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.
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.