Side hustles. Whether you love it or hate it, most actors have a little something going on the side. For some, that may look like serving. For others, that may look like tutoring. For me, it’s being a mobile notary.
You know notaries. They’re the people you begrudgingly visit for a stamp on an important document. They can usually be found in a FedEx or a bank and cost anywhere from $0-$15 per signature, depending on your state. Not exactly major bucks.
But a mobile notary? That’s a whole other league of its own. I’ll tell you why…
As a mobile notary, I travel to my client. And in return for fighting LA traffic? I get to charge a pretty fabulous fee – anywhere from $50 to $500 – on top of per signature cost. The fee correlates with two things: time of day and how far away. A 2PM notarization in Hollywood. Good money. But a midnight notarization in Santa Monica? Great money. In addition to making a decent living, it also doesn’t hurt that I get paid on the spot (we use Square) and oftentimes in cash.
Unless you own your own mobile notary business which would definitely require more consistency, my work schedule as a mobile notary is 100% flexible. I’ll get a text first thing in the AM offering a job. If I can’t take it, I just say it. And if I have a pre-scheduled appointment that I cannot make? I just let my supervisor know and she reassigns.
Access To Gatekeepers
If you live in an industry town, being a mobile notary is an amazing way to gain access to gatekeepers. I am regularly on lots, trailers of big productions, not to mention the homes of A-list writers, actors, and directors. Now, while I would never pull out a headshot, simply having repeat access to industry professionals and getting on a first name basis with them isn’t the worst.
It’s a sad truth but people in the service industry often have to deal with difficult personalities (been there, done that, trust me) but interestingly enough my experience as a mobile notary is completely different. I don’t know if it is the business casual attire, the office setting, or the fact that I have a certification from the state of California but my clients treat me with respect and rarely waste my time (and when they do – I get to charge them for it handsomely).
Working as a mobile notary is a major confidence boost. Between calling my own shots, making real money, and having regular access to decision makers, I have noticed a shift in my mindset. I walk a little taller these days which is something that I think most actors could do a little more of – especially since we are constantly relying on OTHER people (agents, managers, casting, producers) to give us opportunities.
The last perk of being a mobile notary is the fact that you have an opportunity to practice vulnerability on a daily basis. I’ve comforted a crying mother while she sat by her daughter who was in hospice. I’ve witnessed a couple in hysterics over their pre-nup the night before their wedding. I’ve sat with a famous actress distraught over her impending divorce. I can honestly say that these experiences have filled me with a sense of purpose and has not only made me a better actor, but a better person with more perspective.
If you’re sold on the mobile notary lifestyle, you can start by checking out the necessary steps you need to take to get your certification. If you have a couple hundred bucks and some downtime to take a pretty quick course, you can get started sooner than you think.
By: Chelsea Alana Rivera
Chelsea Alana Rivera is an actor, writer, and mobile notary. She’s appeared in The Glorias, Council of Dads, Doom Patrol, and The Act. When Chelsea isn’t notarizing documents or acting, she is hanging with her overlord – a 5 lb. maltipoo.