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August 29, 2017

123notary Silver Certification (coming soon)

Filed under: Marketing Articles — Tags: — admin @ 11:48 pm

123notary has tried various certifications over the years. We tried the basic, and elite. However, the basic one was good for life. The problem with that is that I could not check up on people. So, many Notaries had the basic that it would be too hard to check up on people anyway. Additionally, many cheated on the online test by having others do the test for them while many also memorized the answers rather than learning the concepts. The elite test was far too advanced for 98% of our Notaries, so that was not an idea that revolutionized the site either. So, my new idea is to have a silver or gray certification for serious Notaries.

In the old days, the emphasis was on knowing the documents. We quizzed people on documents, the Right to Cancel, initialing, and handling issues at signings. However, we have been finding that the biggest problems with signing work these days has more to do with not being a good Notary rather than not being a good signing agent. Not getting documents back on time and being rude or not following directions are also serious problems. So, it seems that knowing the documents is the least important thing these days, especially as Lenders are doing such a much better job explaining the documents to the borrowers themselves. So, now the emphasis is on being a good Notary.

123NOTARY SILVER CERTIFICATION will differ in its branding from the Green or basic certification and Elite in various ways.

1. The book will be online in the blog and free.
2. The test will be by phone and 24 or more questions. Questions will be on mandatory topics and will not come from a pool of general questions. There might be a pool for each specific topic of question such as multiple questions for Jurats where I would only ask one particular Jurat question at a test.
3. A 90% test average will be necessary to pass and in a limited time period for questions that range from easy, medium and a few hard ones.
4. Questions will be based on:
(a) Notary Work (Acknowledgments, Jurats, Oaths, Affirmations, Journals, Identification, Prohibited Acts, Seals, etc.)
(b) Power of Attorney (technical terms, signing procedures, etc.)
(c) Loan Documents and signing procedures
(d) Handling situations and following directions.

5. The silver certification will also consider having a proper attitude, and communicating well. If you ask me to repeat half of what I say, you cannot qualify for silver.

6. The silver certification will be good for four years with mandatory pop quiz questions by phone every year to ensure that you answer your phone, still have a good attitude, and haven’t forgotten everything you are supposed to know.

7. The silver course will come with tutoring from Jeremy and Carmen to ensure that the students learn the materials well enough to pass our tough test.

1. A take home ecourse or physical course.
2. Online testing
3. 15 questions that are random.
4. 86% pass rate on relatively easy questions.
5. No recertification necessary although I do ask pop quiz questions from time to time to make sure you did not cheat.

1. A physical take home book.
2. An over the phone test on only the most sophisticated aspects of loan signing. Elite is not such much practical as it was for the most elite caliber of Notaries.

The problem with our Green certification is that after the fact during pop quizzes we only require a 60% knowledge rate on the basic questions, although over the phone we ask harder questions so we are not comparing apples to apples. Too many people forget what they knew or cheated on the test. The other problem is that many Notaries are getting very old and senile. Some have Alzeimers or dimentia while others have had strokes or serious health problems that affect their thinking, level of motivation and attitude. We need a certification where we have less of a quantity of certified notaries, but keep track of them regularly and require high standards.

123notary will network with signing companies and get them to endorse our silver certification. We will train their notaries for them as a reward for referring people to us. Since our silver standard will be highly manicured and well maintained, it will be to the advantage of signing companies to use these Notaries. We predict that we will only be able to get about 400 silver Notaries, but that they will be hand trained and be the best Notaries on the market.

My rules for using silver certified Notaries will be as follows. If you officially endorse the silver standard, you must pay $100 minimum per signing to silver certified Notaries and pay within 15 days. Otherwise you will get in trouble and 123notary would have to reject your endorsement. If 15 days is too hard to enforce, I might have to extend the policy to 30 days. I’m not sure how this is going to work as we have never tried anything like this before.


June 27, 2016

How much should you spend on advertising?

Filed under: Advertising,Ninja Theme Articles — Tags: , — admin @ 5:42 am

Many Notaries don’t want to spend much on Notary advertising because they don’t make much money or are just getting started. You cannot make money without spending money. Other Notaries have a presence on our site, but left their notes section blank, have no reviews, are not 123notary certified, and then blame us if they didn’t get any business. That is your fault for not dressing your listing up! If you pay $100 to go to a formal dance and show up in ripped clothing with your hair messed up and nobody dances with you — is that the fault of the people you paid $100 or your own fault?

1. Get a foundation before you pay big bucks
You need to get Notary certifications, reviews, and a good notes section before you pay big bucks for advertising

2. Assess the value of your advertising
All serious Notaries track their new sales. They keep track of where the sale or lead originated from. If you get 27% of your new sales from 123notary, then that is a factor in how much you spend on advertising the following year.

3. Base spending on income
If you have a listing with a good foundation as we described above, see how much new business you got from us. If you got a lot, then you should reinvest about 10% of the income you made in new business from our site. Or, you could figure out how much residual business you got from leads from our site as many will use you again and again for years to come. You might want to pay us 2% of the total long-term value of the business you got including residuals. The math is a bit complicated and involves some guess work as well. But, you have to do it otherwise you will be a poor investor.

4. Additional Areas
If you want to advertise in several counties on, see how well you do in those counties. If you spend money on one county and nothing comes back — try another county. Find the counties that work for you and stick with them as long as they continue working. Your success in a particular area might depend on proximity, the current competition (which could change overnight), population, and other factors.

5. How should you start?
Start by investing $100 in a listing with us, get our Notary certification and pass it. Get some reviews, and polish your listing. If things go well, then get a prorated upgrade with Carmen and move up the list and get other areas. If things don’t do that well, then keep what you have.


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May 2, 2016

Not being 123notary certified = only getting 47% of the work you would have gotten.

Most Notaries claim they don’t “need” to be 123notary certified. They are already NNA certified or already know it all. Our certification is not to teach you anything. Our purpose is to verify that you are up to a particular level of knowledge. The people who use our site take our certification very seriously and they skip over people who don’t have it. In fact, those who are not certified only get 47% of the jobs they would have gotten if they were certified according to my number crunching.

If you are paying $100 for a listing, but only getting $47 of the value, that’s terrible, right? But, most Notaries on our site are in exactly this position. They pay every year, but some other Notary who pays the same that they do is getting more than double the jobs they pay. So, you’d think that the uncertified Notaries would wake up and just study and take a test. But, they rarely do. Most of them took it before and failed and just gave up. If you give up on our test, you’re giving up on getting work from good companies.

So, what is the solution? Study! If you study hard, you can do better the next time you take the test. A little studying won’t kill you. Plus, this is your career and you should take it seriously. Not knowing what you are doing not only doesn’t make sense, but is dangerous!


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April 30, 2016

Should you study loan documents, or get a neck tattoo?

Filed under: Humorous Posts — Tags: , , — admin @ 12:55 am

Notaries are by nature very short-sighted people. If business is good this month, then they assume that for the rest of their life that things will stay the same. Notaries get all bent out of shape when anything changes, because they want everything to be the same. The only changes they will accept are lower prices and higher income. But, even if you give them lower prices, they will still complain because, “why didn’t you give me a better price before?” The problem with this short-term way of thought is that the world doesn’t stay the same, and certain choices you make will help you or haunt you for the rest of your life or commission (whichever comes first.) Here is a tale of three Notaries and the choices they made. Forgive me if parts of it resemble a Jack in the Box commercial.

Should you get 123notary certified, take the next signing, or get a neck tattoo? It might seem like an obvious choice to you, but it was not to Jim.

Notary #1
Jim decided to get a neck tattoo. Sure, he had heard about the benefits of notary certification. But, he didn’t think he “needed” it because companies were hiring him. He didn’t grasp the concept of being hired more, or being possibly paid more. He only understood that he made enough money for the basic necessities such as: Putting food on the table, beer, and getting neck tattoos. His tattoo set him back $217.00. But, there’s more. Jim didn’t realize before he got his neck tattoo that his social life might be affected by his decision. He lost half of his friends due to his neck tattoo. But, on a brighter note, he gained some new friends who were more understanding of his decision. His new friends took him on a ride on their Harley and introduced him to new and exciting substances that Jim would never have found out about otherwise. Jim’s Notary business suffered because of his neck tatto as well. He lost 40% of his business which ended up costing him $5613.00 over the course of his first year in business. Maybe Jim’s decision was not the best, but who am I to judge?

Notary #2
Shelly wanted to get 123notary certified, but every time she wanted to study, something got in the way. A signing would be offered to her, or a birthday party. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to study. She realized certification would help her in the long run, but giving up a $90 signing seemed like a waste of income potential, and Shelly didn’t like to waste any opportunity. Years went by, but Shelly continued to stay busy.

Notary #3
Tammy had listened to what Jeremy had said on the phone.

Jeremy – “123notary certification doubles your jobs from your listing on on average. Results may vary from individual to individual though. If you get $317.00 more business per month as a result of your 123notary certification which is a reasonable estimate if you have a higher placed listing, over the course of 10 years, you would get $38,000 extra business. It might take you 10 hours to study for our certification exam. So, you could say that each hour of studying is worth $3800 in that case. Of the things that make you “too busy” to study for our test, which of them is worth $3800 per hour in long term revenue?”

Tammy – “Hmm, that is a really good point. I never thought about it like that. I believe in prioritizing. I am going to put everything on the side and study right now!”

A week later, Tammy had passed our exam and was getting more business! But, 10 years later Tammy met Jim at a bar. Jim explained how he had lost everything. Nobody wanted to hire him, his friends had all died of overdoses and motorcycle crashes, and his life was horrible. Shelly happened to show up at the bar and explained how business had taken a sudden downturn. Instead of studying and actually trying to know something, she quit and got a job. Meanwhile, Tammy had gotten Elite certified by 123notary, bought five top spots, and was making 100K+ per year at her Notary business. Of the three, it is clear the education wins the game and Tammy prioritized her time and strategized!

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April 4, 2016

Compilation of Certification Posts

Over the years, we wrote many articles about 123notary certification. The ones that did the best were ones that did not mention certification in the title, but mentioned some benefits associated with our certification. Here are our best articles about certification and elite certification.

Here is an easy way to make $4000 more per year

NNA certified signers who failed our test!

What is the difference between a listing getting 16 clicks / month & 100+?

From 3 jobs per week to 3 jobs per day!

Do you have to be a CSS to get work these days?

A detailed look at the Ninja Course

How much more does a 123notary certified signer make?

The top 1% of Notaries and the bottom 99%.

Uncertified and not a single call

From zero loans to 40 in only seven weeks!

How do you prove your knowledge as a signing agent?

If you are not 123notary certified, you are not 123notary certified

123notary’s certification is highly valued by those who use our site

Which gets the work, skills or certification?


Does Elite certification help?

123notary Elite certification, what is it all about?



July 6, 2015

Get certified by whomever you advertise with in the long run.

Filed under: Best Practices — Tags: — admin @ 12:53 pm

If you advertise with the NNA, get certified by them. If you advertise on Notary Rotary, get certified by them if they offer such a program. And if you advertise with 123notary, get certified by us. Don’t fight it. Just do it, because your listing won’t look professional without it and our browsers will notice the difference even if you don’t think it matters.

But, I would make sure you like 123notary before getting our test. If you are advertising with us, and haven’t decided if you want to make our relationship a long term deal, you might consider waiting. If you are sure you want to list with us for at least two years, then definitely invest in our certification as your listing will not produce the same number of jobs without it.

Give us a fair chance too. Many notaries who have a stripped down listing claim that they get little business from us. The fact is that there is business going around on our site, but that goes to notaries who have the most professional looking listings in their area. The ones with reviews, an informative notes section, high placement, 123notary Elite Certification, and perhaps a company name will get the first call most of the time. If your listing says, “I am a mobile notary, please call me,” that is not enough information to attract a serious buyer. If you try to write a great notes section and get a few reviews, then serious customers might call you for work. Don’t judge us until you have prepared your listing to be up to fighting strength, otherwise we’re not playing on a level playing field.

Many notaries mention that they are NNA certified in their notes section on our site. We learned that this statistically doesn’t result in any more or any less business. It is just a redundant note about yourself. Most notaries on 123notary are NNA certified, so claiming their certification differentiates you from the crowd as much as claiming that you have two arms and a nose. So, does everyone else. You need content on your profile that is different and better than the rest if you expect to get any serious business, and this takes work. Taking an hour or more to brainstorm about what to put in your notes section can really make a difference. Reading what others put in their notes sections will give you ideas.

Passing our certification test puts you in the top 25%
3% of our notaries are Elite Certified, and 25% are regular certified. Ask yourself if you want to be in the bottom 75%, or the top 25%? Put yourself in the position of a Title company looking at notaries on our site. Who would you call first? Would you call someone with the Elite emblem on your listing or someone who has no certifications? Would you call someone with a well organized comprehensive notes section or one with a one-liner? You might know how great you are, but others do not. So think from their perspective and prove how good you are. Get tested by impartial 3rd parties.


April 7, 2015

Cert book & test sold separately with test results as a number? Good idea or not?

Filed under: Loan Signing 101 — Tags: — admin @ 9:09 am

For over a decade we have tried to talk people into getting our certification course and test as a package deal. People complained because they were already “certified” by some other unnamed agency. Whether they could pass my test or not was a fact that I could not prove or disprove, and neither could they. Maybe I should let people take my test for free if they passed some other agency’s test. Or maybe only charge a nominal fee. It is hard to know. But, here is what I am considering doing sometime this year.

A score of 1-30
I am tired of a pass/fail certification test. If people don’t pass, they take the test again and bother us for a password. What I would prefer to try is to have a test that gives you a score. The score would be a number from 1 to 30. If you studied hard and had very sophisticated knowledge you might score in the high 20’s while if you were just beginning and didn’t study much, you might score three or four points. This way instead of being “certified” or not, your knowledge would be reflected in a way where you could be accurately compared to people of all levels. If you didn’t like how you did, you could purchase the test again and try the test a second time.

Emotional responses
If people see numerical test results, they might become competitive. How come Sandy got a 17, but I only got 4. Why did Ken Edelstein get a 30? What does he know that we don’t know? In real life Ken hasn’t taken our test, but he could write a book about notary tests in his sleep.

Those who can’t pass now…
Rather than just not giving people the certification icon because they didn’t pass our test, at least this way they can stand out from the others who didn’t pass our test who know much less than they did. If a score of 15 represents passing our test, then if you got a 14, that is pretty close, while those who are complete beginners might score a 1 or 2. At least the new proposed test would allow you to prove your knowledge even if you can’t pass a particular threshold!

Not needing our prep book
For those who don’t “need” our prep book, they could use someone else’s prep book to study, and then take our test. They could use Notary2Pro’s, NNA’s, or any other agency’s. They could get a much lower price for our test than currently advertised, and have the freedom to choose their course. I think notaries will like that freedom. On the other hand, we might rewrite our loan signing course and make it a lot better in which case notaries would be penalizing themselves for not taking it!

In any case, let us know how you feel about a numerical score and how you feel about choosing your own study guide for our signing agent test.


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May 12, 2014

Do you have to be a CSS to get work these days?

CSS = Certified Signing Specialist

Notaries are complaining that there isn’t enough work. Early 2014 has been brutal and late 2013 was horrible. Things just died around September 2013. But, the new laws are making it worse. I don’t know if the laws about this topic are being enforced, but I heard that signing companies would be required b law to use a CSS unless they couldn’t find one.

A CSS is someone who passed a yearly background check, and passed a new much harder signing agent exam that is up to government standards. The NNA administers this type of education and 123notary does not. 123notary has its own certification exam for signers which is very basic and proves basic competency to think under time pressure. 123notary’s certification exam gets signers a lot more work on 123notary and is good for the life of your listing, but is not recognized on other sites.

Notaries are asking me if they absolutely have to spend the several hundred dollars each year to get this new designation. My thoughts are that only a few hundred notaries will spend the money and take the time to get this advanced, but necessary designation. The others simply don’t make enough income from notary work, or don’t have the skills or motivation to do it. The result of this across-the-board stubbornness is that non-CSS Notaries will still be necessary simply because there will be so few CSS Notaries around. Signing companies will not have a choice when things get busy and will have to hire those who didn’t go through the CSS program.


Those who do go through the program and spend the $300+ will get a larger market share. Whenever you have a designation that others don’t have — whether necessary or not, you get more work. 123notary’s certification has never been officially recognized by anyone, yet those who have it get more than double the work than those who don’t on our site in comparable positions on the search results. Those who have the CSS which in contrast to our informal certifcation IS necessary will get a much bigger market share. In a dead market, a bigger market share might not look that great. But, things change. Notaries tend to base their decisions on today and tomorrow. If you get an important designation and renew it regularly, you will have it three years later when the market picks up and you will be the one raking in the bucks while others are trying out new recipes for Ramen noodles (the one with the slow-cooked pork belly is actually not that bad.)

Are you in good hands?

(1) Notaries are complaining that there isn’t enough work. But, w/o your CSS you might not get any!
(2) I heard that signing co’s would be required to use a CSS unless they couldn’t find one!
(3) So many OTHER notaries are too stubborn to get the CSS designation, so you might survive w/o it.
(4) Do you really need that annual background check? You might get a better market share if you do.
(5) For those who don’t think they need the new CSS designation, we have some good Ramen recipes for you.


September 28, 2013

Some ribbon worms will eat themselves if they can’t find food

Self-defeating strange behaviors….

Are you a self-defeating notary? People who are small in business tend to be this way. Little shops owned by mom and pop get a shop on a street, and don’t get business. There is no parking. Why not get a shop in a place with parking? No money? How come no money? Because they have a shop where there is no parking. Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?

Notaries have this same problem. They have no money. They don’t want to invest in certifcation or writing a great notes section because that will take time or cost money. After all, why should they spend money, when they are not making money? The truth is that you have to invest money before you get anything back. Sometimes you have to put in years of work to get a harvest. Web business is like this. I worked on 123notary for three years without making a profit — and I was working a lot of hours too. Think about it.

Certification today is only $67.95. It is free to write a notes section. Reviews are free if you do good work. These are things that will drive business to you, yet most notaries just won’t do any of these three. And those notaries fail, and they should fail. If you put conditions to doing what is necessary for you to succeed, you are guaranteeing failure. Don’t engage in self-defeating behaviors. Do what you need to do to get ahead today! If it doesn’t work, you will not be bankrupted. Investments in this business are tiny and amount to little more than a few trips to Starbucks.

Speaking of Starbucks, I need to go! Good luck!

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May 27, 2011

NNA Certified Signers who failed our test!

NNA Certified Signing Agents who failed our test!

This story goes back many years, perhaps close to a decade. started off very simply without much technology.  We couldn’t afford to do any more than barely build the site back in those days.  I had to decide whether to have a certification or not.  It looked more professional if we had our own certification. But, it has always been like pulling teeth to convince the NNA certified signers to even consider taking our test.
Notaries couldn’t answer simple questions without a long pause.
In the old days, we used to give our certification test by phone. It was a dozen or so basic questions about loan signing that any mediocre signing agent with hardly any experience could probably answer.  What I noticed is that those who passed the National Notary Association’s signing agent exam (NNA certified signers) failed our test roughly 70% of the time.  There was a lot of “umm” and “ahm”, and “hmmm” during the phone exam.  Their CSA exam was open book and without any time limit, so they were used to being able to get away with thinking forever to answer simple questions such as, “Where can you find the Rate in a loan”.  I can’t think of a simpler question.  The harder questions threw most people. I got sick of being patient and waiting for people to answer ridiculously easy questions.  The only thought that ran through my head was that if I were a borrower, I would throw these notaries out of my house if they couldn’t answer simple questions.
The timed test
So, then we got some fancy programming done and made an online test.  I was tired of waiting two minutes for the answers to simple questions, so a timed test was the only way for the notaries to prove their manhood or ladyhood. There were revolving questions and a timer. We had a few technical problems along the way, and many didn’t like my style of questions.  As time progressed, we got rid of the “ambiguous” questions, and added a few practical marketing questions.  We also tried to have questions specific to the state where the notary claimed to be, but that turned out to be unpopular, so we dropped it eventually.    The bottom line, was that most notaries couldn’t handle the time pressure — even the NNA certified signing agents.
The ex-Mortgage broker’s story
I had a few people who worked in Title or Mortgage houses who assured me that it was a joke that they even had to take my exam.  After all, they had been doing this for 20 years.  So, many people (including NNA certified signers) tried to convince me that they didn’t NEED to take my dumb exam.  Almost all of these overly confident know-it-alls FAILED my test, and then wasted my time arguing with me.  They didn’t read the prep book, and they didn’t know their basics about loan signing regardless of their background.  There is a lot of overlap between Title and Mortgage work and loan signing, but there are additional things you need to know to be a good signer. It is a different profession.
What does our test prove?
Roughly 25% of our notaries on board have passed our basic certification exam. The others either failed, or never tried in the first place. If people had spent the same amount of time studying for the test as they did arguing with us about why they shouldn’t have to take the test, their business would be a lot different.  123notary certification proves that you know your basics, and that you can function under extreme time pressure without breaking. That says a lot.  Most people can not handle the pressure.  When I created the test, I could pass it in three minutes and Carmen passed it in four and a half minutes.  Test takers were allowed six and a half minutes to ensure that the majority who studied hard would pass the first time.
Does it matter what you think about our test?
What I think about my test, or what you or Carmen think about my test doesn’t matter even slightly.  The browsers care tremendously about my test, and (news flash!) they are the ones who are paying you.  123notary certified signers are three times as likely to get work.  Even browsers who didn’t know what the certification meant, and who had a regular document to be signed like an affidavit which had nothing to do with loan signing still chose certified signers if they could.  Ten years ago, I used 123notary as my primary source of marketing my personal mobile notary work.  Time after time I got called at 11pm to notarize a simple form.  I kept hearing, “We chose you because you were certified and the others were not”.

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