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5 Mistakes That Cost Mobile Notaries Time And Money

Problem-Signing-resized.jpgUpdated 7-31-19. Notary mistakes can be so costly they may affect your livelihood. Being prepared helps you prevent such mistakes, and keeps your business growing successfully.

Here are 5 of the biggest mistakes I have learned to avoid over the years. If you can avoid them, you will lower your risk of failure and increase your chances of running a very successful and healthy Notary business.

Mistake 1: No Continuing Education

The number one mistake that costs mobile Notaries time and money is not attending education and training opportunities yearly.

We operate on small budgets and even smaller profit margins, and there is a tendency to save money by foregoing opportunities to attend workshops, webinars and conferences that will keep us up to date about the developments that affect our profession. Just in the last two years, we have seen some dramatic changes.

Every year, I make sure to invest in my continuing education, whether it’s learning how to protect clients’ information, minimize the risk of lawsuits, notarize documents for special needs consumers or how to be more effective with my online marketing.

Mistake 2: Lack Of A Plan 

The number two mistake is not having a business plan. As business owners, Notaries need a firm understanding of the industries we want to focus on as well as a basic knowledge of the local economic conditions in order to plan for business growth and success. Now I know what you are thinking. “I am a mobile Notary. All I need to do is place a profile online and wait for my phone to ring.” Relying solely on this can limit your full potential of growth as a business owner.

A sound business plan can help you identify potential obstacles and set proper goals. It also can help you target your market more efficiently, setup effective marketing strategies and develop a profit margin that is the envy of your peers. A diversified business model is critical for the longevity of your business.

Mistake 3: Not Working With A Mentor

This is definitely in the top five mistakes that a professional mobile Notary makes.

According to the nonprofit organization SCORE, small business owners who receive three or more hours of mentoring report higher revenues and increased growth over those who don’t use a mentor.

The lack of a mentor can be a critical mistake made by both novice and seasoned Notary business owners alike. Finding a mentor who has built a successful business can help you navigate past some of the more common pitfalls and improve your chances of achieving your goals.

Mistake 4: Lack Of Business Etiquette

This is often missed by even the most seasoned Notary professionals, but maintaining proper business etiquette is important. Let me break this down into a couple of sub-categories.

First, even though many signing companies text assignments to NSAs instead of calling them directly, you have to interact either by phone or in person with borrowers, title companies, loan officers and the general public. Keeping a professional demeanor can help bring you thousands of dollars of business each year, or cost you thousands if you come across as unprofessional.

Second, your social media presence has a large effect on your business. We live in a digital world, and companies are becoming more and more selective about who represents them before their customers. These companies look at your LinkedIn profiles and Facebook pages as well as Twitter feeds. All your public interactions can enhance your professional image or damage it, costing you business.

Mistake 5: Failure To Network With Other Notaries

I have heard people in our profession all too often say that other Notaries are just competitors, and there is nothing to gain by connecting with them. This is a huge missed opportunity. Networking with other professional Notaries, either within or outside your state could mean the difference between a healthy business and a business on the brink of extinction.

When I first got started, for example, I partnered with other mobile Notaries in my area and then nationally. I met them at local events as well as national conventions, such as the National Notary Association’s annual Conferences. The network proved valuable because we would refer work to each other.

This is an excellent system for new Notaries to use. Networking allows you to market your business at little or no cost. In addition to referring each other work assignments, networking is a great way to support each other in business.

Avoiding these mistakes will increase your chances of having a very productive mobile Notary business. Please feel free to share mistakes you or others in your area have made. Remember, we are all in this together.

Daniel Lewis, the NNA’s 2010 Notary of the Year, is the owner of Lewis Notary Services Inc. and a contributor to the Notary Bulletin.

19 Comments

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Lennwood Saunders

13 Sep 2016

Each suggestion seems critical to be successful

S. Prime

15 Sep 2016

Thank you for this article, for it was extremely helpful. I am a new notary signing agent, and the information and advise in this article is exactly what I needed.

National Notary Association

15 Sep 2016

You're very welcome! Glad we could help. You can check out our "Building Your Business" and "Signing Professionals" article categories for more tips and suggestions to help you with your business.

TOrrin Carter

05 Dec 2016

This new letter very helpful to me because it explained some do and don't information. Also gave resources for where to go for more information. Thank you for the knowledge.

Robert G. Gostl

25 Sep 2017

You forgot to add the #1 mistake, accepting fees so low that you barely make a profit. Treat this as a business, ensure that after all of your expenses for a notary assignment are known you are paid for your time and expertise.

Barry Simeone

25 Sep 2017

How does one become a mentor

Dan

27 Sep 2017

I find the biggest issue are those notaries who have had their commission paid for by their employer and low-ball services because they had no investment in the process. It happens a lot.

steve

28 Sep 2017

Hello Dan, My employer paid for my commission. And max I can charge is $5.00 here in Nv. I don't think we here have much of a chance to lowball anyone.

Peggy A Punday

04 Oct 2017

How does one find a mentor? Every post that I have read indicates having a mentor is a good thing. Most people I have ran across seem a little snobby when they find out I am a notary to. Or unwilling to assist without seeming like a higher authority because they have been doing this for so long. How do you find a mentor that is in your state and willing to work with you?

Karen N. Edwards

30 Oct 2017

How do I make a business plan as a mobile signing agent

National Notary Association

30 Oct 2017

Hello. This article may be helpful to you: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2014/02/five-tips-notary-business-plan

Guillermo Martinez

28 Mar 2018

I have been educated in English and Spanish and as a Notary and having an income-tax business, I've noticed how many people need help in Spanish, translations, notarization, certification, etc. How can I help these people? Is there a course a certification or something like that that will give the availability to help them out? I want to use my education skill of both languages to help them out

National Notary Association

28 Mar 2018

Hello. Many customers can benefit from the services of a Notary who speaks multiple languages. However, when advertising your services, be aware that many states have laws Notaries must follow for advertisements in foreign languages such as Spanish. For more information, please see this article: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2014/11/notaries-advertise-on-facebook

Melinda Goodman

22 Oct 2018

I appreciate your article. I AM setting up my mobile notary business in a professional manner but was wondering if I was perhaps wasting money on education that would be better saved. Now I think I’ve made the right decision by having a mentor and taking a few classes. Thanks!!

pestduck@gmail.com

02 May 2019

Hello, I see many requests on how to meet Notary mentors in our state. I am studying to become a Notary in Arizona but all of our state workshops have been booked all the way through June 2019. Thank you for any help!

James Jensen

05 Aug 2019

Making sure that you read and digest the information put out on a regular basis by NNA is considered continuing education, so being sure to thoroughly read, digest and understand the information that the NNA puts out in these emails will help keep us notaries up to date on very good information.

Rodolfo Romo

06 Aug 2019

How do I find out about workshops and continuing education. I'm having a hard time getting my mobile business off the ground, I need help, can anyone offer any help?

National Notary Association

07 Aug 2019

Hello. You may wish to start with this article: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2018/08/building-a-successful-notary-business. If you are interested in workshops and continuing education, each year the NNA hosts a conference for Notaries that provides workshops and training to help Notaries build their businesses and performt their duties. More information is available here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/nna2020

Lovell’s Mobile Notary Service

07 Aug 2019

Thank you your this helpful information. I am a new Notary Public and Signing Agent. I will take every step to grow my business .

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