In this premier episode, Laura Biewer shows us the endless possibilities available in a career as a Notary Public. She's built a business that's lasted nearly two decades with a well-balanced portfolio of services and she shares her perspective in today's episode. Plus, we dive deep into Specialty Notary Work, so if you already have your Notary commission, you'll have exact steps to boost your income right now.
Some of this weeks episode highlights are:
7:40 This industry is ripe for innovation it is craving those with courage and ambition
22:20 How has resourcefulness and perseverance played into your success?
40:37 When people call, they THINK their priority is the cost of the service.
--- Full Raw Transcription of Podcast Below ---
Laura Biewer (00:00):
The notary fee isn't the money maker, the access, the service you're providing, to print documents for them, to drop them at the courier services, to perform the notarizations when and where they need it. That's the moneymaker!
Welcome to the SideHustle Lounge. If you're looking for flexible ways to earn income, grow your mindset, and live the lifestyle you've always dreamed of, you are in the right place. So lower the lights. Grab your favorite beverage and join your host. Founder of NotaryCoach.com and Amazon bestselling author of Sign and Thrive: How to Make Six Figures As a Mobile Notary and Loan Signing Agent, Bill Soroka.
Bill Soroka (00:43):
Cheers and welcome to today's guest Laura Biewer, founder of CoachMeLaura.com and co-host of the Tuesday Notary Titans, an online weekly call.
Bill Soroka (01:06):
Laura, thank you so much for being here in the SideHustle Lounge. I am happy to be here. Yeah. I always love hanging out with you, Laura. You, and I think a lot of like in many ways, especially when it comes to personal growth and development and commitment to integrity and treating people, right? So I'm excited that you're here. Laura is a well, a lot of things, but among them, she is a 17 year veteran notary. She's also an expert in her field. She's a coach and a trainer. Like I said, co-host of the notary Tuesday, notary Titans, 17 years in this business. And we're going to talk about four ways that you can monetize your notary commission. And then we're going to pick one of those called specialty notary work. And we're in the deep dive into that. So if you already have a notary commission, or if you're on the fence about possibly getting a notary commission, either for a full-on business or a side hustle, you'll have some direct strategies to get started in that. But Laura, here's the thing I know already. The question on everybody's mind is can you actually make money or can you make a living as a notary Republic?
Laura Biewer (02:20):
I hear that frequently myself and the good news is that absolutely not only can I make a good living, I can make a great living and I can do it while surfing others. And that's what I really love about being a notary and providing that kind of service is that I get to do both at the same time. And some people think of notaries at the bank. They think of notaries that the shipping center and, and these are notaries who perform a task called notarization among the many tasks that they have in their overall job. What I'm talking about is being a business owner. And one of the services I happen to offer is notarization. And that notarization has something special to it. And what's special is I'm addressing a need for the public for businesses, and that need is access.
Laura Biewer (03:19):
And that's what people are paying for. So if you think about your notary fees in California, it's 15, which is really pretty good compared to many other States, but even in the States where there are $2, the no, riffy, isn't the moneymaker, the access, the service you're providing to print documents for them to drop them at the career services to perform the notarizations when and where they need it. That's the moneymaker. And I know many notaries already who are approaching or over the six figure Mark using this business as a way to get there.
Bill Soroka (03:59):
Yeah, that's such a critical component. This business can be anything that you want it to be, but I love that you talk about access because in the convenience economy, things have changing that are old fashioned way of notarization or the go I'll just go to my bank because it's free. Number one, we've found this across the country is banks are not providing that service for free anymore. Or if they are it's hit or miss and finding a notary who's at even actually there, the FedEx centers, they don't offer notarization anymore. So this convenience piece is huge. And you touched on the six-figure Mark too. It's more and more notaries who are starting to embrace. This are starting to see the possibilities, but this is also if you're just willing to make an extra couple hundred dollars a month or just be of service somewhere. You can do that too.
Laura Biewer (04:50):
Yeah, I agree, bill. I think that identifying what would be the goal with your business and what's nice is that your goal could be, look, I just want an extra thousand or two a month just to help me because I liked the job I have. I just want a little something extra and if I'm going to do something extra, I want it to be something I can buy into that I like that is in alignment with me. And that is flexible to my primary job or to my family needs. And, and this is the type of business that can do that. And if your goal with this business is I'd like to transition from my job because I'm going to retire in the next few years. And I'd like to have something else, you know, retirement doesn't mean we stop working. That's what it used to mean.
Laura Biewer (05:37):
Retirement just means I'm changing what I'm doing. And so I I've in my notary classes where I teach the notary mandated training classes in California, I get a lot of people who are in those last years and maybe they were getting a commission for the job. And now they're getting the commission because they're thinking this is something I could do in my retirement years. And I can do it when I want it. And when I want to travel, I can travel. And when I want to work, I w I will work. That's another way to look at it. And then there's those of us probably only 10 to 15% of all notaries in the United States are full time full on. This is how I make my living business. And you could choose to operate at any one of those levels and be successful.
Bill Soroka (06:25):
I love that that flexibility is I think that was one of the main attraction points to me when I got in here, just having flexibility to work on other business ventures. I have a lot of my own students who are they love their full-time job, or they are working to transition out of it. But that flexibility, the the old fashioned income model really appeals to me too. There's like no BS to this, right? You work, you get paid, you deliver service, you get paid, what you, what you deliver. And that there's something really attractive about that. And of course it's a completely legitimate business as well.
Laura Biewer (07:02):
Yeah, it is. And I just want to add to that is although it's, it's an old school or old fashioned business model, it fits in today's gig economy. And a lot of people are for where it, for many reasons, looking for ways to earn extra income. And so here's something that has been around for more than 2000 years can fit into today's market and today's need, I love that as the times are changing and as some services go away and new ones are being developed, we're still here.
Bill Soroka (07:36):
Huge sustainability been around, like you said for 2000 years, but there's also in you. And I get a chance to talk about this too, and get to share in the excitement of this. But this industry is ripe for innovation and it's craving those who have the courage and ambition to step into that and bring modern marketing tactics into it, technology, all of that's happening right now. So it's a really exciting time to be in the business.
Laura Biewer (08:04):
That is I really I have thought about and considered other types of businesses. And I do some other kinds of work that are all related to my commission to being a notary. And there is something else you can leverage. And that is, you may start out as a mobile notary or a signing agent, but there are other types of business that don't use the commission, but they leverage the access. They leverage the fact that you bring a service to them. And so that's another attribute of being in this business is you could really taste a lot of different industries.
Bill Soroka (08:44):
There's so much that we can do, and I call it the notary umbrella. You can do so much under your notary umbrella. And I think that might be like the perfect transition to map out these four main ways to monetize a notary commission that we're going to talk about today. So what we'll do here for our listeners is roll out the first four. We're going to give you a really brief description of each and then we're going to deep dive with Laura because really, I mean, she has so many talents and so much expertise, but we're really going to draw on her expertise in specialty notary, work deep today. And then we'll actually have some future episodes where we dive deeper into these other three. So the first one we'll talk about today is really specialty notary work. We'll give you a brief description of what we mean when we say that we're going to talk about being a loan signing agent for the mortgage industry.
Bill Soroka (09:38):
We're going to talk about remote, online notarization, what that is. And briefly, we'll talk a little bit about what that is and how it's really got a surge going on right now, especially during the pandemic. And then we're going to talk about Apostille or Apostille and what that might look like. Again, just very brief descriptions before we go into specialty notary work. So Laura, let's just kick it off with what we'll talk about a little later on today is specialty notary work. What is it? What do we mean when we say that?
Laura Biewer (10:06):
So specialty notary work is referred to within our business by many as a general, no rework. And what happened is that a specialty was developed called loan signing work. It's a specialty, it gets some extra training and certification and skill. And you deliver a loan documents at the table and collect signatures and notarized documents. And that really was the only identified specialty. Everything that was outside of that realm became general. And because it became general, a couple of things happened. One is that other specialties did not get identified. And other thing is, it was looked at as well. You don't have anything extra going on there, so you probably can't make any money doing it. And there are a lot of different either venues or specialty documents that require some extra training and knowledge that do command, then the extra money.
Bill Soroka (11:11):
I love that. I love that. We're going to get a little chance to talk about that. And you really did actually a good job of talking about the loan signing agent in that description as well. So we'll jump right into remote online notarization. Can you just give us a real brief overview of what Ron is?
Laura Biewer (11:27):
Yeah. Ron or remote online notarization is taking a notary act and performing it, using different tools. Number one, it would be using a platform and your laptop, and it takes personal appearance to, into technology. So when we say live, we don't necessarily mean in person. So a lot of us see each other live on a zoom call. That doesn't mean we were in person at the time. We're in different places across the nation and notary work. The core principle of that is personal appearance in front of a notary. And what Ron has done is said, okay, we've got this technology, let's utilize it to create personal appearance via your computer. And so we're still performing the basic notarial acts, but instead of having your signer in front of you, that signer could be in another state or even another country in the world. All you need to have is that internet access and that platform to do it.
Bill Soroka (12:36):
Awesome. Thank you for that great description so that you can basically notarize from their couch if they want to. Absolutely. We'll dive into more of that a little bit later. And then finally we have the Apostille or Apostille depending on how you like to say it.
Laura Biewer (12:53):
Luckily that lovely French word called Apostille. And it's been called Apostille when documents have been a Apostilled, it's called Apostilled lots of different versions of that. But what people need to know about that is that process is handled by the government, by the secretary of state or the department of state. And what happens is they are authenticating the public servants like you and me notaries for foreign countries to let them know that, Hey, this is a valid public officer in our state. I am the controlling agency. And I can verify that the notary act was performed properly by a valid notary. And so how do, if they're doing all that work, what are we doing? So in the business of Apostille for notaries, our connection is a facilitator or an expediter. And that's where we're going to be the go between the client who needs the documents to have this process done, because their documents going out of the country and the government, because the signer or the client, they don't know how to get it done.
Laura Biewer (14:09):
There's, there's, you know, a lot of little steps to it and they don't know, and they're afraid they won't do it right. Or they're too far away to go in person. They're not sure how to follow the rules of the mailing process. And as a result, they want to hire your expertise in that. And that's what I am selling is my expertise in how that process works so that I get their documents ensure the documents are correct, ensure that my notarizations are correct. And then ensure it gets to the right place for the right type of authentication.
Bill Soroka (14:45):
Love that. What a great description I feel like I understand Apostille a lot more even after brief description. So I really appreciate that. So there you have it folks, we're going to talk about just working our way backwards here. The four ways that you can monetize a notary commission is Apostille work remote online notarization as a loan signing agent for the mortgage industry. And then what we're going to be able to dive deeper into today is that specialty notary work, which is also known as general notary work. But I love that Laura, I think you are almost single handedly responsible for converting that name and that perspective about it from general notary work to specialty notary work, because there is so much to it.
Laura Biewer (15:31):
Well, you know, it, it happened really because I had to survive changes in the marketplace and like many notaries, I started doing home signings as a way to supplement what my real job was. I was a business owner at the time, and I ran a facility for elderly here in a little six bed. The problem with that is, is that it takes five beds to pay the bills and your money starts on bed six. And if you don't have bed six filled, you're working for free. So in order to keep that business rolling in between, I would do loan signing work, and it became so good. It was, I was making more money doing that than I was running my facility for elderly and an event happened, right. You know, throughout my back. And I couldn't pick up, I couldn't lift clients anymore. And I thought, you know, I'm not going to make it till retirement doing this.
Laura Biewer (16:33):
I think what I'm going to do is when opportunity comes, I'm going to let go of this business, I'll sell it. And I'm going to make a business out of this notarization stuff because there's got to be more to it. And I did do that. And for the first, that was in 2004, I started and by 2006, I sold that other business because I was just making so much money as a loan signing agent. And that ride lasted me almost two years. And then what happened 2008 and a lot of people, whether you're a notary or not know what happened in 2008. And that's when our world crashed a little bit. And I say the world, because, you know, even though it was real estate specific that had happened to all the related businesses, that support that went down the tubes with it. So if you were a notary signing agent, I went from a, you know, a hundred a month to zero.
Laura Biewer (17:28):
If you were a, an appraiser, a home appraiser, you your business drop to the toilet. If you were alone or escrow officer, or if you were a real estate agent, if you're, if you were any, any part of the business related to that, your business went down the toilet. And so you had two choices. You could go back your day job. You could find another day job where you could figure out how can I make this work in this new market. And that's where I realized, you know, I've been doing we call specialty work. Now I didn't have that name for it, but I'm doing these other assignments. I'm going into hospitals. I'm taking care of people at their home. It wasn't a big part of my business. It might have been about 10 or 15%. It was stuff I did in between the lines signings.
Laura Biewer (18:18):
And I thought, I bet there's more to this. And that's when I started, they're doing the research and started identifying who were the customers I would be looking for. And what is the service I'm really providing and came up with a marketing plan on how I would to build this business, this part of the business so that I didn't need the loan signing part of it. And I knew because that would come back. I just had to be in business long enough for it to come back around. But I knew that could be five years or more, and it was five years or more before it really started taking off again. So I spent those five years identifying different venues, but hospitals and jails and assisted living facilities. I also looked at businesses. I looked at legal firms in the legal industry. I looked at adoption.
Laura Biewer (19:11):
I looked the these insurance agents, car dealerships, all kinds of other businesses or venues that had repeatable business. They were needing notarizations for their types of doctors every day. So it wasn't just once in a while, and it wasn't just come in sign and stamp. It was so much more effective if I understood a little bit about what that business was, what the documents do, who might be signing these documents, who were there, and by identifying those, and then doing a little research on each one, I started and to develop a little expertise in every little area. And that made me stand out from other notaries because when I got the call, I knew who they were. I knew what they needed. And I could see be a part of their team and help them liver, that little piece that needed to happen.
Laura Biewer (20:10):
Otherwise it's nothing would happen and demand more than the notary fee for it. And not just how much does it cost me to get there? You know, mileage, I was really able to command start commanding more money for that expertise. And when I looked around, I thought, well, who's teaching this, nobody's teaching this. I for those of you who do know who I am, I teach for that NNA, the state mandated training classes in California. And I spoke to the CEO to about 10 years ago when he started. And one of the things he asked was, well, what do you think is better to be a loan signing agent or to be a mobile notary? Because, you know, 10 years ago, people pretty much spit on mobile notaries. They're like, they're, they're just people who can't make it. That's the loan signing agent.
Laura Biewer (21:02):
And I said, mobile notary, because look at what I can do. I'm not required to deal with the same set of documents and the same grouping of customers day in and day out. I have the ability to expand my wings and help people in other situations with other kinds of documents. And I can define what I want to be about. And he said, Oh, so really you see that as higher level. And I do. I think people who see themselves at a higher level, as you said, they'll having an umbrella of all these different things I could know about that I can be educated about and loan signing is just one of them.
Bill Soroka (21:50):
Yeah. Loan signing is just one of them. I love that. You just drop some incredible gyms there for people who I mean, you talk about your whole process and what you research specifically, who you research. So I hope people are taking notes on that, but one of the things I've always admired about you is your resourcefulness. You kind of take the bull by the horns and find the answers you need. You don't take no for an answer. So I'm wondering, this is kind of bringing up some questions about how resourcefulness and, and perseverance has played into your success in this. Cause I know almost everybody in 2008 gave up, they just even consider even going to a specialty notary work or going in, they, they went back to safety, they went back to a paycheck, health insurance, you know, all that stuff that's important, but they didn't see that, that they didn't become the MacGyver notary that you did. Can you speak to that a little bit?
Laura Biewer (22:53):
Yeah. You know, just as an example, bill for notaries in California does is just California. Other States were impacted as well. We ballooned up in 2007, we were at 320,000 notaries in our state within a year, we dropped to 150. Oh wow, wow. 150 are the ones that were there before they were in the banks. They were in the shipping centers. Right. It was just not how they made their living. So yeah, it was a pretty big deal. Everybody really walked away from this and we had to kind of restart the whole industry again. And it took time. Like I said, it really took years for it to restart. But in the meantime, I think that for, for anybody who doesn't want the security have a day job, and frankly, I don't know how secure that is anyways after COVID, it's just really not as secure as we think, but for those of us who realize that if I'm going to survive and thrive, I can't wait for somebody to put it on my plate. I need to go find the plate. I need to identify what kind of plate I want. So that I'm in the driver's seat and I'm in control. So I think that's been the driver for me is that when I see the writing on the wall, I start looking at, okay, what do I need to do with this? Instead of waiting for somebody else to go have that idea because you might get on the train too late.
Bill Soroka (24:29):
Yeah. I love that it's being extremely proactive in your business. So one of the things Laura, that you brought up as you were describing, this is the research that you did on the various industry and niches that you might happen across. And I think that really helps you speak the language when they do call. But I wonder if you could, can you expand now when, how did those calls come in? How did you present your business? Where did you go?
Laura Biewer (25:02):
Sure. So when I talk about, you know, a marketing plan, cause that's basically what I was doing. It's all about research. And I presented myself as somebody who had some credentials. So I was a notary. I taught notary law. And I used that to give something that might be of interest to the person on the other end. So let me just take facilities, hospitals assisted living all those senior living communities, all those places. And in my research either because I personally experienced it or what I saw happening with other notaries is that notarization had a high failure rate in terms of the first time. So what would happen is notary comes in, they're going to notarize a document bedside at a hospital and the signer. It doesn't have the document. Why not? Well, because the social worker said you were bringing it or the signer has a document, but they're not filling it.
Laura Biewer (26:09):
They haven't filled it out. Why not? Well, because the social worker said you have to watch me do that, or you're going to verify I do it correctly. Or the signer doesn't have their ID or the signer isn't alert and aware, or the signer can't sign their name and we need witnesses. We don't have any other people there. I mean, there's just so many failure points that can happen in a notarization. And the people who were helping the patient connect with a notary were either giving misinformation or not enough information so that it could happen completely the first time. And so that was the notary side of it. And the other side of it is that I wanted to understand when I go in to notarize in one of these settings, are there good times or bad times, is there a better time for me to be scheduling appointments?
Laura Biewer (27:07):
Like maybe I need to be avoiding a mealtime because they're trying to get their patients to eat their meals or maybe shift changes or maybe certain hours in the morning. Cause that's that's when they take people off to get x-rays or to do CT scans or things, there are things that operate with some kind of system. And if I could understand that system, then I could avoid being there and in the way of the treatment plan or the care plan, whatever it is. So I saw two big areas of education. So that's really where I thought here's where I can use my background in education to help educate staff by providing free in-services on how does a successful notarization happen? What are the four or five things that are critical so that we don't go in and then find out we got to come back again because we might not be able to come back again, depending on the situation of the, of the patient.
Laura Biewer (28:10):
We may not get a second chance. And that's, that's what really prompted me to try to do some more education in that area. When I personally have had clients that the first time I came, I probably could do it. And the next time it was too late for me because they weren't weren't aware anymore or they ju they just weren't able to sign a document anymore. I did a lot of work with hospice and that was a frequent problem. And that's really where I started educating. And then I moved into the hospitals and then I moved into assisted living. So that's the, the way that one, I was trying to solve a problem for myself and further notaries. And at the same time, they started to get to know who I was and what I was about, which was not about the single notarization, but about that process and the integrity of notarization.
Laura Biewer (29:02):
And so that helped me either a get on their list when they say, well, here's three notaries. We can't refer one, but here's, here's the list. And I'm number one in my area a or B, they would say, okay, so we don't normally refer notaries, but there's one that seems to come here all the time and I'm able to be on the top of mine, roll off the tongue, a name of my business. You're going to have to find your own notary. Why don't you Google mobile notary near me because I'll come up usually in the top, organic searches every time and for the local hospitals here. So they found ways to kind of guide them back towards me which I appreciated very much. And I think being able to identify what was my customer need. I have more than one customer here.
Laura Biewer (30:02):
I have the ultimate signer customer, but I've got somebody in front of that customer. The one that's going to lead me there, what are their needs? How can I be of service to them, even though they're not asking me to notarize, although that does happen frequently as a site, I get calls from nursing staff and doctors who say you were in here to notarize for so-and-so, could you take care of me? Cause they know I go into that kind of venue. And they understand that. I understand about confidentiality, about protecting the clients, physically protecting them in their modesty. And what's going on. This is not that I'm sitting in your, in your kitchen at your table. I want you to think about the situation these people are in when they're in these places. And we need to be considerate and thoughtful about that.
Laura Biewer (30:53):
And I think that unless you've experienced it or had a family member experienced it, so you saw it, or you purposely try to understand that you may not realize that you're going to do things a little differently when you're in a hospital room with a little shower curtain around you they've got equipment hooked up to them to, to every possible place. They may or may not have a gown or something covering, you know, all the important parts. There's just a lot to consider doing that. And that's where I spent a lot of my time understanding that and that translated into being a preferred or go to notary.
Bill Soroka (31:38):
Laura. I love that you researched and found such a a valuable way to bring value to the relationships, especially in these hospitals and hospice areas. We often as notaries public, we're helping people on their best days sometimes, and sometimes it's their worst days. So putting that much thought and energy into the process has clearly paid off for you. And this is one of the five points I wanted to talk about, about how the generate calls for this business and that's referral sources. And you've done a great demonstration of what that looks like. And I know we could probably expand on that. Even more talked about attorneys and tow yards and all kinds of things already on this call, but why don't we shift now to some of the other four ways that we could generate calls? What's your thoughts for specialty notary work, having a digital presence?
Laura Biewer (32:38):
So, you know, when, when I started, Bill, 17 years ago, those words just really didn't exist. So I didn't have a digital presence right at the beginning, although within the first couple years I did develop cause I have a guy on a website, a very first website, and that was digital presence. So to have a website, there was no social media going on. There was none of this other, all these other platforms, they just didn't exist really. But having a website definitely gave me a digital presence. At least if you, you know, the initial search engines that were out there, you would find me that way. Even just getting to my appointments, I was using physical maps, the Thomas Guides. That's how I would write down my direction. So I could get somewhere, which really didn't work well in the dark. But that's what it was like for us in the old days.
Laura Biewer (33:37):
I didn't have, there was no iPhone. There, in fact, I didn't even have a cell phone. I very first started. I got one pretty quickly, you know, one of those little flippers that, yeah, you can't, I never did figure out there. There was no texting. Then I couldn't check email. There was no data. There was nothing. It was just hello. It was a phone. That was it. So I came in when we really didn't have all the tools that we have now. And so digital presence today is a necessity. If you don't have it really, it's going to be difficult to succeed in specialty work. And the reason is, is that it's a very different process of reaching who your clients are when you're in a signing agent. You know, there's a whole setup for that and how you can get connected with people who need your service.
Laura Biewer (34:31):
And some digital presence is required there, but it's very limited for specialty work. I need to find all the different ways that my clients might be on the internet. So again, I not only do I have a website, but the website actually has things that continually change on it. So it's updating with blogs and with information, I use my website to educate the people. So when they say I need a notary at the bottom of my homepage, it's going to say what's a mobile notary because a lot of people don't know what that is. What do I need to get a notarization done? What kind of IDs are acceptable? Right? what kind of documents can I notarize? So I answer a lot of questions and provide a lot of education there so that when somebody thinks they need a notary, they're not quite sure about it.
Laura Biewer (35:25):
They could become a little more educated about it. And then all the different platforms are really important as well. There are paid registries. Now I like one, two, three.com because like the yellow pages of notaries. And so that company pays for a lot of advertising so that they come up in the search engines and then the person puts their zip code or their city in. And if that's yours, that's where you come up. And so it's a way for you to be visible without investing your life savings, into getting that visibility. And there are other registries like that.
Bill Soroka (36:04):
Laura, can I, can I stop you real quick? Cause we were kind of rolled into directories and I want to go back to digital presence. Oh yeah. I'm sorry. Yeah, no problem. Because I mean they're so closely tied, but I really want to dive into digital presence a little bit because what you've described and you even mentioned it a little earlier on today's session is what your customers, potential customers are looking for in this day and age, they are going to Google. They are typing in notary near me. And you've described, you have the blog, you have a constant changing feed. You have tons of value that are using keywords that people are probably searching for on Google. And that helps drive traffic to your website. Right? Exactly. So, and I'm wondering, can you share on your website, like what's the call to action? You're hoping a potential customer is, is it to call you to text you, to get all the info they need and find somebody else or what, what's the, what's the one thing that you hope a customer does
Laura Biewer (37:07):
Call me? Yeah. I want them to call me because every every situation is different. So it's very difficult to just give me a quote because I need to know how far are you. I need to know how many signers or how many documents you need notarized. I need to share with you, you know, here's how this process works so that you would be prepared. So it's really a conversation every single time with those who are needing notary service so that I, I help them understand what they're doing because many times they're just told, get a notary. They don't know why they don't know what the notary is going to do. They don't know what it costs. They don't know how to access one. They don't know what they need. And so I need to be able to do all those things with them. So my, it says, call Laura, I don't even have a last name on my website. It just says, call Laura. And so that is my best tool is if I can get them, I give them a little bit of information and they think, Oh, she's, she's sharing information. Now I know a little bit more not enough to get it notarized. So call me now we can talk about your situation and I can share with you how we can make that happen.
Bill Soroka (38:29):
And it helps you establish your expertise number one, right? And then also how the relation, how does the relationship play into that conversation?
Laura Biewer (38:38):
So it's the beginning of a relationship because my idea isn't transactional. It's not this one, notarization. I have a big repeat business, and that might seem interesting for people to think about as notaries. You know, that somebody goes and they get a document notarized, who knows when they need another one. But I have people who put me in their phone, they keep my card and it might be the next year before they need another one. It could be in a few months, it could be their family members need it. So I have a very strong repeat business that comes back to me over and over again. And, and not only that, that's, I'm talking about general public, right, right. To the signer, but in business when it's business to business. So I'm on that. I would call it the Rolodex old school, but I'm in their phone. I'm, I'm on their directory, whatever it is for their go-to vendors for people like attorneys who have things notarized, constantly construction companies who have things notarized constantly. So to me, it's not about I go there and I notarized the document and I took care of them. And it's over. There's always that potential for more business with that client, or as a result of that business business, that's going to come from somebody in their circle, in their orbit.
Bill Soroka (40:05):
I love that you put so much focus on the relationships. And I think this is one of the biggest mistakes that lot, most notaries make is they treat this as a transaction or a commodity. And really if you expertly perform the duties you're hired for and lay the foundation for a relationship that could last beyond this transaction, your business can really thrive and tell me. So I, I think if I was speaking from my own experience and maybe from yours, but maybe you can help solidify that for the other notaries or potential notaries listening. When people do call you very often times, they think their priority is how much your service costs. How important is the conversation to shift that into the expert mode?
Laura Biewer (40:49):
You know, I think it is critical. I think that if, if you are competing on price alone, because there's going to be a lot of other people, other notaries, who's going to do what you're doing, right. They, they, they drive there, they have the stamp, they can notarize the document. So how do you stand out and how do you command more money? Then the, the base level that might be happening in your area. It's all about positioning at that you're the person who has a solution and the solution is really bigger than getting a stamp on their document. And by having them understand that you understand, and that you're interested in getting whatever is they need handled. And sometimes that means that I know more about that than just how to notarize the document. If somebody presents a deed to me and I'm notarizing the deed, I will ask them now, are you aware that you would want to take this to your recording office in the same County that your property is in, so that that can be recorded?
Laura Biewer (41:57):
And they may or may not know that. And if they don't, now I can share, you know, with them, okay. Here's where that County recorder office is. If the property's right around me, if not, I can tell them how to get that information that might even expand to, Oh my gosh, I couldn't even get, go out to a notary. How am I going to go to the County recorder's office? Well, you know, you could do it by mail or you could go in person, you could have somebody go in your stead. And I have several times then the person who took the deed for them for an extra nominal fee and went to the County recorder's office and recorded it. And then of course it's mailed back to them. So it's, if you get the picture, you might see where there's other opportunities for two things. One is for more business for you and two is to help solve their problem or get their solution to the end. See, utilization is just one step there. Usually other things that have to happen with a document after you beautiful perspective.
Bill Soroka (43:00):
So what we've done is where looked for ways to generate specialty notary work. We had a chance to talk about building value and those referral relationships. We just have a huge conversation on the digital presence and the importance of that call to action in the foundations of your relationship. And you had already kind of merged into directories, but let's jump in there real real quick too. You mentioned one, two, three notary.com and there's several others. Can you expand on that a little bit?
Laura Biewer (43:27):
Yeah. So just to name some others notary rotary, or excuse me notary cafe.com, notary rotary.com. And then one, two, three notary. One, two, three notary is great for specialty work. I probably get the most calls from that listing that I have there. The other two are more NSA specialty and there are other ones out there, but I really caution for notaries to again, do your research before you give any money to anybody. If, if they are not known, if they've only been around for a few months, well, how big is their directory? How much money are they spending on advertising? Does anybody know who they are? Go, Google them? Do they come up right before you would spend your money on that?
Bill Soroka (44:16):
Yeah, there is. There's this influx of new notary and even the NSA, which is notary signing agent directories that are coming up, nothing wrong with that at all. I think a lot of them are starting to get some meat in some traction in Google search engines, but some of them are free and then some of them are not. So with the, do you have three or four, were those the ones you named the notary rotary one, two, three notary notary cafe. Are those the three that you would recommend paying the premium listing?
Laura Biewer (44:49):
I do think that you get great value from them. And there are, I mean, if you're a signing agent, there's signingagent.com and that's free if you're with the NNA or were certified by the NNA. So there's, as you said, there are other ones out there, but those three that I mentioned have been around before me, they're still out there and I think they do a great job. And then, you know, there's the real yellow pages, right? I still advertise in the book. I, we just lost everybody. Like, there's still the yellow pages book. I have a yellow pages book. Now I know I'm really dating myself, but guess what a lot of my customers. And when I talk about assisted living and I talk about elderly clients, you know, they got phone books. Now the phone book is also online. They've come into the digital age. So not only do I have an ad in the phone book, but that is also online as well. So some of the traditional things that you might not that you might think, well, who now has a phone book, you know, a lot of people have a full book.
Bill Soroka (46:02):
Well, your, your segways are like perfect here because I was, the next way that generates calls for your specialty notary work is some of this old fashioned advertising that still works really well for the notary business. So talk about that a little bit. You've got the yellow pages. What other ways work?
Laura Biewer (46:22):
I know some of the other things are, if you're looking to build this in your community, and, and the reason I say that is, you know, I'm not going to go to Southern California when I'm in Northern California to notarize a document, right. I'm going to define what my areas, where my sweet spot is, which for me is 20 minutes or less. So what's going on in my community being a sponsor for a community events, we're advertising in the brochures that they put out there for kids stuff you know, like the youth football league or whatever it is participating in health fairs. I have been a participant in that. I go to a senior health fair. I put out advanced healthcare directives that were given to me by an attorney and I give them away. And if somebody said, Hey, if I fill this out, can I come back and have it notarized? Absolutely. My gift. So I look at ways to be more visible in my community, and these are easy, low entry ways to do that. Yeah, exactly. One of the ways that still
Bill Soroka (47:30):
Continues to blow my mind. And I, I never thought those car magnets actually work, but it works for this, this business, doesn't it?
Laura Biewer (47:39):
You know, it does. And of course, some people have when they say, are you that Laura, I know what they mean. Because I tell a story and it's pretty much nationally known now that I have car magnets and I w I drive up and down highway 99 and the five, as I'm reaching different venues to teach classes and one morning, or very early on traveling down highway 99, and I get a phone call and the guy says, Hey, I need a notarization. And I say, Oh, you know, I'm sorry, I'm driving to Fresno right now. And I'm not going to be back. He said, Oh, it's okay. I'm that big rig behind you? And he said, could you just pull over at the next, you know, stop? And can we notarize it? So at the next Arco, we pulled over and opened up the hatch of my car, pulled out my clipboard took care of his notarization. He was so excited because he was on his way to Los Angeles had been carrying this document around document around for days, hadn't gotten it done. And now he's on his way home and he's got it done. And, you know, and I made a little cash. So it was, it was a real interesting appointments but our impromptu appointment. But it just goes to show you, it doesn't matter where you are. There are ways for you to be visible.
Bill Soroka (49:00):
Absolutely. I mean, talk about the return on investment. These car magnets, you can get them for $25 $30 bucks now. And I have been hearing stories all across the country of how really cool stories, similar to that, of where you just hit people at the right time, because one of the, you could see it as a downside, but it's also kind of an upside, but people just need a notary when they need a notary. And the more visible you can be in that space, whether it is through your search engine optimization and your digital presence, your advertising, or like your car bag, and it's like that the that's going to directly impact your success.
Laura Biewer (49:35):
Yeah, absolutely. You know, and I know the downside, people are worried about the security of their bag. Don't leave your bag in your car overnight, right. Needs to come in your home to be secured. If you're, if you're riding around and you're going to be away from your car for hours, like you drive to your job and you're going to be at your day job for the next four to six hours, don't leave your bag in the car, right. Take it in with you, put it at your desk and then bring it back out for cautions. Because yeah, it is the downside is, you know, our, our stamps get stolen and utilized falsely. I've got a lot of experience now with the other side of it, meaning it's, it was notarized years ago, and now it turned out there's fraud. There's a challenge.
Laura Biewer (50:22):
And they're trying to overturn that notarization and they come back to the notary journals and they come back to the notary and, you know, they're looking at the information they're saying, well, that wasn't me. I don't have, I didn't, I didn't meet with that person. And it turns out that somebody duplicated their information or got a hold of their seal. So it's, it's really important to remember how accountable we are with what we do. It's not stamping sign and we're done there. There's so much more meaning behind that. So I, I hope that the people that are joining the ranks of notaries and, and looking at this as a vehicle for their business, that they truly understand what they're doing first and that they understand what goes behind it first before they go out there and start doing it. Because if you, you know, the first, the first rule is have your foundation set, know what, know what you're supposed to know.
Bill Soroka (51:26):
Absolutely. And this as again, a perfect segue, you're really good at this, but this work really does matter. You know, fortunes are transferred with the swipe of a pen and your stamp. You can grant rights to people who can literally make life and death decisions for people when you seal or notarize a document. So this work really does matter. And I want to round this out with number five on how to generate quality business in specialty notary work. And that's being the expert, which you have really done a good job of painting and creating a niche for yourself as well. But let's focus on the expertise part. And to me, that goes back to the training and really having a reverence for what role you play and how serious you take the training. Can you speak to that because this is kind of your specialty as well.
Laura Biewer (52:19):
Yeah. You know it's amazing, but no reason States like mine, where we were required to take, you know, six hours of training passed the state exam. Before we can get a commission are probably shocked to find out there are States where you can, you know, given to send your check to the secretary of state with an application, and you've got a commission and yet that, and so now you're authorized, you go buy a stamp and you can start notarizing right then and there, and you don't even know how to fill out a certificate yet. You don't even know what an acknowledgement is yet. You don't understand what your, what your piece is on that document and how different that is from their piece that they're supposed to be doing. And so training is so important when you understand the consequences of what you're doing.
Laura Biewer (53:10):
So there are significant consequences, as you just mentioned, bill. So every notary if you are not in a state where they're providing a training, either optionally or required I highly advise go get it. And now there are a lot of options. You've got national organizations like the NNA who offer either required or optional types of training across the United States. You've got other businesses who are out there offering the same kinds of things, training basic notary information. And, and that's, that foundation gets your foundational, but then you've got your commission. You're still not ready to go. Because then you want to start learning about what might be special about the documents I'm going to be handling about the venues I might be going into what kind of language are they using? And we mentioned this a little bit earlier, you know, there's the legal ease language.
Laura Biewer (54:12):
If you're going to work with attorneys, there's medical language, when you're going to work in the, in the hospital field and you want to get to know that, and what's important to those clients, because now you're better armed to one, execute the notarial act correctly, understand when it's not okay to execute that act, what to do. If what they provided you doesn't meet what you need as a notary. You're going to understand what they're asking of you. Because many times the signers are customers. They don't know how to frame for you, what they need or what they've got there. They're not quite sure. And that comes clearly across to me when I get those calls. And then ultimately when you have that training, some credentials some experience, and you can start claiming that expertise. One of the things I like to say, and I've been called is the notaries notary. So I, you know, my level of expertise has moved from, I can help the direct signer to, I can educate and help notaries, who are helping the direct signer. And so that's where you want to go, because that's when you can really make money that is commensurate with the effort you're putting into it.
Bill Soroka (55:35):
Hmm. I love that. I love that concept. And that's really how our paths have crossed too, is being in the training world with this. And I know you offer in particular, I wanted to talk about the niche marketing that you offer through our collaboration, which is the Laura Biewer Presents Training and Replay Library, as well as some of the one-on-one training and group training that you offer through CoachMeLaura.com. If people wanted to get into the niche and understand what that looks like, could you help them out with a couple of niche issues that you include in your training right now?
Laura Biewer (56:13):
Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for bringing that up Bill. In the Laura Biewer Presents Replay Library, I've got separate videos, each doing a deep dive into that particular niche. So for instance, there's one just on medical facilities and some of what I talked about today, I expand on that. I have another one on jails and prisons, and, you know, there's a lot of notaries who are afraid to go there until they find out it's not that scary. And that's one of my highest pain types of jobs. I have another one about Apostille work and what that really is and how you can become an expert, an expediter or facilitator for that. I have another one on adoptions just on that particular topic. So those are just a few of the ones that I have in there right now. I have about seven or eight different niches. And what's great is every year I start adding a couple of more, I have two or three others that are on the boiler plate for me to develop for this year to add to that. And what's great is once you buy it, you have lifetime access. So that means all the new ones, they just get added to your library.
Bill Soroka (57:30):
Yeah, that's, it's super valuable. And if you're listening, if you're interested to learn more about that, you can visit the VIP room at www.SideHustleLounge.com of course, and get free access to what Laura is talking about, the cost involved, all that good stuff with all the links that you might need to participate in that. One of the niches that is really attractive to me as part of the Laura Biewer Presents is the living trust appointments. Those tend to be number one, rewarding for so many ways, but they are also quite lucrative and that's included in there as well. What the reason I really wanted to talk about this, Laura, as you have put 17 years into this business, and it's thriving, you continue not only just to teach, but you're down in the trenches and you're working and for new notaries or maybe experienced notaries that have just been hitting their head against the wall, trying to find ways to make this business work.
Bill Soroka (58:31):
What Laura is providing you on this podcast, as well as part of her programs is the perspective from someone who's found a way. A beacon of light that is just shining a light back behind showing you some of the pitfalls to avoid, and some of the strategies that have worked, and that is invaluable right there. So, Laura, thank you so much for taking so much time out of your day and being here as part of the SideHustle Lounge podcast. We love having you! Anybody interested in learning more of course you can visit the VIP room at SideHustleLounge.com or you can go direct to [email protected] Laura, thank you so much.
Laura Biewer (59:14):
Thanks bill for having me today. It's always a pleasure.
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