The decision to make a tree or sea change is relatively easy. But have you thought through how your solo business might be affected by such a move?
It was six years ago when I first uttered the words “Let’s move to the beach!” Only once my sea change boat had been cast from the shore did I get an inkling of what I was letting myself in for.
At the time, my business was less than two years old and the contacts and clients I had built were based in the city.
I believed that provided I had a phone line, I could work anywhere. I had visions of kicking back on the banana lounge and fitting in the occasional client between watching the sunrise on the beach and having cocktails at dusk.
Sure, that vision did happen, but there was so much more and most of it unexpected.
Dude, where’s my network?
The biggest shock was realising that I’d have to build new networks – personal and professional. While it was easy to get on the phone and talk to my city friends and colleagues, after the sea change I missed being able to grab a coffee with pals you bump into in the street.
Because I wasn’t seeing people as often, I wasn’t talking about my business to anyone except my partner who was very supportive but really didn’t want to hear my daily newest, greatest idea. The networks did happen but took time and energy to rebuild.
What’s my business again?
When planning the sea change, I assumed I’d be doing the same thing as in the city, just in a different place. But a strange thing happened once I was immersed in this new culture – I kept seeing opportunities in my local area.
I tweaked my business to make the most of these opportunities. Unfortunately, this meant I veered away from what I really enjoyed. It wasn’t until I went back to the vision I had for my business – who I wanted to work with, what I wanted to do – that I could stop saying yes to everything and make decisions that would keep my business and my life on track.
Let’s go to inspiration point
I love the ocean. For me, ten minutes of listening to those crashing waves is as relaxing as an hour’s meditation and when I first moved, that’s all I wanted to do.
The first twelve months were about finding a new way to work and keep motivated in my new holiday resort. But while my new workplace was very calming and being close to nature was inspirational, there was something missing.
I realised the excitement and vibrancy of the city had provided me with a different kind of inspiration.
Now I’ve achieved the perfect balance whereby I can visit the city, catch its buzz and appreciate it, rather than getting frazzled.
Welcome to far away land
While living in the middle of nowhere is great for never having to wrangle with peak hour traffic, it also often means travelling up to 150km to meet a client or a colleague. This not only takes time but the travel and environmental costs can get out of control.
Fortunately, we have so many other communication options available to us now, such as teleconferencing and Skype, that most client contact doesn’t require face-to-face meetings. The silver lining is that when you do meet up with people, it’s a real treat.
Having the cake and eating it
The sea-changing life isn’t for every soloist. I’ve had periods where I’ve seriously considered moving back to the big smoke. Sure, the thought that I’d have more clients and be more successful in the city crosses my mind, but at what cost?
There are things about regional life that work for me. It is truly serene and I am far less stressed than when I lived in the city; I live and work in a beautiful place that reminds me there’s more to life than making a buck and with regular trips to the city I get to have the best of both worlds.
So how about you? Have you made the big move or are you still thinking about it? How might a sea change affect your business?
This article first appeared in the online community for solo business owners www.flyingsolo.com.au