Necessary and Successful

One online comment we’ve all seen many times from notaries is how this or that suggested thing is “not necessary.”

I would humbly suggest that “necessary” is about following laws and regulations. This is a minimum to be in business, and it is not enough to succeed in business. Success is about more than what is merely necessary.

Success is about knowing your market; having a data-driven plan that includes a strategy for achieving what you’ve chosen as your definition of success within that market; taking action within that strategy; measuring the results of your actions; adapting your plan and actions based on those measured results; and anticipating changes to laws and technology and other aspects of your market so you are prepared to handle them and stay on course toward your goals.

Success is about marketing — finding and qualifying customers & clients and convincing them to know, like, and trust you so that they buy, repeat, and refer others to what goods or services you offer.

Success is about return on investment — a measurable positive impact on the profitability or marketability of your business for every dollar or hour you spend on it.

Success is about benefits that are more valuable than the cost to obtain them, both the benefits you obtain in exchange for your investments in your business and the benefits you offer to your clients and customers when they buy from you.

So, no, it is not “necessary” to be a member in the NNA, get certified by them, buy a background check through them, be listed in the big three directories (notaryrotary, 123notary, and notarycafe) with a paid membership in each, and have more notary Errors & Ommissions insurance than your state requires.

These things are not about what is “necessary.” They are about success. They are about Return On Investment and marketing and cost-benefit.

You can have a notary business without any of them. You can have an NSA business without any of them.

Just know that being in these types of business without them will be like reaching for your goals with one hand tied behind your back.

Don’t expect to start from scratch with no relevant background and build it quickly to success without them, as your established competitors are very likely to have them all and to out-compete you using the advantages that these things offer.

And don’t expect anyone to tell you for free how to succeed without those advantages. That knowledge does not come cheap; it requires spending significant amounts of time and money to learn. It always has and always will.

If you want to be successful in business, you will need training and every other advantage you can acquire. Stopping with only the minimum necessary is a good way to fail.


About Tim Gatewood

55+, male, widowed/single. Customs Broker, Notary Public, Signing Agent, Writer, and Ordained Minister. #catdaddy Science fiction and fantasy fan, avid reader, Founder of the Darrell Awards. Author of _Getting Started As A Notary Signing Agent_ (available from Please be kind to one another.
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2 Responses to Necessary and Successful

  1. Laura says:

    Great article!!!! As a private notary coach, helping new notaries understand business basics such as investing in their business to get stellar results. Relying on free, trials, advice on forums only will not take you far enough to succeed. These can be good ways to try out, but you must commit to get full value back. Notary business is no easier than starting any other business however, we can get the same stellar results when we put in the effort, time and investment.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Tim, you can see or hear me but I’m clapping my hands in applause. Accurate and to the point. I agree with everything that you’ve written here. There really are no shortcuts to success are there? Important advice for those who are pursuing this line of work in hopes of making $100K a year (tongue in cheek). Those of us who have been in this business for 5+ years are just now starting to see a return on our (earlier) investments. I also agree with Laura’s comments. I wish more newbies would consider meeting with mentors from SCORE and/or SBA to get business advice.

    Liked by 1 person

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