Part 4: Settling in to a whole new life...
Updated: Jul 20
The next few weeks were spent discovering our land and our country house and falling in love with it – the bones are good, the windows are big... it's like a cottage right now with several kinds of flooring, but we can see past that.
The fact that this house was split into 2 units as a rental actually works well for us. It allows us to live downstairs and have our office upstairs until the studio is built. And setting up the office soon became top priority. It's a really good space to work and we look out at the river – that's the best part; so calming. We were up and running and diving into projects. I got the best comment from a long-standing client: ' it feels like you never moved!'
The single best thing about our business is that, for the most part, it matters very little where we are physically located. With technology, we can respond immediately, send files for approvals, communicate on Zoom; it's quite easy to stay connected. And when it's a big project or a long-standing client that requires a lot of attention, we book a flight for a face-to-face meeting when it's required.
I've been working independently for almost 17 years now. And the most important thing I have learned is to be responsive. Answer the phone. Respond to emails in a timely manner. Don’t let time zones become an issue; where you are located should never be a problem for the client. When people like myself started running businesses from our homes because high-speed internet allowed us to do so, some people were very skeptical about the amount of work that was actually getting done. And it's true even now, that some people just can't work from home – they are too distracted by the fridge, TV or life; they can't seem to create good work habits that allow you to focus on your work. But if you can, it's so freeing.
There are distinct perks of working in a home office: very low overhead costs, no commute and no getting ready in the morning (saving me a good hour or more every day that's for sure). It's so peaceful to not have to deal with traffic or weather in the morning. I take advantage of being able to run errands any time of the day, get groceries in the afternoon if I wish and do things like taking singing lessons in the afternoon. I remember one web designer I worked with for a bit who used to share all his personal appointments and what he was doing – no client wants to hear that. First of all, they are pissed that you're not working on their stuff and secondly, they feel jealous that you have such freedom in your day! So, I never share what I'm doing. To me, my time is my business – if I'm not getting my work done, I will pay the price for that. End of story.
When you are moving to a new province, there are a lot of things to do beyond changing your address on everything, so we've been busy: finding an insurance broker for our home, vehicle and business insurances, and thankfully saving money on all of them; getting a new driver's license, ownership and plates, which meant we had to send a request to our leasing company for permission to transfer the vehicle ownership and mail back the old Alberta plate to get a refund on the paid amount on the old plates; contacting Health Canada for Nova Scotia Health cards to discover that there is a real shortage of doctors here and we will be put on a list for a doctor once our health card is valid here on July 1; changing our Blue Cross to Nova Scotia, also valid on July 1; phone numbers – a cool thing that Rogers offers is a Dual Persona, which allows me to have a NS number as well as my AB number coming to my cell phone. Unfortunately, Alan is with Telus and they don't offer that, but at least we have one NS number, since we don't have a landline. We still need to meet with a lawyer to do an interprovincial transfer of our business and update our wills because a lot has changed in our lives since we had them done in 2014, the year we got married.
That being said, we have been very good at making time to discover our new province. Each weekend, we have been taking short road trips to discover beautiful beaches, quaint towns with the most amazing, well-preserved architecture, terrific pubs and the freshest seafood (I have been on a quest to discover the best lobster roll and plan to stay on that quest for perhaps years), and enjoying the super friendly people and more relaxed way of life here. Our property is rural but we are only 12 minutes from Bridgewater and 15 minutes from Lunenburg, so popping out for dinner through the week is something we are enjoying too. Over the summer, we plan to explore the rest of the province and possibly PEI as well, and we are now planning a trip to Cape Breton in October. It's so important to us to really embrace where we live and seek out all the special places to go.
We decided not to get a TV until the studio is built, and we have realized how much of a time suck TV is. We are spending way more time playing instruments, singing, reading and exploring. Occasionally we will watch something on Netflix or YouTube on our laptop and that is suiting us just fine.
We have also been spending some time on our land. To protect ourselves, we bought tick-resistant clothing (its available at Mark's Work Wearhouse – clothing that has a solution in the fabric that lasts for @ 70 washes). We had Mayfair Tree Service come in and drop a couple of dead trees and Alan has been learning how to operate a chain saw safely and has bought all the safety gear.
We've been chopping and stacking wood (my husband, the lumberjack!), preparing the site for our big vegetable garden, deciding where to have a gazebo and a greenhouse... and figuring out how to make our riverfront pretty.... so many possibilities; projects for the rest of our lives and that makes us really happy. We want to stay in good physical shape and always have purpose.