In today's episode we welcome Dorie McCleskey, President of Front Range Notary and Founder of Blue Ink University. Dorie shares her experience in bringing her business from one call in three months to where she now is receiving significant income from her business. Hear the key lessons she has learned through this process.
Some of this weeks episode highlights are:
9:15 Struggling with self worth? Can your business help you move beyond that?
18:07 It's a relationship you're building. Relationships bring customers!
20:55 Sometimes you have to 'shake the tree!' Keep yourself ""top of mind"".
--- Full Raw Transcription of Podcast Below ---
It doesn't have to be scripted, just walk in and be yourself, get out there and let people know that. You're amazing!
New Speaker (00:08):
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 (00:45):
Welcome everyone, and cheers to my guest today, Dorie McCleskey. Dorie is the president of Front Range Notary, and Founder of Blue Ink University. Dorie, thank you so much for being here with us.
Dorie McCleskey (00:59):
Thanks for having me.
Bill Soroka (01:01):
Yeah, it's really my pleasure to have you here. I have been tracking your progress from when you first became a loan signing agent all the way through up today. And I love the energy that you bring to the industry. I love our conversations and I love how many ideas we get when we talk to each other. What we're talking about today, guys, is being a six figure loan signing agent for the mortgage industry. Dorie. Before we dive in too much, I want to just talk about whether or not you think making six figures as a loan signing agent is real and maybe even go back before the pandemic has the pandemic was a huge boon for us, but before that was making six figures possible as a loan signing agent.
Dorie McCleskey (01:51):
Yes, it's absolutely possible. It takes a lot of dedication and hard work and you really have to know your why. And you really have to be a good relationship builder to make six figures. It's, it's not easy pre pandemic. It was a lot of hustle. And so yeah, it just, it seems so easy with the rates being so low and everything's crazy. But really I had, I had to hit that pavement meet and greet kiss, babies, shake hands, go into title companies and really sell my personality, my service. I, and yeah, I made a lot of mistakes when I first started and I had to eat Crow and pick up my boot straps and go again.
Bill Soroka (02:53):
Well, you really got through a lot at us right there in that like one little paragraph. And I love that. Let's unpack that a little bit, if it's alright with you. The reason I wanted to talk about pre pandemic hustle, as you put it a little earlier, before we started recording is that during the pandemic, when interest rates were super low, there was, I think in March of 2020, there was almost this fear of like, okay, well maybe we'll shut our businesses down. And you know, maybe people are not going to be buying homes or refinancing, but there was the exact opposite. So it went huge. People were buying homes because money was so cheap, they were refinancing. So literally a new loan signing agent could roll out of bed and probably make five to 10 grand a month without having to try really hard. But that's not real in this business and it doesn't last forever. So that's why I wanted to go back to pre pandemic hustle. And what you talked about was, number one, you said it's not easy, but you have to be really clear on your, why can you tell us what you mean by that and why, why is so important?
Dorie McCleskey (04:02):
Absolutely. So your why has to be big because there can be so much discouragement, especially if you're a perfectionist. I struggled with that a lot at the beginning, I would beat myself up if I made one little mistake or missed a stamp or whatever it was, I, Oh my gosh, my, I would eat myself alive just with the head chatter. And so I really had to understand why I was doing all of this and why I wanted to be in this business. For me, I w it made me feel good to get dressed up, get out there, meet people. And yet that people they're happy to see you, they're closing their loan. They're getting a better rate. They're getting a new house. So all of these things create this excitement and you get this high when you're first starting and going in to do loan signings because it just feels really great.
Dorie McCleskey (05:10):
And and it helped me out of a funk. It helped me feel important. But even before that, it took a lot of courage for me to market myself and to get out there. My first loan signing probably took two hours and I had no idea what I was doing. I probably over stamped the pages. And so looking back at that Oh my goodness, the lady was so patient with me, but I didn't have mentorship. I didn't have anybody to coach me through that. I had a book where I learned how to do it was a huge binder, like probably three inches thick that I received in the mail. And I was told to get that binder by an escrow officer, friend of mine who actually encouraged me to get into the industry. She thought I would be good at it.
Dorie McCleskey (06:12):
And apparently I am, but I had no idea. I had no idea what I was sitting on. And I, I, so I got the binder and it took an entire year before I even opened it because I was struggling with so much personally, I didn't have the capacity to even look at it. And it was a lot of struggle with my son and my self-worth mostly my self-worth. And so a year later I made a decision to this is the toughest decision a parent can make, but my son was having a lot of behavioral issues. So I made the decision to put him in a behavioral therapy school. And and a few days later I cracked that book open and I just went for it. And then the struggle of getting assignments was really real. I had no idea how to do it. I was told, get on these platforms. Okay. So I got on the platforms, the phone didn't ring for three months.
Dorie McCleskey (07:25):
So if you're new, just starting out, I mean, three months, that's a long time to wait the entire time. I, I didn't have a mentor. So I, I was looking for that. You know, I, I looked online, nobody in Colorado was that I could find was willing to do that. And I didn't know that you could perhaps get more training and support through signing services. I didn't know that maybe they provided that had no idea. So these are things my friend didn't know to tell me. And so I really fumbled and struggled and just try to figure out how to make all of that work. My first assignment came from am I allowed to say one, two, three notary that came from one, two, three notary. And I was at a doctor's appointment and the appointment was an hour away.
Dorie McCleskey (08:25):
I was a half an hour from my house. And so it was going, going to take me. And so I let them know, Hey, you know, I might be a little bit longer, but it must have been some last minute. Oh my gosh, we have to find a notary cause the other one canceled or something like that. Yeah. I rushed home printed the paperwork and was on my way to Brighton to sign this lady's loan with her. And she was very kind had to pause the signing so she could pick her child up from her school. And so I, I waited outside for her to come back and and then we continued, and this is why it took two hours.
Bill Soroka (09:09):
Well, okay. So you had some outside influences on the time there, so it still sounds good. Now I want to go back to something else that you just said to you, you mentioned struggling with self-worth and I know that that you're not unique in that. We've all, I think on some level, many of us struggle with that too. How has your business helped with that or has it,
Dorie McCleskey (09:36):
It, it has. So I could talk for days on this. Oh my goodness. Let's see. So six having little successes and, and growing that into bigger successes has helped my self-worth tremendously. But it's really, it started with I, I couldn't even walk into an escrow officer's office to shake their hand and say, hello, I'm Dorie. And I'm a loan signing agent. I would love the opportunity to help you. I didn't feel I was worthy of that. Like, why would they choose me over, you know, Joe over there or Susie. So really what helped me through that is a coach at my son's school. And she had me look at where, and not in like, this is your problem. No, she, I had to do the work for myself, but she gave me the tools and implemented that she planted the seeds to help me see that. And there was one point she made me repeat it over and over until I believed it. I am worthy. That is my, I am statement through the coaching that she did at the seminar for parents. And I didn't realize I was struggling with it, so, so much until that seminar. And so really once I knew I'm worthy, why not? So then there was nothing
Bill Soroka (11:16):
And then why not you? Right. Why not me? Yeah. Wow. Powerful. And then probably completely unexpected a little, a seminar from school, from a coach. And it's completely changed your life.
Dorie McCleskey (11:29):
Exactly. It was unexpected. And I, so we still do alumni calls for parents with her. And I just, I think the world of her, because she helped me through that.
Bill Soroka (11:40):
I think the the most important talk is what goes on between our ears. And a lot of, a lot of us don't realize that how critical we are. And you mentioned that with your perfectionism earlier, we can just tear ourselves apart. So taking control of those for lack of a better word, affirmations or power statements, or I am statements can be life-changing. I love this. So let's tell our listeners exactly what a loan signing agent is. Dori, what is a loan sign agent?
Dorie McCleskey (12:18):
Sure. I'm happy to talk on that. First and foremost, a loan signing agent is a notary public and it's a notary public that specializes in signing real estate documents. So not just loans, but sometimes seller packages, which isn't alone, but and sometimes a cash purchase. So alone signing agent is really a notary who specializes in real estate transactions.
Bill Soroka (12:45):
Awesome definition that could have done it better myself. Usually what I like to say too, is that all loan signing agents are notaries public, but not all notaries public are loan, signing agents. I don't know. I like it. Yeah. I don't know if it works or not, but that's one. So if somebody was interested in starting this, I mean, I think it's pretty clear that you're passionate about what you do. It changes the lives of the signers, right? You've already talked about the energy around the transactions. People are usually pretty excited to get a lower interest rate, get some cash out or they're buying or selling what is likely their biggest investment of their lives. Plus you've talked about what it's done for you personally in developing your own self-worth and giving you a clear sense of purpose in your day to day. So how do people get started if they wanted to do this kind of work,
Dorie McCleskey (13:43):
They go to their Secretary of State website. If they're not already a notary public and they take the training on, or some States just have an application, which is,
Bill Soroka (13:57):
Dorie McCleskey (13:59):
So for Colorado, we have a tutorial that is free to take. And if you don't have a training, I highly highly suggest that you take one, don't just sign the application. Okay. I'm ready to go. There's a lot to know in just being a notary Republic. So definitely the National Notary Association is a huge resource for people notaries and they have training there, there are mentors and, and trainers like Bill Soroka and myself who who, because of the pandemic, I've learned to train people very quickly on becoming a notary public and loan signing agent. So definitely push to get to know your loan documents any way that you can, whether it's a training you find online. The national notary association has some training, but really it's good to have a mentor either through a signing company that you find in your area somebody who has a national training et cetera. So loan documents next. And then, so there's different types of signing within that. And you'll learn that through a good training program.
Bill Soroka (15:25):
I love that you're even talking about training because there's so many people who are just winging it right now. And I know like people like you and I, we leaned it because there was no training or we didn't know about training when we first started, but the learning curve, as you said was months. For me, it was years cause I always had one foot out the door anyway, working on these other businesses, but you can really cut the learning curve down and learn what you need to learn because there's so much liability when you're a notary Republic to that is diminished. I think the States do us a great disservice, her making it too easy to become a notary public because you spend, you know, $25, some States it's $10 for the application fee and boom, you're a notary and they don't teach you all the stuff that goes behind it. So I think training is super important. So after somebody where they become a notary public and get some training from a training program when they're in the business how, how do they find clients? How do they find people who will pay them to do this work? And so they can make six figures and what's that look like?
Dorie McCleskey (16:33):
So there are a few different avenues. There are platforms where either signing services or direct title companies will find you on the platform. But you can also make phone calls to the signing services and to these title companies, you can also well pre pandemic walk in, introduce yourself and let them know that you're available. The first escrow officer I ever marketed to, I walked up to them, shook their hand and said with a shaking hand, handed them a bag of candy with my card and said, hi, I'm Dorie and I just happened by your title company after assigning today. And I wanted to introduce myself to let you know that I'm available to do signings.
Bill Soroka (17:26):
How did it go?
Dorie McCleskey (17:28):
He actually gave me a signing as soon as I left for the next day he called me. So yeah, Eva, it doesn't have to be scripted, just walk in and be yourself and get out there and let people know that you're available.
Bill Soroka (17:48):
I love that the piece is huge. The relationship relationship piece is huge. Now out of curiosity, that first escrow officer, is he still a client of yours?
Dorie McCleskey (17:58):
He is, he's my biggest client. Isn't
Bill Soroka (18:01):
That amazing. So that really speaks to the relationship piece. And I want you to talk a little bit about that because this is the hustle. And when I think when people hear it's a relationship business, it's a relationship business over and over again, they lose track of what that actually means. So can you tell what's the hustle look like what's cultivating relationships as a loan signing agent look like?
Dorie McCleskey (18:27):
Sure. so even though I got that for signing, I still had to go back. I brought the documents back to the office to have face-to-face time. And if it's not face-to-face time, if it's through even communicating with the signing company that sent you out, communication is huge. Letting them know I got the documents, I'm printing. This issue came up. What would you like me to do? Okay. Everything's all, well, we're closed, I'm mailing the package. It will arrive this day at this time. So all of these things are ways to communicate. Sometimes over communication might be too much, but just if you notice that they like that, then continue to over-communicate if you notice, they're like, okay, okay. You'll know, just to let them know about the important things. Right. but really continuing any reason you can find to communicate with them.
Dorie McCleskey (19:34):
Hey, it's been a few minutes not a few minutes, but a few weeks. And I haven't seen any signings from you. Just wondering if there's anything I can do to help, or do you have any feedback from the last signing and it could be, Oh yeah, it was great. We just don't have anything right now or whatever it is or, well, this is what I can suggest for future signings. You know, you might get some feedback there. Sometimes you just don't get a phone call back or a response, but you just keep, you know, go on to the next learn from your mistakes, make it better the next time, just that process exactly is how you build those relationships.
Bill Soroka (20:22):
Yeah. I love that. I love that you almost finding excuses to, as touchpoints to communicate, you know, and feedback or the lack there of in this industry is one of the biggest frustrations for me. But I remember I used to you know, in those first two weeks of the month, it was, it's a little bit slow, you know, at the end of the month is our busy time as loan signing agent. So I used to freak out, it'd be like March 14th and I'd be like, Oh my gosh, how am I going to pay my bills this month? I know I've only done three signings. So I'd be just calling clients and saying, Hey, I'm dropping documents off. Even if I'm throwing a bag of trash somewhere, you know, like I've got to find a reason to reach out and communicate. And I can't tell it's like shaking the tree, right? And so many times people would say, Oh, I have a refinance tonight at seven. Do you want it that worked out so often just keeping myself top of mind that way. And sometimes you gotta get real creative with it.
Dorie McCleskey (21:20):
That's beautiful. Actually. I'm going to use that.
Bill Soroka (21:25):
You had earlier, you mentioned selling yourself on your personality. And I love that because in this industry in particular, a lot of people say I'm not a good sales person or I'm not selling anything. In fact, for me, one of the attractive parts of this business was I didn't, it was no nonsense, no BS, right? Like it's totally legit. It's a, a service that people need. And I was like, Oh good, I don't have to sell anything, but that's not true. We're all selling something. We're selling ourselves on our abilities to do this work and your personality, I think really serves you well in here because you have that attention to detail. You know, you, you care about what you do, but you're also fun and light. So my question to you is after now you've trained lots of people to do this work. Have you found a certain personality trait that serves a person really well to be successful in this?
Dorie McCleskey (22:31):
I would say, yes. It's find your people, whether your personality is a little dry and very serious. I mean there are people out there that prefer that people are just no nonsense, but I think, I think it serves me well to have a very bubbly, happy personnel. I'm just naturally a happy person. Probably too much for some people, some people don't trust to have,
Dorie McCleskey (23:03):
But that I can't help, but being just me and being in being me, I found my people people who appreciate and like that. And I think it helps that I put people at ease when I speak with them. My customer service background serves me well with that. I naturally have that ability somehow. When I was in customer service, I was in a class regarding personality types and maybe I'm on a bunny trail, just bring me back in if it's too much. But this class taught us about personality types and stress and taking people out of that stress. So they taught us the triggers and how to take them out, using phrases that they understand. So we knew some personality types or a money trigger. Some people are shy, some people are you know, emotional based. So they aren't sure about them
Bill Soroka (24:07):
Right. Or untrusting or something along those lines
Dorie McCleskey (24:10):
Quickly. Yeah. There are some personality types that just don't trust anything. So in able to being able to do that, I think that has served me well. And so probably the clients, if they are giving feedback I think that has helped me for getting the clients, I mean the borrowers or the sellers or the signers.
Bill Soroka (24:38):
That's, I love where you went with that because I've, I've actually had some feedback too, cause I'm, I think you and I have a very similar personality that way, my enthusiasm you can feel it when I'm at the room and that can serve me really well, especially in an environment like this, where there's usually an air of excitement around the transactions anyway, but not everybody likes that. No, not everybody likes that I smile or I'm excited, or I've got these ideas. There are people who are uncomfortable in those situations and there are mobile notaries and loan signing agents that don't want to be me or you, they don't want it's it's faked. If they have this level of enthusiasm or they're smiling all the time, they are, they're happy people. They just are, they show up differently and I've had people ask, can I succeed? It just being me. And I love that. You said you just got to find your people because there are escrow officers. I can't stand my energy too. And they're looking for somebody that's a little more like them. So I would say, and you tell me if you agree, Dorie, that there is a place for every kind of personality
Dorie McCleskey (25:53):
I used to totally concur. I absolutely concur with that,
Bill Soroka (25:58):
But I also want to go a little deeper with it too. Is what have you found in your experience who fails at this business?
Dorie McCleskey (26:06):
So I would say coming from a signing service perspective, the people that fail at the business are the people who aren't willing to correct their mistakes. Aren't willing to so I have, and like do whatever it takes personality, Oh, you need me to go up up the Hill, which is up I-70 where the mountain in the snow to go do a signing at eight o'clock at night. Oh my gosh, they are my favorite notary if they are willing to do that. So not just that though, if they're not willing to do that, but they are willing to go correct. A quit claim deed or, you know, get a quick claim, deed signed that was missed or and, and outside of the actual signing. And they're not going to charge me an arm in the Lake to do that. I mean, something like that, or you missed a stamp, I'm going to go get that corrected right away. I know it's important to make sure everything funds, stuff like that makes a good notary.
Bill Soroka (27:17):
I love that. I've been thinking about this a lot too in my business. And the best definition I can find is maybe it's like a Carol Dweck, I think is the author's name, but she wrote about mindset and that's, there's a growth mindset and there's a fixed mindset. And I have found that those with a fixed mindset do not do well in this business. They don't allow things to grow. They don't, they're not adaptable to change. And you really have to be adaptable to change in this business. Right? You gotta be resourceful. You've gotta be thinking on your toes and you've gotta be willing to go the extra mile for customers because it goes back to the relationship business. People like to feel special. And when you go above and beyond to make them feel special or to get something done and help their dreams get accomplished. Because all of these in a real estate transaction, everybody's paid on commission just about right. They've all got their own dreams. So if you can help make their dreams come true, then yours come true too. I found that. What do you think on that Dorie?
Dorie McCleskey (28:24):
Yes, absolutely. It it's a team effort for working. So we are an extension of the escrow officer. We are, we want to make them look good. We want to help them any way, having a helpers mentality, even and mindset. Yes. To be adaptable is absolutely crucial. This industry just changes on a dime. It seems sometimes. And so just being able to adapt and be a problem solver.
Bill Soroka (28:53):
Oh, I love that solving problems before we wrap up today, what's maybe there's people listening right now thinking, Hmm. Maybe I've got the personality for this. Maybe I do want to give this a shot. Maybe. I have the personality to to dive in and do this thing. Right. What about the forecast of the industry? Cause I know people are always thinking well is this business going to be around for a little bit? What do you think for loan signing agents?
Dorie McCleskey (29:21):
Well, the business will be around. I mean, it's been around forever. It will be around in my opinion for a very long time, but it does change. So there are, there there's some anticipation right now as to what is happening in the industry. So what could and possibly will come up are a lot of purchases and sales of property. If there's foreclosures. It, it changes all the time. So if there are foreclosures, we will be out of our mind busy because there's going to be new sales and purchases and being as the there's no inventory right now, as we talked about earlier the, the new builds of course are going to be huge. So if you happen to walk into, I have walked into a new build area and introduce myself and, you know, looked at the homes and just said, you know, they ask you, what do you do? Oh, I'm a loan signing agent. Oh, I need to introduce you to these people. So there's all kinds of creative ways to get into that. And but so the forecast is, yeah, sometimes it's slow, but it, because it's such a revenue building industry, there's always going to be something to kick it back into play.
Bill Soroka (30:55):
Yeah. And it's like, people are always going to be buying and selling homes, right. No matter what, even in a down market, there's people like, and you've mentioned this before we started recording. There are people who are literally hoarding their cash right now. So when the market starts to shift and prices come down a little bit, they're going to scoop those homes up or because of the the expected increase or spike in foreclosures, they're going to sweep in and buy those. And they're all going to require notarization on every single one of those transactions.
Dorie McCleskey (31:28):
What do you think
Bill Soroka (31:29):
About remote online notarization and specifically how, how it's going to impact the loan signing business. Do you see any impact at all in Colorado?
Dorie McCleskey (31:38):
So we in Colorado have just recently approved the remote online notice notarization process due to the pandemic. With that, there's not a lot of notaries who are jumping on that ship. And although I, you know, I have done the work to get that certification. However there hasn't been a lot of need for it, maybe with a quit claim deed here or you know a quick notarization there that's I haven't seen, I think one of the title companies has had one, but a lot of lenders are not using a remote online notarization yet.
Bill Soroka (32:26):
That's kind of what I've been hearing across the board in the US which, you know, even if they, even if it did take off right, remote online, notarization still requires a notary at the other end of that computer. But I think because there's so many counties and aren't ready technology some of them are adamantly opposed to remote online notarization. I think there's still a lot of challenges that leads me to believe that there is always going to be a place for us doing the the manual workout here in the field Dorie to let everybody as we let everybody go today. What is one thing that you wish you knew about this business when you first got started?
Dorie McCleskey (33:11):
One thing I wish I knew or had, I wish I knew there were training, there was other training available and I wish I had a mentor. I wish I knew of mentors out there.
Bill Soroka (33:23):
Great, great way to leave our audience here. If you are interested in learning more about how to become a loan signing agent, you can learn more about Dorie McCleskey in our VIP room at www.SideHustleLounge.com. We'll have links to her website over at Blue Ink University, as well as her Front Range, Notary. Dorie, Thank you so much for hanging out with us today. Really appreciate all your great information and thanks for sharing a little bit of your story.
Dorie McCleskey (33:54):
It was my pleasure. Thank you so much.