By: Samantha Smith, ShelistenS Notary Specialists,
2022 NNA Notary of the Year and NNA Notary Ambassador®
The pandemic saw a meteoric rise in the number of individuals applying for notary commissions, using their current commissions to start businesses and those labeling themselves as notary gurus and trainers. While new notaries were bombarded with messages of “fast money” and “booming business” during extremely uncertain times, they were also overwhelmed with the amount of information available to sift through. This highlighted the tremendous need for continuous (and credible) notarial education. Now that the notary community is experiencing a new wave of uncertainty in the real estate industry, where should a notary begin their journey?
Whether brand new notary to the industry or interested in providing notary business support, it is essential to know the difference between the most talked about, highly requested and often misused educational opportunities: training, coaching and mentoring.
Notaries should always begin with state-specific notary training. Training establishes the foundation to serve the state in this crucial role to protect the interests of its citizens. This is the opportunity to learn state laws and allowable notarial acts especially for those who are newly commissioned. Too often new notaries skip this step, jump right into the business and begin taking signing appointments without the proper knowledge. This can prove to be disastrous for the notary who can face legal consequences and for the signer who is expecting the notary to be competent about the notarial acts they are providing.
Once the notary has received appropriate state training, connecting with a coach can help with the application of the training and to establish sound business practices. Consider the relationship between an athlete and a coach. A good coach develops strategies to increase skill, form and execution in a sport. Coaches guide the athlete on how to hold the bat or the golf club, improve form at the free throw line, or get a faster time during a race, but the coach does not do any of the work for the athlete. Coaches don’t win games. It is the athletes who focus on improving their skills and applying the knowledge from their coach who win games. The same holds true for notaries who want to invest in a coach for their business.
All notaries have at some point sought out a mentor. From their favorite social media influencer or another notary in their community, notaries are looking for a connection to grow their businesses. A good mentor plays a support role for notaries by sharing experiences, and sometimes resources and connections. Too often a notary’s expectations of a mentor include unlimited access to their time and the idea that the mentor’s level of involvement will determine the notary’s success or failure. Additionally, mentors who are invested in supporting a notary’s journey will also encourage personal development. Those who have been successful in this (or any industry) know that the person you become is far important than the amount of money that is made.
Training, coaching and mentoring are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Many people and platforms are promoting these services, and it’s important to know that some will require an investment of money but all will require an investment of time and action from the notary in need of support.
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