April 1, 2019
Last July we moved to Bloomington, IN from Southwest Michigan, meaning that I needed to begin marketing myself to a new location. As daunting as that can sound, I’m the kind of person who gets excited about these things because I see it as a fun challenge.
I decided to view it as a luxury, not a chore. Yes, it takes a lot of work to make a name for yourself in a new town, but you have the opportunity to have fun with it. All of a sudden you have all of this “free time” to express your creativity in new ways, find out what makes you light up the most, and change directions if you want to. There’s a lot of freedom in moving to a new place – not only is it a fresh start for you as an individual, but it can be for your business, too.
Fun fact: It was during our first month here that I started making plans and recording for this podcast.
There were some hard days, of course. I had days where I was really bummed that I didn’t have a lot of work scheduled for the month, but that was when I had to remind myself that we were new to town and I had to be patient with myself. Then there were days when I was meeting new people and making connections that would bring business and that was the confirmation I needed that hustle pays off.
Here’s my advice for you if you’re in the middle of moving to a new place:
Start networking before you move
This is incredibly important – it helps people begin to recognize your name and feel like they know when you move to town. It gives you a bit of a head start.
- I Instagram stalked a lot of people 2-3 months before and began connecting with them
- I geotagged different photos with “Bloomington, IN” to start reaching locals (do this in your stories, too)
- I also collaborated with a few vendors in Indy for a styled shoot to begin making connections
- And I emailed new venues about touring their space and meeting them in-person
Don’t stop networking when you get there
- Set up coffee dates with local photographers and other vendors
- Reach out to locals about modeling for photoshoots – the ones I’ve reached out to have all become friends or clients (or both!)
- Attend networking events, volunteer as a photographer for some, too!
Resources that have helped me:
- Honeybook Community
- Tuesdays Together groups
- Networking, networking, networking (you never know who knows who)
What if you’re in a small town?
- Is there a city near you? Market there.
- Small towns still have high schools – think about establishing yourself as a senior photographer
- Market to college students who may be getting engaged
- Think about expanding your business in more passive ways – you can reach a wider online audience through resources, podcasting, online courses, or virtual mentoring sessions. To name a few.
To wrap it up, the number 1 thing to do is network. Get out there and meet people, work at coffee shops and strike up a conversation with the person next to you. Join a gym and start networking with locals there. Reach out to local businesses about taking updated headshots for their team. There are so many different options – once you get plugged in with a few of those, if you do a quality job, those people will talk about you to their friends and recommend you to others. That’s your golden ticket.
That’s a wrap!