In 2017 I became a full time loan signing agent after losing my mortgage operations job through corporate cutbacks. My decision to start my own business was born out of the realization that I was going to likely end up in a sales position as my next job, and I’d prefer to sell my own widgets instead of someone else’s.
I had hired mobile notaries before working with the closing department at my previous company, but I didn’t have much luck with them. There’s one notary I’ll never forget, although I don’t remember her name. She was at my customer’s house at their dining room table with the refinance documents for them to sign when she blurted out, “you could get a better interest rate if you go with this bank over that bank.” Of course, my customer’s called me immediately asking about a better interest rate and I politely asked to speak to the notary, who by the way never worked for us again! I was livid! Talk about crossing a line! So, I knew there was room in the mobile notary world to do things differently, which is what I set out to do. My intention was to be the most professional loan signing agent in town!
I had no idea how to get the word out about my new business to all the title companies in my hometown of Dallas/Fort Worth, so I got on YouTube and discovered the existence of signing services. I signed up for 100 of them and waited for my phone to ring. And it did! I got some decent jobs. I started reviewing the Closing Disclosure prior to each appointment, and I was blown away when I saw what the signing services were making and compared it to the small amount they were giving me. I decided pretty quickly that I was going to start directly marketing my notary business to title companies, Realtors, loan officers or anyone in the mortgage business who would listen. I wanted the FULL fee to go to me! And that is where my direct sales journey began. I made a ton of mistakes. No really, a TON of mistakes. But after a year and a half of making mistakes, taking good notes on those mistakes and finding ways to fix them, I had also organically developed a 5 Point Marketing System that helped me grow my business revenue by 75%!
I kept my system close to my chest for a while, but soon realized as I was starting to meet other notaries around DFW that what I’d discovered could help them, too. I’ve always thought that the one trait we all share as notaries is our heart of service. That’s when I decided to start a website dedicated to helping loan signing agents marketing their business directly to title and escrow offices. I called the website Signing Agent Marketing (SAM) and launched on July 1, 2019. Over the months and years, SAM grew in popularity and membership. I was hosting live training calls, interviews with industry experts and pumping out all kinds of great marketing-related content.
Then, the pandemic hit.
Then, mortgage interest rates went up.
Then, the refinance boom ended.
Then, I lost 85% of SAM membership.
The last year and a half have been a learning experience to say the least. With the rise in mortgage interest rates, notaries all over the country have had to face some harsh realities: relying on one source of income isn’t a smart business model. When you focus on one stream of revenue as a notary, you leave yourself vulnerable to dependency on that market. For example, when interest rates started to rise it became very clear that notaries were overly dependent on signing services. But that was the model we were taught on YouTube, right? Get your notary commission from your state’s Secretary of State office, take the signing agent training through the National Notary Association, sign up for 100-150 signing services and you’ll have all the business you can handle. Sound familiar?
With the benefit of hindsight, it’s time we reflect on our business model and realize the incredible opportunities that exist for notaries public beyond loan signings. In fact, my good friends and business partners, Bill Soroka and Laura Biewer wrote a best-selling book titled, Beyond Loan Signings; The Ultimate Guide to Monetizing Your Notary Commission with Specialty Notary Work. If you’ve not yet gotten your copy, I encourage you to click the link and buy it today! It’s a thoughtfully written guide and gives you a peek into each specialty under the notary umbrella (with marketing tips) so you can get real insight before making decisions about where you’d like to focus.
All industries evolve, and that’s exactly what’s happened to the notary industry in the last year and a half. We had to evolve to pay our bills because signing services weren’t bringing in enough business, and with the rise in interest rates they were struggling to pay their own employees let alone offer reasonable fees. The refinance boom came to a screeching halt and so many of us were left wondering, “now what?”
I can tell you in all honesty, “now what” was exactly what I was thinking as I watched my marketing website, Signing Agent Marketing lose member after member. Every day, I was getting bombarded with cancellation emails, and I couldn’t blame anyone for it. I had positioned myself to focus on teaching Signing Agents how to market themselves to title offices. I neglected other specialties. I put all my eggs into the loan signing basket without giving weight to the other specialties. I started wondering if managing the program was something I still wanted to do. I felt like a failure watching something I worked so hard for just crumble before my eyes. I wasn’t alone.
I had a choice. I could pivot and put more energy into providing thoughtful training for other notary specialties or I could just let Signing Agent Marketing sunset and focus on my partnership with Bill Soroka and Laura Biewer and the advanced notary mastermind we launched in December 2021 called Notary Business Builder. But I had put so much effort into developing the 5 Point Marketing System that SAM teaches, it felt like I was abandoning my baby. So, after a LOT of thought and planning, I decided to broaden the system to all notary specialties and re-brand SAM as Marketing4Notaries.
For the last several months, I’ve held live training calls to deep dive into the 5 Point Marketing System to show notaries the power of having a marketing system in place. The 5 steps consist of:
The Follow Up
The Shout Out
When I say deep-dive I mean it! We discussed the benefits of direct marketing (step 1, The PopIn), but that’s the easy part. The true focus of the call was to get real about the fear and resistance we all have when talking about our businesses to other business owners. We feel vulnerable and insecure. Will we be judged? Will they think I’m silly for trying to build a notary business when notaries only make a few dollars a stamp (varies state-by-state). One of my biggest endeavors with Marketing4Notaries is to help solopreneurs get past that natural fear that rises up inside when we do something new and bold.
My main goal from July 1, 2019 (when I launched SAM) to today has never changed: to help notaries understand basic marketing principles to help them grow their business. It’s something I am very passionate about because I have experienced the power of implementing the 5 Point Marketing System into my business and I want every notary to know that sustainability in the notary world is possible!
This is an exciting time! The website has been re-tooled, the content is being updated to address the current issues notaries face, our social media handles are changing, I’ve hired a new social media manager and there is a new logo. I appreciate everyone’s patience as updates are being made. The most important update is this: I am re-dedicating myself to helping notaries find a groove with marketing!