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How To Reinvent Yourself As A Notary

How To Reinvent Yourself As A Notary

(Originally published in the October 2017 issue of The National Notary magazine.)

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.

Almost 10 years later, I’ve reinvented my business model to include multiple streams of revenue that include everything from marital trusts to Notary consulting and speaking engagements. And if the real estate market crashes again, I’m covered, because loan signings only comprise about 10 percent of my business.

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. What kinds of documents exist in the legal industry? What documents do attorneys need notarized? What do their clients need notarized? Prenuptial agreements, or marital settlement agreements, need to be notarized. I later hooked up 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.

I’m also preparing to take the state fiduciary exam, which means I will soon be able to manage the financial affairs of someone who can’t do it for themselves. Fiduciaries can make a high hourly wage — around $90 an hour. I had to go back to school and make a financial investment in myself, but it’s one that will easily pay off.

About one-third of my business comes from mobile Notary work. I specialize in documents that people in hospitals need notarized, such as power of attorney documents and advanced healthcare directives. Every day, I’m being called by patients in such places who need mobile services. These hospital visits pay me about half what a loan signing costs, but I have no printer or maintenance costs and no certification costs. I show up with my tools, and the assignment doesn’t take an hour.

About another 20 percent of my business comes from consulting services I provide to other Notaries who are also trying to reinvent themselves and get into other lines of work. I’m teaching other people to do what I’ve done.

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.



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


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!


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?

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