Inside the Hustle: Delivering Notarized Documents

My notary work from Friday is now complete. I took a bus to the Red Line. From the North Hollywood station Ubered to the attorney’s office in which I was suppose to drop off the paperwork. Almost got hit by a car crossing Ventura Blvd.

All for two minutes of work. And $80. $30 of actual notarization services and $50, of travel fees. But I’m pretty sure that was all eaten up. So, I broke even. It happens. Part of the cost of doing business.

But I offered exemplary service which I’m proud of. Texted the client this morning to confirm in was en route to the attorney’s office and made sure I had the right address. Then once undropped off the documents, I texted him a photo of the location and called him letting him know everything was delivered and completed.

My favorite part: CashApp-ing him.

Inside the Hustle: Notarizing a Power of Attorney

This is my third time visiting an (actual) client at a rehabilitation/nursing home. And I must say, it’s sad. The situation, at least. Coming to the point of your life that you need to give someone the power to make decisions over your well being and your livelihood should you no longer be able to.

So, I’m headed to the Rehabilitation Center of Beverly Hills to weave myself in someone’s life for a brief moment hoping their loved ones have their best interest at heart.

Working 5 to 9: It Happens

On Monday of this week, I made plans to meet a notary client between 7:30am and 8:00am on Tuesday, as I was not able to meet him Monday afternoon. I was busy. Actually having a life. Plus, I didn’t have my notary journal or stamp on me. So I needed to reschedule. And in our text communication, I agreed to the time set on Tuesday and he agreed as well. I also explained that I would text him when I was leaving and when I arrived that morning. He liked the sound of that.

So when yesterday morning rolls around, I shoot him a text letting him know I was headed his way. Then, 15 minutes after I sent the text, he responds asking how much will the total be for the notary services. I tell him the notarization is $15, but my travel is $25. He then responds, “the bank charges $15”. I said, so do I but I also charge a travel fee since I’m traveling to you. He thought we agreed to a $20 fee. Nothing in our text ever said I agreed to $20 fee for everything. He thought I was really going to accept $5 for traveling 13 miles out of my way to him.

He said he couldn’t pay that while I was in my Uber on my way to him. Frustrated at this point, I just texted back “thank you.”. He then said no worries, like he was really doing me a favor and asked if he could save my number. I, in turned, saved his as well… so I know never to respond to him in the future.

Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice, shame on me.

But it happens. Working with clients on our own isn’t going to be perfect and rainbows and sunshine all the time. We’re going to get people who are a disappointment. Who cost us more money to work with them than not to. Who don’t commit or poorly communicate. It happens. It’s part of the process. It’s how we learn how to do what we do better.

So even though he cost me $9.95 in fare money, I take this as a lesson learned experience. It’ll happen. The not so good clients will come and I will still have to roll with those punches.

Inside The Hustle: Same Day Notary Service

On my way to service a notary client in the Hollywood at a nursing / convalescent home. The person helping or representing them found me on Craigslist last week and I was lightly in touch with her for a few days. Usually, when I don’t hear back, I assume they found another notary or no longer need the service.

But she sent an email and I’m on my way. I just wish she provided me a contact number. Little logistical necessities that help a great deal.

She’s also lucky I’m available right now since I’m flexing my time at work. I don’t have to be at work till 12:30pm, so squeezing this in works for me. I just hope I can reach by her time I get there and secure this assignment.

Inside the Hustle: Notary Signing in Compton

It’s about time I start sharing what my hustle looks like, don’t ya think? Right now I’m in an Uber heading southbound to provide notary services for a client I received via Omega Homestead Remodeling. I was contacted by them via Craigslist. His assistant, Elizabeth, called me with the deets. So, here I am having a lovely conversation with Christopher, my driver who is also a options trader.

PTHS: Having an “On Call” Business

Yes, I like the idea of having a part time business that I control and generates income.

Yes, I like being able to control most of the fees in involved in my service (travel fee, rush service, etc.) The state of California dictates how much I can charge per notarization.

And yes, I like that I get the choose when I work… in theory…

See, I call myself a mobile/traveling notary which means I go to my clients when they need my services. Key word: “when“. So as much I may like the idea of controlling my hours, my hours are dependent on when my clients.

As single female who’s hustlin’, I can never forget that my business — or any business — is dependent on the client. No client, no business. Their time, my time. No matter I may be. No matter is I just woke up from what I was calling a nap before. I’m needed then serve.

No excuses.

But, it’s still my time.

May Discount Notary Day (Discount Day #5)

Getting back into the groove of things…

It’s May’s Discount Notary Day, notary #5!  I am here at the Starbucks on the corner of 6th Street and Spring in gloomy but still bustling downtown Los Angeles (603 S. Spring St).  And a very spacious Starbucks it is indeed.

If, whatever reason, you need a notarization of any sort, come join me!  Plus, I’m giving my first notary client of the day a free $10 iTunes gift card.  And all you have to do is be the first one to get a notarization.

All notarization fees are reduced to $10.  No travel fees because you’re meeting me here. I’m only here till 1:00pm.  Don’t wait to long!

May Discount Notary Day

Discount Notary Day #4: Wilshire & Highland

Good morning, Good morning, GOOD MORNING.

Discount Notary Day #4 for me and I am at the Starbucks at Wilshire and Highland (yes, there is parking) comfortable poised and positioned facing the entrance.  Look for single and hustlin’ female with a long sleeve blue with the words “Notary Public” on the back of her laptop (working on other stuff) to get your reduced notarizations today and today only!

Notaries normally charge $15 per signature to notarize your documents, but today I am offering $10 instead of $15.  And I’m only here till 1:00pm so stop by and see me before I leave.

Discount Notary Day 4

Thursday’s Thoughts: Who’s In Your Backyard

Notary in their own backyard

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine’s aunt reach out to me and asked to me notarized a deed trust package for her church — her church owns a school and are selling it — and of course, I said yes.  Then I asked her for the address as she wanted me to meet them at the church, since that’s where they had the paperwork waiting at.  So I Googled the address as I recalled only visiting the church once with my friend who was hosting a model call (at the time my friend operated a digital fashion/lifestyle magazine) back then.  When I looked at the area to familiarize myself with it, I noticed someone’s Notary business indicated on the map.   With a website.  So I did what any curious competitor would do.  Clicked on it and read on all their sh*t.  I felt I needed to.  I wanted to see how I stacked up against someone already in the biz doing it longer.

For starters, I was surprise to see that the notary charged $25 for the first 8 miles from their location.  DAMN!  I don’t know, I think that’s a lot of money to charge for going 8 miles in LA.  But I read on.  Similar to my “Discount Notary Days“, he had a list of Starbucks locations he would travel to provide notary services.  And if you wanted to meet him there on the weekend, he’d knock off $5 of the travel fee.  Dude, for real?  Yes.  He was seriously charging people to meet him at Starbucks.  $20!  You could at least get for over-priced coffees for that.  Just sayin’.  But I loved learning how he priced everything and made it very transparent for the customer.

So I arrived at the church, spent about 30 minutes notarizing the package.  It turns out that my friend’s aunt was the church’s secretary, so she was present there to sign off on whatever needed to be signed on behalf of the church along with another member.  After I was paid and we packed up, she walked me out and we briefly talked and I promise to touch base more frequently.  Well, as soon as I turned the corner, I saw this notary business sign on someone’s lawn across the street from the church.  And no, it wasn’t the $25 travel fee dude.  It was another person.  Two notaries within their distance and I get the job.  Loved it!  But of course, it was networked.  My mother always keeps telling me, it’s not what I know, but who I know and who knows me.

Then it dawned on me.  How many notaries must there be on my block, in my neighborhood?  How much business am I potentially losing out on because someone else is there and I don’t even know it?  Well, technically, I Googled it and no one came up.  No one or no business in a 5 block radius, at least.  But who may quietly be there?  Hmm?  What competitor is in my own backyard that I may not know about?  So it got me thinking about how creative I need to be to put myself out there, to get people’s attention and to earn their business.  I don’t know what that is yet, but I’ll figure it out.  After all, you never who may be in your own backyard doing what you’re doing too!

Thursday’s Thoughts: Ingenuity is Hard

Because I don’t have an office outside of home for any of the work I do, I spend a great of my time at coffee shops.  But national chains and local mom-and-pop shops. And I have a few favorite spots that I like to hit up.  One spot I love to indulge in is this place called the Blu Elefant cafe.  It’s on Washington Blvd, about a block west of Normandie.  They started out as this cute, cozy ,eclectic throw back coffee shop with comfortable couches and old books.  Now they’ve grown in customers and size and they serve meals and hosts a number of open-mic nights.  Love it!  But I digress.

Coffee shops are where I meet with clients, recurring and prospects. Collect payments and help good friends out with their graduate school scholarship applications.  But recently, I’ve decided to add another element to my coffee shop rendezvous.  I am a traveling/ mobile notary.  Meaning, for a price, I will go to my client and provide notary services for their convenience.   But what if I had a temporary pop-up like spot every so often?  Y’know, a spot I was at where my clients could actually come to me for a chance?

So last month I decided to launch this little idea of mine called ” Discount Notary Days”.  In the state of California, notaries are only allowed to charge $15 at the most.  We can charge less, if we want, but no one becomes a notary for charity, so chances are, you will be charged the full $15.  Well, I said to myself and myself said “hmm?” (old joke, old joke… gotta watch the Kings of Comedy) what if I offered a reduced price on notary services one day a month on a Saturday, a day I am not working and plant root at a coffee shop for a few hours, say four hours from 9am-1pm?

Great idea, right?  If you won’ say it, I will.

This way I get to increase my chances of find more clients, they find me and I do I want to do — make some money (wish I had the “get ready to rumble” voice) !

My first Discount Notary Day was in January and my second one was this past Saturday.  Oh…my…damn.  Ingenuity is hard.  I see why only a select few people are successful. Things have to fall right into place for it to work out and whether it does or doesn’t, you gotta keep at it.  But they say practice makes perfect, right?

So, the first time I did it, I only advertised a week out, because I had just made up my mind that I was going to start this promotion in January rather than wait to February.  A week’s worth of notice wasn’t enough time to give people a chance to find me or even read the ad.  Where did I post this ad?  I was lazy.  I posted it on Craig’slist, BackPage, and my website.  Again, I had made the decision late in the game.  My bad.

How many clients did I get that day?  None.  But I got a lot of other work done.  I liked that.  And some take away lessons too.

So here comes February.  The mistakes I made and lessons I learned, I was adamant about incorporating them this time around.  The first time in January, I was also a little late getting there by 9am.   Like, 10 minutes.  I’m almost never late.  I hate being late.  Forget about what people say about LA traffic and being late being a norm.  If people want to be on time for something important, there’s a f’n way!  Trust me.  [Exhales].  So, February comes around.  This time I swear I’m not going to be late, because I don’t know the clients I missed if I’m not there, right?  I missed by bus two minutes in January, which was why I was late.  I saw that bastard pass me.  That hurt.  This time I was five minutes early for the bus. Not screwing that up again.

The bus was 30 minutes late!  Ugh! Definitely an FML moment.  

That in turn made me 25 minutes.  Ouch.  Who knows who I missed.   But I was determined to still go and camp out at Coffee Bean for my committed hours.  I am a woman of my word.   In January, there was no way for anyone to know I was the Notary providing discount services.  This time around, I create a removable label that clung to the back of my laptop, so when people walked in, my computer said “Notary Public”.   I sat near the entrance, like I did in January.  I had cash and plenty of singles like last time.  This time, I printed additional Acknowledgments and Jurats, in case they were needed.  I didn’t do that last time.  And I advertised a little more than two weeks out from the date I committed myself to.  I picked the date early so I could incorporate other clients and plans around the date without later having to fumble and possibly cancel. 

My tardiness aside, February’s execution Discount Notary Day was much better in preparation than January’s.  And that made me feel good.  How many people did I get as clients this past Saturday?

None [laughs].

But I felt better.  I felt like I was absorbing everything I was doing.  I felt like I wasn’t just aimlessly shooting hoping to get a hit.  I was paying attention to the circumstances, the foot traffic and my own efforts.  But being successful, even at the smallest thing, takes much more work (and time) than I think most of us realize.  Preparation is half the freakin’ battle.  But successful I am determined to be.  Watch and see.

And so will you be.