Hi, this is Laura with CoachMeLaura.com, and I have something I want to share with you.
I have gotten a lot of questions recently from notaries saying, 'Where do I start?' And that is such a loaded question because there are so many things to do to get a notary business up and running, starting from just getting commissioned to identifying customers to building expertise to developing relationships with your clients. So much going on, it's like, where do I even start with that? So I thought it might be helpful if I gave you an easy peasy business plan.
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People say you need a business plan, but you know what? That's a little overwhelming if you've never written one or do you start with that? So here's what I'm going to tell you. I have about seven steps and I've just broken them into small pieces to make it easy for you to answer some questions that will allow you to see your path.
Now I'm going to start with getting you started in the right direction. All right? The right direction starts with who you are selling to. Who is your ideal customer? So I want you to think about that. Everybody needs notarization. Now, whether it's the public at large or business owners, executives, it doesn't matter. Everybody's going to need something notarized at some point in time in their life. So if all those people out there are potential customers, which ones are the ones you want to go after? Because not everybody is your customer. Remember notarizations: they can get that at their bank probably for free, if they're a customer at that bank. They can get it at AAA, they can get it at a shipping center. But getting it at those places has its downsides and that is going to be your strength. That's what you're going to be selling.
I don't just sell notarization - that's the service I actually perform for them. But what I am selling, I am selling access, access on their terms, access when they can't get to it. So for instance, that mobility we offer, I will come to you wherever you are, whatever time of day it is that is convenient for you. And convenience is probably the number one reason people use a local notary.
But there's many other reasons. It might be that they have sensitive documents that they don't want to do out in the open, right? You're in a shipping center, you're standing in line with other people, you're at the counter, everybody knows your business. Right? I've handled documents like surrogate parents and adoption and lawsuits and all kinds of very sensitive documents that don't need to be notarized out in the public view. That would be another thing that I sell is the privacy.
Whether I come to them or, if they ask, if I have an office, I come to my office, not Starbucks, but an office. Privacy is something I can really offer. The other thing might be expertise. So notaries all get the same training and state of California, they have the same exact training I have. But what I have that they don't is I've developed specialties and expertise in handling certain kinds of documents. And because I know more, I'm able to screen them better. I'm able to help them know what should be done before they get to me so that we have a successful notarization. I'm able to easily assess their document to make sure it's appropriate for notarization. I know Trust documents, I know Powers of Attorney, I know the Last Will and Testament. I know how to deal with jail work. I know how to deal with hospital work. There are nuances there that they're not going to get from a bank notary or shipping center notary or a AAA notary.
All right, so those are the things I'm really selling for my customer. So who wants to pay extra for that? The public at large? Absolutely. There are people in there, there's executives, doctors, lawyers, people who don't have time to mess around and go looking for a notary at their bank. They want it done at their office, like on a break, or not even on a break. They'll just slip me in, sign here, stamp. It's done in about two minutes. So that's why there's such a great opportunity for us because you know, nowadays we're all about ourselves. We want service seven days a week, 24 hours a day where I want it. I don't want you to tell me I have to come there between nine and five, Monday through Friday. Or one can only get service when a notary is there and there isn't always a notary there! So I may have to come back at another time. And they don't witness either. And they don't know how to deal with credible witnesses. Signatures by Mark, signature by proxy, right? Look at all these things that most of those places are not very good at handling. I'm not saying none of them can, but I am saying, there's more chance they're going to have a problem getting that document notarized when they need some kind of special accommodation.
So how would they find me? I mean, they're going to find their bank. The shipping centers, these are big businesses, brick and mortar. They're easy to spot. But when you're driving around in your car, you work from home, how are they going to find you? This is where you need to build a presence, right?
Visibility. That's the word I want you to think about. So it's important that when they finally need notarization that they easily can find you. So that might be a notary near me, right? Google My Business is free. Yelp is free. Yelp is great for reputation building, right, and management because people will read the reviews on you and they're more likely to use your service when there's some good reviews written about you. You can have signage on your car, signage on your window, business cards that you're handing out. There are Notary Directories like the yellow pages just for notaries, right? There's 123Notary and notary.com and a Notary Rotary and signingagent.com and snapdocs.com there are places just for us. So when somebody needs a notary, one of those websites come up cause they pay a lot of money to be able to be pulled up.
And then yet they put in a zip code or a city. And if you are on that listing, you come up. So that's how that would work. So then they find you, they want to know what your services are, what is it you're going to do for me? So of course, obviously you're going to notarize a document. You're going to provide travel. You might provide printing as a service. Maybe they can't print it, they're going to send it to you via email and you need to print the PDF. Maybe they need you to scan it to an office or somewhere when you're done with it. Maybe they need the original dropped in FedEx, at a courier service, or the US mail. So these are all different services that you could charge for separately. So now something that can be $5 to $15 turns into $50 to $75. That's how we make our money!
So speaking of making money, how do I know when I'm successfully doing it? Well, you need some metrics to measure what you're doing. So those metrics can include, how many assignments am I doing? How many customers does that represent? Maybe I did 500 assignments, but I really only have 50 customers. And some of them were using me over and over again. Great. What do I need to do to incent them to use me more? Maybe I've got some great revenue going on, but the cost to get the revenue is a lot of money and my net isn't so good. So now I need to think about 'can I be more cost effective' or maybe 'I need to charge more for my service.' So these are metrics that are going to help you build a solid foundation for your future years in business.
The other thing is, as life goes on, be open to ideas to fill your hopper with extensions or spinoffs of what you already do. Can you identify notary services for new clients that you're not reaching out to yet or adding new specialties that you haven't been doing so far? Obviously to do specialties, you'll probably need training or coaching. And of course that's one of the things that I do. But I just want you to know that would be a way to expand your business. Trust work, hospital work, jail work. Maybe it's not notary work exactly, but it's related or complimentary so it fits right in. Apostile service, Live Scan service, marriage officiant - these were all things that mobile notaries do as well.
Now, at the beginning, there's going to be some obstacles or challenges and you would be smart to just identify it right up front. I'm going to tell you the two most common reasons people have issues with starting a business is that they're under funded - they don't have enough money, or they don't have enough time.
Maybe you're working a day job and they're kind of sliding this in on the side and maybe they're planning for it to be full time, but right now it's part time. So you might have to do things at a slower pace for either one of those reasons. And so then you can break that down.
First I need to get commissioned. What's that process? How much does that cost? Let me get that done. I got commissioned. Now I can save up some money to do some advertising and get the low hanging fruit first. What's free? Do that first. What costs a little bit of money. Then do that and what is a little more of an investment such as having your own website that's been SEO optimized. Then you've got to buy your tools and you have to buy equipment, so these are things that might cost a little bit more.
You might then need extra training or coaching. As I mentioned, some of it's free TNT is on every Tuesday at 12 o'clock Pacific time. Three coaches offer free training or three free coaching for NSA and general Notary work every Tuesday. For goodness sake, there are 52 episodes already there! Go to https://www.notarycoach.com/tnt and you'll find this there.
Now the last thing I want to say is that a good way to not have surprise obstacles, is to do your research first. So if you haven't even gotten commissioned, but you saw something that made you think, wow, there's the money, I want to do that. Then research it, find out the commissioning process, find out what the investment is, find out what's going on in your community. I would Google 'Notary Near Me' and see how many people are already doing it in your community. These are pieces of information that will help you get started with less of a bumpy road, let's say.
So get these questions answered and you will have a solid roadmap for that first year of business and it will also set you up for success in the following year. So I hope that that has helped you and that if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me. You can schedule a call for free. I do free calls at my website, coachmelaura.com. Hit the button that says, 'schedule a call,' 15 minutes, whatever you need to ask me, I'm happy to help you.
All right, that's it for this time and till next time, have an awesome, awesome day.
Until next time,
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