I have moved a lot. Little Eye (with a few different names) has actually been in 4 states in the last 5 years. And while that is not totally ideal for running a business that is very client driven, it IS doable. If you find yourself in a position like me where moving is completely out of your control (thanks husband!!) know that you do not need to be discouraged. YOU CAN DO THIS!
Every time we move, I go through the same process. Resenting the upcoming move, mourning all the hard work I have put into building my business where we currently live, deciding I will not put the effort into our next move because what is the point, getting over my pity party and then finally accepting the change and giving it my all. Now these tips are really more specific for those in the creative field but I am sure they can be applied to all small business owners!
1. GET INVOLVED IN THE LOCAL CREATIVE COMMUNITY… AND FAST
As soon as I find out where we are moving I join every creative facebook group I can find local to that area. I absolutely LOVE the Rising Tide Society so I make sure to join their local Tuesdays Together facebook group. I always post and introduce myself (which can be a little scary!!) but it usually leads to a ton of connections- before I even have my moving boxes packed! When we moved from Virginia to Arizona I already had a few coffee dates scheduled for the week we moved in! And one of the first photographers I met with ended up being one of my closest friends while we lived there! Not only is this a great way to make “friendors” it helps you start getting your name out there!
2. WAIT A BIT BEFORE YOU THROW YOUR MONEY AT ADVERTISING SITES
It can be so tempting to think that the best way to get your name out there is to run over to a site like Wedding Wire or The Knot or some other local vendor site, but wait a bit to see how you can grow on your own! Now I am sure others have had wonderful and positive experiences with sites like these, but for me I have found that they really are only interested in my money. Every time I have built up my business in a state I have had the most success with using social media! Which brings me to the next point-
3. UTILIZE LOCATION SPECIFIC HASHTAGS ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS
Now I really do not totally understand hashtags but I do know that on every post I hashtag the crap out of my current location. #northcarolinavideographer #charlottevideographer #northcarolinaweddingvideographer #southernweddingvideographer… you get the idea. Most of my brides find me through vendor referrals or instagram. And since when you first move you don’t have a lot of vendors referring you, focus on social media. I have found that if I start hashtagging my location right away, I will have inquires for that particular location within the week! I have all my hashtags saved in my notes on my phone and it takes 5 seconds to add a comment with those hashtags after I post.
4. YOU DO NOT NEED TO WORK FOR FREE… BUT ALSO DON’T FEEL LIKE YOU CAN’T!
The first few moves I thought the only way to get my name out there was to work for free. I had the thought “well no one knows me here so I have to do a bunch of shoots here to get established and then I can start charging.” No. No. No. Never feel like you have to work for free. Value yourself and your talent!! Yes you may not be able to charge the big bucks when you move to a new state (I definitely have kept my prices lower than they should be in the past to get bookings) but don’t let anyone tell you that you need to do such and such for free. We all know exposure doesn’t pay. I had someone reach out once asking me to do a shoot promising exposure in return and when I politely declined their offer they came back willing to pay. But I think you also need to remember that you CAN work for free if you WANT to. Sometimes we have passion projects that fuel our creative soul. I love taking part in styled shoots. Now those don’t pay but I not only get to have a little creative freedom, I get to network and meet other vendors in the area. So to me those are worth it! I have booked quite a few branding shoots in the past from styled shoots- and even a wedding! I also love bartering with other creatives, so while I may not be getting money in return for a video I make for them, I get pictures or clothes or hair and makeup and sometimes those things are better than money!
5. BE PATIENT!
This is a hard one for me. You have to remember that success doesn’t happen overnight. Just keep working toward it. Set goals! I always pick a number of weddings I want to book a year and while it is easy to get discouraged and think “ugh if I was still in such and such location I could have booked double this but now I am back at square one,” I try not to dwell on those thoughts for too long. Some days I am on cloud nine thinking I am on the top of the world having so much success in my new location and other days I feel like I am failing and my business is nowhere near where I want it to be. It’s just the circle of life.
There is no magic recipe for success but I hope you have found these tips helpful! If you have any other questions don’t hesitate to leave a comment down below or shoot me an email! I don’t know everything in the world when it comes to running a successful business, but I do have a lot of experience with moving and starting over, so if I can help someone that might be having a tough time with a move, sharing these tips is the least I can do.