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How One Stay-At-Home Mom Grew Her Notary Business

California Notary, Kamilla Lucero

(Originally published in the December 2015 issue of The National Notary.)

For Kamilla Lucero of Ripon, California, the road to success as a mobile Notary and signing agent meant making some big life changes — and in the end, this stay-at-home mom was able to take her Notary career from “making ends meet” to securing a solid monthly profit. 

After working over 20 years as a retail store manager, Lucero found herself at a crossroads: Would she continue working long hours and tackling a grueling two-hour daily commute, or quit her job to start a family?

The decision to quit meant a major cut to the family’s income, so she and her husband worked to pay off their existing debt before she transitioned out of the full-time work force.

After a year at home with her daughter, the new mom found herself in need of a job that offered flexibility as well as enough income to meet the needs of their expanding family. A few short years later, with the help of a mentor and her own business experience, Lucero now has a profitable career as a Notary signing agent

The Value Of Mentorship
 

It was a dream that first inspired Lucero to become a Notary — one in which she envisioned herself as “the person who showed up at our door when we refinanced our mortgage.” Without even knowing the name of the role, she knew that’s what she wanted to become.

The brand new mom embraced the challenge of balancing family and work from the get-go. She booked a room at the hotel where she attended her very first NNA Notary training course in Modesto, California. “I’d run up to my room during each break and nurse,” says Lucero.

During this very first training session, she got to know the course facilitator, Laura Biewer, who quickly became a valued mentor.

“At the beginning of that first course, she asked each student why they were there,” says Lucero. “I told her it was to be a stay-at-home mom, and she validated my decision by giving examples of how it could be done. There was not even a pause.”

Later, Lucero went on a ride-along with Biewer to a hospice facility. Lucero watched notarizations being performed first hand and gained confidence before booking her first assignments. Having a strong mentor has proven invaluable in shaping Lucero’s career. She received everything from hands-on marketing tips to a list of recommended loan signing agencies. “The number one signing agency that I get work from now came from that list Laura gave us in class,” says Lucero.

Marketing — And Expanding — Her Business
 

Lucero’s experience with customer service helped when she launched her new career. She understood the value of professionalism in attire and attitude, and didn’t approach her new profession as an afterthought.

“You have to treat it as a business,” says Lucero of her Notary career, “and I’m always setting new goals, creating new plans, and watching my profits.”

Lucero’s pathway to profitability was built on slow and steady growth — and hard work that included some creative marketing techniques. She advertised with her local Chamber of Commerce, created eye-catching signage for her car, handed out magnetic calendars containing her contact information (easier to hold on to than a business card), and created a website through Vista Print, that only cost her $4 a month. This has helped expand her online marketing reach. A minimal monthly fee further ensures her name shows up first in search engines.

“Almost all of my mobile signing work is in my small town,” says Lucero. “So I wanted to make sure that when someone does an online search for a local Notary, mine is the first name that comes up.”

By the time she started performing loan signings, Lucero had built a strong reputation in her town, and transitioned smoothly into working for major signing agencies.

Juggling Work Life And Family Life
 

One of the biggest motivations that Lucero had for transitioning from full-time work to a “work from home” signing agent, was that she didn’t want to place her daughter in day care. Joining a local MOMS group quickly ensured her a network of trustworthy sitters, and even some potential new clients. “If I get a call for a signing, I can generally drop my daughter off for a play-date with one of the moms,” says Lucero. “I’m often back in 20 minutes, and I’ve made up to $75. I return the favor when they’re in need.” Her MOMS group, along with her husband’s flexible work schedule, offers plenty of time, Lucero says, to take on last minute appointments and loan signings.

“In all my years at this, I’ve never had to hire a babysitter,” says Lucero. “I am able to still keep my family as my number one priority, and I love being able to help the companies I work for and the clients I serve.”

Increasing Her Profit Margin
 

These days, Lucero makes enough money from general Notary appointments to pay the expenses — printer ink, office supplies, etc. — associated with her loan signing business. So the income she makes performing loan assignments is pure profit.

“I get offered about 40 to 50 loan signings in a given month,” says Lucero. She has been accepting about 30, in order to continue her role as a stay-at-home mom. But that may change soon. “My little one is in school now, and I love it,” says Lucero, whose five-year old daughter just started kindergarten. “I’m ready to take on more work!”

Words of Advice To New Notaries
 

While business is strong for Lucero at the moment, she acknowledges that the industry is cyclical in nature. She warns Notaries that it’s not unusual to hit dry spells, but to always remain prepared and ready for the next big workflow to come along.

Another bit of advice Lucero has for new Notaries is to find a mentor to help guide them through the early part of their career, as Laura Biewer did for her. “Laura helped me transition from a new Notary to a Notary with a successful and confident business.”

Kelle Clarke is a Contributing Editor with the National Notary Association.

30 Comments

Add your comment

David Krause

04 Jan 2016

I think it does a disservice to represent her income above basic expenses as "pure profit". Pure profit is actually that amount of money earned above those basic expenses and what she could earn working x hours with associated employee expenses related to that.

C Koepke

07 Jan 2016

20 minutes for a loan signing?

Madeline Marcano

15 Jan 2016

I am a notary as well, and I have enjoy it very much.. Every month I do make extra ncome by signing .. As well bringing people together in marriage which is so satisfying and beautiful.. I am very happy how you made it work for you family and at the same time be a wnderful mother and wife.. At the same the making you bussiness grow.. Keep moving forward..

EldaMae Bunny Johnston

01 Mar 2016

I am a registered notary and would like to do this full timr. What do you charge and how do I start

National Notary Association

01 Mar 2016

Hello EldaMae. The amount you may charge for Notary services depends on your state's laws. Can you tell us what state you are located in, please?

Carolyn Cooper

01 Mar 2016

Interested in becoming a signing agent, how do I start?

National Notary Association

02 Mar 2016

Hi Carolyn. Here's a link with some information and answers to frequently asked questions: https://www.nationalnotary.org/signing-agent/nsa

LaTasha Jackson

01 Mar 2016

Can you tell me how many times that you can take the Certification Signing Agent Exam?

National Notary Association

14 Mar 2016

Hello. You can take the exam as many times as needed.

William

02 Mar 2016

I have been a FL notary for 6 months now and have yet to provide my first service. I would love to learn more about growing a successful business. I know what FL says you can charge but Im clueless as to what I should actually charge for different services and be fairly competative. For instance the state says we can charge up to $30 for marriages but i know for a fact others charge $50-$75. Are they adding some sort of service fee? And how does this work? Other notaries are not forthcoming with such information and im not sure where to turn so i can get started earning some income.

National Notary Association

02 Mar 2016

Hello William. You may find these tips on starting a business helpful: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2015/01/creating-successful-mobile-notary-business Notaries may only charge the maximum fee for their services set by state law. However, many Notaries choose to offer other, non-notarial services in order to supplement their income. Here are some examples: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2014/07/five-ways-to-earn-alternate-income Hope these articles are helpful to you. Best of luck starting your new business!

Genea Slaughter

09 Apr 2016

I am getting my paperwork together to become a Notary. I've wanted to be one for quite some time and just reading all the information from this site is giving me the confidence to get my business started soon. I can't wait! I to am a single mom looking for more ways to generate income in my household. I didn't even know that you can become ordained to do marriages and that is a thought for the future. I will loom to this site for many ideas or questions I have in order to market my business and defeat any discouragement that may come during the dry months. Thank you so much for this information.

Tammy Scott

25 Apr 2016

I am new to the Notary business and would like to know how long did it take for you to get up to 50 signing offers a month?

williamslynn760@gmail.com

26 May 2016

I am a Florida Notary, I am finishing up the Notary Signing Agent Course so I can take the exam. I am looking to build a mobile Notary Business from my home so I can be sure to take care of myself and my mother. My father is long-term in a nursing home and my mother has dementia. It is very important for me to be able to care for my mother, to provide financially for both of us and to be able to build a company that can benefit my community. I am would like to find a mentor that can show me how the business works, give me some advice on how to start my business, marketing tips and how to grow my business. How would I go about doing this? Would I contact the NNA office? Any assistance you could offer to me would be very much appreciated.

National Notary Association

27 May 2016

Hello! We would suggest joining our LinkedIn Discussion Groups and asking if there's a mentor available in your area: www.NationalNotary.org/socialmedia

Lisa Gerardo

24 Oct 2016

I'm looking for a mentor in my area. Any suggestions on how I can find one?

National Notary Association

31 Oct 2016

Hello. You might try joining our LinkedIn Discussion Groups and asking if there are any experienced Notaries in your area available to mentor. https://www.linkedin.com/groups/112982

KAREN ROBINSON

24 Oct 2016

I'm a Georgia notary looking for a way to generate an income from this Please give some advice as to how to move forward.

National Notary Association

25 Oct 2016

Hi Karen. You may find the following article helpful: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2015/01/creating-successful-mobile-notary-business

Marcella makinson

25 Oct 2016

I'm interested in becoming a signing agent or just to do general notary work at this time I have been a notary for over 20 yrs in NV . I recently became disabled and have no income. I'm interested. How much will I have to pay out of pocket and how long is this process getting work as a notary.

National Notary Association

25 Oct 2016

Hi Marcella. Expenses and available work depend a great deal on where you live, how far you can travel and what hours you are available. You may wish to read some of our articles at the following links: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/signing-professionals and https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/building-your-business

Irene Gobuty

12 May 2017

Where snd how can I find someone local to me to mentor me?

Ruschelle

12 May 2017

As a new NSA, Its been challenging to find/have a mentor. Where can I find anyone willing to show me the ropes. I'm even willing to pay anyone.

National Notary Association

24 May 2017

Here are two places on Facebook to visit: 1. https://www.facebook.com/AllStatesNotary?fref=ts 2. https://www.facebook.com/groups/NotaryPublicMentor/ The next are on LinkedIn. These are groups that we manage for Notaries to connect with each other. Notary General Discussion: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/NNA-Notary-General-Discussion-Group-112982/about Notary Professionals: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/NNA-Notary-Professionals-Group-132404/about Notary Signing Agents: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/NNA-Notary-Signing-Agents-Group-3838389/about Hope this helps!

tammy.l.huffman@gmail.com

29 Jul 2017

I just read this article and am VERY interested in finding a mentor. I am a NNA certified signing agent and Notary Pubic in North Carolina.

hhan0574@gmail.com

01 Jan 2018

I am a CA notary and I thought there were rules against advertising and marketing. Can you clarify what is allowed for getting the word out?

National Notary Association

02 Jan 2018

Hello. If you are not an attorney, and you advertise in a language other than English, you must post with that advertisement a notice in English and in the other language which sets forth the following: (1) This statement: "I am not an attorney and, therefore, cannot give legal advice about immigration or any other legal matters." (2) The fees set by statute which a notary public may charge. Also, you may not use the Spanish term "notario" or "notario publico" in advertising. (GC 8219.5) Also, if you work as an an immigration specialist, immigration consultant or any other title or description reflecting an expertise in immigration matters, you are not allowed to advertise in any manner whatsoever that you are a Notary Public (GC 8223[a]).

Paul B.

30 Jan 2018

I know what the state says we can charge for notarizing something, but many Notaries charge much more. Before I became a Notary, I went to my bank to get something Notarized, just a simple witness of signature and I was charged $ 20.00, the state says $ 2.50.

Janet

28 Mar 2018

I'm an Notary in VA where can I get more information or a mentor.

National Notary Association

28 Mar 2018

Hello. You may wish to consider joining the LinkedIn Groups below to see if you can connect with a mentor in your area. These are groups that we manage for Notaries to connect with each other. Notary General Discussion: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/NNA-Notary-General-Discussion-Group-112982/about Notary Professionals: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/NNA-Notary-Professionals-Group-132404/about Notary Signing Agents: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/NNA-Notary-Signing-Agents-Group-3838389/about

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