couldn’t sleep and was a wreck when I got up around noon. I had to walk to acupuncture, get to the health food store for some green juice and then go home. I was juice fasting. I was weak. I was afraid. I tried to be patient and do other things I needed to do. I did laundry that I had been procrastinating. I did my tax deductions which is a huge endeavor for me as I love to put it off. The good news is that once my taxes were 90% done, the site came back on and there were very few problems. What a relief.

The panic was about — what if I lose my business? That couldn’t happen… or could it? What would my life be like? On Sunday the 7th I went to the beach in Malibu at night — just like freshly unemployed people do in the movies. I went to ask what is life all about as I watched the waves endlessly come in. What would I do? What would Carmen do? Would she lose her house? God! What a horrible thought. I was more worried about her than me. Would I start another business in this Covid19 world? No. I would first lose as much weight as possible and get my health in good shape.

So, no data was lost. The site is fine. Carmen is fine. I am fine. And our customers are fine, but a bit annoyed with all the downtime. This problem was completely beyond any of our control. It was a server crash. In 20 years operating 6 sites, I have never seen anything like this. But, it happened, we had backup, and we survived. And I am not sure how long I will feel traumatized by what happened. I had a bad car breakdown in 2018. It took almost a year and a half to get over it. Every time I drove down Sunset in Palisades I would get nervous. I am over it now. No more anxiety driving down that road. I just hope my server crash anxiety will go away soon. Those seven days of downtime were hard. I wanted to cry during much of it. Just wanted to share my thoughts.

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