I grew up in Southern California and Colorado; I am now nestled in the cute mountain town of Harpers Ferry. I am a wedding and portrait photographer who lives to capture the romantic, natural, and authentic moments between two people in love. I graduated with a degree in Psychology and minored in Child Development; I served in the U.S. military on active duty for six years. During that time, I met and fall in love with my husband, and we started a family. Most days, you can find me in yoga pants, with my hair piled up on top of my head, with a cup of hot coffee in my hand and chasing after my two little ones. In my free time, I love to read, travel, explore local wineries, and swoon over pink peonies (my fav)! We are huge fans of Dave Ramsey and are currently working on becoming debt-free as a family! My bucket list includes traveling to Ireland, staying in Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, Kenya, and photographing at the gorgeous White Sparrow in Texas!
Hardest Thing About a Move
Honestly, the whole thing was hard. There were a lot of little steps I had to take in order to not only move my entire business, but my family as well. The first move I made for my business was in 2014. We moved from Virginia Beach/Hampton Roads, VA. We were moving from an area we had lived in for three years; it was the area I STARTED my business in and where I had made tons of connections. I think the hardest thing about that move was leaving the place where it all began and starting over. We moved to Northern Virginia and we knew one person. I had to start from scratch in a brand new market, so that was pretty difficult. The second move I made for my business was difficult as well, but we had more notice. Moving from one state to a different state was difficult in many ways, mainly due to the changes I had to make such as dissolving my business in one state, starting it in another, again marketing to a new market, all of that.
Funniest Thing about a Move
I thought a lot about this question. There wasn’t really anything funny about the moves. It (particularly the first move) was a huge life change that took a lot out of me. I didn’t necessarily want to move, so I wouldn’t say it was the most positive experience or light-hearted. And this isn’t really funny, but I got a letter in the mail from Virginia tax department letting me know I owed all of these taxes for my business, but I had been in WV already for a year, so I guess I something hadn’t gone through like I thought it had so, Virginia thought I was still doing business in the state. All it took was a phone call or two to clear it up. I definitely recommend that when you’re making these changes that you get receipts, emails, confirmation letters, etc. and keep them somewhere safe because you never know if maybe something slipped through the cracks and you need to show that you did take care of something!
Prepare to Move
My first move – we had very little notice about moving, so the first one was a lot of changes happening in a very short amount of time, which was pretty stressful. What I recommend anyone does the moment they know they are moving to a new area and have a business is to change their location information on social media sites, websites, advertising sites, etc. Change it as soon as you know so that Google can catch up and you can start showing up for your new area in internet searches. Same for social media; you don’t want to to confuse people or be advertising to your current market when you’re getting ready to leave it. Start marketing to your new area immediately so you can get in front of the people in your new area.
Next, I had to look into the legal changes I needed to make. Both times I moved my business, I had to research business laws and rules for my new areas to see what was necessary to legally establish my business in my new area. My first move, I had to register my business trade name; I had to register in my new county, etc. My second move, I was moving out of state, so I had to take a few more steps in order to dissolve everything in the state of Virginia and get established in West Virginia, since that’s where I would be conducting my business. WV business laws are a little different from Northern Virginia business laws, so definitely research the steps needed and get started on those!
I announced the move online so my followers, friends, family, and past clients would be aware of the fact that I would be leaving the immediate area.
I started joining groups on social media for my new area and reaching out to vendors in the area I was moving to so I could start getting my name in front of others and making connections with people I thought about working with in the future! It definitely helped! Rising Tide Society began after I moved to NOVA, and I am so glad it did because it’s such a helpful opportunity for those moving to new areas to start meeting like-minded people, making friends or professional connections!
Tools to Move
Online, really. I don’t think I could have done without the power of social media and online tools like getting to download forms and submit forms all online for changes to my business. I have little kids, so trucking them all over and into buildings is not my idea of fun. I love that when moving both times, I was able to do the majority of what I needed to do online! Plus, of course, social media made it much more simple for me to start connecting with people in my new areas.
Wished You Would Have Done
Hmm, that’s kinda tough. I feel like I did really all I could in order to prepare. I probably could have reached out to more people (like vendors and such) than I did in order to make even more connections, but I was also moving my house, my family, my business, getting my child into a new school. I had all of these changes happening, so I was trying to prioritize what was most important. Another thing I could have done was spent money on more advertising to really get my name out there in my new areas, but I’ve never really been one to spend a whole lot on advertising. I took out a few Facebook ads and targeted my new area, but perhaps I could have done more advertising.
Bethanne Arthur is a wedding and portrait photographer serving clients in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and beyond. Bethanne established her photography business in early 2013 and has been nationally featured in Brides Magazine, Burnett’s Boards, Aisle Perfect, Desiree Hartsock, Trendy Bride, Washingtonian Bride & Groom, and more! Bethanne is a member of the Rising Tide Society, Creative at Heart community, and Professional Photographers of America. Bethanne offers mentoring and creative coaching services to photographers.