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The Apostille Matchmaker

Jul 04, 2022

18 months ago, no one knew what an apostille was. Today, the Notary world is on fire with the Apostille Agent opportunity and my guest today, Judi Lawrence, is a central force in making it mainstream. Learn what it means to be an Apostille Agent, the importance of doing this work correctly, and what Judi is doing to match her graduates & crew with opportunities across the country.

Guest Information:

Judi Lawrence, dubbed the Queen of Apostilles, owns and manages the Lawrence Institute for Notaries where she teaches her famed certification course, The World of Apostille. She also has a physical office location for her Notary services in central Philadelphia.

Learn more about the World of Apostille certification course on the LIN website below.

World of Apostille Masterclass

and get the book she co-wrote with Matt Miller, the Apostille Agent's Survival Guide at the link below. 

Get the book, The Apostille Agent's Survival Guide Here

Episode Highlights:

9:23 If you're going to do the work of an Apostille Agent, take the time to learn how to do it right. These documents are important to your customers. They're counting on you.

22:32 Have you ever thought about having a physical location for your Notary business? A place where customers can come to you? Judi Lawrence has a high-traffic location and shares her perspective.

42:29 Judi shares her top referral partners for apostille work. Do you know who your ideal customer is for this line of service? With clarity comes customers!

--- Full Raw Transcription Below ---


Bill Soroka (01:04):
Thanks for joining us today on the sign in thrive podcast for notaries, I'm excited to introduce you or reintroduce you to my friend, the queen of Apostille. She's also a participant and faculty member at the notary business builder, advanced notary mastermind, Judi Lawrence, Judi, thank you so much for hanging out with me today.

Judi Lawrence (01:30):
It's always my pleasure bill.

Bill Soroka (01:32):
Yeah, this is a new venue for us last year. We had you on the Side Hustle Lounge podcast, and that was one of our most popular episodes being able to talk about the apostille agent opportunity. And I wanna talk about that a little bit too, because it's gained so much popularity just in the last well, 12 to what 18 months or so. And then also we're gonna get a chance to talk about a unique perspective that you bring to the notary community, because you have a physical office location in downtown Philadelphia, right?

Judi Lawrence (02:12):
I do.

Bill Soroka (02:13):
Yeah. Looking forward to picking your brain about that, but let's start with the apostille agent opportunity because it's before we started the recording, we were talking about this 12 months ago, 15 months ago, you were the only person talking about this, and now you've published the Apostille agent survival guide. You've got your course at Lawrence Institute for notaries the world of apostille masterclass and certification. Everybody's talking about the apostille agent opportunity.

Judi Lawrence (02:52):
Yep. It has, it has become a community, which was what I dreamt of what my vision was in the beginning. It has become a community and we have increased our, our educational level by, by leaps and bounds. Everyone kind of wants to be a part of it. Everybody wants to know what it's about and it has morphed into you know like I said, a community and with my course, I have a study hall which of all my ideas and, you know, bill I'm full of ideas. But of all my ideas, I think that's the one that's that is most gratifying to me because people come and they just talk about, you know, two others that are learning at the same time. They talk about, you know, what they should do or what they shouldn't do or what they maybe don't understand. And I thought that these study roles would last, like maybe for 30 minutes, sometimes they last for two, two and a half hours. Wow. And yeah, and it, it is gratifying to me that people are taking this kind of an interest in the business because it's a phenomenal business. You know you're right. I, I get emails from people that say I've never heard about apostille before and now that's all I hear about. So can you, can you tell me what, what is it, you know, what's it all about?

Bill Soroka (04:34):
Well, that's my next question. Judi, because I, you know, there's four and a half million notaries in the country, but the reality is that doesn't even matter when it comes to being an apostille agent, you don't have to be a notary public to fill this role. And that's the real cool opportunity. I see here we are credentialed professionals, so it's a really nice segue. We've got the criminal background check, we've got the document experience. We know how to navigate sensitive conversations and transactions, and a lot of those documents have to be notarized. So it, it kind of makes sense for us, for sure. But there's a huge opportunity here for just about anybody with a professional capacity for it. Mm-Hmm so tell me what is or tell our listeners what the apostille agent does.

Judi Lawrence (05:24):
Okay. First of all, definition of an apostille, it is the cover that is attached to the document that is either authenticated or legalized, which allows that document to be used in a foreign country. And that is a simple explanation of what it is. There's more, you know, there's more, I mean, I could talk for hours, but, but that's what it is. Yeah. And the job of an apostille agent or an apostille facilitator is to get those documents to the right secretary of state, the department of state, the embassy, wherever they're supposed to go and have them correctly notarized have them in correct form, have the correct amount of money, use the correct order form, have the correct label, the return label to just to do it all so that when the secretary of state gets the package, the secretary of state goes like that and, and accepts it.

Judi Lawrence (06:37):
And my, my dear colleague, Laurie ham was on one of my programs a couple weeks ago. And she was saying, and of course she says it better than I, but she was saying that they don't want to reject the documents. It takes time for them to reject the documents. And then they've gotta put 'em back in the envelope and they've gotta send them back to you. And then chances are, you're gonna call and say, well, what happened? And then they've gotta talk to you and then you're gonna send them back again. And they have to look at them again. And it's a whole process. So the, the, the important thing to learn is the process. And I'm, I'm probably not, maybe shouldn't say this, but I'm gonna say it anyway. I see on Facebook university that people say, you don't need her training, not important, just put 'em in an envelope, send 'em to the secretary of state with a check and you're done.

Judi Lawrence (07:36):
And that is as far from the truth, as you can get, you do have to know what you're doing. What is it? Is it any different than your first loan signing? It's not, I mean, I remember my first loan signing. I was absolutely terrified. I had, I had all these papers, you know, and, and I had put tags on them the night before, and I was driving to this person's house and I was thinking, oh my God, I'm gonna go into this person's house. And, and I have their personal information and, oh my God. And then after four or five signings, I was like, yeah, I'll take two tomorrow. I could take three. It doesn't matter. Because anything that you do that you focus on and you put your mind to, it becomes something that you know how to do. And I think that is the most important thing message that I would give to notaries or not notaries is, you know, it is something new, it's, it's new, and you've got to focus on it. You've got to learn your processes and your rules, and then you will be doing that the same way you do your loan signings. You'll be okay.

Bill Soroka (08:50):
Yeah. You know, I love where you're going with this because the reality is the, in, in our scenario here, the apostille process is open and available to everyone. I the regular citizen could navigate this process on their own, but the challenge is it's not all that crystal clear. And when you're not used to being in this environment, it can be really intimidating. So what we're doing is we're really kind of taking the hand of the citizen and walking them and guiding through, guiding them through this, being a beacon of light mm-hmm . And the think what's the interesting thing. And the fascinating thing with me is that if, if something's requiring the apostille or the apostille process, it's probably pretty important. Mm-Hmm , you know, if it's going out of the country, if somebody's going to go through that, they're authenticating the notorious act or the, that the notary was a real notary. That's an important document. So it's a disservice, if we don't take that seriously, I mean, if you're gonna do this, do it right. You,

Judi Lawrence (09:57):
You are thousand percent, correct. You are a thousand as, as usual, you're a thousand percent correct. These are, they might be adopting a child. They might be getting married. They might be taking a big teaching job at a university for a couple years. Young people, you know, young people do that. Now, young people take advantage of opportunities. Now, you know, they, they come in my office and they say to me, you know, I don't have a wife and I don't have kids yet. And so I'm gonna go to South Korea and I'm gonna teach for a couple years. Cuz if I don't do it now later on when I have commitments and, and business and all that, I won't do it. Mm-Hmm . And so these are all. And of course, if you, you know, I like to inject a little humor. The funniest part about it is they don't know what an apostille is.

Judi Lawrence (10:53):
So they've been told by a lawyer or a, or a guidance counselor or someone you need to go and get these three documents apostille. So when they come to you, they say, I've gotta get something that starts with an a and, and that's true. And and they, they don't know what it is. So I tell the people that I teach once you make them comfortable, that you know what it is, once you make them comfortable and you say, I gotcha. You need your passport apostille or your birth certificate. So you can get married once they feel that trust in you, that you know, that you, that you understand the importance of it. They're never gonna go anywhere else except to you. Mm-Hmm . That is it fact. And I built my business on that, you know, I did, I really did. Yeah. You know, on, on being able to say, just come down here and I'll explain everything to you and we'll get, we'll get you, you know? Of course, you know, that comes with doing it for a while.

Bill Soroka (12:04):
Yeah. You gotta, you gotta get out in, in the arena and start doing it for sure. So we've, we've mentioned before already, you don't have to be a notary public to do this. You're not, this is not a regulated industry, necessary. I mean, the apostille agent or the apostille process is different for every state, but there's not a a special license or regulation for a posse agents right now. Right?

Judi Lawrence (12:32):
There's not I am it's, it's not the, the fees are not regulated. So the, the, the new fee is regulated and the secretary state fee is regulated, but the travel fee and the research fee and, and the shipping fee and all those fees. Now, this is what I tell my people, my students, cause I say to them, you cannot go back and say, this woman told me I could charge anything. I want anytime, anywhere, cuz you can't. But what, and I always say this and I'm not, I'm not saying it because I'm on this podcast with you. I always say Bill Soroka has an expression. It's called what the market bears. And that's where I became. So enamored with that expression. And I tell them, you need to know. So, so for example, quick example, if I go to New York this afternoon and I want a bagel and a cup of coffee, 30 bucks, easy, 20, 30 easy.

Judi Lawrence (13:38):
If I go to my little deli right here in Philadelphia bagel, cup of coffee, $6 easy. So you need to do your homework and people need to set, what is the market there in my area? What are other people charging? I can't charge as much as the person that's in New York city. And I know that because people just wouldn't pay it. So there is a line and there is that that important factor in knowing what does the market bear, where you are. And then once you do that, I always say, start a little lower if everybody else is charging, Hmm. Just card, you know, just go a little lower until you get a book of business. And then you can say to somebody, well, I've been doing this for six months. I I do know. And I've done three docu, I've done three jobs in China. So I do know, yeah, go a little lower in the beginning. And that's, you know, so when we say it's not fee regulated, it's not, but it's not, you know, a free for all

Bill Soroka (14:51):

Judi Lawrence (14:52):
Go out there and just, I wish it was, but it isn't.

Bill Soroka (14:55):
Yeah. And I think that's a really important point is you gotta do some market research. It's just like another business, right? I, I think a lot of people who are listening or that we, you and I talk to every day happen to be notary. So this just is a, another line of service or another line of, of revenue in their established business. But if you're it's really could be just a business all and of itself. So you wanna do that research, make sure it's viable, make sure there's a demand for it. And of course, make sure you have your expertise

Judi Lawrence (15:27):

Bill Soroka (15:28):
And play right in place too. This kind of, well, how do you get more business as an aposty agent?

Judi Lawrence (15:40):
Well, I think right now, word of mouth, that's certainly right up there, but you have to find two things. You have to find people that are around you that use them. So you have to do some studying. Are uni, pharmaceutical companies are uni. I heard of a guy in New York. I don't know him, but I heard that he found Korean and Chinese groups and he got them to let him come and talk and I heard he's doing phenomenal. I, I think you have to be creative and you have to find out and then you have to make sure that your website and your, and your, so your SEO and I was gonna say, SOS, your SEO and everything is in place. Yeah. And you know, that's very important because I tell people all the time, just because you took my course, so, and so's not gonna wake up tomorrow morning and say, I think, I think Bill's an, a host agent. Bill has to tell them that bill is an Apostille agent. Yeah. And so, you know, Google my business and Google word ads and and all that, they, they play into this. Because if you use SEO properly and I know you have a course about that, and if you use SEO properly and somebody Googles apostillenear me, you're gonna come up.

Bill Soroka (17:21):

Judi Lawrence (17:22):
It's a fact, you know, I don't think, I think we passed a point where we have to go to meetings every night with groups and, and chamber and all that. I don't, I don't think that is as important as a real website presence. Do you agree with me?

Bill Soroka (17:43):
Well it depends on what we're what industry in this, in particular I would say absolutely. Because even more so than notary work, people don't need an op OS D until they need an op OS D that's. Right. And especially when it comes to the general public, so your search engine optimization or your digital presence, I would, and I, I talk to a lot of your students, I've talked to a lot of notaries around the country that they're building this business and it feels like 90%, at least of their leads or their opportunities comes through their digital presence. So Google if they're not advertising it on Google AdWords, it's because of their SEO having apostille apostille agent and apostle, because people misspell apostille all the time, all  

Judi Lawrence (18:33):
Absolutely right. Sometimes they don't even know what words you're looking for.

Bill Soroka (18:36):
Yeah. authentication all those keyword adding that in there, that's where the business comes from. And I will also say, cuz you mentioned right before we started this leg of the conversation, you said word of mouth. And the word of mouth is actually really powerful too in the circles that use these all the time, like attorneys universities. And I love that the international markets, you know, those people who have their foot, one foot planted in America and one foot planted in their home country, maybe they still have real estate or business over there or

Judi Lawrence (19:12):
Whatever. It's even them a whole lot of money. You don't know. Yeah.

Bill Soroka (19:16):
Yeah. You

Judi Lawrence (19:16):
Dunno. I mean, and I, I just got a call this morning from a man and he said, my wife and I are moving to Spain and we have six documents and we've gotta get 'em out pastel and, and you know they're not gonna probably use me ever again, cuz they're gonna go off to Spain, but six documents is quite a bit of money.

Bill Soroka (19:36):
Well, and then they've, they're gonna, here's what I exactly. I just read an article that said depending on the influence they might have in their family, when a couple moves to another country, inevitably they are followed by two or three minimum, other family members or friends.

Judi Lawrence (19:58):
Isn't that interesting.

Bill Soroka (20:00):
That is. And they're probably following somebody else.

Judi Lawrence (20:03):
Prob you know, I, I, I can tell you that my phone rings and they say to me you, you were recommended to me by so, and so you helped him four years ago and I say, oh, absolutely. Come on over. You know? And that's, it, it, it it's any business. Yeah. I mean, I still get calls and I don't do a lot of loan signing anymore. I was always loan signing. I don't do as much of it anymore. I do some, but not as much, but I still get a call. And they say to me, you were in my house five years ago. And you said that if we ever needed wills, I should call you. And so, you know, my husband and I can we come to your office? It it's, it's it word of mouth. That is why you must have a, how do I say this? I I'm not, everyone is alike and not everyone is chatty and not everyone is, is how's that vibrant personality. Some people are quiet, it's quieter. Every, I mean, nobody talks as much as I do, but, but

Bill Soroka (21:03):

Judi Lawrence (21:04):
when you go in there, you have to leave them with the idea that you are a professional, that you've tried to give them the best job you can and that if they ever need anything, you'll be there for them and you will get more business like that.

Bill Soroka (21:22):
That's so true. You know? I have one of my, the way, one of the things I teach is that you have two main responsibilities when you show up to an appointment. And first one is to expertly perform the duties you've been hired to deliver mm-hmm . And two is to lay the foundation for a relationship that even has a chance to survive beyond that one single appointment. Yep. And you do that by showing some personality and caring about the other person and being interested in them and being interesting. When you talk about you, I think that's critically important. So you can get these phone calls.

Judi Lawrence (21:56):
I do too. And, and I, like I said, I still get them. And I probably always will because it's what I do. I like to make people think because it's true. I do care about them. Yeah. And I do want to give them the best job that I can give them, whether it's a pastels or wills or whatever it is, you know, I don't want them to look out of my office. And five years later they pull out a document and it was done wrong and, you know, and I, I just, just, I try to try to do it right. If I, you know, if humanly possible.

Bill Soroka (22:31):
Yeah. Yeah. Well, this is a really good segue too, Judi cuz you keep saying, oh, can I come down to your office? Oh, come on down, come on down. Most of us are, most of us listening are thinking, oh, I'll come to you. I'll meet you at Starbucks. I'll meet you at your kitchen table, but you've shifted that conversation because you actually have a physical location in downtown Philadelphia.

Judi Lawrence (22:57):
I do.

Bill Soroka (22:58):
So tell me more about that. How did you come to own a notary office?

Judi Lawrence (23:09):
Well it was owned by a, at that time 89 year old gentleman who was a notary for many years. He did not do. He did not have any computers. He did not have any no automation whatsoever. As a matter of fact, I, I think I was just telling people on clubhouse, he used stick figures to see how many people came that day. So he went 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Oh yeah. Yeah. How many people came that day? He, well, he had, no, I mean the place was the place looked like a an old taxi cab stand. It was awful. And I made friends with him. I, I called him to see if he ever would need any help. And he was a very cantankerous old man and he said why don't you come visit me? So, you know, I did.

Judi Lawrence (24:16):
And we got to chatting and that became a weekly visit where I would stop by and see him. And then one day he said to me you know, he always told me that I reminded him. He had five daughters and he always told me, I reminded him of his daughters. And one day he said to me, you know my kids and my wife, they, they want me to retire. And I think you should take over this space. And I I, you know, wow. You know, that would be wonderful, but I guess I might, well, J he didn't have anything to sell me because he didn't have a client list. He didn't have anything to sell me. Other than he had the name center, city notary. That's all he had to sell me. He did not have one piece of paper that could, you know, how today, if you sell a business bill they wanna know like how many clients do you have show us, what's your revenue, your revenue?

Judi Lawrence (25:20):
No, I wouldn't have any, I couldn't have any of that. Nothing. No. So he asked me for an outlandish amount of money and I said, thanks, but no, thanks. And I guess what must have happened was he must have thought he could get it elsewhere. Cause I didn't hear from him for about three or four weeks. And then he called me and he accepted my not outlandish offer. And I took that place and I can't wait till you see it. Yeah, me too. And I took it and I made it pretty. And I, and I, when, when you see it has these magnificent windows and he had them covered with black blinds. So we took the blinds off and and we made it and it was before the pandemic. And one of the things that we had was fishbowls of candy and and it was just, it became like the place where people wanted to come to get notaries.

Judi Lawrence (26:21):
And I have a TV in there, so the news is always streaming and people come in and they like to chit chat and you know, and and, and that's how it all happened. It is not a large office. You don't need a large office. If you want an office presence, you don't need it because you don't need you know, six different rooms, right? You need a desk and a chair and you need a computer and a scanner and you know, and some niceties around so that people, I keep dog treats there because a lot of people come and they bring their dogs. And so I keep dog treats there for the dogs, you know? So you make it a, you make it a family, a family business. And I will, and I, I wanna tell you something, one of the other things that you do, if you're building a business like that is you treat everyone with the same respect that you would like to be treated with.

Judi Lawrence (27:24):
It doesn't matter if they come in and they're well dressed or they're not well dressed or they're, or they're what, you know, white or black or green or yellow, doesn't matter. You treat everyone with that same respect and that same modicum of kindness that you would expect someone to treat you. And I have to tell you that, you know, they, sometimes people come in and they're not really happy. They had Acomb all the way across the street to get a notary. And they couldn't find a notary and the bank said they wouldn't do it anymore. And they give you a whole thing. And then all you have to do is say to them you, you know, I'm really, I'm really happy you're here. And I, I, I like what you're wearing or I like, I like, you know, your nails or whatever. And you know what, when they leave, they say, give me a whole bunch of cards. Cause I wanna tell everybody because you're really nice. And that's what it is. It's called building a business. And you know, maybe I've said too much. I hope I haven't, but

Bill Soroka (28:28):
No, no, that's, that's really helpful. And I, I love that you demonstrate the power of a compliment, cause that's a great conversation starter too, right? We, some of us just panic when we think, oh gosh, we have to start the conversation here. But just finding something to compliment somebody on can really help.

Judi Lawrence (28:44):
Yeah. And, and sometimes not finding something, sometimes a person comes in, they do not wanna chat. They wanna get their notary. They wanna leave. They wanna be there less than a minute. And those are the kind of people that you don't chat with and they'll come back again and again and again, because it was quick and easy and they didn't have to talk.

Bill Soroka (29:04):
Yeah. It's like reading your audience, right? Like what, what is it that communicating the way they wanna be communicated with?

Judi Lawrence (29:12):
That's the whole, you know we get people from all walks of life. And sometimes they wanna talk to you. And sometimes, like I said, sometimes they wanna get in, get the notary and get out. They've got other fish to fry and you are not it.

Bill Soroka (29:28):
Right. Exactly.

Judi Lawrence (29:30):
That's OK too.

Bill Soroka (29:32):
My my friend Sally she calls it she's a a trainer using the disk personality profile and she called it the platinum rule. The golden rule is to treat others the way that you wanna be treated. The platinum rule is treat others how they want to be treated. Right. And it's, it's really served me.

Judi Lawrence (29:54):
It is. And it is amazing. But it works. You know, I had somebody come in yesterday and the first thing he said to me was I just got out of prison where I've been for 42 years. And I, I, I don't know how I felt about it, but I smiled. And, and I said, well, sit down, let me see if I can help you. And I did help him with this notary. And he said to me, you know, I was 19 years old when I went to prison and I'm 62 now. And I said, well, God bless you. I said, I hope that, you know, your new life is a good one. And he said, he's going to get a job and he's going to make a good life for himself. And of course, all my friends last night were saying to me, now you have somebody in your office that's gonna murder you. That's not true. I mean, you know, you, I didn't even charge him because he doesn't have anything to give me. Yeah. But he said, if he could get that one paper notarized, he could get a job. Awesome. And so he deserves the same chance that everybody else deserves.

Bill Soroka (30:59):
Yeah. What a gift.

Judi Lawrence (31:00):
Yeah. A gift. Yeah. So, you know, and that's what happens when you're in the city and you have a walk in business you know, you get everyone from politicians to to everyone.

Bill Soroka (31:14):

Judi Lawrence (31:15):
Go ahead.

Bill Soroka (31:16):
No, no, go ahead please.

Judi Lawrence (31:18):
No, I was gonna say when, when you're in the city in September, I cannot wait to show you my little office and I hope it's very busy when I show it to you because you'll see how it, how it is. I mean, it can be really jumping in there.

Bill Soroka (31:32):
Yeah. I'm looking forward to the Philly social for sure. So question for you though and this might be a little more kind of a rapid file fi rapid fire type question. Okay. Do you have employees that work for you?

Judi Lawrence (31:47):
I have one person who is an independent contractor. And she does work for me on a semi steady, you know, basis. She's interested just

Bill Soroka (31:59):
To make sure the place is covered all the time. Yeah.

Judi Lawrence (32:02):
And and I did not have that until this year. I, I was able to do it all myself until this year, but this year I got so busy with conferences and and PowerPoints for those conferences and zoom meetings and, you know, and marketing and and most of you know, that I'm the self elected president of the bill CKA fan club. And that takes time. And and so I, I, I just felt that I needed some backup to and, and also for someone else to understand how I do things so that when I do go on these conferences, like we're going to Montana and we're going to Vegas. And then Amy and I are going to Ohio and, you know, someone that can be there that knows how I like things done and, and can do them the, the, the way I like things done.

Bill Soroka (33:04):
So I think that's important too. And there's, there's got to be, even though I'm not a especially when it comes to solo, entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship, and when you're building a dream, I don't know if, how much balance plays into it, but at some point you've gotta be able to know that you can, you're not a, a, you're not chained to your business or your job all the time that you can take a little bit of time away if you wanted to.

Judi Lawrence (33:29):
I am not good at that. I am not a good delegator. I am not a good person to I, I'm not good at any of that. I'm working on it. I have, it's a work in progress for me. I have done it by myself for a really long time. And it's very hard for me to give it up. Yeah, it is. I I'm, I'm, I'm honest. I mean, you know, I, like I tell Diane to do something and then she doesn't come in the next day. And by the time she comes in the next day, she says, where's that day. Oh, I did that. You know, and, but I'm working on it. I know it's healthy. I know it's important.

Bill Soroka (34:14):
It's I? Yeah. And it's, but what makes it even more difficult is when you love what you do, and it sounds like you love what you do.

Judi Lawrence (34:21):
I do love what I do and, and I, but I know it's not healthy to have only me doing it. So, but, you know, I, I don't know. I mean, I never had children. I imagine when you have children and you send your first kid to school, it must be traumatic because, you know, it's like, this is like my baby. Yeah. And I'm, I'm, I, it's very difficult. That's the most difficult thing for me. But I'm getting there. I'm getting, I actually think on better than I thought I would be, but not good.  

Bill Soroka (34:59):
Always a, a chance for improvement. Right. Always

Judi Lawrence (35:02):
A chance for improvement.

Bill Soroka (35:03):
Okay. I have a couple more questions for you on your physical location. And this is part, you know, I have, I'm so curious about it because there is this part of me that while I absolutely love and appreciate that I'm mobile, I can drive anywhere. I've got that flexible schedule. There still is still a part of me that just really would love a physical location too. In fact, I, I rented some co-working space and I had really high expectations of it, but it wasn't quite what I, what I wanted. So I have some more questions for you. You're in a city center, a center city notary,

Judi Lawrence (35:38):
I'm in a large building

Bill Soroka (35:39):
And you're in a large office building. So how many people, roughly average do you think walk, just walk in.

Judi Lawrence (35:47):
Oh, a lot of people, I mean, not as much as before, oh, before the pandemic. I would see 20 people a, a week alone just from the Sheriff's office, which was on the fifth floor of our building. And I would do their assignment of bids. So they buy, they buy a property and then they assign it. And so I would do at least 20 assignment of bids a week. Wow. I haven't seen those people aren't there yet because they're just not, I don't know if they're ever coming back. Gotcha. And I, I think that the how do I say this? I think that the pandemic has changed people's work habits.

Bill Soroka (36:34):
Yes. For

Judi Lawrence (36:34):
Sure. So people are working from home like two or three days a week, and maybe they come into the office like two days a week. And so it's different.

Bill Soroka (36:48):
And so there's just less foot traffic, even just outside, outside in downtown Philly. So it's, they're not just stumbling upon you,

Judi Lawrence (36:56):
Right? Exactly. I mean, it's, it's, it's, it's everywhere, you know, like the restaurants around here, like I see where they used to open at seven in the morning and close at 10 at night. Now they open at nine and they closed it 97 because there's just less foot look. That's good foot traffic, you know? The pandemic changed everyone's world. And right now we don't know when it's gonna change back or if it's gonna change back.

Bill Soroka (37:26):
Yeah. This's

Judi Lawrence (37:26):
True. We just don't know. And, and Ron has something to do with that

Bill Soroka (37:31):
Remote online notarization. Sure. Yeah. Oh yeah. I think

Judi Lawrence (37:35):
It does. You know, so

Bill Soroka (37:36):
I think so. Yeah. We, and we kind of chatted about that before we started the recording with immediate gratification and things like that too. But I also have been reading or following some interesting employment trends as well. There's more and more businesses are going to require that their employees come back for at least two to three days a week. So this will be an interesting couple of years, I think, as we transition back into that, that's great. I have another question for you though. So how do, how do your customers find you?

Judi Lawrence (38:09):
That's very difficult to answer you because most of them, when I ask them, they say, I Googled you,

Bill Soroka (38:16):
Well, there you go. Your digital presence. Right.

Judi Lawrence (38:18):
They don't, they don't, you know, they don't elaborate. They don't say, you know Yelp or, or, or, you know cause I'm not on Yelp, but, but Yelp, I'm a free person on Yelp. I don't pay free Yelp. Yeah.

Bill Soroka (38:32):

Judi Lawrence (38:33):
And they, they, they say I Googled you. And a lot of people say I Googled notary near me. Yeah. Or a near me. I have long since realized that very few of them are going to be very specific about where they found you

Bill Soroka (38:53):
Well, and, but that nailed. That's really all you need to know. Right. Is that okay? My digital, the work I'm putting into my SEO, my digital presence is working.

Judi Lawrence (39:01):
It's working. Yeah. And I do think if you are able to get the word out that you are there, like a lot of people just know I'm there. Cause I've been there for eight years. A lot of these lawyers and people like that, their notaries aren't there anymore. So they're just happy if they can come somewhere and get a couple pieces of paper notarized. I think that that's a big, that's a big plus that I have. Yeah. I see on Sunday afternoon, I was go in the office on Sunday afternoon from 12 to like three or three 30. And I sometimes I see 10 or 12 people.

Bill Soroka (39:48):
I'm so glad you bring this up. This was, this blew my mind. Even out here in Arizona how busy Sundays are for general or specialty notary work

Judi Lawrence (40:00):
Sunday, if you, if first of, because they panic that they have to go back to work on Monday and they didn't get it done. And if you can accommodate them on a Sunday I don't charge extra for it. There's a, there's a some people think I should, I do not. I charge 'em the same thing on Sunday, but I do on Tuesday. I do it as an accommodation to my clients. But the interesting thing bill is that 98% of them, when they come on a Sunday, they say to you, oh, thank you. Thank you so much. You're a lifesaver. I, I don't know what I would've done. And then I say to them, well, you can do one thing for me. And that is write a review and just say, you know, this was a life saving experience, you know? Yeah. And I would say out of every 10 that I asked to do it, maybe one does it. So they, so they are, you are a lifesaver. They do walk out, they have their documents. I don't think they mean not to do it. They just go home and they get into something else. And it's not something they think about, which is why the QR code is so good.

Bill Soroka (41:21):
What's the QR code.

Judi Lawrence (41:22):
Okay. I, mine's not working right now, but if you have a QR code and you can hold up your phone and punch it to the QR code and that goes straight to a review. So when mine was working, I'm waiting for them to come fix it. When mine was working, a lot of times I got them to do it. Cause they were right there. You're

Bill Soroka (41:42):
Right there.

Judi Lawrence (41:43):
Yeah. And I would say to them, do you have your phone? And they would say, yep. And I'd say, okay, just, just take it, put it right there. And they would do it. Yeah. But when you leave someone to their own volition, we're you know, and, and, and probably, maybe I would do the same thing. I don't know.

Bill Soroka (42:01):
Oh yeah. Well, so here and this is the, the, the rules when it comes to reviews, right. Is number one, ask for one and number two, make it easy for them to give you one

Judi Lawrence (42:13):
Has to be easy.

Bill Soroka (42:14):
Yep. Has to be easy,

Judi Lawrence (42:15):
Easy. Cause if not, you're not getting it.

Bill Soroka (42:17):
I love that you even do that. Now my question is and this will wrap up here cause this has been a great conversation. Oh yeah. Please do.

Judi Lawrence (42:26):
So ask your question and then I wanna tell you one more thing.

Bill Soroka (42:29):
I'm curious as to, in, in all of your business, when it comes to apostille or even on the, the notary side of things, who in your network, or what job title do they have, who is your biggest referer of business? Who sends you the most?

Judi Lawrence (42:50):
Hmm, that's a good question. I would say, I would say the lawyers, I, I, I would have to really think about it, but just giving you a quick answer, I would say the lawyers, because if you've taken, if they've had a problem and you've been their solution, so what if they've had a problem and you've been their solution? I, I, I think that they will keep you,

Bill Soroka (43:23):
They stick with you,

Judi Lawrence (43:24):
They will stick with you.

Bill Soroka (43:26):
Any particular specialty.

Judi Lawrence (43:28):
Well, I, I do a lot of estate signings for them, you know? And another thing is wealth management, people, wealth management, people are great. If you can, if you can make a connection to them because they need you. Yeah. And and they need you. And but again they're gonna put you in their, in their contacts and they're not gonna call you every single day. So, so you have to build your business around enough of them that you have the volume, cuz they're not gonna need you every day. I always say that about our business. Our business is tough because it's not toothpaste

Bill Soroka (44:15):
Exactly. That people only need a notary when they need a notary, they need

Judi Lawrence (44:18):
A notary when they need a notary, they need toothpaste all the time. Right. And I always say that. So I wanted to tell you one more thing about the, apostille world. Yeah. I wanted to tell you that I have launched apostille direct USA and apostille direct USA is a courier service. So that if bill Soroka calls me and says, Judi, you know, I'm in Arizona, but I just got this apostille job. And it's, it's an expedited difficult job. And and it's for Connecticut. And I can say to bill, okay, here's the number… The guy's name is whoever. And here's his number. And all you have to do is call him and he will get this done for you because he lives six minutes from the courthouse. And I have someone in almost every state, I'm a couple states short, but almost every state.

Judi Lawrence (45:18):
I, I launched it because the people were saying to me, I really wanna be an apostille agent, but I live seven and a half hours away from the secretary estate. So I said, okay, let's try and solve this problem. So we now have people that live pretty far away from the secretary estate who can join this. apostille direct USA for a whole $25 a year. Nice. That's the membership fee, $25 a year and be part of the team. And so if bill Soroka was the person that used the guy in Connecticut, two things, I wanna say a, you can use that guy or you, you can use that guy for the rest of time and I don't care. And I also wanna say that if you use that guy, you work out your price with him for helping you. I have nothing to do with it. All I am is the putter together.

Bill Soroka (46:17):
You're like the aposty matchmaker. I'm

Judi Lawrence (46:20):
Like the, a match. Well, I'm gonna use that. Can I

Bill Soroka (46:24):
Please do? Yeah. Queen of a and the matchmaker.

Judi Lawrence (46:27):
I'm like the, a opera match I'm gonna use that. I love it. And I, I like people are using it.

Bill Soroka (46:36):
This is huge because what this does is that bridges the gap. So now you can live in let's just say strawberry Arizona. Yep. And still build an apostille agent business because you have an online presence. You have customers everywhere. Now you can connect yeah. To those service providers see and whatever, wherever you need to be, if it needs to be in Sacramento, if it needs to be in Phoenix, if it needs to be,

Judi Lawrence (47:04):
It it's it's as easy as could be. I had so much positive response to this thing that I couldn't not try it. It's, it's different. I mean, no one else has done this. And and you know, and I, I keep saying to them, you know we gotta get the word out, so I love it. So that apostille agents know I'm not, I'm no longer alone.

Bill Soroka (47:31):
My dogs are gonna start barking here. So we're gonna wrap up here, Judi. I'm so sorry. Thank you so much. If you're interested in learning more, visit Lawrence Institute for and check out Judi Lawrence plus all the links will be in the bio. Thank you so much, Judi. I appreciate you being here.

Judi Lawrence (47:46):
Thank you. It was a pleasure. It was. It's always a pleasure.

--- End of Transcription ---



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