Angel Hendrix, NC Solution Group
Angel Hendrix knew that her season of contributing to her job was over and she wanted to do more, but what was next? She wanted to get into real estate without having to be a Realtor; so she took a notary class, and her business took off from there. Now Angel has several lines of business, is an example of entrepreneurship to her daughter, and is looking to hire some help to take her business to the next level.
Episode 36 – Angel Hendrix, NC Solution Group
[00:00:55] Sanjay Parekh: While Angel Hendrix was working in the insurance industry, she became a notary and started completing real estate closings as a side hustle. She connected with a few groups in the notary community and saw others making additional income by becoming insurance inspectors and assisting with process serving. Angel took note and started doing the same. When she saw her income increasing, she knew she was onto something.
Here today to share the story of her business and how she balances work and family… is Angel Hendrix. Angel, welcome to the show!
[00:01:24] Angel Hendrix: Thank you for having me, Sanjay.
[00:01:26] Sanjay Parekh: First of all, you've got an interesting business. You started as a side hustle, went into a full business. But before we get into all of that, give us a little bit about your background and where you came from and how you got here.
[00:01:36] Angel Hendrix: Oh, awesome. Okay. So, I was born and raised in East Orange, New Jersey. I started in the group insurance industry for about 17 years, working in various roles in claim operations through client services. About 11 years ago I moved to North Carolina. I wanted to be closer to my parents and I wanted to expose my daughter to just some diverse culture. And here I am.
[00:02:00] Sanjay Parekh: There you go. So, awesome. It's interesting that you did this side hustle thing and went into a full, small business. Were you ever entrepreneurial before this? Did you do anything entrepreneurial or was there any entrepreneurs in the family?
[00:02:13] Angel Hendrix: So, no entrepreneurs in the family. But I had a lot of different entrepreneur journeys. So, I told one of my friends, I'm going to stop saying serial entrepreneur but I was agile.
So, I had a bunch of different things going. So, I used to do hair back when I was like in high school. Now I started making wigs and started selling hair and that was a really good business and making a lot of money. But it wasn't as fulfilling. Now, I still offer wigs and hair from time to time if people ask or family ask.
But then I also went into Triad Women's pop-up shop. So, I curated this pop-up shop. It started every quarter where I would get about 20 to 30 different businesses. We'll come together, we'll decorate a room, set up your tables to sell your products or your services. And I did that for a while until the pandemic came.
[00:03:05] Sanjay Parekh: Of course, like everybody and then things shifted. Okay. So, you were helping with real estate closings. Or rather, you were in the insurance industry and then wanted to become a notary. And that was because of things in the insurance industry?
[00:03:21] Angel Hendrix: No. So, I was with my employer for so long and I just knew that ultimately my contribution season was over there. I just wanted to do more. So, I had a conversation with a friend, and we were talking about how do we get in real estate without being a realtor, going through the class and building a portfolio. And I was like, Oh, okay. To do loan closings, all you have to do is become a notary. So, I actually, I brought my mom along with me to go and take a notary, a one-day notary class. We passed it we immediately got sworn in and then I went to NNA, the National Notary Organization and became a certified loan signing, closing, and it just took off from there.
[00:04:02] Sanjay Parekh: Wow. So, all it took was a one-day class to become a notary?
[00:04:07] Angel Hendrix: A one-day class to become a notary. Yes. Eight hours. That's it.
[00:04:12] Sanjay Parekh: I had no idea.
I don't think I've ever really thought about how long it takes. It just it feels like something that should take more time. But I guess that's all you really need.
Okay. So, you're doing the insurance thing. Felt like you were tapped out. Weren't doing much more at that point, plateaued and then started doing this real estate thing. So, you got your notary, but how did you actually then, you're new at this point. How do you get your foot in the door with real estate closings then?
[00:04:37] Angel Hendrix: Yes. So, once you become a certified loan signing agent you now have to market yourself. So, there are a bunch of different databases out there where you can sign up. They're called signing services. And you can sign up to get work in your area. So, you put in your certification, you put in all your documents, you put in your zip code, and now they're spitting out closings to you and you can take what you want.
[00:05:02] Sanjay Parekh: Wow. So, it's not like necessarily that you need people to come to you. You can just say, yeah, I'll do this closing, and that's it?
[00:05:10] Angel Hendrix: So, there’s two sides of it. So, the easiest way to get in is to sign up for signing service and you get the work that spews out to you. You take what you want. Then there's also direct business. So, you want to market to banks, you want to market to lenders, you want to market to real estate attorneys. So, I'm in what you call an attorney state. So, you have to have an attorney attached to a loan closing in the state of North Carolina. So, I have to partner with other real estate attorneys and say, hey, how can I help you close on more real estate closings? Because you can only do one at a time. But if you have a notary signing agent with you in the building, you can double your closings in a day.
[00:05:49] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. Oh, that's interesting. So, I imagine by going that route, partnering with the attorneys and doing those closings, you're making more money with that than just these deals that are coming up through these databases.
[00:06:03] Angel Hendrix: Exactly. Because the databases, they have to make money too, right? So, they're making money and they're giving you a fee, but when you're working direct business, your money can double if not triple.
[00:06:13] Sanjay Parekh: Got it. So those databases are skimming some percentage of off the top for that?
[00:06:15] Angel Hendrix: Right. Right.
[00:06:17] Sanjay Parekh: Okay. Got it. Okay, so you go down this route, you start this thing. And then at what point, so you're doing this as a side hustle? First, right? You're keeping your day job? First of all, like when did you decide to make the full leap over to doing this full time? What motivated you there?
[00:06:34] Angel Hendrix: Great question. So, I started the business May 1 of 2021, while working my nine to five. And I would work evenings, I would work weekends. Whatever time I had available; I was getting it done. It came towards this time last year and I was like, you know what? I have to choose. I can't continue to do the nine to five and the side hustle because the business is growing and as an entrepreneur, you just never know. That season, that thriving season may not be there. So, it's if I'm going to take the leap, I have to do it now while things are hot. Because I may not get this opportunity again.
While that was the most difficult decision ever for me to leave a company that's our security blanket. You're getting that paycheck every two weeks. But I had to step out on faith I knew that this was going to work for me.
[00:07:22] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. Yeah. And the other challenge of course, too, that all entrepreneurs face doing that this step is benefits, right?
Health insurance and all of that stuff. That is a lot harder to deal with than when you're on your own versus in a company where somebody else is just taking care of it.
[00:07:37] Angel Hendrix: Absolutely. Big deal.
[00:07:40] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So, you do this and man, you're doing it during the thick of the pandemic. You're starting all of this, and it's doing well. So, you make that move over. And then what happens?
[00:07:52] Angel Hendrix: So, yeah. Very scary. But you know what, I've been blessed. Literally the week after I resigned, my business took off exponentially. And I believe that, while not getting too deep spiritually, that my season was waiting for me to make that decision so I can go and take off.
But within that week, I created an e-book to help other notaries grow their businesses. I joined an initiative called Thrive High Point Business. It's connected with High Point Business Chamber of Commerce, where it was an initiative to grow minority and women owned businesses in the city of High Point.
I joined that as a member. Business took off — more business, more connections, taking more workshops, and I was one of their first recipients of their $5,000 small business grant, which definitely helped my business take off.
[00:08:47] Sanjay Parekh: Free money is the best money right there. That's good stuff. Okay, so you started growing the business, now that you've got more time to focus on it, obviously you're doing more marketing and being able to actually execute on the work. Where are you at in terms of the business right now? Is it just you or is it do you have people working for you as well now?
[00:09:06] Angel Hendrix: Great question. So, I'm in this space now where I do really need to hire. I had some employees, I'll say some test runs, for a couple people just to feel if this was a good fit for them. Some, not so much. And it's hard to turn over your processes and things, your day-to-day operations to other people.
You have to really trust them, and they have to really buy into your vision. And if they don't, you have to make that decision early on to say, hey, if it's not going to work, we’ve got to part our ways. So, I am hiring at this point. I do need field operators. But it may take some time, but I've been doing it a little over a year by myself. And knocking it out.
[00:09:48] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. Yeah. but it's a tough thing, right? When you're by yourself because you're responsible for getting the business, but then also executing on the business. So, you're kind of limited. Based on what you're trying to do there. So how do you split your time between those two things? How do you think about that?
[00:10:03] Angel Hendrix: I have to be super structured. So, I remember back when I was in college, I think like a success coordinator, she gave me this 24-hour calendar. Hey, plug in everything you do. Let's say Monday from midnight to 6AM you're sleeping, then 6-7 AM what are you doing?
So, I filled out this calendar and it just brought me back to that. So, I'm like, Okay, where are my pockets of time? That I can start plugging in and making sure that I'm utilizing my time, right? Time management was big for me. So just making sure that I prioritize what's important, what can I do now, what can I wait on later? What's going to carry me over the next couple of months while not losing sight of the future? Cause obviously if I don't get help, I can't focus on where my business is going.
[00:10:49] Sanjay Parekh: Right, right. So, how do you think about that planning and how far out are you looking, in terms of like your business flow as well as transactions and revenue and all of that? And you can't necessarily predict six months out, Oh, there's a real estate deal. Because you don't know until probably just a month before something. I don't know how far in advance. But how do you think about that and how far out are you able to actually plan effectively then?
[00:11:14] Angel Hendrix: Yes. So, I started out initially with five years and I was like, oh, I don't know, That's probably too far out. So initially I start with the three-year plan. Okay. Just to see where do you want to go? What are your goals as it relates to loan signing? I think I've coined myself as like this notary coach.
I've helped so many people. I think ultimately, I want to be a signing service. I think I know coming from a lens of being loan signing agent and starting that service, I think I have what it takes to mesh the two to where you don't feel like you have to get direct business in order to make money. So that's a goal for me as far as the loan signing is concerned.
[00:11:54] Sanjay Parekh: So, help me understand that piece a little bit. What do you mean by be a signing service?
[00:11:58] Angel Hendrix: Yes. So, I want NC Solution Group to be the fill-the-gap, if you will, the liaison, between lenders and other loan signing companies.
So, while I've sought out business from signing services, but they don't pay a lot of money. So how can I grow to a large signing service, place all of my connections from lenders and real estate attorneys, and hire other loan signing agents to where it's profitable for the both of us? Cause right now it's 70/30 for signing companies. But there's some things I have in the back of my mind that I know I can apply to help all of us win.
[00:12:36] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. That's interesting. So, you've really like moved from a side hustle to this small business, but then you're not doing just signing work, right?
[00:12:40] Angel Hendrix: No.
[00:12:42] Sanjay Parekh: There's other stuff, right? We talked about that in the intro, like process, serving, so how did you get into some of these other things?
[00:12:58] Angel Hendrix: Yes. I started joining some different network and notary groups and people were sharing different opportunity, different things that they were doing to supplement their income because during the pandemic rates were super low. So, you were closing several times a day. Rates are high now. So, the ebbs and flows of entrepreneurship, what else can you do to bring in income? So, I started process serving and it actually matched income for loan signing, believe it or not. And I get a lot of people say, are you scared to go and knock on someone's door and deliver important paperwork? No. Thank God, I haven't had any crazy situations going on, but it's easy. You get some documents, you deliver them, and you get paid.
[00:13:44] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. So, that's really all it is, right?
[00:13:46] Angel Hendrix: That’s it.
[00:13:47] Sanjay Parekh: You've got an envelope and you just got to give them to them in their hands. Anything else?
[00:13:50] Angel Hendrix: Yep. That's it. You give it to them in their hands. If you confirm that they live at that address, you can give it to someone that is over the age of 18. One vow I did make with process serving is that I will never serve anyone at their place of employment. That's just my personal thing. I don't want to involve your work, so I will never go to anyone's employer.
[00:14:11] Sanjay Parekh: Okay. That's good, I suppose. I'm sure there have been stories about that. So, that's probably a good line for you to draw.
[00:14:17] Adam Walker: Support for this podcast comes from Hiscox, committed to helping small businesses protect their dreams since 1901. Quotes and information on customized insurance for specific risks are available at hiscox.com. Hiscox, the business insurance experts.
[00:14:40] Sanjay Parekh: Let's talk about how this has been then for you in terms of family life and personal life and how do you balance the two? Like when you were doing it as a side hustle, I'm sure it was a lot because you were working and side hustle. And then it's different moving it into a full-time business, but it's still probably a lot. So how have you balanced all of these things?
[00:14:58] Angel Hendrix: Yes, great question. So, it's me and my daughter, that's my immediate family. The first thing you need to make sure that you communicate what's expected of you in this process. So, I explained to my daughter what entrepreneurship means to me, what it's going to look like, the efforts it's going to take from me. What am I going to need from her in order to be successful. So just making sure that your family understands. There may be times where mommy is tied up, but my ultimate goal, this is my why, and you're attached to my why.
Making sure that you have a calendar. So, I use Calendly, if it's not on my calendar, it's not getting done. So, time management is everything. Yeah, absolutely.
[00:15:41] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. Yeah. That's great that you've got a calendar and you use Calendly. What does that mean in terms of emergencies that invariably pop up, right? It's really hard. As a parent, kids — they don't stick to a calendar. They have emergencies at all times. And you've got this business that requires certain times to be at certain places to get these things done. So how do you deal with that when invariably those emergencies happen?
[00:16:09] Angel Hendrix: Then that's when you have to figure out a support system.
So, I'm a firm believer that you have to build your support system. Many people will go to the people they're closest to or their family, but that may not be your support system. Or they may not be readily available. So, I believe in building that. So, I have created a very, very strong, tight circle of women and men who are either entrepreneurs or they're parents. And we all just support each other.
We tag team in this because, at the end of the day, we all want to see each other be successful, so whatever needs to be done, if I need someone to pick my daughter up, if I need someone to drop her off, if I need someone else to take a notary signing so I can go be at an induction for my daughter for National Honor Society. That's what I have to do. Everything stops, though, for family. So, whatever I need to do, there are customers who are very understanding like, hey, I get it. I need to push the appointment back for an hour. That's okay. And that's worked for me.
[00:17:09] Sanjay Parekh: That's awesome that you have that. Is this circle that you've built, your support system, are they all notaries or are they people that are doing other things as well?
[00:17:16] Angel Hendrix: It's crazy because it's only one is a notary. The circle, they do everything. So, there's business coaching, there's someone who does landscaping, someone else who's in the fashion industry, someone who owns a daycare. So it's a variety of women and men business owners.
[00:17:34] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. That's super interesting too because I'm sure it's an opportunity, much like this podcast, for you to learn from people that are in businesses other than yours. What kind of little tips and tricks have you picked up over the time that you've been with these folks?
[00:17:49] Angel Hendrix: Absolutely. So, we use this as like a hub for whatever we want to do. So, when I created my e-book, I filter that out to the group. Hey, read this. I need your feedback. Give me feedback to tighten up some things or change some things. We use it to share resources. So, if there's some scholarships, some grants and things going on, or hey, I'm looking for a CRM tool, what tools are you guys using? So, we share all of that amongst the group.
[00:18:20] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. That's actually a perfect comment to transition to my next question. You mentioned Calendly as one of the tools that you. What other technologies, apps, systems have you figured out, used, implemented that really helped you manage your business?
[00:18:36] Angel Hendrix: So, in addition to Calendly, I also use Calendly for booking too. Which is great. And it syncs all of my personal and professional calendars.
[00:18:45] Sanjay Parekh: So, you've an entry in there that if somebody needs to book you as a notary, they can just do it right on there?
[00:18:49] Angel Hendrix: Yes. My second, probably my favorite tool is Canva. Canva is amazing. I use it for everything. So, all my digital marketing flyers. If I need to do videos, templates for newsletters, for presentations, you name it, Canva is probably my biggest tool ever.
[00:19:13] Sanjay Parekh: So, for listeners that maybe don't know, Canva is a digital marketing tool lets you easily create graphics and, like you said, videos and PowerPoint slides.
[00:19:22] Angel Hendrix: Very user friendly. They have a free option, but I'd highly recommend to buy in. It's just a couple of dollars.
[00:19:30] Sanjay Parekh: So, for your own marketing then, are you doing all of the creation of the content and all of those materials or are getting somebody else to help?
[00:19:39] Angel Hendrix: I am now, but I'm glad you asked that because that's one of my open positions is a content creator in management. I'm actually having some discussions with someone who's going to take that over for me.
[00:19:49] Sanjay Parekh: Awesome. You've been at this now for a year and a half, something like that. Thinking back, you've probably had a lot of lessons already in a year and a half. If you could go back in time, is there something that you would do differently than the way that you did it now?
[00:20:05] Angel Hendrix: I would've left my nine to five a lot sooner.
[00:20:08] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. Why is that? Why do you think that would've been the right choice?
[00:20:10] Angel Hendrix: Because, in my mind, I was waiting for the perfect time. But there is no perfect time. The longer you wait for this said “perfect time,” the longer you are holding up your dreams, the longer you are holding up to get out there and really work and make the connections, and build your support, build your community. The money will come. But you're holding, waiting for a perfect time. And that does not exist.
[00:20:37] Sanjay Parekh: Do you think it was for you, were you scared about what could happen? Were you worried about the failure? What was it that held you back?
[00:20:44] Angel Hendrix: Absolutely. I don't think I was worried about failing. I think my ultimate was, you know that safety net, not having that financial safety net. I'm a single mom of a teenager, so all of her financial support comes from me. She'll be going to college in 18 months. So, when I think of all of that having the money and having that, it's like, oh, do you really want to jump out there? But yeah, it was scary, but I'm so glad I did it and I'm so glad she got to watch me make that decision for myself.
[00:21:16] Sanjay Parekh: Was there like a single thing that pushed you through that fear? Because I think all of us as entrepreneurs, as founders, we have that at some point. You'll have it at the beginning, you'll have it sometimes in the middle, you'll have it even right near the end. We have that. So, what is it that pushed you through that fear?
[00:21:34] Angel Hendrix: Yes. So, I remember I was talking to my therapist, which is something else entrepreneurs need. But she said, okay, if this doesn't work out, what are you going to do? And I was like, you know what, if it doesn't work out, I can go and get another insurance job. And that resonated with me. Okay. If I can go back and get a corporate job, what are you scared about? You have the experience, you have the degree. Girl, go do it. That was it.
[00:22:04] Sanjay Parekh: It's funny that you say that because when I quit my first job, my first corporate job, to start my first company. My thought process was the exact same thing. It was like, well, if nothing else, I'm going to learn a lot and I'm going to come back and I'll be even a better employee afterwards. And what's the downside here? I'm going to go have some fun for a little while. A little while has turned into a long while now at this point.
[00:22:22] Angel Hendrix: See?
[00:23:24] Sanjay Parekh: I think that's great advice for anybody that's listening. Is there any other advice that you might give for somebody that's thinking about maybe starting a side hustle or turning their side hustle into a small business the way that you did?
[00:22:42] Angel Hendrix: Yes. Definitely write down what your goals are. Why do you want to be an entrepreneur? I think everyone wants to be an entrepreneur and they see the glitz and glam and the money, but that's not always there in the beginning. So, write down your why, and everything that you do, if it goes towards your why, then it's time to go. It's time to go and just do it. You're not going to lose anything. What do you have to lose?
[00:23:09] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. And I think you touched upon something that I think is a challenge for entrepreneurs or wanna be entrepreneurs, is that a lot of times we just talk about the glitz and the glam, right? The thing that happens at the end.
[00:23:24] Angel Hendrix: Yes.
[00:23:25] Sanjay Parekh: And we don't talk about the things that are happening from the beginning to the end. Because there's a lot more that happens in between there. And that's part of the reason why we and Hiscox have this podcast is that there's a lot more that goes into it than just the end.
[00:23:37] Angel Hendrix: A whole lot.
[00:23:39] Sanjay Parekh: Do you feel like when you went into this, did you have that view of, oh it's just going to be all ponies and rainbows? Or were you like, realistic about what was going to happen?
[00:23:45] Angel Hendrix: Oh, no. Yeah, I had a couple of friends who've already jumped out there before me. So, I've heard their experiences. They will share, hey, don't do this first. Make sure this is in place. And one of the things that kind of just really stuck with me was like, Angel, you have to be comfortable with the ebbs and flows of entrepreneurship. Because you can make your goal.
Let's say your goal is $2,000 a day and the next day you make zilch. You have to be comfortable with that.
[00:24:18] Sanjay Parekh: And I think that is one of the challenges and that's why a lot of people, to be quite honest, are not suited for starting their own thing or maybe they're only suited to do a side hustle and keep your main gig. Because it is tough. It is hard to do this thing and it takes a special kind and there's no disrespect if this is not meant for you, it’s not meant for everybody.
[00:24:38] Angel Hendrix: Right? It's not meant for everybody. Sometimes your focus is to stay at that nine to five. Maybe God has a plan for you to go be CEO over there, but you have to know, you can't just jump out there.
[00:24:49] Sanjay Parekh: There you go. Angel, this has been fantastic conversation. I think it's been insightful. I really appreciate you coming on. If our listeners want to connect with you, where can they find you?
[00:25:01] Angel Hendrix: Absolutely. So, they could find me on my website at www.ncsolutiongroup.com, or you can find me on Instagram. My Instagram handle is @NCsolutiongroup.
[00:25:14] Sanjay Parekh: Awesome. That's great. Thanks a lot, Angel.
[00:25:15] Angel Hendrix: Thank you so much, Sanjay.
[00:25:19] Sanjay Parekh: Thank you for listening to this week's episode of the Side Hustle to Small Business Podcast, powered by Hiscox. To learn more about how Hisox can help protect your small business through intelligent insurance solutions, visit hiscox.com. And if you have a story you want to hear on this podcast, please visit Hiscox.com/shareyourstory. I'm your host, Sanjay Parekh. You can find me on Twitter @sanjay or on my website at sanjayparekh.com.