By Anna Johansson
When self-employed, you’ll have more autonomy and control over your profession, but you’ll still need to plan carefully when you initiate a major lifestyle change, like moving to a new location. Moving can be an opportunity to revisit and improve how you work, but can also be a major source of stress—and an interruption to your business. Learning how to navigate the logistics and psychology of moving is imperative if you want to continue doing your best as a self-employed professional.
Tips for a Better Move
Follow these tips if you want to move more efficiently, adjust the move to be in your favor, and be less stressed throughout the process:
1. Scout the neighborhood first.
First, you should take the time to scout the neighborhood before moving. Most communities will have a website where you can learn about the qualities, amenities, and perks of the local area. As someone who’s self-employed, you’ll have lots of control over where you work, and you might end up spending most of your time working from home. Choosing a peaceful neighborhood with few distractions will help you get the most out of your work days, and you’ll have more flexibility in your neighborhood choices than many other professionals.
2. Prepare for an interruption.
During the move, your business is almost certainly going to be interrupted. You won’t be available while you’re moving things from one place to another, signing the closing paperwork, or scouting for new locations. It’s true you can rearrange your work schedule and stay more or less on track, but if you assume that you’re going to work uninterrupted, it’s going to compromise your effectiveness. Try delegating your responsibilities to other people, and informing your clients about your upcoming availability.
3. Plan your workspace access.
While moving between locations, you may not have a consistently available space in which to work. During the transition, it’s a good idea to scout and plan your workspace access, such as mapping out and taking advantage of shared community workspaces. Knowing you have a reliable space to stay productive during the move can reduce stress, and ensure you aren’t dropping any of your responsibilities.
4. Consider cost of living.
One of the greatest advantages of being self-employed is getting to control the cost of living you face as a professional—especially if you work from home. If you work remotely, with the ability to live and work almost anywhere, you should aim to find a low cost-of-living area, to maximize the potential of your salary. For example, if you’re going to make $50,000 a year, it’s better to live in an area that costs $35,000 a year in baseline expenses than an area that costs $45,000 a year.
5. Prioritize your home office.
Again, one of your biggest priorities should be establishing a place where you can comfortably work, and preferably early on in the moving process. When looking at homes in the new area, look for bedrooms or living areas you could convert into a home office. Once you’ve finalized your choice, spend some time outfitting that room with the right furniture, wiring, and accessories to enable your most productive work.
6. Plan ahead.
Moving becomes way less stressful when you take the time to plan your schedule in advance. Create a timeline of events, from start to finish, including selling your existing home, scouting new locations, and coordinating a firm moving date. Be sure to give yourself windows of days and times—moving rarely goes exactly according to schedule, and you’ll be far less stressed if you have wiggle room if and when those disruptions come up. Planning ahead also gives you plenty of time to inform your clients, employees, partners, and other business contacts about your upcoming scheduling details, so they can prepare in response.
7. Take advantage of flexible timing.
As someone who’s self-employed, you should have enormous flexibility in timing your move, so take advantage of it. Don’t rush the move if you don’t have to, and try to take things one step at a time. The extra time will minimize disruptions to your business, reduce the stress you experience, and allow you to make smarter decisions. And since buying and selling homes are some of the most significant financial decisions you’ll make in life, it pays to take the extra time to consider them.
Moving is going to be stressful no matter what, but the further you plan in advance, and the more flexibility you give yourself, the better you’ll be able to manage the ordeal. Try get a home office and stress reduction area in your new location as soon as possible so you can work comfortably and take the time to de-stress efficiently.
Anna Johansson is the founder and CEO of Johansson Consulting, where she works with businesses to create marketing and PR campaigns.