⭐ IMPORTANT: A Seven-Step Guide to help you Achieve Success => Insights regarding whether to start a business (or not . . .) or to CONTINUE (or not . . .)

If you’re seeking the unadulterated truth, then please read further.

If, on the other hand, you’re seeking sugar-coated, misleading, & prevaricating statements, then by all means, please SKIP this Thread . . .

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STEP 1: There’s a paradigm shift that needs to occur when one charts their course to become a Business Owner by moving away from being an employee. If you’re CERTAIN that you’re ready & have got what it takes to chart your own course and be an independent contractor & business owner, then please read the following Steps.

STEP 2: One of the initial steps to take would be to research your region to determine the viability of and the need for the services one intends to provide via the business they desire to launch.

There is a Tab on the Navigation Ribbon at the top of this page that is titled “Find A Notary.”

You will serve yourself well by researching the region you’re hoping to serve. More than likely, you’ll discover (like so many others before you have done) that your region is already saturated with experienced, highly skilled, and professional signing agents [PSAs]/notaries public.

=> Develop a Business Plan
=> Always have a a Plan B
=> Apply for an EIN (remember to NEVER utilize your SSN)
=> Check for business license (some states require it)
=> Regularly check your state notarial laws to stay up-to-date

STEP 3: You’ll benefit greatly by digging in the gold mine immediately available to you. The gold mine is found within the Search function, also on the Navigation Ribbon at the top of this page => see image below to locate the Magnifying Glass. By utilizing the Search function, you’ll gather sagacious information and answers to many questions as well as learn vicariously (instead of making all the mistakes & missteps the others have made that traveled the same path before you traveled it).

STEP 4: This business is NOT a “If You Build It, They Will Come” type of enterprise . . . It requires dedication, research, professionalism, intense detail-oriented demeanor, regular & repeated marketing activities & expenditures, relationship building, and the ability to read a situation to determine the optimum course of action.

Here is a direct Notary Cafe url that is from March of 2022 that will give you concise insights. The summation in @Bobby-CA words is: “Today, the cupboard is bare. The refi boom is largely over and economic conditions in the U.S. are lousy and getting worse. I’m sorry to have to say so. Don’t wait around, get out

STEP 5: Temper your expectations. You’ll also benefit greatly by reading this direct Notary Cafe url thread:

NOTE: Please read this ENTIRE referenced thread above. Very helpful information.

STEP 6: Perform in-depth research to determine IF the business you’re hoping to launch will provide you with any PROFIT after the deduction of all expenses. For more information on a possible path to follow for this research, please review this direct Notary Cafe url thread:

Here’s another insightful thread. It’s by @CherylM :

And, one more for you that’s also by @CherylM :

STEP 7: Now if you’re still with me at this point, there are a few things that will be of further assistance to you that are found within this direct Notary Cafe url about training & certification as well as the lackluster fulfillment of some of those $100K promises that are regularly advertised:

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BONUS: In the off-chance that you may find yourself chasing a client(s) for non-payment (as there seem to be quite a few these days), here is an insightful & helpful step-by-step guide crafted by @rparker that should easily guide you to achieve payment for your successfully provided professional services:

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A FEW ADDITIONAL HELPFUL TIPS:

  • Always present yourself with a professional demeanor.
  • Never shortcut your clients.
  • Provide professional services from start-to-finish [including handing off the secure document package to the shipper’s clerk & obtaining a receipt].
  • Be courteous & kind.
  • DON’T be tempted to print the SIGNER’S COPIES double-sided. => This could become quite costly if the signer(s) make an error and you need a spare/backup document to swap it out . . .
  • Be attentive to the details as this can make (or break) the success of your business.
  • To succeed, you must ensure that you’re making a PROFIT after you deduct all your out-of-pocket expenses, federal & state taxes, certification fees, background checks, business insurance, vehicle insurance & maintenance expenses, etc. [Reference STEP 6 above]
  • Anticipate payment for your professional services within approximately two [2] weeks (or less). Your invoices are due within 20-25 days after your out-of-pocket expenses are purchased. It’s important that you ensure your business is sustained & NOT allow another business to rely on you to FLOAT THEIR expenses for 2 or 3 months (or longer).
  • Develop a TRACKING SPREADSHEET or utilize a software application to log each signing & track payment. I’ve utilized Notary Assist for years & it has been a lifesaver on more than one occasion! It also makes mileage tracking & tax preparation a total breeze. :sparkles::tada:

Relatively certain there are many things I’ve overlooked, but hopefully this guide will help you make the determination to embark (or not) and/or continuing within this business sector. Of course, no one else can make the decision for you. Similarly, each PSA must calculate their own costs to determine their Fee Schedule, which will help them to navigate their way toward Profitability or to realize it’s not a currently profitable business venture.

This wisdom is given in an effort to assist you & guide you in the best direction for your future success. There are a few who will disingenuously encourage; however, one must always consider that there may be perverse incentives at-work or some unforeseen ulterior motives; i.e., they may be owners of SSs, selling a training program (“Six Figure Guy”), selling a certification program, etc. with a concern about their own wellbeing . . . not the wellbeing of others.

:swan:

4 Likes

cNsa5 has provided some outstanding information on how to set up and start operating your business. This is something that is seriously lacking in the NSA training you’re getting. Just because you’ve learned how to close a loan, doesn’t mean you’re ready to operate a business.

Keeping in context of cNsa5’s wisdom, I’d to offer a few comments of my own:

If you’re ready to launch your business, pick up a few books about how to operate one. Seek advice from your local SBA, my local SBA is guided by UT San Antonio’s college of business. The local SBA has information on how to incorporate, obtaining business licenses, getting the right permits, local signage regulations, etc… Not all SBA regions are as good as others. Also consider engaging a local business operator to mentor you. They don’t have to be a notary, but can advise on operational matters.

Many businesses need a website to be successful. You may not need a website unless you’re handling GNW/ANW. Title Companies and Lenders aren’t searching for Notary websites to find you. With this in mind take advantage low cost websites as a starting point and listing your business on Google Business pages.

When you startup a business, you will be wearing more than the few hats your wore as an employee. You’ll be wearing every hat in your closet; bookkeeping, billing, payments, operating expenses, taxes, insurance, ect… This also means a +40 hour work week. It’ll look more like 60-70 hour week and sometimes feel like an eternity. Don’t fret, you’ll find ways to systematize your operations making things more processes oriented, freeing up time to focus on other aspects of your business. This assumes you new business is a full time venture.

One of my mentors told me, you can’t be an expert at everything. If you stand up a website and you think you can handle SEO, reconsider. SEO algorithms are changing so fast it’s not possible to manage your business and keep up with SEO. If you decide, as I did, you need a logo and/or website, unless you have enough artistic talent or expertise in web development, hire a pro. This is one of those freeing up your time things mentioned earlier.

Remember just like the professors of 6-Figure University, 6FU, there’s a lot of over promising when you chat with a Web Designer. I discovered there are many ‘web experts’ who will claim they can handle your SEO and get higher rankings on search engines, apply some deep critical thinking before buying the experts package. I tried to manage my own online presence and failed. I hired a web designer that specialized in the Accounting and Tax Professional vertical. They came highly recommended. My new website is still undergoing fine tuning, but I’m getting higher ranked in my local search inquiries.

With the decline in the Real Estate market, my Notary services, for now, are a value added service to my Tax business. To eliminate the costs of a separate Notary webpage, I placed a link on my Tax page that links to my Notary Services. My notary services are still ranking on Google. As a side note setup your Google business page (second hint). This how most of my local law firms have found me to handle their document signings.

Hire a Tax Pro to handle your taxes. Make certain they can handle tax planning, quarterly payments, deductions, credits, etc… Consider paying a retainer to your Tax Pro, so they’re available to consult with you throughout the year. Many will offer to credit unused retainer hours on next year’s preparation fees.

Many of us follow various notary forums, regular zoom calls, and networking events. Some of the “Experts” are seeing a decline in there business as we are, and started marketing various authors, SEO experts, marketing geniuses, etc. who are also seeing a decline in business. Some of these experts are not really experts, they offering paid expert endorsements for their products. For example, many of the books being offered are rather thin on content.

Many of the reviews on popular book sites are offered by the author’s friends or family, or offer a free copy to you in hopes you’ll endorse the book. Here’s a hint, look at the publishing date then see how many 4-5 star reviews were posted within a short period of time. No one can read a book, in its entirety, the first day it was published. Be careful what/who you endorse, after all it’s your reputation you’re putting on the line. A positive endorsement of a lousy book dings your reputation.

That’s all I can type for today. Have a great week.

3 Likes

Lot of excellent advice & insight! (Never thought to look at ‘date of review on a ‘how to’ book’. But then, I’ve never bought one either.) Very smart of you to just add a ‘notary page’ to your existing Tax website. Am sure they work well together.

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All excellent advice! I. Addition to searching here for notaries in your area, I suggest using that function on other websites similar to Notary Cafe and the large platform that most signing services us to send out job alerts.You will be surprised just how many notaries are in your area!

To give you an idea of what I found on my zip code. There’s are just locations I’d consider to be direct competition. I have roughly 102 competitors- not everyone is listed everywhere, so of those the real number is probably 85.

On Notary Cafe there are about 26 I’d consider direct competition but a total of 675 when I typed in my zip code.

I border another state so some numbers can be skewed by that.

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@dawnsnotary Yes, important & vitally critical data elements to investigate! Many have been shocked at the quantity . . .

Also, doing research at the issuing agency; i.e., Secretary of State, etc. will FURTHER open ones eyes to the unbelievable amount of notaries in your region. Of course, this is only germane to those whose focus is General Notary Work [GNW] - as opposed to Professional Signing Agents [PSAs].

:swan:

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Very much so. The state database is overwhelming as many notaries have their commissions strictly or mostly for work (banks, law firms, construction, etc).

I always ask how a new company found me as I’m listed everywhere (that’s legit). I tend to forget for my GNW though. I get a lot of pushback on my pricing for especially for the general stuff. It was a learning process on how to charge for that side of the business.

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@dawnsnotary Yes, quite true!

Also, with alterations in the economy over time you’ll also notice fluctuations (up-tick or down) in the “reactions”/“pushback” regarding GNW pricing. Usually, those types of clients AREN’T seeking out a Professional to provide the service . . . so, it’s always worth it to do a second-look regarding the details surrounding their request, validation of IDs, etc.

:swan:

@RiverpointeTax :owl: Sagacious & beneficial action to take.

I’d like to add that to remember to NEVER turn over your ADMINISTRATIVE authorization/passcode to the developer.

There are some nefarious and unscrupulous individuals who may take your website hostage and refuse to release the control back to you unless you pay a King’s Ransom to gain the control back . . . even if you do that, how will you know if they’ve included some code to surreptitiously gain access to it once again & repeat the process.

As @RiverpointeTax advises, perform your own due diligence, check references for viability and/or bias, and always think critically before handing over your hard-earned money.

Caveat Emptor.

:swan:

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Stable cost can never be the same when the economic situation changes. If these are ideal economic conditions, then in theory prices are high. But when the price of the final product rises, so does the cost of consulting. Somehow the cost of the product and the cost of materials can go up, but the cost of human resources can’t. I would argue, besides now prices have gone up again but not just for fun. Inflation has increased as well. If you take https://revenuegrid.com/blog/sales-forecast/ into account the trend and notice the changes in the process of forming new relationships in the demand market, the increased price does not scare anyone. Except for the old customers.

@jaimelynntorres This may be a helpful to you as a New Notary Cafe member. :sweat_drops::owl:

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@RiverpointeTax Thank you for this insight. Helpful! :crown::sparkles:

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@gingerdistefano Welcome to the Notary Cafe! This may be a helpful to you as a newbie/New Notary Cafe member. :sweat_drops::owl:

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@tfresquez Welcome to the Notary Cafe! This thread may be a helpful to you as a newbie/New Notary Cafe member. :sweat_drops::owl:

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@feliciadennisnotaryboss Welcome to the Notary Cafe forum! This may be a helpful to you as a newbie/New Notary Cafe member. :sweat_drops::owl:

:swan:

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Thank you…I greatly appreciate you.

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@vanicia67 Welcome to the Notary Cafe forum! This may be a helpful to you as a newbie/New Notary Cafe member. :sweat_drops::owl: I also linked another separate thread that you may find helpful as well.

:swan:

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@oldlinesa Welcome to the Notary Cafe forum! :sparkles: This may be a helpful to you as a newbie/New Notary Cafe member. I also linked another separate thread that you may find helpful as well.

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To All Notary Cafe Members who are following this thread:

The information is available on Notary Cafe in the GOLDMINE expansive & comprehensive database, which is very insightful & helpful, too!

It’s always wise to research & vet a new client prior to providing a definitive confirmation to them for your initial Signing Order for them. A great start of research would begin within the Notary Cafe forums Search Function.

To be helpful, the image below has been inserted to help members locate the database & to unlock the wisdom & knowledge of other members.

Accessing the database to locate info about potential clients has saved many of us an inordinate amount of time ‘chasing’ payments for Services professionally provided to potential non-payers . . .

:swan:

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@brianbell53 Welcome to the Notary Cafe forum! :sparkles: This is ONE of the other separate threads that I referenced. It should prove quite helpful to you as well.

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@hirutejigu Welcome to the Notary Cafe forum! :sparkles: This may be a helpful to you as a newbie/New Notary Cafe member.

I also linked another separate thread that you may find helpful as well.

:swan: