Your Cookies are Disabled! NationalNotary.org sets cookies on your computer to help improve performance and provide a more engaging user experience. By using this site, you accept the terms of our cookie policy. Learn more.

How To Reinvent Yourself As A Notary

Reinvent-business-resized.jpg(Originally published in the October 2017 issue of The National Notary magazine.)

Updated 12-13-18. As a Notary Signing Agent in 2008, I derived about 95 percent of my business income from mortgage transactions. When the real estate industry crashed, banks stopped lending, and credit tightened, so consumers weren’t getting loans. That means about 95 percent of my work dried up, too.

At that time, I knew the market would rebound, but in the meantime, I needed other ways to generate income from sources that were not as volatile, sources that would carry me through the tough times when the real estate market was dry. Alternate sources of revenue are also a good supplement even in good times; you can’t make your best living going back to the same old sources again and again.

Now 10 years later, I’ve reinvented my business model to include multiple streams of revenue that include everything from estate planning documents/ trusts and facilities to Notary consulting and speaking engagements. And if the real estate market crashes again, I’m covered, because loan signings only comprise about 15 percent of my business. I am able to pick and choose the assignments I want and say no to jobs that do not meet my requirements.

If you want to successfully weather dry spells and grow the kind of business that thrives no matter what the market is doing, you need a variety of roots that go deep. You need to learn how to reinvent yourself. But how do you figure out exactly what else you might be capable of doing that also pays well?

Consider Past Lives
 

Often, we’ve been doing the same thing for so long that we forget who we were before we became NSAs. People forget they have a past life, but that can limit you. Take a look at yourself in terms of your life experiences, and the contacts you had before you started mobile Notary work.

I know someone who used to work as an interpreter but is now a Notary. But there’s a market for mobile interpretation services; these are services she could provide and charge for in addition to Notary work.

Many NSAs come from other professions or industries that mesh well with mobile Notary work. This is particularly true in the real estate sector. Loan originators and real estate agents have skill sets they developed in those professions that can easily transfer to your mobile Notary business. Consider the education you’ve obtained, the work you used to do and the transferable skills you learned. Everything from public speaking to word processing skills can be repurposed.

Consider Niches
 

One of the first things I did after the market crashed was investigate niches. Who needs a notarization but cannot go get it done at the bank or shipping center? What kinds of documents need notarizations? What documents do attorneys need notarized on a regular basis? Examples include: Prenuptial agreements, or marital settlement agreements, adoptions and trust documents. I added jail assignments. I connected with a company to get trained on the documents in a trust, I now understand the documents in a trust package like an NSA would know about the documents in a loan package. I leveraged skills I already had and then used them in a different industry. Learning how to obtain these kinds of assignments took some time as it is not just signing up with a signing company or title company.  You need to build relationships online and offline, one at a time.

About one-third of my business comes from general mobile Notary work. I specialize in documents that people in hospitals need notarized, such as power of attorney documents and advanced health care directives. Every day, I’m being called by patients in such places who need mobile services. These hospital visits pay me about 60 percent of what a loan signing pays, however my costs are small as I do not print documents, and there is no requirement for certification and no signing company to take part of my fee. I show up with my tools, and the assignment typically take less than 30 minutes. In these cases, I am able to charge travel + notarization/signature/document.

Another 25 percent of my business comes from consulting services I provide to other Notaries, who also are trying to reinvent themselves and get into other lines of work. I’m teaching other people to do what I’ve done.

And 25 percent is teaching/speaking/coaching, leaving the rest for NSA work.

I will say everything I do has Notary at the center of the plate, however, there are many options that do not require a Notary commission that are very compatible with being a mobile Notary. LiveScan, inspections, Legal Shield Associate are just a few.

Don’t Be Afraid
 

When you’re trying to reinvent yourself, it’s easy to come from a place of fear. But if you’re afraid, you hoard, and you’ll choke the life out of your business. I’m coming from a place of abundance; I know I can share, and it will come back to me in greater measure.

Investigate niches, look at the abundant skills you already have, and leverage your network. Reinventing yourself takes time, like any worthwhile endeavor. Some of my efforts took years before they bore fruit, so don’t wait to start. Don’t be afraid to spend money on education or new certifications — you will never regret making an investment in yourself.

Laura Biewer owns At Your Service Mobile Notary in Modesto, California. She also teaches seminars for the National Notary Association and is a regular presenter at the NNA’s annual Conferences.

 

10 Comments

Add your comment

Tina Guenot

13 Nov 2017

That was an excellent article, I feel I need to comment because I just finished a 40 hour class to become a professional guardian and planned to start my business as a fiduciary but in the mean time while getting all that set up I got my NSA to help generate and income. Reading this article relieves some of my fears. Thank you for your input.

Cathy Johnson

13 Nov 2017

none

kennethdlawson11@gmail.com

18 Nov 2017

Very helpful info. Some of us become way too dependent on one source of income with no backup plan if things slow down in our area. Its best to have at least two market focuses even if one is your main source of income.

Denise Lee

20 Nov 2017

Thank you for sharing your experience and helpful suggestions. I am interested in your training. Contact me by email if you are willing to share some helpful tips on business with me. Thank you in advance!

Adraine

15 Mar 2018

I need help. She reinvented herself. I need to invent myself. I am on the verge of not renewing my certifications. I have been doing this for only one year but after buying toner and paper, I'm taking a loss. I get a call every now and then for a Refinance closing but it's really not worth it. Any advise?

Jennifer Speegle

14 Dec 2018

I added a bankruptcy petition preparer to my business. Notary business slows down a lot here in Idaho.

Lester Gardiner

15 Dec 2018

Hello Laura, I loved your article. I started my career as a realtor 20 to 25 years ago and then started as a mortgage Banker and had my notary Commission at the same time in California. Then I had a major stroke about 12 years ago and could not read or write and had to read a stroke and then had to reinvent myself. I stop working as a mortgage banker and just only working and only as notary public. I am now working on escrow companies, living trust with attorneys and learning how to become a apostille. Most of my work is General notary work however. Very awesome article!! I do spend some time with new notary show me my experience with my commission and they love it

Darci Coleman

23 Dec 2018

Hello Laura, I was wondering how you go about working with hospital patients. Do you speak to the hospital administration for the permission to work with patients? How do patients find you? Thank you. Darci Coleman

National Notary Association

27 Dec 2018

Hi Darci. This article has some information on working at medical facilities that may be helpful to you: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2018/08/building-a-successful-notary-business

Brad

08 Jan 2019

"Another 25 percent of my business comes from consulting services I provide to other Notaries, who also are trying to reinvent themselves and get into other lines of work. I’m teaching other people to do what I’ve done." Train the compitition? I think NOT!

Leave a Comment

Required *

All comments are reviewed and if approved, will display.