Fellow microbudgeters and video production ladies and gentlemen, this post is for you. It’s quick-ish (actually, it’s kinda biggish), it’s easy, and it’ll shed some light on some of the fog surrounding this big move of yours.
I’ve worked video production as a PT side gig. I’ve done it as a FT freelancer/self-employed/single-member LLC. I’ve worked at 2 different W2 (i.e. someone else can claim me as their employee) video production jobs - FT - in 2 different states. And since I left home at 18, I’ve lived in 9 different states/countries, sometimes as brief as 8 weeks, and at other times, as long as nearly 5 years. I’ve had more changes to my address than Prince did to his artist’s name. Part of that was being in the military, part of that was job-related. By no means am I an expert on moving, but along the way, I’ve learned a trick or two. While this list is by no means comprehensive, it’ll hopefully shed some light on areas you’re not thinking through just yet.
And what’s more, if you stick around after the show for the free performance by Limozee—, er, the bonus section, you’ll get a FREE SALARY WORKSHEET. It’ll help you budget what each dollar is meant to do with your new W2 video production job so you can make smart decisions and eat something other than Raisin Bran and canned peaches every once in a while. I’ll also have a bonus video for you with 10 more tips.
1. Make sure where you are moving is legit
I’ve heard horror stories of moving into a place that wasn’t on the up-and-up. I’ve never had that problem, and I don’t want you to be a Craigslist horror story.
Check Google, Yelp, the BBB, Facebook, heck, even Myspace! Research, research, research. Drive to the place and check every nook and cranny. Drive around the place at night. Be thorough.
When I left the Air Force, I moved out west to Utah and landed a room in a house with some Mormon dudes. Which, theology and beliefs aside, was a really good idea. Observant LDS folks don’t do a lot crazy things. They’re pretty laid-back, and there’s a reason why the FBI loves ‘em. Anyhow, their house made for a stress-free living situation.
It was a gamble. I was young and dumb and I could have been swindled. I didn’t do my homework, and I should have because I found those bros on Craigslist, packed my car full of clothes and headed off on a new adventure.
It could have backfired - big time. Thank God Almighty it didn’t, but I sure could have been up a creek without a paddle.
The only thing I had going for my move (as far as peace of mind goes) was zero red flags and a chummy chat or two between me and the property owner, himself a former Air Force vet. A veteran can sniff out a fellow veteran from the pretenders. That doesn’t justify my stupidity, but that’s what I went on, that and a prayer, Jon Bon Jovi style.
When we moved to MO, we looked everywhere. We even checked with the secretary of state’s website for MO to make sure the property management company was on the up and up because I didn’t have the benefit of scouting this place out. I did it all virtually.
Does your state have a division of real estate? Visit their site, call them, send smoke signals or holler like Rocky Balboa.
If you can’t drive around and check the place out from top-to-bottom, you’ll have to be extra discerning. Don’t be a sheep; do the homework before you move.
If you can check the place out before signing a dotted line, function check all the appliances in the house. Test all the power switches and test all the running water. Run the water in the W/D (if possible), the shower, the sinks, and flush the toilet several times.
For example, I once moved into a place where water backed up in the toilet and the shower (ditto the washer) just about every time any two of those were run at the same time. Or even just one of them. It’s something you take for granted, right? I sure did, not being able to flush or shower.
After about 9 days of the landlord troubleshooting, it turns out there was a line from an internet/cable company that had run right through the sewage/drainage pipe coming out of the house. No wonder things were backing up!
2. Update addresses
Internet, gas, power, phone, water, sewage, trash, insurance, banking, Amazon Prime, Jelly-of-the-month club, the VA if you’re a veteran of the armed services, Netflix - this list goes on, really.
Note for veterans: you *should* be able to do this inside ebenefits in one fell swoop. I did, and I don’t even have the club jacket. If I’m wrong in your case, don’t bludgeon me with a baguette - call your local VA hospital and ask for help.
3. Get moving cubes
Since you’re moving across state lines, moving in a U-Haul is for the birds.
I left everything that was a major appliance in my home in Salt Lake when I moved down the road to Sunny Vegas. I still picked up a 15’ truck and towed my motorcycle behind it. That blasted U-Haul truck got 2.5 miles to the gallon.
I like to use hyperbole on this site, but in this rare instance, it’s no joke: 2.5 miles to the gallon.
Your boat probably gets better mileage than that, and your gigantic F-750 probably gets better mileage than that. Heck, an Imperial Star Destroyer gets better mileage than that.
If you have a family, the added plus of going the cubes route is you’re traveling with them and not in separate vehicles (try taking a car and little ones in car seats across state lines with you in the U-Haul - see how that works for your family).
I used a great service called UPack, and I had zero problems with them.
If you’re getting cubes, go the extra mile: get professional movers at both locations (the one you’re leaving and the one you’re moving to). They’re licensed and insured so if something goes south, you aren’t destroying a friendship with a buddy you were too cheap to pay.
Las Vegas: If you’re moving to or from Southern Nevada, I used and recommend Move 4 Less (showed up ahead of time, finished early, and filled two cubes perfectly without having to fill a third cube… they even left some courtesy tape and wrapping materials… top-notch guys). They are not, as best as I can tell, in other parts of the country, hence the note for “Las Vegas.”
4. Get Pelican cases
You never know what your move will do - protect your most valued gear with pelican cases. It’s worth it, and unless you’re able to trot all of your video production gear in your vehicle, you’ll end up storing some of the equipment in cubes. If you have the golden passport to Shambhala, you’ll want to tuck that away in a Pelican case and not just any old gym bag.
What about after the move? Besides making sure your theater subscription pass is updated so you can keep up with your flicker shows, here are some odds ‘n ends you’ll want to tackle.
1. Find a new credit union
Not every credit union is as big as Navy Federal. So, your mom and pop credit union in Cheyenne probably won’t be around in Timbuktu, or wherever you’re moving. Between the sites I mentioned above (BBB, Facebook, Yelp, Google), you have plenty of ammo you can use to discern whether someone is worth your time and money when you’re heading across state lines and rebooting.
I recommend finding a group that offers free business checking, and if the best you can find is a small chain that offers free checking up to 250 transactions, that’s enough to start, but I’d keep looking.
In Salt Lake and Las Vegas, I used America First. They were nothing short of phenomenal.
Note for veterans: USAA, for all its glitter and downright awesomeness, does not offer business checking.
2. Get busy looking into the home-business licensing laws in your area
Some places are about as indifferent to home-based businesses as the general public is to yet another Transformers movie (hint: they’re burned out).
In southern Nevada, it was pretty darn laid back. In other places (e.g. Raytown, a suburb of Kansas City), it’s pretty vague. Do your homework and dive in when you have some revenue coming in. Don’t spring for an LLC when you have nothing to your name and no revenue - classic rookie mistake (yep, been done, done that - have the T-shirt, shorts, and cap)
3. Update your will
If you’re an adult, it’s time to adult. If you have kids, you can’t afford to let your will lapse. Man knows not his time.
Find something off docracy and go to town with it. You might be able to find a notary at a UPS store; your bank probably won’t touch your will with a 10-foot pole.
Check your new place of work; you might just find (on a large team) a notary who is current on all their i’s and lower-case j’s.
Just don’t be a rookie like this guy walking with head held high into a UPS store only to forget my witnesses. Yes, witnesses. If your parents or Uncle Bob comes back with a vengeance when you’re pushing daisies, you want witnesses who will defend your name (your will) in court.
4. Reboot your niche or find a new one
This one’s easy. See if your town is without a legacy video girl or guy or maybe there’s nobody that does country music videos. Heck, you could be the first to carve out a niche filming Quinceañera videos. If so, be the best at that role, and get some ads going to let people know you’re in business.
And tell everyone. No matter how old or young. Explain your niche in such a way your 6-year-old nephew can tell people what you do.
5. Hit the gym
Moving really does allow you the best possible way to reboot. Hitting the gym and cleaning up your diet are a 1-2 punch you can knock out with this new transition and you should, regardless of whether it’s for weight-loss or just overall health.
For example, I put on a lot of bad dad weight after my oldest was born - you can see it in 2017 YouTube videos compared to 2018/2019. Like Elvis in his later years, I wore dark clothes to hide the fact. Well, in 2018, shortly after New Year’s, my wife introduced me to the app MyFitnessPal. It’s free to get started, and it’s got enough punch in it to see your weight loss over time, calories you’re burning by walking (or manually if you add them or other exercises), and what nutrients like fats and sugars you’re eating too much of.
It’s a great way to visualize weight loss, and let’s face it. We all spend too much time on our phones anyways, so you might as well add the app and lose some weight.
I went from a robust 210 at my worst in 2017 to a lean 185 at my best in 2018. All because I tracked what I ate and stuck to the nutrient goals outlined in the app. Up until 2018, I exercised regularly. Heck, I’ve been exercising since Washington crossed the Delaware that one blustery winter morning, but it really is about your diet when it comes to weight loss.
Let’s bring it full circle now. When you move, so much gets the reset button. Go the extra mile and leverage that momentum to get in shape, lose weight (if you want to), and more importantly, have a healthy heart and body.
Note: In the same year, they (MyFinessPal) had a huge hack, so if you use the app, don’t offer it personal details you’re not comfortable tossing to the wind. Headsup!
6. Plug into a group
Find a church, a VFW, a meetup, join the Chamber of Commerce - perhaps all of the above. You weren’t created to go it alone, and that’s an immutable, God-given truth regardless of your in/extroverted-ness.
Surround yourself with people who will become your new home away from home; use the new digs as a chance to hit the reset button on generosity too. Be generous with your time and money; you’re meant to be a servant leader, in your video production and in your standing as a new resident in Timbuktu.
But none of that is possible if you wall yourself off from the new town you’re in like Ben Kenobi wandering the desert, hoping to stumble upon Luke Skywalker and R2-D2.
This part’s hard, and as Simon Sinek said, there’s no app to shortcut the relationship-building. So buckle up.
7. Last but not least… your car(s)
One thing you’ll want to do in ADVANCE of getting new licenses, new plates, new registrations for your cars is to get a safety/emissions test (sometimes it’s one or the other or both) two months before you’re going to run the DMV gauntlet.
In my experience, you have 60 days from the time you get a safety/emissions test to trot out to the DMV and get your registration updated (COMMENT below the post if you know of a place where the safety/emissions test is NOT good for 60 days).
So, why is getting a jump on this early (enough) so important? Two reasons, muchachos. One, if you’ve got a bug in your car, it’s best to find out now than at the last minute (like this guy once did). Two, if you’re moving to a place like Missouri, as I’m discovering, there’s an extra layer of red tape to get through between the safety/emissions test and the trip to the DMV, and that’s the tax assessor’s office.
What the deuce?
I agree, and I’ve lived in several states, plus I had a 6-month jaunt in Afghanistan. Only in the great state of MO have I found an extra step of bureaucracy. Can you tell I’m a libertarian?
Give yourself time to get these steps done, lest you wind up illegally driving on your “new” roads:
Potential middle step/bureaucracy/red tape
Over-deliver as if you were serving clients outside your organization. Remember to smile, shake hands with folks, listen well, and remember who you ultimately serve. Submit to the authority of those over you, eat your vitamins, say a prayer, and keep creating with the King.
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