Moving Across the Country While Running a Small Business

March 14, 2022

In early February 2022, I (Josie) picked up my life and moved from St. Louis Park, Minnesota (my home state) to Bozeman, Montana. My husband and I had been dreaming about living out west for five years now, so it was a long time coming! We picked Bozeman thanks to its access to the mountains (we are now 10 minutes from beautiful hiking trails) and are loving it here so far. I will say that I miss having more culture as Bozeman is a pretty small town compared to Minneapolis, but being able to spend time in nature, especially on the weekdays, has been incredibly healing.

This wasn’t my first cross-country move—in 2018, I moved from Baltimore to Minneapolis after living there for almost two years. That move was pre-Lucky Bee, and I will admit that it was much easier to do.

When I left Baltimore, I had quit my job and was freelancing on the side, making it much easier to manage my workload. And since it was hourly, I even took off a week here and there to settle into Minnesota.

This time, I was running a business while making the transition. And my husband I moved into a place that needed a bunch of work done, so we were living in a hotel for five days before settling into our new place. I took time “off,” but when you go from several chaotic days of packing, a 19-hour blizzarding drive, to several 10-14 hour days of painting and cleaning, it’s not exactly vacation. And when you’re the owner, there are things don’t get done unless you do them yourself.

If you’re a small business owner and you’re planning to make a big move, here’s what I recommend:

If you’re financially able to do so, take on less client work.

Although I did take on less clients than usual, I had a few projects that I should’ve delayed or turned down. I’m learning that turning down projects during stressful times protects both you and the client because 1) you don’t need the added stress and 2) you’re probably not going to do your best work during that time anyway. And for someone who works from home, it was important to really settle into our new place without boxes lying everywhere (which did happen, but I unpacked as soon as I realized how anxious it was making me). To do this, either start a waiting list or do less marketing 1-2 months before your move.

Delegate Tasks

If you have a VA or a part-time intern, I highly recommend asking them to step in and help with client communication and any lingering projects during this time. My assistant, Nouchi, responded to clients during the thick of our move and I was so grateful for her help with this!

Get Ahead More Than You Need To

I got about 10 days-2 weeks ahead in work and this totally saved me. We definitely underestimated how long it would take to paint, clean, and move in, so it was nice not having to work into the wee hours of the night because I didn’t plan well enough. This also gave me a few days to explore our new home!

Let Your Clients Know Ahead of Time

This is an obvious one, but let your clients know that you’re not taking on any additional projects until x date and that your response time may be slower than usual. Luckily for me, our clients were pretty understanding about this and I’m so grateful for that grace.

Be Patient with Yourself

Moving to a new place is a big deal. Even if it’s a move that you’ve been dreaming about for years, you’re still allowed to grieve what you’re leaving behind. It’s going to take some time to settle in before you feel entirely in your comfort zone, and that’s ok, too. I highly recommend journaling and even working with a therapist if there is a lot of anxiety surrounding the transition.

Those are my best tips for moving while running a small business! If you don’t have plans to move yet but are considering it, I highly recommend taking the leap. Following through on your dreams will teach you a thing or two about bravery, confidence and getting outside your comfort zone. Not only that, but we’re firm believers that life isn’t meant to be lived in one place. 🙂

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