By Clay Mason Guest Columnist The services provided by signing agents are in demand just about everywhere, making it a potentially lucrative venture. For many new signing agents, the prime concern is the amount of time it will take to establish themselves and start turning a profit. The timeline can be different for everyone, but I can share some general advice from my own experience to help you speed up the process. It takes hard work, but making money as a mobile Notary is well within your reach if you have a little bit of patience. Important First Steps The most important thing a new signing agent can do is to register on as many different Notary directories as possible. There are various directories out there, but a great one to get started on is SigningAgent.com. As you get your name in Notary directories, you’ll make yourself visible and available for schedulers that need your services. When you’re first starting out as a mobile Notary, you may not have much of a reputation. You’ll most likely have to take lower-paying jobs for several months — think of this as “laying the groundwork” or “paying your dues.” Establishing yourself as a signing agent is similar to a variety of other careers; you start slowly, build your reputation and client base, and eventually work your way up to more important work and better pay. Common Mistakes New Signing Agents Make While you’re in the process of establishing yourself as a mobile Notary, consider keeping your day job or at least ensure you retain a predictable source of income. Other common mistakes involve putting the cart before the horse. New signing agents have a tendency to throw themselves into the deep end of commitment, making a number of expensive purchases including office furniture, new computers, printers and other items before they are even turning a profit. You may also have to do some minor traveling to get to some of your jobs. It’s important to not only factor gasoline into your expenses, but also to determine how far you’re willing to drive. Establishing your “business radius” early on is important. Many of these mistakes spring from the assumption that business will find you, rather than the other way around. Becoming a mobile Notary demands that you be proactive — you must take an active interest in getting your name out there. However, some mobile Notaries have the opposite problem: they get so excited about their new business that they overbook themselves and stretch themselves too thin. Taking on more business than you can handle at once is the road to trouble. So What Does the Timetable Look Like? After you gain some experience and spend several months in Notary signing agent work, you’ll find higher-paying work coming your way. It’s difficult to attach a number to this process. However, it’s not unreasonable to expect that you’ll be able to support yourself as a mobile Notary after about four to six months, as long as you have laid the necessary groundwork. Becoming a mobile signing agent can be a worthwhile venture. While it does take a certain amount of dedication and judgment, a keen business mind and a little bit of patience will lead you to success and steady earnings. Clay Mason is the owner of Superior Notary Services in Wylie, Texas.