You’ve put in a lot of hard work, time, and dedication to build your photography business. Then all of a sudden, you move your business. It could be because of a new job, maybe the military, maybe you just decided to sell everything you have and move to Hawaii.
Regardless of why you are moving, you are faced with having to relocate your business, and in a way start over in a new place, and you have no idea where to even start. Maybe you even feel like you have tried everything and just can’t seem to get your business like it used to be.
It’s a difficult thing to move a business, and I figured as I’m going through it myself I could post more about what’s working and what isn’t and maybe this will help those of you who are struggling to get your business off the ground after a big move. And some future advice for those of you who might have a big move in your future.
I am moving to Maui in 12 shorts days. My business is the sole income for my family of 4, so this isn’t something I can just sit back and hope for, I have no choice but to make this happen. It’s like jumping off a cliff and building my wings on the way down. Here are some personal tips on how I’ll be going about relocating my photography business.
TAKE TIME TO EXPLORE
Here’s the thing, I have never even stepped foot on the island of Maui. I have no idea where good locations are, what time is the best for sunset sessions, where the amazing secret spots are, but I do know this; I plan to find them.
To create sessions I love, I need to find great locations to use. I know this town I live in like the back of my hand, I know where ALL the good spots are, and many of them are random spots by a backroad. I love location scouting and using unique locations for my sessions. As a photographer who loves shooting outdoors, finding good locations to use will be really important. When I get to Maui, I’ll spend the first few weeks location scouting and make a list of all my new favorite spots.
If you’ve moved to a new town, take the time to explore it! Find those secret hidden gems.
I don’t know a single person on Maui. Not. One. Single. Person.
Kinda hard to build a client base without knowing anyone right?
So here’s the thing. I’ve been in business for years and have figured out how to run my business exactly how I want. BUT the truth is that it doesn’t matter how amazing my work is, or how great I am at running a business if NO ONE knows I’m even there.
What’s that mean for those of us relocation our business?
It means we have to put ourselves out there! I need to do a few casting calls. Shoot a couple of session for free and put my work out there in a new town. Since I need to test out some new locations, it’s actually the perfect combination. I can focus a couple of sessions on getting used to shooting there, finding right spots, and making the first few connections with a new potential client base.
This is no different than someone who is starting a business and has to shoot portfolio sessions to attract the right clients.
Right now my portfolio shows a big fat ZERO for portrait sessions in Maui. And I can’t expect to build a client base on work I have not yet created. I have to get out there and create it for myself. This way, others around me will see it and have the chance to fall in love with what I do.
A lot of people look at portfolio sessions (or shooting for free) as a bad thing, but if you do it right, it can really work out in your favor. Scheduling a couple of free sessions means I have 100% freedom to create the vision in my head. No rules, no expectations, I get to create work for myself, and I’m super excited about it. Best of all, I KNOW that the work I create for myself, will result in booking clients and that’s how you should look at portfolio sessions. Use those sessions as a way to build a bridge to booking clients.
The people who I’ll be working with for those free sessions, might or might not ever book me for a session in the future, but the work I’ll be putting out will certainly help me attract potential clients. That’s a big win for me.
TIP: I never go into a portfolio building session that I’m doing for free and expect those who volunteer to be part of the session to book me as their photographer. Most of the time that happens anyways, but I don’t expect anything but the time they are willing to give me to be part of this shoot. I plan to use the work I create from those sessions to speak for itself and connect me to the right people.
Create work you love yourself, that’s what will link you to finding the best clients!
CONNECT WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE
Moving to a new place is a little intimidating. It kind of feels like being the new kid at the school and walking into the classroom the first day trying to figure out where to sit.
It’s a little scary.
I know the importance of connecting to people who call this place home. Not just for my business, but for me personally. I would love to make friends and get to know people!
So what’s a girl to do? Use the power of social media!
The most amazing thing with social media, you can connect to people around the world without having to be there in person. We don’t live in a world where you’re limited to only reaching people in your city; you can connect to anyone, anywhere!
HERE’S WHAT I DID:
I put up a quick ad on Facebook, targeting my ideal client in the right location (Maui) and something amazing happened! I spend $40 over two days (so $20 per day for two days total) on simple picture ads on Facebook + Instagram. I kept it short, sweet and to the point! The results were even better than I had expected!
I got 67 inquiries in my email inbox during those two days.
My ad got over 12 shares.
I got over 58 comments from people who live on Maui. Of course, people that fell under my targeting, but LOTS of people were tagging their friends in the comments, reaching even more people!
One of the people who saw my post also runs a local mom group, which I was invited into, which connected me to some of the sweetest mamas ever! I was BLOWN AWAY by how welcoming everyone was, and it got me even more excited to move there.
With a quick post on social media, I created over 67 connections that I didn’t have before!
I’ll be moving to Maui in 12 short days and plan to hit the ground running. After I get done setting up the legal side of my business there, I’ll start shooting a few sessions and then plan to use a long term marketing strategy to build up a new clients base.
If you’re reading this, you might have had to relocate your business, or maybe you have a big move in your future that you want to prepare for. I have had lots of people contact me asking for advice after moving their business and feeling completely defeated in running their business because they can’t seem to get traction in that new town. So again, let me recap;
If you’re moving to a new place, you need to take the time to explore. Find those perfect spots to use for your session. Go out and create something beautiful for yourself!
Regardless of how long you have been in business, or how amazing your client base was at your last location, starting over is HARD. If no one knows you in this town, you have to be incredibly proactive in putting yourself (your business) out there for people to see. Don’t sit at home waiting for these people to stumble across you by accident; you need to get yourself out there!
Connect with the people who call this place home. You might have hundreds of loyal clients where you moved from, and a beautiful portfolio to show off. None of this matters when no one knows about you. You have to reach out and connect to people who call this place home. Show them how passionate you are about creating portraits and what you have to offer. Give them a chance to get to know you and your business!
Never underestimate the power of word of mouth. When you run your business correctly, treat your clients like gold and create value and quality behind your work, those people will single-handedly help you grow your new client base.
Put in the hard work, go the extra mile and watch how the people you work with will do the same for you and your business.