When Maria Torres-Lopez first began performing notarizations as a small part of her job at Bank of America, she didn’t realize it would eventually lead to a full-time career. She now runs her own business, providing a variety of services to clients in her Florida town. “I was instantly fascinated by how great it made me feel to help clients fulfill their requirements,” said Maria, of her early experience as a Notary. She was surprised to discover how little people seemed to know about notarial laws and regulations. “This inspired me to truly grasp the necessary knowledge and make sure I was working inside the scope of my job and not beyond it,” said Maria. She soon realized she wanted to expand her notarial career, turning her “side” business into a full-time occupation. These days, Maria and her company, Notary @ Your Door, perform a wide variety of services, from loan signings to wedding ceremonies to assisting senior citizens with complicated signings, and offering bilingual services to Spanish-speaking clients. In the business for nearly a decade, Maria believes in giving back to the Notary community through mentorship opportunities, and has a lot of great advice to share with Notaries interested in launching their own small business ventures: 1. Know Your State Laws: “There will always be businesses and individuals who will try to push you to do things that are against the law,” says Maria. “You must be able to say no. In many cases, a well thought out and complete explanation will save you a client for life.” 2. Hire the Best Employees: “When hiring, whether for full time or contract work, one must leave behind the biases we have grown up with as part of our culture,” advises Maria, who covers the names on incoming resumes to ensure candidates are judged solely on their merits. 3. Never Compromise Quality: When growing your company, Maria says the biggest challenge is to do so without ever compromising the quality of work. As Maria continues to add new services, she always makes sure she and her team are able to provide the quality work customers expect. “Quality comes before quantity,” says Maria, who advises a slow and steady approach when it comes to ensuring a successful company expansion. Another bit of career advice that Maria offers is to find a niche that makes you happy. For her, that comes from working with seniors. “Many have my services as their only option to fulfill their notarization needs,” she explained. “This truly makes me feel that I am doing something good for them, for their families, and society.” Kelle Clarke is a Contributing Editor with the National Notary Association.