By Jennifer Craven
I’m guessing that when you first heard about becoming a Notary Signing Agent, you didn’t up and quit your day job, right?
Odds are that you stumbled across this amazing opportunity while already holding down another position. Maybe you were feeling burned out and wanted a change, or maybe you were searching for an interesting side hustle.
Either way, most seasoned notaries will tell you that it takes some real time and commitment to build enough business to go full-time as a signing agent. This is why we see many Notary Signing Agents also working another job.
This was my experience. I had worked 4 long years as a schoolteacher before taking a year off to be a nanny. I was burned out on education, and I needed something temporary until I figured out what I really wanted to do.
I found out about notary work through my husband who was working as a real estate investor. And as a signer on most of the paperwork, I came in contact with many notaries. I couldn’t help but ask them about their work. I spent many signings learning what a notary actually does, and how they do it. And well, the rest is history!
At the moment, I’m not planning to quit my nanny job. There are many challenges I face as a notary who is trying to do something else full time. And thanks to those challenges I have discovered some tips and tricks to get business, stay organized, and schedule work so that I could enjoy my NSA job on the side.
How to be a notary part time
Here are several ideas about how to have the best of both worlds!
Register with Signing Companies & Notary Directories
Once you’re successfully commissioned and trained as a Notary Signing Agent, the next thing you should do is register with as many signing services and directories as possible. This will likely be where the bulk of your work comes from, and you want to get the phone ringing.
In completing online registration forms, most signing services will ask about your availability. The #1 trick I learned is to indicate that you are available ALL THE TIME, even if you’re not.
The reason is that no signing service is going to go through each NSA’s schedule and find someone available for just that moment. Some will send out an all-call, or some will call directly, but if there are schedule restrictions, they do not have time to narrow it down. You are not causing any harm by stating your availability this way; you are just allowing yourself the full opportunity.
For example, what if you end up with a day off and a call comes in? You want to be prepared to take it. Likewise, signings happen at ALL times of the day, so you can always wait for one that fits your schedule. The main goal is not to be passed up because of your schedule restrictions. By omitting them, you are ready for anything that comes your way.
Market your other skills
In making the decision to begin notary work, I realized that I had zero experience with any of it: becoming a notary, the various types of signings, real estate terminology, etc. And while I was going through training and gaining experience, I still needed to be able to market myself in a positive way. This is where a little creativity can come in handy!
It can be a challenge to answer honestly when a signing service asks for your experience, and you are a brand new NSA. It is crucial to be able to determine other applicable skills for the job so they will take a chance on you. As a teacher, I have been able to tout my organization and people skills, my attention to detail, and my educational background. As a nanny, it can be a little more difficult to pinpoint a relationship between my two jobs. That said, I have always tried to highlight the things about me that make me a good people-person, because working with people is a huge part of being a successful notary.
I also believe in relating any and all experience. For example, when I first became an NSA, I had already purchased my own house. Therefore, I had seen many closing documents before. It has to count for something, right? Make sure to consider every positive quality you bring to the signing table, not just your experience, and if necessary, fake it till you make it! Honesty is crucial, but in a very short time, you will be knowledgeable and ready. Now it’s time to prove it.
Make a schedule, and stick to it
Every job involves a different set of priorities. For example, as a scheduled employee, both in teaching and nannying, I cannot take off work whenever I feel like it. My schedule is very restricted that way. Therefore, my day job has to be my first priority, and part time signing agent work can only take precedence when my schedule allows it. However, there are MANY full time jobs with flexible schedules, so it is up to you to set your priorities, set your schedule, and stick to it.
One way of making a schedule that you can live with is to lay out your daily schedule the week beforehand. Do you only want to pursue signing work on Tuesdays and Thursdays, after work? Do you have Mondays off? Do you want to work weekends? Evenings? Since signing opportunities can happen at all hours, you have to know which ones you can commit to and which ones you have to pass on in order to create a realistic schedule.
Another important aspect of NSA work is allowing time to print and review your documents. Most experienced notaries will tell you to double check the package before showing up to the signing so there are no issues. As a newer agent, I would spend at least an hour marking each and every signature line so I could be sure I wouldn’t miss anything. It has only been in gaining more experience that I have been able to accept signings with less time for review.
It’s just important to take the extra time you will need into account when committing to a signing. That means, if you answer the phone on a Tuesday night, and the signing is on Wednesday afternoon, you have to not only plan to be there on time, but also carve out enough time beforehand to prepare. Not all signing services send the documents as soon as you accept the job. The rule of thumb is to expect to receive them before 2 hours prior to the appointment. You need to determine whether the signing fits into your schedule – not just at the signing table, but in the prep work as well.
Stay positive about your notary side hustle!
My biggest struggle with working full time and doing Notary Signing Agent work on the side is that I always wish I could take more signings. It is important to remember that in the early stage, you have to take what you can get. If your business is continually growing, you can experiment with your schedule to be more available, or even consider whether you could quit your day job and become a full time NSA.
Don’t get discouraged if you can only do one signing per week, or a handful per month. As a side hustle, notary signing agent work can be an amazing opportunity, and having other income to supplement your life while you work to build your business is equally important.
The most positive aspect for me in being a Notary Signing Agent is that it is what I make it! If I want more, I can find a way to take more!
Are you working as a part time notary while you hold another full time job? Share your experience in the comments.
Thanks for reading! If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up and join the Notary Jane directory so those looking for a notary in their area can find you!