Real Talk About Remote Online Notarization

Jun 13, 2022
 

We've all heard about RON-Remote Online Notarization. Join me with my guest this week, Amy Seitz, a fellow Notary who saw an opportunity to build a business (and a RON platform) as a virtual Notary. She shares the good, the bad, and the strategy she used to create a successful online business as a Notary Public. If you're wondering if RON is right for you, don't miss this episode!

Guest Information:

Amy Seitz is the Creator/founder, and CEO of CyberizeIt.com, an online Notarization platform that helps Notaries build their RON business.

Explore more at www.cyberizeit.com

Episode Highlights:

4:43 Despite some challenges, Amy Seitz paints the picture of opportunity for those that are exploring Remote Online Notarization. Is RON in your future?

20:47 Building your Remote Online Notary business is similar to building your in-person Notary business: Through digital presence and relationships.

59:05 This work matters! Tune-in to Amy's compelling "why" she works so hard to be of service to her signers, and to the Notary community.

--- Full Raw Transcription Below ---

Bill Soroka (00:01:04):
All right, welcome guys to the Sign And Thrive podcast today, we're talking about the exciting world of Remote Online Notarization and all the pluses, the minuses, the ups, the downs, that whole process. And I'm here with my very special guest Amy Seitz, founder, and creator of Cyberize It. Welcome Amy.

Amy Seitz (00:01:25):
Well, hello there, Bill. I'm so glad that you invited me on this.

Bill Soroka (00:01:29):
I am too. I think it's it. It's past due that you join me on one of these podcasts. I love that you're all over Clubhouse. And that's one thing I admire about you, Amy is your presence on Clubhouse, cause that's where we ended up meeting, but you're constantly finding ways to deliver value and help other notaries. So thank you for all you contribute to our community.

Amy Seitz (00:01:55):
Well, no problem. You know, one of the reasons that I keep trying to chime into those is there's so many misconceptions and misunderstandings. It's not even with the world of RON or REN or IPEN and understanding the different terminology and how people are asking questions. And one can do this and one can do that, not this other. And it, I really wanted to be kind of like the sounding board because I've read all of the laws and I've, I've really tried to research all of the if, ands, or buts. So I'm hoping that it helps people become better notaries.

Bill Soroka (00:02:33):
Yeah, I think it's very clear that it, it is already and you really highlighted one of the biggest challenges for teaching, coaching or training with remote online notarization because not only are all 50 states different or, and not only all, all 50 states don't even approve RON yet, but the ones who do have their own set of laws. And then on top of that, there's the technology platforms that all have their own way of doing things too. So it's really difficult. So it's understandable why it's so convoluted and confusing for people.

Amy Seitz (00:03:07):
Oh yes. And, and if you're not you know, one of, one of the pitfalls of this is every state's different. Yes. But at the bare root of everything, all of the states teach the law, which they need to, don't get me wrong, but they don't teach any notary how to sell it. Yeah. And that also hurts because when you don't know the whys or the hows of what functionality you need, you can't sell it to the right market. You can't create your correct client base. And you're going to run into these people that have no way of validating with the online se, the session through the ID proofing. And you're just at a standstill, still. And you, you just lose that momentum that you think you had because now you've got to completely recreate the wheel on your end to find a new target audience. And hopefully that foundational aspect of it helps bring the awareness to who can and if they can't, here's what you do, you know, it isn't a, an end all it's, it's a, it's a pivot.

Bill Soroka (00:04:19):
That's awesome. And that's, that's nice and deep. And just the way I want to go with this, let's rewind it a little bit though, in case there's a listener. I mean, cause RON is relatively new to our world. So if there's a listener who maybe doesn't understand what Remote Online Notarization is, can you define that for them?

Amy Seitz (00:04:40):
Sure. So the Remote Online Notarization or RON, for short. You'll hear that a lot. And everybody's like, who's RON and how do I get to know him? . It is, it is the ability to notarize documents in a virtual setting. A client will go through a specified ID proofing type of, of methodology. And that varies by state law. The client would connect with the notary via an audio visual session that allows them to see and hear everyone that is signing the document through the entire process. And then everyone's going to sign with electronic signatures and the notary will have an electronic notary stamp. And when everything's all said and done the document's encrypted, so it cannot be changed after the session's over. What's really great about RON is there's no writer's cramp and no paper cuts.

Bill Soroka (00:05:44):
That's a huge benefit too. Now I can see why so many people are, are drawn to the idea of RON, right? The idea of being able to sit on your couch and notarize anyone almost in the world depending on what state you're in and the, the rules regarding that. But what are some of the downsides that you've discovered in your, as you're going through this and coaching others along the way?

Amy Seitz (00:06:16):
Oh, so it is not for everyone. The, the idea that you can service any client anywhere, depending upon your state, of course, does bring up some issues. I was in North Carolina last week and some of the notaries there, we're talking about, well, up in the hills, there's no cell signal, there's no internet, you know, how would we do it if we were at one of these clients' house and this is in the United States and I'm like, well then you can't. There's, if there's no cell, that means there's no hotspot, which means there's no, and there's no internet, you can't do it. So if your client is in an area that they have no internet at all and no cell signal, then they're not going to be able to access it. And I've run into situations where people were overseas and they were in areas where they had to drive two, three hours in order to get to an area to connect. And you know, you've got to have that good connection, otherwise it's not going to make it go. So while we think it could service the whole world, it really can't. We are limited by the, the bandwidth of technology. So….

Bill Soroka (00:07:27):
Yeah. Good point, good point. And it seems like there's just, there's good candidates for this service and there's just can, non non candidates for this service, almost like any other business, right. Or any other line of service you have?

Amy Seitz (00:07:38):
Oh yes, definitely. And one thing that works for one is not going to work for another. And some of it is, and even at, at the fault or at, even at the control of the signer. For instance, like the ID proofing system of knowledge based authentication questions. I find that ID proofing methodology very unfair. It puts a lot of citizens and non-citizens at a disadvantage because if you're 18 years old, you have no history. You have no public records to pull from. And that in case anyone doesn't know, knowledge based authentication is five questions about you that only you will know because who knows you better than you. But the idea behind it is it's going to ask you what color car you drive. It's going to ask you what the numbers are with the address you lived at. It's going to ask you maybe who owns a loan on who you financed a car through or who you financed your house through.

Amy Seitz (00:08:42):
But if you're 18, you've never done any of that. Right. So you're not going to have that. So you're not going to be eligible just because of circumstantial situations. But on the flip side, you get somebody that is 70, 80, 90 years old, and then ask them a question from when they were 20. Yeah. And the one of the questions I absolutely hate. And it's one of the questions on my platform too, but is, which hospital is closest to this address. Okay. So let's say you lived at this address 15 years ago and you moved away. You've never went back. You've never stayed in touch and a hospital was built nine years ago. And now today, that hospital is the closest one to that address. And it's asking you questions in real time. So today, which hospital is closest to that address, and now it's a hospital that wasn't in existence when you actually lived there. So how would you be expected to know that?

Bill Soroka (00:09:47):
Right. Wow.

Amy Seitz (00:09:49):
Oh yeah. I do not like KBA. If you get, if you don't get ,

Bill Soroka (00:09:55):
Well, I've heard some of the most frustrating stories and I love that you brought up that example too. cause there are people who are, you know, upper in age and their questions go back. Like I even had one when I was testing out, I'm like it was what was, what color was your and they had the, the brand of car that I had and I'm like, I have no idea that was back in my partying days in the first place. And I only had the car six months. How am I supposed to know that? Yeah. I'm like, I failed my own KBA test.

Amy Seitz (00:10:24):
Exactly. So you don't know you very well. The, the other thing is, is if you own the same type of car, but different colors. So maybe in the eighties you owned a Toyota Camry that was silver. And in the nineties you owned a Toyota Camry that was black. And this says, what color was your Toyota Camry? Well, which one I owned multiple, you know, so lots of, lots…

Bill Soroka (00:10:50):
Of issues. Yeah. So that's some of the challenges.

Amy Seitz (00:10:52):
So.

Bill Soroka (00:10:52):
Definitely.

Amy Seitz (00:10:53):
So that that's well, we're…..

Bill Soroka (00:10:56):
It's, we're in the infancy of this thing, right? Technically right. Even though the first RON state was what, 2012 in Virginia. So I mean, still we're 10 years in, but in the grand scheme of things, there's still a lot to learn.

Amy Seitz (00:11:12):
Oh definitely. And you also have to remember a lot of the other states I think before COVID we were only at like 10 states that allowed it and the rest have come on board since COVID hit. And you also had to remember that Virginia allows for multiple different ID proofing methods that many other states don't allow for. So when these other states have instituted their laws, they did not give us such a robust opportunity. So really when you were looking at Virginia as a, a test or the first one, they have other options. So they didn't necessarily count on one specific ID proofing. Now you look at like Ohio's laws, which is where I am. It specifically says I have to have KBA. I have to have ID credential analysis. And those are my only options for verifying the identity of a signer. When it limits us like that, then we start seeing the problems with it.

Amy Seitz (00:12:14):
That's when it really comes to, to the headlight and, and right there in your face. So I, I know I met with the state of Colorado this week, they're doing a sunset review of their RON and or notatorial laws in general. And I was able to bring up some of those points. And they said that they had not even looked at it from that perspective. And I gave them the opportunity to try the biometrics aspect as well, so that they could see what a biometric analysis does and how it's much more in line with validating that person right there versus gathering a whole bunch of historic data. And I hope I have made an impression.

Bill Soroka (00:12:56):
Tell me more about that. What is biometric

Amy Seitz (00:13:00):
Assessment? So biometrics. Yeah. So a lot of states, Virginia, Florida, Wyoming, Montana, and Louisiana will allow you to validate a signer through biometric technology. And when we think biometrics, we think, oh my gosh, they want my blood or my fingerprints or my eye retina scan, but that's not what we're doing. What we're doing is, you upload your ID and it has your picture on your ID. And then you take a selfie. And what we do is we analyze your facial structure, you know, are your eyes the same distance apart? Is your nose the same, same shape to the picture of your ID, your jaw line. And I will tell you weight and hair color that doesn't matter. Makeup on makeup off hair, up hair down. No, that's not what we're looking at. And I can tell you, I lost a hundred pounds and I did it with a picture from before and now. And you would, it, it worked just fine. So the only time you would run into problems with that would be if someone had some kind of facial reconstruction facelifts, but that would be something that they would know would impact that. And they would need to find an ID that has the most current image. So….

Bill Soroka (00:14:22):
That's interesting. So are you saying, so it's not the, the, notary's not somehow measuring this, but you have technology that measures those biometrics.

Amy Seitz (00:14:31):
Yes. The is it has to be a third party vendor and it, it literally will put it through this comparative analysis kind of like if you think about when children are, are lost or missing and they do that age progression, think that same methodology, they take the facial com, components and they measure, and they analyze down to this little score. It's like getting a quiz. And as long as it's a ratio of 70% or higher, the system validates that you are really yourself,

Bill Soroka (00:15:05):
That is fascinating. And there's only a handful of states that have authorized this so far.

Amy Seitz (00:15:10):
Correct.

Bill Soroka (00:15:12):
Do you think is that in the future, is that the next step of the evolution of this thing?

Amy Seitz (00:15:16):
I think so. I'm also on MIDMO, which is the mortgage Institute. Well, I don't even know the full name of it. It's part of the bankers association. Yeah. And it's the governing standard for RON best practices when it comes to software and in their new release that's coming out hopefully the beginning of next year, they are going to emphasize that biometrics is a good alternative to KBA. Now, like I told Colorado, I don't want to say don't ever offer KBA because some people don't want to even think about doing biometrics and that's okay. So it depends on the client. I think the notary should be able to give the client options and make the client comfortable because all of this is brand new technology, not just to the notary, but to our clients as well. So we need to make sure everyone's on board with however they feel the best way to validate is.

Bill Soroka (00:16:14):
I think that's a great way of thinking about it. cause if you think depending on your state, right a notary has multiple ways to take ID. You know, they could use a driver's license, they could use a passport, some states, if those aren't available, they could use a credible witness. So it's just like having backups for your backups.

Amy Seitz (00:16:32):
Exactly. And a way to pivot. Okay, well that won't work for you. Let's look at it this perspective, how do we make this scenario work?

Bill Soroka (00:16:42):
I I'm, I'm just I'm even though I haven't been one of the early adopters of RON necessarily, I'm still just fascinated by this idea and I can't wait to see where it goes and how it evolves. But you bring up a interesting question with the selfies. Cause I know there there's a technology issue with the general public and doing these RON appointments too. Right? The general public doesn't know how well I'm trying to think of how to word this question. How frustrating is it for notaries working with a general public who doesn't know how to use the technology? Is that a big deal?

Amy Seitz (00:17:24):
Well, you've got to think about this from, from our perspective as a notary perspective, the goal is, we will have been doing these multiple times. Every time is not your first. So as you get going, you're going to hear trigger words and you're going to pick up on images or patterns of what the client's doing or doing wrong. And when they say, oh, I could just click this. And you're like, wait, wait, wait, hold on. No, you want to click the one on the left, not the one on the right. You want to click the blue button, not the green button or something along those lines. You know, the biggest thing that I see that the clients do, it isn't that they can't ultimately get connected. It's, they'll take the picture of their ID backwards. They'll put the back where the front goes and the front where the back goes.

Amy Seitz (00:18:17):
And it's an instant fail because when it validates that ID, it's looking for components on that image. And when that image doesn't have it, it's a fake. And even though it's not really a fake, they just did it backwards. So I'm making sure that that's expressed and, and also the, making sure the client understands that every single process while it's frustrating is required and it's required for their own protection. So as long as they don't rush through it, usually we don't have any problems. But as the notary, once you get the hang of it, you're, you're really good at explaining it to the client and giving them those verbal cues. So it doesn't necessarily get so tough on the notary then it's definitely a, a one the first time's always hard for the client. Yeah. But as the notary progresses, they, they learn how to accommodate that and adapt their terminology. You know, for instance, when we talk about this with each other, it's great to say, RON, we know what RON is, but when I'm talking about this with a client, I don't use the word, RON. I use the word virtual, we are, do do this all virtually. We're going to do a virtual notarization or an electronic one. However you want to phrase it because that changes their perception. You know ….

Bill Soroka (00:19:47):
That's a valuable lesson right there because so many of us get caught up in our own jargon. We just assume that the, the general public knows the same jargon that we do. And it's not the case.

Amy Seitz (00:19:58):
Right. And, and when you when you do that, it can get frustrating for the client because they're just like, what, who, you know, kind of like, who is that? RON? Who's RON. No. Yeah.

Bill Soroka (00:20:16):
Well, okay. So we're going to move into talking about the opportunities here in just a second, but I, I want to address too. Even though the pandemic I think has lowered the barrier and made, allowed people to see the value of remote online notarization, there's still some holdouts. There's still some people who really resist this kind of technology for various reasons. What do you think is the biggest resistance you hear from notaries right now?

Amy Seitz (00:20:47):
I hear a lot of them say, but I still want to have the engagement. I still want to go out. I love meeting the people. I love seeing them. I, you know, I, I, I just want that physical contact and that's okay. You know, the mobile notary or the in person notary's not going to go away and not, everyone's going to flip their business plan to be all virtual unless that's what they want. But I definitely think every notary needs to be open to the concept that times are changing, that you do need to have this in your back pocket as an option or have a notary buddy that does so that you don't lose clients. Because if the client decides that they would rather do this or that they need to do it, because it it's a predicament on their end, that that's the only solution. Wouldn't you rather be the solution to their problem versus the word of, oh, I'm sorry, I can't help you there. I don't know that one, you know, it's always better to offer opportunities even when you are not the opportunity, because they'll respect you for that at the end. So, excellent. That would be the biggest thing I hear from notes.

Bill Soroka (00:21:56):
I love that advice too. You want to be the resource for your customer, even if you're not the, the person doing the job, if you can refer. And this just adds to the importance of networking on Clubhouse, in your training groups, on these zoom training calls T and T all of those things where you can meet people know theories that you can trust to refer your customers to. That's excellent advice. What about fraud though? Cause I'm still, I still hear little whisperings of how people think RON is more, more apt to be, allow for fraud to happen. What's your, what's your take on it?

Amy Seitz (00:22:35):
I haven't seen fraud. I haven't seen someone trying to do something intentionally wrong. What I've seen is people not understanding the entire concept and thinking, well, because it's virtual, they really don't need to be here. So I'm going to upload this for my husband. And then we get on the zoom and I'm like, oh, you really did need to see him. Oh, okay. Well, that's a cancel, you know, you, you let me know when he's available. We'll, we'll reset it up. No problem. And, and it, I think it goes to the intent. If they're really trying to do something illegal, people are going to go really hog wire and try to figure out how to do that. That's that's true in any industry. But there's so many safeguards that RON's process puts into place. At some level, it's going to get, there's going to be questions, a rising from it either.

Amy Seitz (00:23:35):
They're not going to be able to answer the questions or the ID they upload is not going to match the actual client. And then when the notary gets on there, at the bare root of it,⠀the notary is the one that puts it all together. You know, no platform, no person should ever tell a notary, just do it. That's not okay.⠀If you are uncomfortable in that situation, you need to stop. It is your name on the line. It's your reputation, your business. And if anything triggers as a red flag, whether it's in person or online, that's an immediate no. And I've actually had a session where I've done that with. It was a client, he was in a nursing home. His sister was trying to have him get a power of attorney for her because she was trying to help him. And her intent really was to help him.

Amy Seitz (00:24:30):
The nursing home was trying to help him, but he would not talk to me on that session. Wouldn't say a word. Wouldn't say hi. He he'd give me the evil eye and would turn and not look and ignored me. And I was like, I'm sorry, if he's not willing, we're not doing this. And I was able to shut the session down. And, and luckily the that's the other big benefit of RON is I don't have to worry about a confrontation. If I'm saying no, it literally I'll click of a button when I'm done.  

Bill Soroka (00:25:05):
What a good point.

Amy Seitz (00:25:07):
Easy.

Bill Soroka (00:25:08):
No, I love that. You, oh, you bring that up because I think there's the, it's an almost irrational response to think, oh no, there's going to be fraud on the technology side. And it ignores the fact that there's a lot of fraud on the human side. So it doesn't matter whether we're, they're sitting in front of us or on the computer. There's a, there's a risk for fraud, which is why our position exists in the first place is to help prevent fraud in the first place. And I think that really highlights the importance of knowing your stuff, right? Like,⠀***just because you're an online notary or a remote online notary doesn't mean that you don't need to know your state laws and that you don't need to know how to perform your duties as a notary public. What advice do you have people along those lines?

Amy Seitz (00:25:58):
Oh, I want to completely emphasize that statement and I'm going to expand upon it because knowing your notary laws for a traditional notary is great, but knowing your notary laws for an online notary is a whole separate ball of wax. And when you do it online, when you're doing it in person, and there's a good chance, you might get a document from somewhere else once in a while. But the majority of the stuff you're doing is for locals and locals are going to have local documentation. I want to say 70% of the time. But when you're doing it online, you most likely will be dealing with people from all over the place. You're going to see notorial certificates from Nevada or Kentucky, where Kentucky, they aren't required to have a stamp. So they're not going to have a place for you to affix your stamp, or you're going to see international adoption documents, and they're going to be drawn up by like Germany.

Amy Seitz (00:26:57):
And now that tutorial area looks nothing like the ones in the states. And you've got to make sure that you are conforming all of these documents to meet your state laws. And they are so vast. It, here in Ohio, what's pretty simple. I just have to put it was done online basically. But if you're in a state like Indiana or, or Montana, you have to put the physical location of the signer in your notary block. And you also have to put that it was online and all these other things, but the idea behind it is every state is different with their RON laws. And you need to understand that. And, and then I'll throw in one more, one more little if on this, if you're doing a document and when this isn't even the notorial certificate, let's say I'm doing a will for a client. Who's got a property in Florida that, that their, their life is in Florida.

Amy Seitz (00:27:58):
It's going to go to Florida probate. There are specific questions in the Florida probate law that are required with an electronic notarization. And if you don't ask those in the video, they will throw it out. And no one will know until after they're dead if you did, or didn't follow the law. And it's not notorial law, it's probate law. So you've got to really, really be comfortable with what you're doing. And it's a lot. And, and I, I hear that a lot; Amy, my goodness, you train on so many different things, but every single one of them come out of it saying I'm a better RON for it.

Bill Soroka (00:28:42):
Yeah. That's huge. And I think most notaries are overwhelmed with just the state statutes or the handbook. They don't even think to check out probate code or even the power of attorney laws in their state. But that's, that's huge. And I think that's part of going all in as pro on this.

Amy Seitz (00:29:00):
Oh, definitely. And, and also being able to answer simple legal questions by the clients. And I'm not saying give legal advice. I'm physically in California and right now, California doesn't have RON. It's not legal. I can't use this because it's not legal here. That's not entirely true. The law in the state pertains to the notaries in the state. The law does not pertain to the signers. So making sure you differentiate the fact that, that law, that governing law of California only restricts the notaries in California. It doesn't restrict the citizens of California. The citizens of California could use RON. They could use RON since 2012. And technically it's been on the books in California law since 2000, right?

Bill Soroka (00:29:58):
Yeah. That's when the was it that the electronic signature law got passed,

Amy Seitz (00:30:03):
Correct? The e-sign law, the federal e-sign law did. And California adopted a, an act that specifically states that they will acknowledge an electronic illegally electronically signed document from an online noting.

Bill Soroka (00:30:20):
And, I mean, the reality is in, in that scenario, the receiving party of the document, right. Is the ultimate decider. So if the receiving party says, yeah, we'll take a remote online notarization. You're good to go.

Amy Seitz (00:30:32):
Correct. However, you never want to ask the receiving party, will you take an online notarization because 80% of them aren't going to know what that is.

Bill Soroka (00:30:41):
Isn't that crazy? Yeah.

Amy Seitz (00:30:43):
Oh my goodness. Yes. So same with, do you know what RON is? Well, do you know what an online notarization is? They're going to go dear in headlights. What? No, I don't know what that is. What I tell clients to ask is ask them if they will accept electronic signatures, simple, clear, cut, common terminology. If they say yes, then they'll take an electronic notarized document,

Bill Soroka (00:31:09):
Great work around. I love that. I love how you've you've flipped the script to help notaries sell it. And this is going to come circle, circle right back to how you pretty much started the conversation. Now we've talked about some of the challenges, the obstacles, the, the details of this, and despite all that, there's still tremendous opportunity here. Like when you tell me that 80% of people don't know what a RON is anyway, so don't ask that question, I see opportunity. You know, I see that this thing is just really opening up here. So tell me what you, in your opinion, what's the opportunity here for a notary public?

Amy Seitz (00:31:50):
Oh, I think it's vast. And, but at the same time, I think it's going to be, you need to be out there and doing it and be good at it because the moment that you're not good at it, that client has a world of other notaries they can go to now, instead of just another notary down the street. So if you're going to, if you're going to specialize in, it really specialize in it. Create that great customer service. But as far as opportunities go, there's so many different areas. And I will tell you, my, my client base consists of four title agencies, just four. And it keep me busy enough that I can't take on more clients. And I, I know when you're doing mobile signings, I hear all the time sign up for at least a hundred companies. You won't want to do that with RON.

Amy Seitz (00:32:43):
You want to be the best for those four or five companies, and you want to be their go to for just them, because then you're going to get all of their work. And you're not going to be able to expand and do a whole bunch. You're not going to have to worry about location as long as you're doing a great job for those, those five agencies. But there's also the world of, of general notary or specialty notary. Those are a lot more receiving on the electronic signature standpoint. Right now we still have some issues with electronic signatures in the way of financing. So new buys or refis, you're not going to see those unless it's extremely special circumstance. And the reason for that is banks, they don't always hold that loan. And when they go to sell it to another institution, they have difficulty when it's an electronically signed document.

Amy Seitz (00:33:46):
There's not very much trust that it was done correctly when you transfer that. So banks are a little hesitant to jump onto that bandwagon. They're, they're wanting to, it's not that they don't want to, but they need to make sure they have all the checks and balances. And part of this is that they need to make sure the notary did it correctly because there's no fixing it and they can actually see that it was done wrong. They get the video, they get the audit trail, they get the document. And if you see the audit trail and the document don't match well, there's a problem. If you see a signature was applied after the video stopped, there's a problem. If you see the signer drops off of the video and the notary doesn't stop, it it's a problem. And now they can't sell that loan because that notarization is technically illegal. And it, it all falls with the notary.

Bill Soroka (00:34:43):
Yeah, that's interesting. That's and that's a huge layer of complication on the secondary market there too. So I've been hearing the same thing. That's part of the resistance on adoption with loans. But you mentioned specialty notary work and general notary work, which is I have just with some of the students that I've been able to coach over the last couple years during the pandemic, it has been going crazy with business. So in, but again, it comes down to how to sell it, where to find customers. So in your experience, how would a notary who's on an independent platform like Cyberize It, right? Or any of the other platforms out there? How do they find more customers for RON?

Amy Seitz (00:35:30):
So let me tell you what I did. And I'm not going to say this works for everyone because, you know, I started this as kind of a hobby. Now, but so January 1st, 2021, I did my first RON. I did it with my best friend. Both of us were technical. It went okay. Litte bumps here, there just learning the, the platform. And I, I loved it. After that, after that I got it. I was like, you know, this opens the doors for me for so many different ways. So I went to Thumb Tech and I created a local profile. And I thought, okay, let me see if I can convert these trans, you know, these leads. And it was okay. I wasn't getting very many leads, you know, and it was kind of a hard sell. So then I thought, you know, I need to quit thinking about my area.

Amy Seitz (00:36:32):
I, my area is the world. You know, we've got to keep, we've got to change our focus, our mindset. We always think in person right here, well, I'm not limited by distance anymore. So I took Thumb Tech to a new level. I now have 57 profiles and you can do that on Thum Tech, on the same profile. I can have 57 locations. I can have more than that, but I stopped at 57 and I turned it on and I paid a good deal of money. Don't get me wrong. I paid a good deal of money, but it got my name out there. And now I have a lot of re, recurring clients that come back to me and my, my profiles are turned off. So I don't pay for it anymore. I might turn it on once in a while when I'm bored, it's not very often anymore, but that's how I started it.

Amy Seitz (00:37:22):
And I, I said, I built my entire profile about online notarization, answered questions about it in my profile. And I build up those reviews of people that were using me on there. And then I got more trust by other clients on that platform. And then it just kind of snowballed. And from day one to get to a point where I was making, I was making good overall gross sales in a week. It took me seven weeks, but I worked it hard. I was available at a moment's notice to do it. I would drop everything to make the sale. And that's how you build a business. You've got to, you've got to be, you've got to jump in head first, get wet, and you've got to be all in and you've got to sacrifice. So I took my laptop anywhere. I went, I, you know, made sure that if that, if that ping went off, that there was a lead, I was the first one I was texting. I was calling and I was ready to sell it no matter what. Dinner got put on hold, food got burnt, you know, but, but that worked for me now, when I say gross sales, that does not mean…

Bill Soroka (00:38:42):
Right. Huge difference sometimes. Right. Yeah.

Amy Seitz (00:38:47):
And, and that's kind of where it led me into looking at the different platforms. Because I was, I was gaining between 15 and 2000 a week in gross sales in onesie, twosy stamps. So I was doing a lot of notarizations, but I was paying about 60% of that in platform fees. And then I was paying Thumb Tech.

Bill Soroka (00:39:12):
You're barely scraping by.

Amy Seitz (00:39:13):
I was, yeah, I was barely seeing a profit, but you've got to think I was building a business. You know, you're not going to see a profit right from the get go. And that's another thing that notaries need to understand. You've got to go into this planning, not to make money for a, at least in the short term, because your money goes into investing in yourself. Even if you do turn a profit, you've got to put it back out. You know, business cards, advertising, expanding your market visibility. But I got to thinking I'm like, there's got to be another way. Maybe I'm on the wrong platform for this. I, and I, I didn't see a good pricing structure. And I was in a sta I'm in a state that allows $25 signature. Well for the notary, for the notary stamp. So there was potential to make a profit on some transactions. If they had two or three stamps, I could. But if it was a one stamp document, which the majority of specialty of general notary work is, by the time I took out all the fees, I was only getting a couple dollars. So that's what triggered me to start really looking at platforms.

Bill Soroka (00:40:30):
Where did that lead you?

Amy Seitz (00:40:32):
Well, I tried another one and I, this one, this one is the one that the straw that broke the camels back. I looked at this platform. I did a demo on it with my daughter. And I was like, okay, better pricing, simple enough. But it made her create a profile. And I went, I wonder what she sees. And this is something you should always check when you're doing something, cause mind you here. I am looking at this, this platform, I've got 2 to, 300 people in my client list now that do repeat business with me, that I'm going to transfer over if I do. And I logged in as her and I saw a button that said, start a notarization. I'm like, cool. Right? She can start something with me. I don't have to do it. And I went through the process and it connected me to the owner's wife.

Bill Soroka (00:41:29):
Oh my gosh,

Amy Seitz (00:41:31):
I was livid. Live it, live it to the point, this is, this is how tedious I am. I found the owner's cell phone number through public records. And he got a personal phone call from me. And I don't think he realized how serious I was when I told him he would never see a dime of my money and I would build a platform better than his.

Bill Soroka (00:41:51):
Wow. And you did.

Amy Seitz (00:41:53):
I did.  

Bill Soroka (00:41:56):
I love a good origin story, Amy, but I just did not expect that. And I love that you turned that experience into Cyberize It.

Amy Seitz (00:42:06):
Well, I, you know, I wanted something that really worked and I, I could see where it didn't work. You know, I there's so many limitations within many platforms. If, if something goes wrong, you don't have the ability to instantly fix it or correct it. And I was spending tons of money just in my own errors. Not, not knowing that I was doing it wrong until we are in the session. Oh, I tagged it wrong. Okay. Now we've got to start over. Oh, the signer forgot their middle initial. Oh, now we got to start it over. And there are some platforms out there that every time you start over, it could cost the notary almost $60 per transaction. I mean, I think that's where they cap it at is what it is the most you'll charge, you'll get charged is. And I'm like, that's not, that's not cool that we don't get much as it is.

Bill Soroka (00:43:03):
And now we're, we're getting penalized and you know, and I didn't like the lack of support on a lot of platforms, you know, when I needed it, I needed it and I knew enough to get around. But if we're really running into a roadblock, I need help. And clients can't wait a week. You know, if, if we don't close on this, on this sale, they lose it. And, and I could be at fault for that because I didn't have the technology ready to go to get it done. And I didn't want to be the reason that it failed. So…

Bill Soroka (00:43:38):
And so Cyberize It took all of those saw, that those pain points from notaries and how did you solve it?

Amy Seitz (00:43:48):
So I went to the drawing board and I collected a whole lot of research on the current platforms. And I looked at who they used as vendors and I analyzed which ones did what in order to pick the one that I thought would be the best one for me. The, you know, I think I looked at specifically, I looked at ID verification and I looked at document encryption because if I'm going to put my name and seal in a document, I want to know that it can't be altered. And I, I noticed in a few platforms, I'm not going to say all, but quite a few that after they were done, it was very easy to manipulate that document after the fact not legal, but you could manipulate them after the fact. And I'm like, I don't want that. I want my clients, I want my notaries to know that when you put your name in your seal on that document, if it is altered, it's visibly altered and it could, it be faked. Everything can be faked, don't get me wrong, but I wanted it to be the hardest it could be. And I think I've achieved that. We partnered with Adobe Sign, which is one of the most encrypted aspects of, of document encryption that I could find.

Bill Soroka (00:45:11):
Oh, all right. And then you mentioned support, how do you help notaries either perform their duties or build their business besides you being awesome on Clubhouse and sharing so much information?

Amy Seitz (00:45:25):
Well, one I do, you know, as much as you see me online, I'm, I'm here on the phones too. So when someone calls, we, we try to answer and, and get that done unless I'm in a session, I still do notarizations. But when, let's talk about support, when you're in a session, when you're in a session with a client, you have the ability, our support number is literally on the screen. So if you run into a snag, you could shoot a text message. The client doesn't even need to know that you're asking, you could take a picture of the screen and we could tell you where to click. If you have to. I mean, sometimes you just get that deer in the headlights moment and you're like, ah, what now? Or, you know, I forgot to add my loose certificate. How do I do that? You know, things of that nature. And that text line, that support line that's dedicated for in sessions is responded to 24 7. Somebody that is a notary will always respond to those messages or answer the phone. Might be a little sleepy, but answer the phone.

Amy Seitz (00:46:33):
Now that's how we handle the, like the in, in progress sessions, because those are important. If it's something that's not so urgent, we ask that you text us or email us. And we respond to that usually within 24 hours at the top, don't, 24 consecutive hours. But I'm known for responding while I'm multitasking. So a lot of times you'll get a message saying that I responded from my cell phone. You know, cause it usually it's a quick answer. As far as marketing. Yeah. We offer something. I don't think any other platform offers. So when you join in our, our system, you get access to a whole bunch of templates. So anything that we design as a company to advertise, you can take that image, customize it for your branding and use that same sales pitch for your own business venture with us.

Amy Seitz (00:47:34):
So I always like to say we are a hybrid platform and our independent contractors are, are basically, you know, a tool with us, but we, you're powered by Cyberize It. Your, your platform. Isn't, Cyberize It you're powered by Cyberize it because that gives the client the knowledge that you're you're, they're dealing with the local notary and local again is relative, but you have this conglomerate and they don't need to know it's only two people in the sta in the office, that they have this conglomerate behind it that says we're powered by this larger organization. And so now you've given precedence to the process. You know, they not only are notaries hearing me talk about this. I go in rooms and I talk about this with all kinds of prospective clients. When you, someone hears about us, they hear about us from all different perspectives. I've done radio ads about online notarization I've I've taken press releases.

Amy Seitz (00:48:37):
And you know, there's when we have our name on all of these states approved lists that gives precedence to the validity of our platform. You know, being MISMO certified, being in 30 plus states in one us territory. People see your name over and over and over again. And I want the notaries to have that continuity so you're not just some random notary saying, oh, we can do virtual notarization. As soon as you say something that triggers the client to go, oh yeah, I've heard about that. Tell me more. Because it takes like seven or eight touches before a client becomes, before a, a consumer becomes a client. And usually they'll hear about us at least two or three times before you make that first touch. So this lightens your load in marketing. And now I don't want to take your clients. That's not my goal, but I, we do offer the support that if you're busy, it, they can connect to somebody else for that one time. But they always come back to you.

Bill Soroka (00:49:48):
That sounds like a, a, a nice, healthy balance. So the customer gets taken care of. Cause I don't think anybody, anybody, any notary wants their clients to be left hanging. So that's be, a beautiful way of doing things. Now you've talked about a couple of things here about what you did, Thum Tech, your marketing endeavors, your images and things like that, which ties into the digital presence. How does Search Engine Optimization play into success as a RON, Do you think?

Amy Seitz (00:50:18):
That one's harder? Because like, let's take Google for instance, because I know you've been doing a lot of Google classes. I spoke to Jim and asked him about, with my company being virtual, you know, I can do anyone anywhere, how do I get into that SEO with Google? And he said, it's really not for that kind of demographic. It's for the local business down the street kind of thing. So the, it's very hard in that aspect. One thing that I've discovered helps is to check in, into these different areas on Facebook with an ad. So one day I'll check in that I'm in Spain, I'll check in that I'm in Mexico city with an ad about virtual notarization and it puts it on the map for that city because people will look at that. And then when people search and they're in that city, they'll find me there.

Amy Seitz (00:51:23):
So you'll see me just randomly checking in all over the world. I'm not really there. I'm still in Ohio, but you see what I'm going at. It, it is harder though, to get out there in that, that demographic. The other aspect is you've got to watch where you target your audience. Because if I start advertising in Spain, I'm limited to only certain documents that are dealing with the U.S. Either they come from the us or they're going to the U.S. So I don't want to waste my money on span, you know, the, the people in that, that country that need a document for their own country, because that's not going to help me. I can't do it. So you've got to really watch the demographic of how you try that Search Engine Optimization. You can do it, you can be fancy with it, but sometimes it, it kind of bites you in the butt..

Bill Soroka (00:52:17):
Yeah. When I think what you're just, what you're speaking to is knowing who your ideal customer is, right? So it's probably expats that are living outside the U.S. There's probably certain circumstances like adoptions and employment and things like that, where you can get really specific depending on whatever niche you want to break down. What is coming to me, and I I've seen some notaries starting to do this is very similar to what you're doing. And I haven't seen your written content, but I know on Clubhouse, you're just delivering value. So have you seen, because this is so new on, for the general public, there's so many people who don't understand it by producing content, whether it's blogs, blogs, videos, podcasts about the topic. Is that a way that notaries can drive traffic to their website and their business?

Amy Seitz (00:53:09):
Oh, definitely. I actually had one of the notaries on the platform, bring me onto a podcast couple weeks ago. And we talked about the top 10 questions customers have when it comes to doing a notarization online. And it went over really well. And she had quite a few calls from it afterwards. So it's all about education. You know, people don't know what they don't know until you tell them and presenting that option. You know? And if this is an area that you're wanting to make your niche, or you're wanting to convert more of your business to it, especially with these gas prices is is offer it. I always say this and you'll hear me say it on Clubhouse. You'll always lead the client with where you want them to go. You get the phone call, I need a notary. Are you a notary?

Amy Seitz (00:54:01):
I Googled you. I found you. Well, yes I am. How can I help you. Well I have this document I need done right away. Wonderful. Did you know we could do this all from your cell phone? I don't even talk about going in person. And they're like, what do you mean all from my cell phone? I, you've have to come here. You've got to put that crimper on my, on my document, you know? Oh no, we've changed. It's great. It's fantastic. And then I go into my spiel. I tell them how it's safer, how it's faster and how it has value for years, because it can be, it can be validated through the signatures or through the video for at least 10 years. So if there's ever a question we could pull it right back up.

Bill Soroka (00:54:51):
I love that. If there, so we talked about the, the digital component of this. What about relationships? How do relationships tie into RON's success? Can you still get referrals for business?

Amy Seitz (00:55:08):
Oh, I get, that's how I get a lot of stuff. My, my clients refer me to everyone and, and they continually come back. So like there's a client, my oldest client, my, my, my youngest youngest at heart. We'll put it that way. She was a hundred, one years old. Wow. And she had to prove her life, that she was alive for her retirement in Japan. So the nursing home did it. We did both a credible witness because she's a hundred, one years old. So anyway, the, she got on there and she's like, I can't believe I'm doing this. And then she would repeat it in, in Japanese. It was awesome. And so we would go through and go through and go through. And you know, that nursing home continually used me after that. So they used me for all of their, their notarizational needs.

Amy Seitz (00:56:11):
And that was in the height of the pandemic. So they wouldn't have contacted me if they were able to get a regular notary, it was just pure luck that they put that out there, that they needed something and they needed a solution and we found it. And now I get residual business from it. Yeah. I get a lot of house workers once they come on and they're able to do a virtual sell of their property. It's, it's constant. Another one that I get a lot of are, and this is something I don't know if you see very often, but the unclaimed money from the, the, the state holds yeah. After it's so much money they have to have a document notarized for somebody to facilitate helping them get it. And I get a lot of those type of clients as well.

Bill Soroka (00:57:01):
That's amazing. I, the I'm always fascinated by how many weird niches there are in this business. That's one I had not heard of yet. So thank you for so much for sharing that, Amy, is it, is it possible to build a business for a notary just as RON?

Amy Seitz (00:57:23):
I did. So the short answers, yes. It's possible. Is it easy? That's a different question. No, it's frustrating. It it's it's, you know, for every, yes, I'm going to see six or seven no's. It, it isn't something that's going to happen overnight, but I don't think any business is right. You're going to get that, that aspect of, okay. Maybe not for me. Okay. We're going to have to do it in person or, you know, it's just too much and too hard. Okay. But the idea is, understand which ones could lead to a good sale and which ones aren't and then decide, okay, am I giving up on it or am I changing and doing it in, in person session? It doesn't just because I did it all online. Doesn't mean everyone else has to. You all have your own businesses. It's how you see your business plan growing. And I, I try to emphasize that is everyone's entitled to do their own thing and they're, they're encouraged to do their own thing. The world needs it all. But there's room for just the mobile there's room for just the ones in the office. There's room for the ones that do it online, and then there's room for ones that do it all and they, they scatter. So so yeah, I want to make sure I emphasize on all of that.

Bill Soroka (00:58:49):
So, Amy, what keeps you going when it is when the going gets tough? What's your reason or your why for making this business work?

Amy Seitz (00:58:59):
Oh, there, there you go. That, that helped trigger a thought there, cause I was kind of like, what's my reason. You know, one, I am determined when I get into something I'm going to make it, if I can make it a success, I am going to make it that way. But my why I'm going to tell you another story. There was a client, she was in the hospital. She was in on her deathbed and her family was surrounded around her and she needed to do her will and not every state can do a will online. So keep that in mind. However, I am not restricted on will. So I was able to help them. And and we got through and we, we were getting ready to the point where she was about to sign and the husband's like, well, didn't you want to add this?

Amy Seitz (00:59:49):
Or didn't you want to do this? And then, you know, we had to wait for the doctor to come in and do their thing and we get back, you know, which we get back to going on it. And, and she's like, yeah, let's okay. So we drag a text box. We, she adds the terminology she wants on it and we get through and you know, this one signing it, it was one signature, two witnesses and then the notary witnessing the, the witnesses. It should have taken 10 minutes. Okay. Forty-five minutes later, we're getting through this. And you know, my witnesses are kind of like, come on, let's get this over with. But it was the love. He knew the moment that I put my seal on that document, she had permission to leave. She had that release and these things are life changing for people. And I mean, it, it, it doesn't have to be that kind of sad situation.

Amy Seitz (01:00:54):
The flip side is when you do this for adoptions. Yeah. You know, you're you're, you are this unique tool in a situation that a client thought was hopeless. There's nothing out there. Five notaries told me this was completely illegal and I don't know what to do. I just need a solution. Can you tell me what I can do to get this done that will work? And then I offer them this solution and it's like, you are their best friend. Mm-Hmm You, you just change their life. Whether it's for the good or, I mean, it was for the good in, in both situations. But whether it's happy or sad, you make that monumental moment. And those clients will never forget that. They come back for everything. And, you know, I get to know kids, I know their kids' names. I see pets. I talk to grandma when she's in the room, I talk to the wife, you know, we tease, we joke, I even wear funny head dresses on Halloween or, or holidays in general. And it, it doesn't have to be robotic. And I know if you are on certain platforms, you have a very strict code of ethics or code of conduct. But when you're an independent or on a hybrid platform, like mine is you have the freedom to be you and how you engage with that client makes all of the difference. And that's why clients love me. I engage, it's not robotic. And I encourage all notaries to have that relationship, whether it's online or in person,

Bill Soroka (01:02:41):
One of the beautiful way to bring our session to a close Amy. It's so obvious that you're in this business for the right reason. And thank you for that. I, I agree. I think this work matters and we often meet people on their best days and they're worst and they need somebody with, they need a human being. And when we can bring that to the office that we hold here, I think that's where the real magic happens. So thank you so much for sharing so much of yourself, details about your platform and if somebody was interested in checking out, Cyberize It or getting in your orbit, where could they go?

Amy Seitz (01:03:17):
Well, the first place is always the website, cyberizeit.com. You know, we tell people don't just notarize it, Cyberize It. And other than that, we, you can find me on Clubhouse. We have a Wednesday night actually tonight. Well, today's Wednesday. I don't know when you're listening to this radio thing, but Wednesday nights at 7:30 Eastern in the Everything Notary Clubhouse Room, we do a show it's about an hour, hour and a half, two if it's a really good show, but you can always hear us there. And of course you can reach out via phone or email. All of our contact information is published on our website.

Bill Soroka (01:03:57):
All right. I love that. Open contact, Amy, again, thank you so much for being here truly appreciate you.

Amy Seitz (01:04:03):
Thank you so much. And I appreciate the time today.

--- End of Transcription ---

Bill

 

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