How I Kept My Freelance Business Intact During Relocation

I recently moved across the United States from Florida back to our home in California. In preparing for the move, I had several concerns about my freelance business and how it would be impacted.

In this post, I will share my experience, some of the issues I faced and how I handled them in the hopes that this will help other freelancers who are concerned about moving. This post should be of interest to anyone who is interested in becoming location independent.


Prepping for the Move

I am a planner, so from the moment we decided to move across the country I began figuring out how to make the process as smooth as possible. Besides packing and all the other tasks involved in the actual move itself, I had to consider the possible affects this could have on my clients. I had several projects that I was currently working on, and most of my communication is done via email, so knowing there would be several days without solid internet connection was an immediate concern. I am pretty much connected to the internet and on a computer all day, five to six days per week, so being limited to only a smart phone and possible evenings in a hotel room on a laptop with free wi-fi as we drove across the country was going to be a significant change.

It didn’t take much consideration to decide this was going to be a week without work. The final day packing and loading a trailer, then the four-day cross-country drive, followed by move-in time meant I was not going to be able to service my clients at anything close to normal capacity. So rather than try to provide limited service, I informed my clients that I would be unavailable during this time, except by phone on an emergency only basis. Fortunately, most of my clients understand the true meaning of emergency only, and they were fine with the situation. I had also planned my current projects with timelines that allowed for the week off, so everything was relatively smooth in the preparation process.

I think the biggest key here was the communication with my clients. Keeping them informed and reminding them of my availability dates set the foundation for little or no affect on my business during the week I would be moving. In essence, it was a very similar situation to what I would do when taking a week off for vacation, so these principles could be applied to that context as well.

Downtime During the Actual Move

Once we hit the road, I was able to make the best use of my downtime by answering emails in the hotel rooms each evening and even sometimes via phone during the drive. Thankfully, no emergencies arose and there was very little need for me to take care of business while we made our way across the country. I credit the preparation of my clients as the most helpful step in the process, and it actually made this portion relatively painless.

Setting Up Shop in the New Digs

When I was younger, the first thing I would set up when we were moving into a new place was always my surround sound system. It was my baby, and it was the provider of music to add motivation and a soundtrack to the move-in. However, since I began freelancing full-time as a web and graphic designer my priority has changed a little, and the first thing I set up is my work area. Computers, desk, printer, etc. are first on the list to make sure I am ready to go as soon as necessary.

So, another preparation step I took before I left was to set up the appointment for installation of my internet connection. I did this far enough in advance that I was able to set the appointment for the morning after we moved in. Once the installation was complete, I was able to dive into catching up on anything I had missed during the move.

Keeping Local Clients When You’re No Longer Local

Most of my business is not local. In fact, I have clients all over the world. It’s the nature of what I do combined with the modern technologies that give us the ability to communicate and connect with anyone anywhere instantly. Still, I did have a few clients from Florida and I didn’t want the relocation of my business to cause us to stop working together. Again, the communication was key. I informed them well in advance, and made sure to point out the benefits that time difference, etc. could have for their business. I did not lose a single client, and, in fact, I’ve even worked with a few new clients from Florida since I’ve been in California!

Your Relocation Tips?

I can’t stress communication with clients and preparation enough. Everything taken care of before the actual relocation started made for smooth sailing along the way. We have now been back in California several months and are settled in completely. My business is continuing to grow and we love our new life here. Perhaps you have relocated your freelance business and have some other tips, experiences and suggestions to share. Please do so in the comments below so we can all learn from each other and be best prepared for whenever relocation is on the horizon.

Image by CRASHcandy

Comments

  1. says

    I hate moving, and I can’t imagine moving across the country, but I did the same thing you did… Set-up the work area first and had Internet installed shortly after. Imagine your house burning down, though. It happened to me and it was weeks before I had a new computer with a solid Internet connection, and at that time I didn’t have a smartphone. It sucked.

  2. says

    Great post Brian. I moved into the house that I am in now almost 3 years ago. Even though it is just across town there was still a lot of work to be done. Planning really made it a lot better and smoother. I made the appointment for the internet/phone and later that day I finished setting the office back up (at least just so it’s functional). Everything else came after that. I’m sure moving across the country or even a few hours away would take a lot more planning and client communication.

  3. says

    The physical week of your move is certainly interesting. But I would love to hear more about the business aspect involved in moving. That is assuming your an LLC for instance you have to file forms and pay to close it in one state and the fees and forms of filing in a new state. As well as all the other IRS and legal changes involved in moving would be great to hear about!

  4. says

    i just remember my boss who used to transfer from one office to another. I think it took him almost a week to set-up everything and we needed to update the office address, phone number, etc. How much more moving from one state to another or from one country to another, I can’t imagine the tedious process. As long as clients were informed and no active urgent projects going on then freelancing remains spinning…

    Thanks for sharing Brian. This is helpful…..

  5. says

    I moved to a new computer and that sucked also ( I bought a new one)…I am thinking moving to another city..dayum…will loose some days :P

    Anyone knows anyone who has something to work for? :D (Web Designer)

  6. says

    Cool, I need to ask you some things though about freelancing as a web designer. I’ll call you though, if you’re okay with that? (hopefully u read this in-time because I’m about to call now l0l)

  7. says

    I’m going to be moving halfway across the world this coming July (South Korea to Canada) and am in the middle of planning everything. I don’t have many clients but would like to keep as many of my local ones when I end up moving to Canada.

    The fun part is I’m moving to a city where I know no one and don’t have a job lined up or anywhere to live. Should be stressful the first couple of weeks with wife and two kids in tow.

  8. says

    Hi Brian,

    unusual post, thanks for the insight. You’re right about communication – this is the single most important, absolutely crucial factor when performing such a step.
    What I’d like to know is – did you actually get negative feedback (or even lose clients) when you moved?

  9. says

    Great Post Brian! I wish it had been written a year earlier when I moved from FL to CO. I have to say that I too kept all but one of my “local” clients and have even been able to get work with new clients from FL since my move. It’s all about communication and planning.

  10. says

    Brian, thanks for the excellent post.
    It’s amazing to me that communication is the number one consideration for the success of so many areas of our lives: businesses, marriages, dating relationships, parenting, friendships, work relationships, and in our spiritual lives. And likewise, lack of communication, seems to be the number one problem in many relationships.

    Thanks again for the post, God bless!

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Trackbacks

  1. [...] How I Kept My Freelance Business Intact During Relocation: My family won’t be moving for a long, long time. We’re happy with our school system and the program it has for one of my kids. Freelancing certainly gives us the freedom to live wherever we want unless you have many local clients. [...]

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