Takisha Smith is a Notarize agent who works as an operations manager for a wealth management firm during the day. On nights and weekends she runs a virtual assistant, mobile notary and social media management firm called AfterHoursVA. Takisha is a mentor and coach for many women, particularly working moms in their 30’s and 40’s who are trying to build their economic independence, start their own businesses and set up their online presence. As a part-time notary agent, Takisha runs one of the largest Facebook notary groups and enjoys helping others. With Notarize’s technology and remote service, she can help people get their most important transactions notarized 24/7.
Q: How did you get into the notary business?
A: I’ve been a notary since 2012. I got into it as a secondary profession, as I really wanted to build my own business, but understood the financial constraints could be too great. This gave me an opportunity to explore building my own service on my own time, without interfering with my day job.
Q: What has been the greatest challenge in growing the business?
A: The challenge is helping people understand that notaries are out there and available. Marketing to the right audiences through the right channels was a learning opportunity. Social media has been a great way to get the word out.
Q: What do you love about the business/dislike?
A: One of my favorite things about this job is being able to help people. With a mobile and remote service like Notarize, I can help at anytime and from anywhere. That flexibility is invaluable for people when they need important paperwork taken care of as soon as possible. One of the challenges in this business involves the real estate industry. Sometimes, notaries are the first point of contact to the borrower and they ask questions that we aren’t privy to.
Q: What excites you about Notarize?
A: Notarize is the future. When the Commonwealth of Virginia enacted Senate Bill 827 and House Bill 2318 in 2012, there were already over 100 electronic notaries. However, no one really knew that the law allowed for mobile remote notarization. Having a platform that allows notarization from anywhere and anytime opens this industry to exciting new possibilities.
Q: Are you already seeing customers coming in?
A: Yes. I had five in one evening from Georgia, as there was a deadline for certification for small business owners the next day and some people had forgotten to get their documents prepared. Again, one of the beauties of Notarize’s services is that I was able to help these individuals after hours.
Q: What do you see the future of Notarization being?
A: Notarize is the future of the business and I hope others states will follow suit. The challenge will be within our industry itself. This industry has been the same for a long time and some notaries feel technology can be scary, but this service is so easy to use it will make all the difference. Also, when big businesses see how easily notarizing is now, and how much time and money can be saved, we will start seeing major mortgage companies and enterprises increasing their use of Notarize.
Q: Do you have plans to scale your business? If so, how?
A: Not at this time, but that’s the beauty of Notarize and this business. The flexibility empowers me to do this job when I have available time and earn additional income.
Q: What are the biggest mistakes people make in this business?
A: A fear of the unknown and technology has held this business back. Most people just feel comfortable with what they know, but Notarize is so easy to use that it won’t take long for everyone to get on board and make more money, given the speed and access to clients.
Q: Have customers been nervous about, or question, the legality?
A: Actually, no. I’ve seen more concern from notaries themselves, but the mobile/digital lifestyle is something that most consumers have gotten used to. Bringing this process into that digital world just makes sense.
Q: What inspires you?
A: Broadly, technology like this inspires me because we’re always coming out with new and better ways to do things. I am not typically an early adapter or a tech genius, but I appreciate how technology has simplified our lives and presented new opportunities.