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Making Your Time Work For You And Your Notary Business

time-management-resized.jpg(Originally published in the December 2017 issue of The National Notary magazine.)

How many of us have gone through periods when our Notary businesses have been slammed with assignments, when we’ve worked really hard, but haven’t had much to show for it at the end of the day? I know I have. As strange as it sounds, it’s possible — even easy — to be busy and poor.

But if I spend all my time working and completing assignments as the world’s most in-demand mobile Notary, how can I also be poor? Any minimum wage worker could ask the same question. I can stay poor by wasting my time accepting low-value jobs that leave me with no time to do the things that will build a strong, diversified business. 

I know many mobile Notaries who rack up all kinds of billable hours but struggle to pay all their expenses, let alone grow their businesses. The key is learning how to spend your time to your advantage, and start asking your money to work for you, or you can keep chasing cheap dollars. The choice is yours. 

The first thing you need to do is decide how much you’re worth. If you want to find high-value clients, you must believe you have value to offer. If you don’t believe you can say no to low fees, hassles, and empty promises of “plenty of work down the road,” (the biggest lie you’ll ever hear), you’ll continue to attract those kinds of clients.

Here are suggestions for organizing your time for maximum effect.

Determining Your Schedule

From the outset, you need to determine how much you’re willing to work and when. Are you okay working 12 hours a day, four days a week, or is six hours a day, seven days a week better for you? I work seven days a week, but most Notaries don’t want to do that. You can imagine that I get a lot of jobs on Sundays.

I’ve also determined what kinds of jobs I won’t take and locations I won’t travel to. For example, I work in hospitals but I won’t go to prisons.

Investing Time In Your Business

It’s important to budget your time on the task that will grow your business. I spend one to two hours every day doing non-billable work, which is what I call investment time, where I’m investing back into my own business. I don’t just check emails. I do targeted research into different revenue streams. I look at people who are doing what I want to do, and doing it successfully. I read blogs, books or watch videos. I scour the internet for ideas. These activities won’t bring me money today, but they pay off down the line.

Continuing Your Education

I don’t have a specific amount of time I spend on this every day, but once I identify a specialty niche or a new line of work I’d like to pursue, I consider whether I’ll need new skills or whether I’ll need to take classes. If I do, I will set aside the funds I’ll need and carve out however much time I need to study, complete courses or do whatever else is required for the new business line. 

Once I decided to become a fiduciary, but my research revealed that I would need to spend $3,000 to $4,000 to take about 20 units of financial education. That might seem like a hefty investment, but fiduciaries can make around $90 an hour, so it will pay dividends.

Marketing Your Notary Business

I spend about a half hour a day on discovering new marketing trends. The goal is to build new relationships and increase my business’ visibility. Some of the things I do include looking at how other industries and industry leaders are marketing their businesses. I don’t look at Notaries. I look at people in the financial industry, or wellness coaches, or people who speak at large conferences. Some of their practices won’t apply, but others will. 

I also have a website on which I can process orders, and I got the idea to offer e-commerce on my website through my marketing research. This differentiates me from other Notaries who don’t have websites, or who have static sites where customers can’t buy products or services.

Doing The Work To Find New Opportunities

I spend about six hours a day doing work that brings in revenue. This includes traveling to assignments, notarizing, bookkeeping, data entry and other administrative tasks. I include bookkeeping and administrative tasks in the same category as work because they help me maintain my current business activity and income streams.

As I find and develop new lines of business, I include those assignments in this six hours. And I constantly evaluate what I want to do and what is most profitable, then stop doing the things that are less profitable or less appealing to me.

The time budget I’ve described is not carved in stone, but represents an average. Some days I might spend eight hours or more on assignments and only half an hour on the business-building tasks. Other days I’ll spend three or four hours on research marketing and education.

To keep your business on the right path, commit the time to finding and mastering new opportunities. Otherwise, you’ll fall into a rut, where you’re responding to whatever offer comes along instead of actively choosing what you want to do.

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.

7 Comments

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Michelle RIley

16 Jan 2018

Great advice, Laura!

Brenda Louard

22 Jan 2018

Excellent read. I am inspired to take my business to the next level this year. Thanks for sharing. Best.

Sheryl Caldwell

18 Feb 2018

Great read... Thanks for the nudge on the importance of time management skills

Bob Ssekyanzi

19 Feb 2018

Great inspiration. Also, I would like to know what is comprised of the Process Serving document.

Dilip Patel

10 Aug 2018

I own a Stationery store so lots of people find my services real helpful. Everything under one roof. Web services, Faxservice, Printing, Scanning Service. This would bring in lots of extra business on top of the Notary services

Awilda Enid Balanta-Gonzalez

11 Aug 2018

Management Skills are a must

Awilda Enid Balanta-Gonzalez

11 Aug 2018

Great Advice

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