Labor of Love

I wrote this blog for my profile with the CA League of Independent Notaries, and would like to share it here as well:

This past year has undoubtedly been a game changer for Signing Agents – especially for those who suddenly chose to jump on board for the first time during this most busy season. As a Notary of twelve years, and as Signing Agent of nearly ten, I’ve observed from all angles the shift in dynamic given a social shutdown, coupled with the monumental drop in interest rates, which have provided for a greatly profound moment in time for this profession. One of which, may not happen this way again in our lifetime. On the upside, I’ve harnessed a new sense of enthusiasm and pride in this work, and I have observed many others doing the very same. I’ve been inspired witnessing some of our more prominent mentors in the community use this moment in time to take their leadership to the next level, and I firmly believe it’s gone a long way in guiding the new generation of professionals into commanding a new respect for this particularly obscure and nuanced work. Of course, we have a lot of work to do with that.

This busy season has brought a wave of pocket change to the degree of a full-time income, along with a much needed gust of hands-on experience – more so in the past eight months than I’ve gathered in the past decade. I’ve experienced my pain points too … and I’m here to say, even as a seasoned professional, I too find difficulty in commanding respect. It takes a certain level of grit to maintain oneself in this business, yet that’s what I also find to be a humbling and welcome challenge to turn it on its head. It’s alarming to me that this business concept of using one’s commission as a Notary Public to also make a profession as a Signing Agent has been somewhat bastardized into a ‘get rich quick’ scheme – one of which I’ve observed many fall victim to it’s false hope of quick returns – a feeling similar to classic MLM pyramid culture. Although it’s entirely possible to make a living with this for the long haul, and even an extraordinarily comfortable one at that, it takes much more to do so than passing an exam and purchasing a printer. As well, belonging to a professional organization for most is a must, however, make no mistake – it is not their place to hold one’s hand or act as their personal secretary.

It takes serious patience, flexibility, determination, and elbow grease to build and maintain the ebb and flow of any business, let alone this one. I would like to point out that the only way to gather true perspective is to always remember what it means to be a Notary Public first. We are public servants, and the foundations of this role goes back to ancient times. It has never really so much been notorious for being profitable nor a way to make a living. Not that I believe it shouldn’t, but that’s a whole different conversation. The point is, the lending industry came up with this unique concept of a Signing Agent in more recent times, giving opportunities to those who held a Notary commission to expand their horizons. That dynamic has shifted over the past twenty or so years, and at this point in time we are witnessing the very opening of that flood gate. NNA’s annual Conference, to take place near Las Vegas, NV in 2022, sold out within weeks of the announcement. I think we should ride this wave for what it’s worth to gain the experience necessary to find our own way to thrive – because in the end, when the loan signing offers once again stabilize, some of us who may have put all our eggs in this basket must resort back to our creativity and resourcefulness to harness a different side of the work (as in general assignments).

One might find this is where the real rewards are at. As for myself, my passion for the role of Notary Public itself keeps the spark alive. Without this nerdy, ride-or-die mentality, it’s going to prove difficult otherwise. There is a certain level of abuse all Notaries experience as public servants, and even more so when our lending industry partners are calling the shots. With general Notary work, one gets to utilize their autonomy exponentially - and that’s the best kept secret. I wish everyone success, wherever they are on this path - and any snags along the way are battle scars well earned in the scheme of things.


I think that if you were to use paragraphs, you’d find more people reading this. I really can’t keep track of where I am here.

I’m sorry you’re having trouble. Hopefully this is better !

Rachel, That is very well written. As a new notary, and thus new to loan signings, I enjoyed reading about how you’ve seen changes over time, and during the last year, which I think put some amount of craziness into a lot of industries.:relaxed: I haven’t experienced the wide array of things about which you wrote, but am thankful to be able to use them as a learning tool, both regarding how the notary and loan signing industries operate and how to approach my business.

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It’s just a lot easier if everything is simple and organized.