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Community involvement: One Notary’s key to successful networking

Valerie Barrett networks with members of the Orange County Stadium Club.

Updated 12-11-17. Changing careers can be a scary experience. Like millions of Americans, I was forced to undergo a career change in 2008 after the global economic downturn.

Making the transition was a struggle, but I have profited greatly by learning what it takes to succeed. One of the most important lessons I learned was the value of networking, and increasing my involvement in the local business community.

After working many years as a real estate appraiser, I began a new business endeavor by marketing appraisal work to estate attorneys. I further supplemented my income by offering my services as a mobile Notary for attorneys, brokers and escrow companies.

As these lines of business continued to grow, I eventually started working with adoption attorneys, banks, long-term care facilities, criminal and patent attorneys — all of which provided a natural gateway for the further expansion and growth of my Notary business.

Building a local network

But this success did not come simply by handing out business cards. I realized how important it was to build relationships in my community. Having lived and worked in Orange County, California, since 2003, I knew there were many professional networking organizations that would provide excellent opportunities to market my mobile Notary business.

I wanted to do more than just join an organization. I wanted to make a real difference, so I co-founded an organization called The Orange County Stadium Club, which helps people connect with like-minded professionals during breakfast meetings.

At these events we share our experiences and discuss our business strategies. These meetings built a foundation of mutual trust and respect between the members, which promotes us doing business with each other. The Stadium Club also is heavily involved in community volunteer activities, which further expands networking opportunities with a larger group of professionals committed to enriching their local community.

I have always felt strongly about helping to enrich my community and made it a core value of my company, Notary Docs. It was therefore a natural, easy, and enjoyable commitment of time and energy to invest in the Stadium Club.

Making a difference in the community

I found another valuable opportunity through doing more with my long-time charity of choice: the Orangewood Children’s Foundation (OCF), which offers education and shelter to emancipated children.

Twice a month, Notary Docs sponsors breakfast for 20 OCF emancipated youths. The perks are not only working with foster youths, but also getting my business name on their calendars. This provides important exposure and recognition. Recently, I started introducing Stadium Club members to OCF and exposing them to wonderful opportunities to make a real impact in addressing social problems facing our community. We've also supported local organizations such as The Speech and Language Development Center and The Field of Valor at Handy Park in Orange, a local event that pays tribute to our veterans. 

For business professionals, there are many opportunities to connect with nonprofit organizations. In my community, The Profit Connection of The Orange County Chamber of Commerce helps bring together small businesses like mine with a broad range of community-sponsored activities.

Activities such as new business promotions, ribbon cuttings, auctions, golf outings, fund raisers and board membership all have provided Notary Docs with invaluable opportunities for wider recognition throughout Orange County, and that has translated into business success.

In my opinion, the key to networking — and to growing a small business — is to research, discover, and become actively involved in organizations that offer, “a best fit” to your business, one that comfortably meets your needs, as well as providing significant business leads and opportunities.

It has been my experience that supporting your local community naturally adds credibility and marketing value to your business as well and provides an additional source of positive social networking.

Building a local network

I certainly attribute a large portion of the sustained growth and success of my small business to local networking. Today, about 80 percent of my business comes from estate attorneys, patent attorneys, adoption attorneys and other non-housing industry clients.

During the ups and downs of business, I hold on to this quote from Helen Keller: “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened.

Valerie Barrett is the owner of Notary Docs in Orange County, California, and is a 2014 NNA Notary of the Year Honoree.


Add your comment

Sandra Werner

18 Jul 2018

Very important information. I personally need a reminder every once in a while. Thank You

Kim young

07 Aug 2018

How to get work with title company

Leroy Jones sr

20 Oct 2019

Available and Traveling, and Mobile And on Times And Truth

Yvette Martinez

13 Jul 2023

Hello I passed my exam back in Feb 2023. If anyone is in Northglenn, Denver Colorado area please reach out to me. I am wanting to see if I can shadow someone or speak to someone about getting my name out there. Greatly appreciated, Yvette Martinez

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