How it's possible that we've been in New Jersey for a little over 6 months is beyond me. I feel like the time has dragged and flown by all at once. I knew coming into this move it would be difficult.
Picking up your life and moving across country is difficult enough much less moving a business along with it.
But I had some strategies together before we left and things have gone somewhat as expected in ways and some things have totally blown me out of the water in others. One thing this move has proved to me more than anything else is that God is my rock. When everything seems to be going wrong, He assures me that He has me right where He wants me.
So how did my strategies line up with reality? Let's take a look!
5 strategies for relocating your business
The strategies I mentioned in my post about rocking your move before you go were as follows:
- Make connections
- Research your area
- Update SEO on website
- Refresh business strategies
- Get Legal
Let's take a look at each of these to see how they are playing out. Hopefully some of the strategies I have used can benefit you if you are also in the process of moving a business to a new city/state!
Research your area
This was HUGE for me. Luckily I had a friend who lives in the general area of North Jersey and I was able to chat with her a bit about the area before we got here. I also utilized my real estate agent to find out a little bit more about the area and the demographics.
I also googled the area, my city and neighboring cities and checked it out on google earth just to get a feel for the layout etc...I checked out other photographers sites that I could find through google searched and tried to see what they listed on their website as locations etc...
Coming into an area completely cold was challenging. I had really no frame of reference of New Jersey aside from Jersey Shore so it's actually been kind of fun learning more about this state that I would never have imagined living in. You may have the luxury of knowing more about the city you are moving too than I did, but I would still recommending doing as much research about the area as possible!
I can hardly describe how instrumental this ONE aspect is when moving your business. While the first few months here were slow since we were in temp housing and then in the process of moving...the past few months have been an absolute WHIRLWIND of meetings, collaborations, lunches and get togethers.
Being an introvert, networking is not a strong natural draw for me. I will ALWAYS choose staying at home with my cute husband over getting dressed and going to a get together where there is tons of mingling and small talk involved. That is so exhausted and draining for me. BUT...I have challenged myself to network in ways that work for me and I have been so blessed and amazed at the results of making these great connections.
I have been a part of two instrumental groups since coming to New Jersey. First, the Rising Tide Society. I truly believe God’s hand was in me finding this group right at the exact time I needed it. Some results of me being an active member of the Rising Tide Society (on a national and local level):
- I met my friend Jillian from Bella Carta Boutique randomly on an instragram comment section for RTS. Jillian is an amazing designer, overall amazing person and she literally lives like 15 min away from me. She is going to do some big things this year and I am blessed and honored to be a part of some of those things!
- I met my friend Laura from RTS and also from the Academy. She has been an amazing partner and resource for lots of different things! She took me along to a wedding and took a chance on me 2nd shooting. She has sent me TONS of wedding referrals, a few of which I have already booked. She is also going to have me shoot for her quite a bit this next year and I am thrilled to work with her.
- I met my friend Jennifer from RTS and from the first meeting, even though we hardly spoke, I KNEW she was a kindred spirit. We had an instant connection and have become very close since then. She sent me a wedding inquiry only a few months after I moved here and I booked them and shot my first wedding in NJ back in October. She is an amazing photographer and the sweetest person I know and I am so blessed to call her a friend.
- I met Michelle in the larger national RTS group when she reached out looking for NJ vendors to do a styled session with. We also had an instant connection and ended up working great together to do both of our very first stylized wedding shoot! So blessed to have found her!
Some other connections I’ve met through various other channels be it The Academy or other facebook groups: Chelsea, Brittani, Nancy, Amanda, Marissa, Christina and Debbie. Whew!! I feel more connected to the photography industry than I ever did before and feel so lucky and blessed to know all of these amazing people.
Another awesome way that I have made some connections is through the international networking group, BNI. My mortgage broker invited me to a meeting and even though the meetings are once a week at 7am (yikes!!!) the first time I went, I knew this could be great for me. I have already had business from this group and quite a few referrals and I just might write another blog post all about it. ;-)
Update SEO tags etc...
The difficulty with the area we moved to is that it's basically a huge area that is comprised of a thousand little tiny towns and townships (seriously!). So I couldn't SEO target ONE city per se. In Albuquerque, Seattle, Ridgecrest...that was a different story. Here if I would try to target Budd Lake I would pretty much get no where. Photographers here serve clients from literally all over New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York! Yikes!
With my friends help however, we narrowed it down to Morris County and North or Northern New Jersey. That was the area that I decided to focus on and so far I have made some really great strides when it comes to the SEO that I desire to show up for.
Related post: The Ultimate Guide to Squarespace SEO
Refresh business strategies
Moving your business is an absolutely ideal time to make potential changes to your business model without affecting past clients. While I have changed my business model drastically in my portrait offerings, I kept things pretty similar with my wedding collections. I have seen success with my wedding collections and have booked a few brides already for 2016, however, due to the timing of our arrival I missed out on the "family portrait" busy season right before the holidays.
I do have plans to do a few portfolio sessions for the area in an effort to get set up for success for the fall of 2016. My goal is to photograph 10 family sessions this year and I think I am on target to meet that goal.
Overall, I feel confident in my business strategy and feel like I have a strong why behind what I am doing. That really keeps me on point when it's tempting to change direction when I see nothing really "happening".
I have to remind myself that it takes time and diligence to build momentum.
What I have accomplished in 6 months has been fantastic and I can't wait to see where I am at in another 6 months.
I was able to get this taken care of rather quickly. Figuring how to exactly to get legal is not always easy but luckily I was able to find some good resources online for how to officially start my business in New Jersey and get set up to pay the state their sales tax. I was able to do all of this a few months after we got here, but also before I had any paying clients!
Moving your business is no easy task. It can be very daunting in many, MANY ways. But with some good strategies in place and the drive and desire to put in the work, you CAN make it work!
Have you moved your business? What have you found to help in your success? I'd love to hear about it!