By Sharon Hassler—Since we launched, I’ve become even more aware of how important attitude is to success. Notaries who are excited about their business and actively seeking ways to increase it are succeeding. Those who are content to join one or two directories and passively sit back and wait are failing—not just because they aren’t marketing aggressively on the Internet, but because “sit back and wait” appears to be their strategy in the real world, too. That’s one reason we started our “Featured Notary” series, to showcase notaries who are successful, who lead by example. The common thread: They are entrepreneurs. They take their business seriously and they work hard at marketing and networking.

Nearly anyone can get a notary license, but a thriving business doesn’t necessarily follow. Having held positions when I was paid on commission as a real estate agent and loan officer, I learned early about self-promotion, so it surprises me to hear notaries say they don’t want to pay for advertising, join networking organizations, or even spend a little extra to get professional business cards. (One of the most common searches that lands on our site is for these four keywords: free notary business cards.) I’ve seen plenty of ads on becoming a notary that present this career as easy and cheap to start, as though you can do nothing or send out 100 letters and start making $100,000 a year! Not so fast! Becoming a notary isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. This is a real business with real expenses, requiring real effort.

After you get your commission, notary supplies, E&O insurance, bond, and business cards, you still need notary training.

You need to think about marketing and accumulate a little money for advertising: ads, flyers, letters/postage, car magnets, and long distance charges for calls to signing services and title companies. From day one, some portion of your income should go back into promoting your business.

Even with a tight budget, however, you can take advantage of the Internet. Your Internet Service Provider (Comcast, CenturyLink, Cox Cable, Cableone, etc.) usually allow you to create a free web page or web site as part of your account with them. Or, if you want something more professional, try a directory website with or a standalone website with a company like Weebly. Visit our Notary Directories page for places to post listings and link back to your website..

Marketing 101: Track your return on investment! Ask your customers how they found you. This should be a routine part of your client communication. Unless you have unlimited resources, tracking the results of your marketing isn’t an option; it’s a necessity. As they say, the trick to success is simple: Find out what works and do more of that. That’s good advice.