Are you longing to move to a new city, state, or country? Is the fear of having to rebuild your business in a new location holding you back? If so, this episode of Priority Pursuit is for you!
Kayla Bowen of Kayla Bowen Photography grew up and started her business in Portland, Oregon. Then, shortly after she and her husband got married (literally the day after), they moved to Vegas, meaning Kayla—a wedding photographer with consistent bookings in Portland—had to move and rebuild her business in a new city!
If you’ve spent any time at all building a location-dependent business, the thought of moving might sound terrifying. However, since moving two years ago and despite a global pandemic, Kayla has managed to fully book her calendar and meet her income goals. And, in this episode, she’s sharing exactly how to move and rebuild your business in a new location with seven strategic tactics!
If you do decide to move, Kayla highly recommends broadening the scope of work you’re willing to take for a season. (There’s power in niching down, so this is just temporary!) While Kayla is a wedding photographer, when she moved to Vegas, she took on essentially any and all photography bookings that came her way (such as families and real estate).
This allowed her to (1) meet more people in her new community and (2) continue to bring income in while she worked on booking more brides and grooms.
One of Kayla’s top business priorities is vendor relationships. In fact, according to Kayla, vendor referrals are responsible for about 40% of her business.
Wanting to connect with other wedding vendors in Vegas, Kayla organized multiple styled shoots after she and her husband moved. (If you aren’t familiar with styled shoots, a styled shoot is essentially a mock wedding that allows all vendors involved to have photos of their work for marketing purposes.) This allowed Kayla to (1) connect with vendors who could help her business grow, (2) build her portfolio with work shot in her new city, and (3) build community within her industry, which is vital.
If you work in the wedding industry, styled shoots are a great, practical way to connect with other vendors and to serve them with your skillset.
If you aren’t in the wedding industry, chances are, there’s still a way you can build relationships with and serve others in your industry. For example, Kayla recommends attending networking events (She attends WIPA as a wedding professional.) or even organizing your own event—such as a holiday party—that will allow you and others in your industry to make connections.
Kayla and her husband moved pretty quickly, but before they made their move, Kayla joined Facebook groups specific to her new community.
This allowed her to start connecting with vendors before moving to Vegas and even share her work with couples who were looking for a wedding photographer.
Chances are, there are similar Facebook groups for wherever you’ll be moving, so be sure to do some research!
While 40% of Kayla’s booking come from vendor referrals, she says that the other 60% is a result of social media, specifically hashtags.
While many creative entrepreneurs use broad hashtags, Kayla has a lot of success booking clients through Instagram with location-specific hashtags, such as #vegasweddingphotographer and #lasvegasbride.
Kayla knows that her ideal client is researching these hashtags, and by using these hashtags, Kayla has been able to get her work in front of couples actively looking for her services.
Because Kayla and her husband moved so quickly, Kayla didn’t have time to change her blogging strategy or update her website’s SEO, but she highly recommends taking this step if you do have enough notice before your move.
For example, let’s say you live in the Midwest and you’re getting ready to move to Hawaii. Before you move, you can start updating the keywords on your site and producing Hawaii specific blog content (e.g. best locations for engagement photos in Hawaii).
The sooner you can begin updating your SEO for your new location, the better!
In this episode, Kayla offers a lot of wisdom and tips and tricks for moving and rebuilding your business. But, I think this specific tip is at the core of her advice. Don’t be afraid to get scrappy again.
Chances are, when you started your business, you were all about it. Booking new clients lit you up, and you were willing to go above and beyond every single time.
Well, friend, when you move, you’ll likely need to do the same thing. Regardless of how long you’ve worked in your industry, don’t let pride stand in your way. Instead, put your head down, focus on serving both your clients and others in your industry well, and get back to your scrappy roots. It’ll be fun!
Now, we’ve mentioned this tip a bit in other areas above, but according to Kayla, one of the most effective ways to move and rebuild your business in a new location is to start marketing your business in your new location before you move.
This includes updating your SEO, connecting with others in your industry, joining and being active in relevant Facebook groups, and adjusting your content and portfolio to reflect your new market. (Photographers, if you can, visit your new home and schedule shoots—even if they’re free—before you move. Remember, people will want to buy what you can show, and you need to be able to show prospective clients what their photos will look like in your new location. I mean, it’s hard to sell Hawaii photoshoots if all the photos you share are in cornfields!)
Friend, if you’ve been longing to move but have been fearful for the sake of your business, know that you CAN move. You aren’t stuck. Your dream city, state, country, or wherever can be your reality. That said, like Kayla, you have to be willing to work hard and make strategic moves.
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