Top Notch Tools to Stand Out as a Mobile Notary and Loan Signing Agent

May 09, 2022

Kim Flanagan went from corporate to creator in her role as a mobile Notary. Putting herself in the shoes of her customers, she designed systems and tools to create ease in her appointments and it's paid off big time. She's also helped design products, like a customer intake form and luxury-feeling journal to help notaries be more efficient and stand out in a sea of sameness.

Episode Highlights:

11:07 When you adapt processes, habits, and routine, you free up headspace to be present and engaged with your customers. This allows for a relationship that can last beyond one single transaction.

13:51 When you looking for training, find a teacher that resonates with you as you get started. Then, never stop learning. Focus on learning just ONE thing that could help you.

24:53 Using a customer intake form, like the one designed by Kim at Notary Ally, helps you demonstrate your expertise when a client calls you. Move from "order-taker" to Notary Professional with the prompts and questions on this form.

--- Full Raw Transcription Below ---

Bill Soroka (00:58):
Hey, welcome to the Sign & Thrive Podcast. It's my honor. My pleasure to introduce you to fellow notary creative and friend, Kim Flanagan out of California. Kim, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast. Finally.

Kim Flanagan (01:20):
thank you so much for having me, Bill, my pleasure.

Bill Soroka (01:26):
well, it's my pleasure too. I've been looking forward to this conversation in so many ways. I think you bring so much to the notary industry. So what we're gonna get to talk about a little bit today is just your journey. I love origin stories. So we're gonna kinda start with how you got here. Some of the hurdles that you've overcome and some of the skillset you brought from your corporate career into this business. And then one thing in particular I love talking about with you is your passion, the passion that you bring to your customer's experience on this. So I'm excited to share your story, but first let's jump right in there. How you came from a corporate job, how do you end up becoming a mobile notary and loan signing agent in Palm Desert, California?

Kim Flanagan (02:10):
kinda by accident. I was actually, I got a refi. I refinanced my house. I wanted a home equity line of credit. And when I was getting set up with my loan documents and I thought, boy, I've gotta take a day off work to drive in to get these signage. She said, oh no, we can send a mobile notary out. And I was like, what? They have those. And so they sent a mobile notary out and this professional woman came out and did, and I just looked and I thought you can do this for a living, this is really interesting. And she pulled out a journal and she pulled out stamps and I'm an office product nut. And I was like, wow, she gets a stamp and she gets a journal. And this is really interesting. And these are like details that I'm, that I'd be, I like doing, I, I liked what she did. So it kind of introduced me to that's even a job. I didn't even think it was something I could do and in corporate, there were some major changes happening and I was asked to get up at 3 or 3:30 in the morning, which don't tell anybody, but I like getting up at those hours

Bill Soroka (03:19):
On your own terms though, right?

Kim Flanagan (03:21):
Yeah. On my own terms. But I, I found myself getting up at 3:30 in the morning and training people in India, how to do my job. So I kind of saw the writing on the wall and corporate off offered a really nice package to thousands of people. And I decided to take them up on it. And I remembered the notary that came to my house. And I was thinking to myself, you know, at my age, I'm in my sixties and I'm gonna be competing with not only people that could be my children, that could be my grandchildren. And it was so daunting, the thought of being back out in the workforce and I have to work. I'm not in a position to retire right now. And it just seemed like something that I could do and that I enjoyed doing it. So that kind of opened the door for me.

Bill Soroka (04:10):
Mm. How long did it take from that point, that realization to starting your business?

Kim Flanagan (04:17):
You know, it was really kinda gradual. I was in a situation. I had some time limitations. I was I had the honoring privilege of being a caregiver for my mother and she was very handicapped toward the end. And I had some limitations with how much time I could spend away from home. So I wasn't able to do loan signing so much. But the beauty of it was I had time to study. I wanted to learn what other notaries knew. And so I took the time to take as many classes as I could take. I, I, you know, got certified and I don't know if I wanna list all of them, but I took a lot of different courses and hopped on different calls and tried to hear what other notaries were going through. And so I just kind of trying to learn things during that time. So that that's, it just was a little bit at a time. So I became a finding agent and took classes. And when I could go out on quick appointments, I would do notary work and it just kind of grew, it just kind of evolved slowly for me.

Bill Soroka (05:21):
Hmm. I, I love that. And I love that you had the gift of being there for your mother on that. I love that story. I think that really was a beautiful time and I loved how happy you were.

Kim Flanagan (05:33):
I'm so grateful that I could be a part of that chapter of her life, you know, and she was so supportive. She would be thrilled with us. She would just be so happy. I'm sure she's with me all the time anyway, but yeah, yeah, yeah. So good things can come out of limitations, right. yeah.

Bill Soroka (05:50):
Well, and you really optimized that time that you did have by learning. And I know that you, you kind of skipped over that part, but I wondered if you would share the different courses that you did take to gain your knowledge. Do you mind sharing those?

Kim Flanagan (06:04):
No, not at all. So I started like everybody with a national notary association and then I took, I think I took notary to pro next Carol rays program. Yeah. I took a loan signing system, mark bulls program. I signed up with Sign & Thrive, so I didn't get my certificate, but boy, do I love your notary coach Sign & Thrive program? It's actually my favorite. I took individual classes. Laura B were, I took some individual classes with her. There's a, my notary academy, which is a local California group that put things together. So I just would try to pick things up. You know, it felt, it was kinda like there was so much that I had to learn because I knew it was this whole different business and I didn't wanna be embarrassed when I was out on signing.

Kim Flanagan (06:55):
So I was just trying to prepare myself, what would I do if this happened? What would I do if that happened? So I wanted to hear and learn from other notaries experiences. So it would be smoother when I was outta signing. I, you know, I think if you're, if you come across as knowledgeable and professional and organized and all that, that, that the clients are more forgiving, you know, you don't have, they're not asking for perfection, but if you've established yourself and they trust you and you're kind, and you seem to know what you're doing they're really forgiving. So it was kinda trying to think ahead of some things that I could eliminate what might be a stressful situation or that kinda thing. But I, I just really enjoyed learning from other notaries and helping me to be more prepared when I was out at assigning and being able to feel more confident.

Bill Soroka (07:47):
I love that you took that on because you know, when I was first in this business first I didn't respect this business at all. Like it was truly, and I treated it like an ATM machine. I needed money to fund my other. I was running like five or six different businesses. So I didn't fully appreciate what it was that we were doing here. So every signing appointment was so stressful for me because I was terrified. I was gonna look foolish because I hadn't taken that time back then, there wasn't even training courses to teach you how to do this in the first place. Right. So it was so stressful and it wasn't until I refined my systems and I got my scripts down and the flow down. And then I realize, you know, all these appointments are run pretty much the same. If you can systemize your processes, it frees up your mind to connect with the signers. And when I think when you connect, it changes the entire energy of the appointment.

Kim Flanagan (08:42):
I think that was one of the things that makes me so passionate about your Sign & Thrive program because I, I, other people have scripts and everything is fine, but yours are so well thought out that they answer people's questions before they even know to ask them. And it kind of sets the tone and gives permission and kind it it's. I love your script. The one that starts with, you know, I'm an independent notary and my job today, and I'm not gonna go into the details. Everybody can point it on Sign & Thrive, but it's so brilliantly done to me. And and you just start realizing that when there's processes and tools that work well and the flow of it and the beauty of it, and it frees you up to really enjoy the experience so much more. So, you know, some, I, I, I remember in other times where you're kind of aware that there's processes in place, but you really don't wanna jump through the hoops and go ahead and do it and I'll be fine. You know, I don't really need to memorize that script. I'll just kind of wing it when I'm out there, or I've kind of heard it before. I'll be fine. But really if you take the time to learn the script, just do over and over and over and over and over once you do it, then you're home free forever.

Bill Soroka (09:57):

Kim Flanagan (09:57):
You know, just freeze you up for years now. You've got that behind you. So when you're out at the signing, I just, I have so much more fun with people. It really does. It's less clutter in my head of what I have to remember, because I know the scripts and I know things are flowing well, and I can just really enjoy them and get to know them and, and enjoy the whole experience so much better. I'm just so grateful for your scripts. They were life changers for me.

Bill Soroka (10:21):
Well, thank you so much. I'm so glad that they served you so well, cuz that was, that was a game changer for me as well. And I started to enjoy them too. And I started to enjoy the people. I'm like, okay, bring on your questions, bring on the engagement. Right? You can make eye contact because you're not terrified. I used to avoid eye contact cuz I was like, oh my gosh. If I make eye contact, they might ask me a question. You know? So I was like head down in the paper, be sweating into the paper. And then you forget that there's another human being on the other side of that table, having some kind of experience mm-hmm and it reflects on the entire up the, up the chain, right? The escrow officer looks bad. The loan officer looks bad. The home builder looks bad if you show up and you don't know what you're doing, or you're just buried in the paper.

Kim Flanagan (11:07):
If I could put a plug in, because , we're talking about, if anybody's interested, if you go into the Sign & Thrive course and use the magnifying glass and you search for the word full, F U L L, and it pops up, watch a full signing. I tell people this all the time, 18 minutes of bill doing a full loan signing and I watched it over and over and over and over and over and over again. And just those scripts set you up for anything else that might come up. It doesn't matter. You don't have to know every single document, but to have the right scripts with the right documents and everything just flows better.

Bill Soroka (11:46):
Hmm. Well, I'm so glad that that served you and honest opinion. You've taken all of the major classes and courses for somebody who is brand new, like literally no mortgage, no housing experience. Based on the main programs that you've taken, where would you send people? Would it be notary to pro for the foundations? Would it be LSS with mark, would it be to Sign & Thrive? Where would you send somebody who's totally green on this and just wants to get started?

Kim Flanagan (12:20):
Oh boy, go to a coach, go to bill. It's just, there's so many different factors. You know what I think you many of these classes have that free trial period. And and I know you have one too, and I think you just have to find, like you said before, you gotta find what speaks to you and and trial the free trials and see what speaks to you. But here's what I think too, even though you've taken a course, you can always learn from more courses. I always thought if you learn one thing, only one thing from a course or a lecture or an experience, it was worth it. That one thing may be a game changer for you later on. Even if it seems like a minor thing. And so I just take as much as I can, you know, take what you can at the time that you can at what you can afford and take advantage of the free trial periods. Look at YouTube, see what rings true to you. I just think Sign & Thrive is just so robust and there's just so many wonderful supportive people and modules and where to go and who to ask and different things to consider. And you know what, hop on calls, hop on calls and they can ask questions to the experts, to you guys, to the coaches.

Bill Soroka (13:49):
That's awesome. I love what you're. The reality is there's always room for improvement and I, I think this is probably why we connect so well. Like we've developed a friendship, even outside being mentors and coaching because we, we think a lot alike and there is I adopt a similar policy, whether I'm reading a book or I'm attending a conference or I'm taking a class, I remove the pressure of having to learn everything that's in there and apply everything right. That's overwhelming. And most people don't implement because it's so overwhelming. Like they step out of a conference on Sunday and by Monday they've forgotten what they've learned and they don't implement anything. That was me for the first half of my life. Right. But now I just take one thing, one thing that I could implement that could change everything and that has changed everything. I can completely shut down.

Bill Soroka (14:46):
I remember last year I took a mastermind class and on the first day, like I spent thousands of dollars to be part of this mastermind. And I, on the first day, the idea came to start Side-Hustle Lounge Podcast, and that's all I wanted. I didn't even know that's what I wanted. It dropped into my head. The plan rolled out. I could see everything. And I was done with that mastermind. I was like, all right, I got what I needed. It was expensive, but I got what I needed, but wow, that took the pressure off. Just getting that one thing you never know when it's gonna hit you and it's can be a surprise sometimes. Now, speaking of inspiration, you, tying into your, your business, you know, one of my favorite sayings for this business is it's ripe for innovation and those with the courage to step into that. And you've done that in you several unique ways. You're self professed off supply geek and you are really good at finding this stuff. I mean, I remember when I came to your house for the first time and you showed me all the cool stuff, you have to make, make things easier, not, but not necessarily for you. Right. This is for your customer experience. Where does that come from?

Kim Flanagan (16:05):
I don't know. I just don't know. I from the office supply thing, boy, I mean, I, I, this is so embarrassing, but it's a true confession. I, from the time I was a young kid, I loved office supplies. I was like a kid in the candy store. If you put me in an office supply store. And I remember my, my favorite Christmas as a kid was when, when Santa Claus bought me a Sears best adding machine and a bunch of invoices and carbon paper and all kinds.

Bill Soroka (16:35):
Oh my gosh, awesome.

Kim Flanagan (16:36):
I was, oh my God. I was Ondine. I just thought that was the best thing ever. So this kinda goes far back as far as my office product nerd stuff goes. But as far as like doing stuff, I don't, I like to put myself in other people's shoes. I like to imagine what they're going through and what it must be like for them. I remember when I did my refi and how many hoops I had to jump through and how long it took and how stressful it was and you know, all the phone calls and all the emails and all that. And I remember how, I just wanted to feel relief that it was done and behind me and over. And so when I go to somebody's house, I kind of think of what they've been going through. And and I just try to make it easier for them.

Kim Flanagan (17:22):
I really do want them to feel at ease. I, it's just really important. I love feeling at ease. I love how I love when I'm at ease. I want them to feel at ease. I just want them to feel like they're in good hands and that it's gonna be okay, we're in this together. And let's get through this and, you know, get on with your life and that kind of stuff. And so I, I just think of things that might be helpful to them. Like when I first walk in to an appointment you know, they're expecting, you know, the notary shows up. Well, I, I always start kind of with a joke when I walk in, because I don't pack light bill. I mean, I've got you talk about my stuff, man. I've got my rolling bag that I bring in. And so when they see me coming, I'm sure they're scratching their heads. You know, they think it's just the notary. And I come wheeling up with my thing and I say to them, I know it looks like I'm spending the night here, but I promise I'm not. So it kind of breaks the ice.

Bill Soroka (18:17):
Right? I love that.

Kim Flanagan (18:19):
We sit down at the table and I say, just takes me a few minutes to get set up here. And I start unpacking and I give them things. I say, I come bearing gifts, but don't get too excited. They're just pens. And it kind of cracks 'em up. And I give them, they're, we're gonna be signing with blue in today so that when they make copies, they could tell the originals, oh, great. And I have little tent cards that I have where I, I have. This is how your name appears on the signature lines. So this is how they're expecting you to sign. So we've got their name spelled out. And if they have to initial, this is what they're expecting. And this is what today's date is because I'm telling you halfway through you're that discovered this other thing. As I met some signings, I've realized some people's tables are textured.

Kim Flanagan (19:09):
They might be a wood grain, or it might have a border, or they might have a table cloth on it. So if they're gonna sign something, sometimes it's difficult to sign on their table. So I found these little magazines that our local zoo puts out to the members. So they're like little newsletters and they're thin little magazines, but I got the local zoo to give me a bunch of 'em. And so when I go out, when I'm giving them their pens, I'm also giving them this cool little magazine for the local zoo. That, and I just say, Hey, I brought these because sometimes it's easier for people to write on these than write directly on the table and go, oh, this is great. So I keep setting stuff up. So you think about it's like, I haven't even started the appointment yet. And I've just been giving and giving and giving, you know what I mean? That's their perception. I haven't asked anything of them yet. I haven't done anything. I'm just here. Here's for you. Here's a pen. This is to help you, this, this is to help you, that this is to help you this ready to go, you know, like I get my stuff set up and it, it changes things. It just, you can just see the difference in them. It's like, Ooh, this is gonna be different than my last notary.

Bill Soroka (20:17):
Yeah. I love that. So how does that translate? Do you find that you, your signings first, do they go more smooth and efficient and two, do you find that you almost have a friend at the end?

Kim Flanagan (20:30):
Absolutely. Oh my gosh. I, I, I had an appointment yesterday with one of my clients. She, she had to reschedule she wasn't feeling, but I was taking her to the zoo yesterday. So yeah. I get five star reviews afterwards. I get people texting me, thanking me so much. I get emails from clients. I get clients saying, oh, I had such a wonderful experience. Do you happen to know and they'll wanna know something about the zoo or so, you know what I, I, I thought of two things that I tend to have in my back pocket. One is my local zoo, which is rated number seven in the country. And most people, many people haven't been there or don't really know how cool it is. And the other is I have a really cool little restaurant, a new restaurant that opened that's really good, and I have some of their menus.

Kim Flanagan (21:17):
So part of the, you know, I've got all my scripts going, so I don't have to worry about the scripts so much, but in between we have these little conversations and it, it makes it more human. And so I'll ask them, we'll talk about the zoo or we'll talk about the restaurant. And it just really opens things up and they they're so thankful about, wow, I wasn't expecting this. And you even gave me tips on good places to eat, you know, or you even gave me tips about the zoo. I hadn't even thought of that. It just changes things. It just makes it so comfortable. It's a, it's a positive experience. It's really good.

Bill Soroka (21:50):
Yeah. I can see where that would totally warm things up. And again, I think this is how I relate to you so well, that's exactly what I do. We, we move from just being a transaction at the table. Yeah. We're not rolling our eyes like, oh, you're just a paycheck to me. We're gonna run through these paperwork and we're gonna sign date and stamp stuff. But this is a human experience. This work actually matters to me. The other thing that I I really picked up from your story is that you are a resource to your network. When you talk about the zoo and your passion for the zoo, I, I got to be on the receiving end of that. And you sh I had no idea that there was a world class zoo, or a zoo at all in Palm Desert. And when you, you gave us a tour with me and my mother were passing through and you took us on the tour. And I love the my gosh, is it leopards

Kim Flanagan (22:46):
The cheetahs,

Bill Soroka (22:47):
The CHS. Yeah. That's what I'm

Kim Flanagan (22:50):
Leopard. We have of the leopard, but referring to cheetahs,

Bill Soroka (22:58):
How could I forget? But that was

Kim Flanagan (23:02):
Bayla SU and C, by the way, ,

Bill Soroka (23:05):
I love that. You're that passionate about it. And I love that you share that with your customers, cuz that passion comes through. And I think that it's gonna help you have those transformative relationships and restaurants too. And this is for the, the listeners too. I love that you have these in your back pocket. You always have something that you can talk about in your local area. Cause guess what? Your signers are usually locals in your area. So having a restaurant has really helped me too. You ask me where the best breakfast places is, best breakfast, burrito, coffee. I like, you want a good martini. I can send you where to go. So I always have those in my back pocket too. So I love that you're doing that. That's huge.

Kim Flanagan (23:43):
It has them up and you learn work. That's like, oh, you heard this one. Have you been to this one? And it kinda loosens things up and goes there. Yeah.

Bill Soroka (23:51):
Yeah. Fantastic. So we got a really good idea there of some of the things you do to make things easier on your customer. Now you also recently created two things that make life easier for the notary. And I'd like to, do you mind if we talk about that real quick? Cause

Kim Flanagan (24:16):
No, I'd love to, I'd love to

Bill Soroka (24:19):
Segue into this. I'd really like to start with your integration of general or specialty notary work. Cause you're not simp. You didn't just focus on loan signings. You branched out into general and specialty notary work, right?

Kim Flanagan (24:34):
Mm-Hmm I know where to go with this  

Bill Soroka (24:40):
No, that's good. Well, I want, I, I wanna talk about the the onboarding form. What are we calling it? Oh,

Kim Flanagan (24:50):
The client intake form for

Bill Soroka (24:51):
That, the client intake form first. Yeah. So I wanna talk about how the client intake form came about in your specialty work.

Kim Flanagan (25:01):
Well, that was actually inspired by Laura Biewer. And I, I think she, I think it may have started because of the original client information chief for the loan signing agent, which I'll talk about in just a minute. But I think that kind of got the idea going and and I had taken many of Laura's classes and you know, I just adore her and I'm learning all kinds of specialty work things from her. And and she had some questions that she would ask people on the phone when she would interview them, not interview them. But when they called for an appointment, she wanted to make sure that certain things were covered. And and we kind of worked together and I just put together the the specialty notary work client information. And by the way, it's the number one seller on like huge, for some reason, everybody wants, wants the client information form for general notary work, which is really good. It' just, it just helps prompt you through the conversation when somebody calls you and it establishes your credibility, gives you a better picture of what you're getting into makes them more prepared, makes you more prepared. You know, and, and whether it's somebody calling for themselves, or if they're calling for somebody that's in a facility, maybe a, a relative, and it just gives you some nice prompt for what what to ask and what you're getting into before you get out there. So everybody's prepared.

Bill Soroka (26:26):
It's amazing that you I, I think this is one of those, those things you created for yourself that is the industry is craving. And this is what I mean, like we're ripe for innovation and notaries needed this because one of the most common questions both Laura and I get is okay, the phone rings, what do I say? Usually the client runs the phone call, right? They run the conversation. What do you charge for this? Yeah. How much is it exactly. That's the first thing in most notaries? Just answer the question, but if you pause and take that gentle control, that was from Carol Ray. That was one of the favorite quotes from her is you take gentle control, whether it's an appointment or a conversation and you start asking probing questions. What that does is it gets to, you get to demonstrate your expertise.

Bill Soroka (27:19):
Mm-Hmm . So it establishes that you're more than just a stamp. This is, this work matters, whatever it is, the document that that client has is powerful. That, I mean, it's transferring legal rights to somebody it's transferring wealth, perhaps. So it's a big deal. So when you get to ask those questions and that's what the cool thing about your intake form is it walks people through that. It walks people through the witness question are witnesses required. And the thing is we as notaries, I think we assume that the customer just knows what they need or want, but in our world as a, in the, as a notary public, that's not always the case. In fact, I would say it's rarely the case that the, the client or the signer really knows what they need. Somebody just said, you need a notary. Or they saw a section that says, sign in front of a notary, whatever it might be. So we've got to, we've got to be the beacon of light through the transaction, right. And walk them through there. And I think that's the real power of this intake form that you've created.

Kim Flanagan (28:24):
But, you know, ki by you talking about this, it kind of got me thinking so, you know, I have the journal, but it didn't start as a journal. I never thought, you know, I never thought you're going to create a journal and you're, didn't start like that at all. It started it started way, way, way back. My first client information form I did for myself when I first became a loan signing agent. And I started registering at different with different signing services. And as the jobs started coming in and again, this is at the beginning and you're thinking in your head, all of the things that you need to remember about the documents and the processes, and you know what you're gonna say and all your scripts, well, then I start getting these emails from the signing services, and then I've got pages of instructions and this one wants this and this one wants that.

Kim Flanagan (29:16):
But the thing that really was getting me overwhelmed was how do I communicate? This one was on signing agent dot this one was on snap docs, another one's on signing Another one has their own platform. One wants me to email them. One is texting me. And so it was, I was feeling like, how am I gonna remember who's who and how I have to stay in touch and where I send the FedEx label and all that kinda stuff. And I thought, I just need to have a piece of paper for this signing that I can refer to easily, that I know, oh, this is who hired me. And this is the platform that I communicate. I emailed them. I go into signing order. I bought whatever it is. So it started simply like that. I just wanted the piece of paper to say the file number, the contact name, how do I reach them?

Kim Flanagan (30:04):
And then it kind of grew. And I thought, well, if I'm doing that, it would be good to have maybe what the tracking number was. Maybe I'll put the rescision date on there. Maybe I'll put a note for what the cash to close close was. Maybe it would be nice to have a place for the escrow officer. So I'm just try, just trying to think of things that would make it remember. I like ease. What's gonna make it easier when I'm at the table. If something comes up, I wanna be prepared and not have to Rumage through something to try to scramble and find a phone number or contact, or who do I reach or how so? I just, just put a piece of paper together with boxes of where I had all this helpful information. And then I took one of Laura B's classes on a mock loan signing.

Kim Flanagan (30:51):
And I'd been through plenty of loan, signing things before. But like I said, I like to see how people do things. And I took her Maum signing class and it was during COVID and she was explaining how she takes two sets of documents. She takes the copy and she gives the client the copies that the documents that they'll be signing. And she uses the client copy and vocally guides them through the signing from, you know, from a distance and just guides them, prompts them through their signings. And one of the things that she mentioned is while the clients are signing and flipping through pages, she starts entering in her journal and I'm thinking, wow, that would be a good idea. That would save me time at the table. If I could start entering my journal in the middle of the signing. And so I thought, okay, well, while I'm preparing my documents, next time, I'm gonna start writing down the documents that I'm gonna be notarizing, or that they'll have notarized signatures on.

Kim Flanagan (31:55):
So I'll just start documenting what's coming up so I can start filling in my journal while they're, while they're working. And then I thought, oh, geez, I'm writing far too much. . I mean, this is like, I don't like writing all this stuff. So I typed some document names up and I just started checking 'em off. And that became my client information sheet that I did it just for myself. And then I thought, you know, somebody should create a journal where I could just transfer this stuff, right. From my client information sheet, right into the journal, it would make it a lot easier. Somebody should do that. somebody should somebody should. It sure would be nice if somebody would do that for me. and I thought, you know, I, I had no idea how to create a journal or anything, but it just started thinking into my head, but what would happen if I did this? Or what would happen if I did that? What would happen if I did that? And then something weird started happening, bill .

Bill Soroka (32:59):
I love it. When weird stuff happens, what happened?

Kim Flanagan (33:02):
okay. I'm going back to my favorite sign of thrive stuff. Again, I love your courses. one of the things that you, I think are so good at introducing people to is your miracle mornings.

Bill Soroka (33:17):

Kim Flanagan (33:18):
And I was kind of exposed to something like that before, when I'm up really early in the morning, believe me, there's been many times in my life with that. That would not be an option at all. I I'm not, I wasn't really an early morning person, but when I started getting up early, there's just like a peacefulness and a calmness to it and a beauty to it. And I started doing some of the same things that you're talking about in your system. I started journaling. I started meditating, meditating. Oh my Lord. I was like, I don't know how to meditate. And I, you know how, I don't know how to do, you know what, just quiet your mind. It's just quiet in your mind. Just listen to the air conditioning event for 15, 20 minutes. Just quiet in your mind. You don't have to be an expert on, you know, how to, how to meditate.

Kim Flanagan (34:06):
And are you using the right things and are your hands in the right position? I don't know any of that stuff. Just quiet your mind. Yeah. And things started whispering to me. I mean, not like literally whispering. Yeah. But I would get impulses and little thing, nothing earth shattering. Again, it wasn't all you need to create a journal. It was like, I wondered what would happen if I wonder what would happen? If, what if I did this? What if I, what, what that was? And they're just little tiny impulses. And they just kept growing and growing. And when I was in when I like calm my mind, and then these impulses would come and I'd start doing something, all of a sudden I'd realize, I don't know how long I've been doing this. You just kind of get lost in it. And the next thing you know, it's an hour later or something like that. And I think that was another gift that you gave me bill, is that you reinforced those tools.

Kim Flanagan (35:06):
Hmm. And I'd heard about them for years and I kind of piecemeal, I'm gonna do a little bit of this, a little bit of that. And I really started seeing a change when I got up and started journaling every day. And it's just, for me, it's not for anybody else. You know, the things that I write in there. No one's gonna see. Right. So, and, and honestly, some of the things that changed as I would put in my journal, how I like to feel, because I didn't want, I started realizing I wanted things that made me feel the way I like to feel. And, and, and, and I wanted to be less conditional, let me, let me back up. It was like, I think in the past it, I would think if I just had this, I would feel better. Once this happens, my life will be better.

Kim Flanagan (35:53):
If this would change, things would get better. If this would change, I'd feel better. And I kind of switched that and I started telling the universe what I wanted to feel and let it bring me things that helped me feel that way. instead of asking for the specifics, it was like, you know what? I love the feeling of ease. I love the feeling of abundance. I love the feeling of joy. I love the feeling of fun. I love the feeling of empowerment. I love the feeling of freedom. And I started writing things how I love to feel. And little by little, the universe started to proliferate things to me that made me feel that same way. And that's kinda a, how it, little by little, all unfolded. And it went from a client information sheet to a journal, which I knew nothing about knew nothing on how to do anything like that. And it was just little hints. I just listened to the hints that I got outta my own way.

Bill Soroka (36:52):
Yeah. I love it. Thank you so much for sharing. Kind of the it's, it's the internal dialogue that goes along with create with creation and there's sometimes no explanation for it. So I love your description of this and you and I think it was Oprah that said, listen to the whispers. And I think that's exactly what she's referring to is just, we, sometimes it yells at us, right? Like, it's like, Hey, you gotta do this. But more often than now that I found that it is, it's just those little hints as you describe them. What if questions? What if it did go this? What if it was easy to do this? What if you tried this?

Kim Flanagan (37:35):
Exactly. And just by your phrasing, what if changing your, your self talk even a little bit makes all the difference. And I know we had a conversation recently about this because you know, doing this journal, I didn't know anything. I didn't know. I didn't know anything about the details or manufacturing and printing, and I didn't know any of that stuff. And I would hear, I would realize myself talk is that, I don't know. I don't know how to do. I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know. Well, that attracts more of, I don't knows. And some I, somewhere along the line, I heard the expression. It's gonna feel so good when I figure this out. And I started saying that instead of, I don't know, I started thinking it's gonna feel so good when I figure this out. I don't know what this is yet, but it's gonna feel so good when I figure this out.

Bill Soroka (38:37):
And so does it a

Kim Flanagan (38:38):
Huge difference? Yeah, it really does. It really does. It really does.

Bill Soroka (38:43):
I think that's one of the that's what I respect about you so much, Kim, because this was not an easy process. Like you've been, you've had to jump through some hurdles and go through some challenges throughout the whole business process. But this project in particular, creating a journal, this was not easy for you. This was out of your comfort zone completely. And I remember having those conversations, not only did you take on the design, the manufacturer, the printing, the distribution, but then you also had to learn how to build an eCommerce site where you could sell this. Right.  

Kim Flanagan (39:23):
And you know, I'm not techy. So that was like, ah,

Bill Soroka (39:26):
I'm surprised you got on this podcast.

Kim Flanagan (39:29):
I know

Bill Soroka (39:30):
no, just kidding.

Kim Flanagan (39:33):
No, that's true.  

Bill Soroka (39:36):
But the fact that you figured that out I think is just so impressive and I'm so excited for you to see where this goes, but let's talk a little bit about the actual journal. What we, we've kind of seen the inspiration, the design, how that flows, what makes your notary allied journal special?

Kim Flanagan (39:59):
Well, it goes back to, I did it for me. I really didn't do it for anybody else. And me being an office supply nerd and paper stationary appreciator. I wanted it to be nice. I wanted it to look nice. I wanted it to feel nice. I wanted it to be logical. I wanted it to protect me. If I got challenged in court, I wanted it to be a professional reflection. I wanted clients to be impressed when I pull it out for them to be like, whoa, I've never seen that. And you know, it, it's amazing how many clients comment on it. So the journal I, I made it in color print which I think is the first original, only color notary journal out there. So color is an option. I do have a black and white version as well. But I wanted it to be comfortable to write in.

Kim Flanagan (40:56):
So I wanted it to live flat. I didn't want, you know, the binding to get in the way I wanted nice heavy paper. So when I wrote on it, the ink didn't show through to the other side. And I just wanted it to have all these components. So I didn't have to remember things. I just wanted to be able to kind of follow it and check, check, check, check, check, check, check, and have to think a lot less and write a lot less. And I know when people foresee it, it's probably on the overwhelming side, you know, just like anything new. When you see anything you haven't seen before, there's a little bit of adjustment. Like, what am I looking at here? And then once you realize, you know, you take a, a moment to take a look and see how different it is and then it just flows so beautifully.

Kim Flanagan (41:44):
It, it, I, you know, the, when you see something new and you get a little more familiar with it, the more familiar you get, the easier it gets, the easier it gets, the more you like using it. Yeah. And lemme tell you this thing, it just functions so beautifully, especially when you use it with the client information form and it just flows so smoothly when you're at the table. And it speeds up my journaling like you would I'm now because of the process by me using the client information form as a preparation document where I have all the contact information on the front side and on that backside of the client information form, I have all the details about the notarization. So when I'm in the signing, I take that information and transfer it quickly to the journal. And my Journal's ready long before, typically long before they're finished signing. So it's just check, check, check, check, check, check, check. And I, I get such a kick. I, I was just outta signing yesterday when she was saying, I've never seen a journal like that before, or how many, how many sign have you been to? And someone says, you know, I used to be a notary and then they, I've never seen a journal like that before, and everyone wants to touch it. Everyone wants to, they just wanna touch it.

Bill Soroka (43:01):
Well as a fellow Papai FIAC we learn what that is. Lover of paper. I gotta say I was the same thing when I first touched that I couldn't stop touching it. I just ran my hand over it and I wanna just turn the pages on it. Yeah. I, I love a product that does that. And it's pleasant to write on. Like I use high quality pens. It responds really well to high quality pens. What is that? 80 pound paper and then the color box. Yeah. That's I think you fulfilled a, a niche for those who just really appreciate like the flimsy paper, the journals that exist already are fine the way they are, but this, this elevated the game.

Kim Flanagan (43:50):
It really does. It really does.

Bill Soroka (43:52):
It makes me wanna just sit and do notarizations all day. Like, you've gotta, you've gotta touch my journal, right? Like it's I love it.

Kim Flanagan (44:00):
Isn't that funny because I, I, you know, I think in the past with journaling, you hear people like, oh, it's a necessary evil and you gotta do your journaling. I love journaling now. I mean, I can't wait. I pull out my journal out. I just love that part of the finding. I it's just fun. It, it it's become almost like a game. It is fun. It's fun to check, check, check, check, check, and transfer the information over really quickly. And it is, I just enjoy it. I really enjoy

Bill Soroka (44:26):
It. Yeah, that's so great. And then I love that you've, you've even within this, you know, this created a, a niche boutique style journal for those who appreciate that that level of experience, but even within that, you've carved some specialties out for that too. Right? You have the loan signing version,

Kim Flanagan (44:47):
Right? So I, the first journal that I created was a loan signing agent edition. So that one has about three dozen pre-typed common documents for loan signing, but there's also a section with about a dozen trust signing documents because I was aware that a lot of loan signing agents are also doing trust signings. So the loan signing age, in addition also has about a dozen trust signing. All of the journals have areas where you can hand write documents that aren't pre-typed, which makes them flexible so that you can do not only loan signings and trust signings, but you can also do general notary work and specialty notary work. So the current journals each of them have six large areas where you can hand write other documents. So I should make clear that when I say the loan signing addition you're not switching from one journal to another whatever you do more of like, if you do more loan signings than reverse more of a reverse mortgage addition to too.

Kim Flanagan (45:55):
So if you do reverse mortgages more than regular loan signings, you might wanna look at that one, if you do regular loan signings forward loan signings, more that might be the one for you. So we've got reverse mortgage edition, the loan signing edition, and I'm working with a estate planning attorney's office to accommodate specifics just for their kind of offices. So, and then we have the general notary work specialty notary rework intake form too well. But the journal, you know, I was thinking, I meant to mention, in addition to the journal itself, I also include a few little extras. Like I have a Aion calendar that I include in there. And I've also created some placeholders where I've got the documents that answer most people's questions. I have these little tabs, these little placeholders for like the settlement statement, the CD, the note, the deed of trust, the first payment letter.

Kim Flanagan (46:52):
And I tell clients I've moved the documents that answer most people's questions to the beginning so that we can review those first. And so I have the little placeholders for where the documents originally appear in the stack. Mm-Hmm so that you can put them back in the correct order when you return them to escrow. But let me tell you clients, they, that comes up in my reviews. I've had several clients mention that I, they, they say I put the most important documents first, but you know what, that I put the documents and answer most of their questions first. Yeah. I, in there too, I try on some of journals and

Bill Soroka (47:32):
Yeah, that's brilliant. I love that you do that. And you've brought up reviews a couple of times. How do you, how do you ask for reviews?

Kim Flanagan (47:42):
This is probably a bad time to ask me, cause I've gotta, I have problems with Google my business, so I've gotta take that class and get things straightened out. So I'm kind of in a fun, I, my reviews are going under an old thing. Anyway, I use your scripts that you have, you know, thanks for making it fun for me too and ask their permission if we can stay in touch and, you know, do you mind leaving me a review? I'll send them that. I, like I said, I've kind shied away until I get my Google, my business straightened out on that. But but they're very, I get, I, they still text me or email whether they're leaving me an official Google review or not. And that means more to me than anything. I mean, I just love that they appreciated the experience and, and that the thought that they're even thinking of it afterwards is just mind blowing to me. I just love it.

Bill Soroka (48:36):
I think that that part right there speaks to the value of doing everything that you do in an appointment to going above and beyond. Like one of the my favorite quotes from Paula Abdul or whoever it gets credited to is there's no traffic in the extra mile. So, oh, when people complain about congestion and nobody care or whatever they're complaining about when you go, as far as you have gone to enhance the customer experience, Kim, I don't think there's any way to fail. And if somebody, without even being prompted says, that was so amazing that I'm gonna take two minutes of my time to send a text message to her, to tell her how amazing it was. That's just unheard of now, a lot, most people just don't go that far.

Kim Flanagan (49:28):
Can I share another exp? Now I know I, at the time, I know I told you this, but this, this might be, it's kind of a interesting signing experience. So I like, you know, I try to prepare ahead of time and I got a signing and I look up the address on Zillow because I like to see where I'm going. So it looks familiar when I get there. And I know when I'm where I'm going and I got a signing and I look up the address and bill, I almost died. It was this unbelievable fricking mansion. And it's, it's currently renting for $25,000 a month

Bill Soroka (50:04):

Kim Flanagan (50:05):
Yeah. And this was, this was during COVID when COVID was first out. And I knew that I was gonna have to be at a distance from this client. And I knew that I wanted to be really well prepared. I didn't wanna make a fool of myself. And and so I prepared the documents ahead of time. And I, and this time I flagged where all the signatures are gonna go, because I knew I was gonna be sitting a distance from this person. And I showed up at the signing and we were sitting outside by the pool and we're about eight feet apart. And I start pulling my things out. And of course I provide my pens, brought two gifts, don't get too excited. They're just pens. I give them their pens and I'm giving them their tent card and I'm pulling out my journal and I'm getting just take a minute while I get set up and I'm putting my stamp and getting everything set up and we're doing the signing. And I'm using the technique that Laura had trained me for being at a distance, using the one set of documents to guide them through. And so we're doing the signing and about halfway through I glance and I realized, oh my God, they're not using the pens that I gave them.

Kim Flanagan (51:19):
And I said, you're not using the pens I gave you . And they said, oh no, we brought our own. I said, are those blue ink or back ink? They were black ink were halfway through the signing. The instructions say, blue ink only I'm in this multi-million dollar house with people that clearly know what they're like, this is not their first rodeo. Right. And I'm thinking, well, I've got the copies, I've got the client copies. And when I sent to them, it's like, are that blue or black ink? And they said, black in. And I said, it's not blue. You should have seen all of our eyes above our masks were like the old, like the, like the old silent movie days where our eyeballs almost popped out of our head. Like, oh no. It's like, oh. Now so I'm like, oh, we've got the backup.

Kim Flanagan (52:12):
And then I thought, you know what? Call the loan officer. I, the escrow officer, I knew that this was going to be an after hour signing. And before I took the appointment, I'd been through this before, before I took the appointment, I said, I need to have a phone number for after hours. If there's any questions at the table. And the escrow officer gave me a mobile number. Wow. So what did I do? I pull out my client information form, which by the way is color. So it stands out from all the other documents at the table. So I pull out my client information form. I said, you know what, let me call the loan. Let me call the escrow officer real quick. So I had my forum, I called the escrow officer and she says, oh, you know what? I don't have the file in front of me. Do you happen to know who the lender is on that one? And I had it. I said, yep, it's blah, blah, blah. And she said, oh, thank God, no problem. This is gonna be fine. You can proceed with the signing. Block is fine. You're good to go.

Speaker 2 (53:10):
Oh, nice.

Kim Flanagan (53:11):
I got the phone. We kept going. Everything's fine. At the end of the signing, the, the wife says to me, you know, we do a lot of these. It turns out they've been investing in real estate for 30 years. Wow. He is a partner at a huge firm and he's, and she says, you know, we do a lot of these. You are by far my favorite notary that we've ever had. I just love how you did everything. So here's two other things with that. One is I went back and looked through my journal bill. That was my 11th loan signing my 11th loan signing. And I've got these experts in real estate investments telling me I'm their favorite notary that they've ever had. And let me tell you, I think part of that, part of it is my knowledge. I did take the time to learn. I knew what I was doing, and I had confidence with that. I was nice, but I think the other was that I came to the table with quality tools and they knew that I took this seriously, and this was my profession. And at some point in assigning always comes out that I love being an notary. And I always hear one of two things I can tell, or it shows.

Bill Soroka (54:29):

Kim Flanagan (54:29):
And this same couple, six months after that signing, he went online and gave me a five star review, six months later.

Bill Soroka (54:39):
that's amazing.

Kim Flanagan (54:40):
I know I was telling my husband, I said, I swear to God, all that they invested in another property and had a lousy notary. And it made T you

Bill Soroka (54:50):
It's probably exactly what happened. They really, they learned to appreciate you. I love that.

Kim Flanagan (54:55):
So your scripts and my tools and just being nice. And I think it, I think it just left a really good impression.

Bill Soroka (55:04):
Yeah. I think that's pretty clear and I love, I think there's the greatest compliment is when somebody says, yeah, it shows, it shows that you love this business. And I love that. We get to share that together. Kim, thank you so much for sharing so much of your story, your passion and your innovation with notaries and your customers. If you're interested in learning more about the Notary Allies journal or the customer intake forms, you can visit So that's notary allies, (plural, A L L I E You can also find the direct link in the show notes to this very episode. Thanks again, Kim.

Kim Flanagan (55:43):
Thank you, bill.

--- End of Transcription ---



This episode was produced and marketed by the Get Known Service
Intro music provided courtesy of Fan Fiqtion




50% Complete

Almost There! 

Enter your email for the free report that details how I got started and grew my mobile notary and loan signing agent business to multiple six-figures.