How to Transition your Small Business When Relocating to a New State


April 28, 2019

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Since 2008, I’ve told womens’ stories through empowering boudoir sessions. Now as a certified life coach as well as a photographer, I help women cultivate radical self-love, guided by mindset. Sit back with a margarita  in hand and let's do this transformational journey together.
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Hi, I'm tami

If you are anything like me, having spent 30+ years of my life in the same general vicinity of my favorite midwest state, the dreams of moving away to a new state (or what about a new country?!) can seem like a far off fantasy or likely something that brings trepidation just thinking about it! I mean, when you own a small business that’s based on a strong local client support network, uprooting your company to somewhere new means you most likely will be starting over again back from square one. And that can be super scary! But don’t let fear hinder you from taking leaps into the unknown and into something that can be an exciting next chapter in your business. I am proof in the pudding that you can succeed in a completely new and unknown area.  

Below are my top 7 tips to help you succeed in transitioning your business to a new state!

St Petersburg Florida Sunrise by Tami Keehn

1. Research the state rules on how to properly transition your business to a new state.

I will be the first to admit that it can get a tad overwhelming knowing all the nitty-gritty business backend stuff! But this is the part that is pretty mandatory so you don’t piss off Uncle Sam! You want to make sure you know how to properly register your business within the new state, have your tax information all on file and up-to-date, and you want to make sure you know when any taxes/fees need to be paid so you don’t end up with penalties or fines. You can usually find the information with a quick Google search, but when I moved to Florida I also asked around for an accountant recommendation and she provided me directly with the information I needed to know and helped me with getting some of it set up as well!

Start a Business in Florida

2. Join some local online networking groups.

In this digital age, it’s so easy to do a search of the local area groups on Facebook, Instagram, Meetup, Twitter, or Linkedin. I know when I moved to Florida, I did some searches on Facebook for “Tampa Photographer” groups and also searched to see if there were any local photography meetup groups on Instagram and I found quite a few with both outlets! I am forever grateful for the groups that I did join because I was able to meet new people in the area with similar interests as me and it also worked great as a referral system for me (and still does to this day!)

A holiday group photo with a local Tampa Female Photographers group.

3. Use social media to your advantage.

The use of hashtags has made it so much easier to make connections across social media platforms. Whether you are in search of finding another #StPetePhotographer like I was or finding a community that could potentially promote your images to a large network of people like when #IgersStPete, you want to use social media to your advantage! You can search for hashtags, but you can also start using hashtags for the area you are moving to help people find you and your small business. I also did a search on Facebook to find other photographers’ business pages in the area to follow that I liked and even messaged a few so we could connect and get to know each other better. Social media is one of your biggest friends when it comes to making new friends, clients, and connections in a new area.

A local JJ Community Instagram meetup group photo in St Petersburg Florida.

4. Start incorporating new SEO keywords for your new destination.

As soon as I knew I was going to be moving to the Tampa Bay area, I start incorporating keywords onto my photography website. From blog post titles to blog keywords, to image alt text, I made sure that the world was getting the hint…that I was moving to Florida! I also started incorporating it in my bio descriptions on social media as well as using local area hashtags every time I share my work on social media.

5. Plan a visit or two before you move for to research and make connections.

Once I decided that I wanted to move down to the central Florida area, I booked another flight down 6 months later with some frequent flyer miles to really make sure I could legitimately get my business up and running when I moved down for good in a few months. I scoped out the area for good locations for photo shoots and got a location picked out for a future promotional event I would have once I moved down. I also was able to get a discounted session booked for someone local to the area so I would have some local images to promote and someone already spreading the word about me! If you’ve managed to make some friends online already that live in the area, plan to meet up and connect with them as well on your visit!

Livi's Senior Portrait Session in Sarasota Florida by Tami Keehn

6. Save your pennies + plan for the worst (but keep hoping for the best!)

I know that sounds bad, but I’m so thankful that I booked extra work leading up to my move and then stashed it aside into my savings. Because once I got to my new city, while I had managed to book some sessions, I was making way less than I had in the years prior. So with the expenses of moving, I had to dip into my savings a few times. But that was what it was there for! Thankfully, as the word got out about me and my business, the leads started to trickle in more and more and I was able to replenish my diminishing savings.

7. Don’t stop networking once you get here!

You finally made it to your brand new hometown…don’t stop connecting with people! Ask those new acquaintances out for some gelato. Do some volunteer work. Make connections with other businesses and vendors in the area that are within a similar field. But keep connecting! You never know when one new friend will lead to an amazing opportunity!

help portrait volunteering

I hope that helps! If you have any questions additional questions about transitioning your business to a new city, don’t hesitate to contact me at hello@tamikeehn.com or if you’d like more specific one-on-one mentoring with this matter, get more information HERE!


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