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Cynthia Howard

Mobile Notary Public And Loan Signing Agent

South Bay California areas

(424) 477-6283

The Pandemic Couldn’t Stop Her

As a retired teacher, Cynthia Howard has created a second career for herself as a notary and loan signing agent. Like many other notaries working independently, she offers mobile services. She specializes primarily in visiting clients confined to their own homes, hospitals, and long-term care facilities. Before Covid, she was happy with the volume of her business. But when the pandemic cut off her income, she knew she needed support to regain a client base.

Referred by the AARP, Howard came to the SBDC for assistance. As all kinds of businesses were moving online, her initial objective was shifting her target market to reach the general public through social media. Her advisor, Jocelyn Graf, worked with her to identify platforms best suited to reach potential clients: Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp, and NextDoor. The competition online was heavy. Graf assisted Howard in clarifying and communicating what makes her business unique. Between each SBDC session, Howard worked with a volunteer coach from the non-profit organization Cyber-Seniors to put together her social profiles and learn how to customize and use each platform’s features. 

Howard also explored working within the real estate industry by building relationships with industry professionals. With her advisor’s help, she researched associations of realtors and escrow companies. However, she did not find a good fit, and as healthcare facilities gradually reopened, Howard realized that she wanted to return to her original target market.



Covid patients, many of whom were putting their affairs in order, still needed notaries. Families had started looking for notaries again, but most notaries were price gouging or refusing to visit at all because of the risk. As a senior, Howard knew that contracting Covid could have serious consequences. But driven by her faith and her passion for her community, she chose to continue visiting patients and charging affordable prices when no other notaries would. Before Howard had access to the vaccine, nurses dressed her in a full-body protective suit to visit. Grateful for the extra time and effort Howard offered, some of her clients were moved to pay her what the other notaries were charging anyway.

This work energized Howard. To expand it, Howard needed to build relationships with frontline healthcare professionals – particularly nurses, chaplains, and social workers. Graf guided her to produce flyers and business cards online with a unified brand. They planned her outreach activities and, one by one, she got herself listed on the notary call list at each facility in her area. 



Howard also continues to receive new clients through social media. Her client base has expanded beyond its pre-Covid levels and she is now turning away work. She feels more secure in her income, and she has more flexibility in choosing who she wants to work with and when.

Howard’s willingness to go above and beyond her competitors – plus help from the SBDC with marketing – was the key to her business’s recovery and expansion.  In Howard’s words, “With the help of my advisor, I achieved personal growth and built the self-confidence to pursue more than I originally expected. I encourage other women in all seasons of life to pursue a woman- and minority-owned business enterprise.” And when entrepreneurs are ready to pursue their business, the SBDC is here to help.


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