I had known for a long time that I needed to move from SW London. Having grown up in Warwickshire, even living and working in zone 6 felt hectic, but I had worked so hard to build up a client base over the course of eight years it was still a difficult decision to make. Needless to say, as we get older risk assessment becomes more and more important, and possibly even more so as a single, self employed sports massage therapist.
I decided to address the following:
- Outline the worst case scenario.
- Be clear on what I really want.
- Be brutal when it comes to finances.
- List all the pros and cons for both staying in SW London and a new location.
- Be smart re location!
For many months I was convinced I should be moving to Cheshire. I made a great contact at a clinic, had a positive interview and allowed myself to get excited about local cycling clubs, Crossfit gyms and suitable areas I could be living.
But, after all the research and emotional investment it never happened. The job fell through, along with my excitement over a better life…and then I met Ben.
Now, I don’t want to get too fluffy here, but I am firm believer people come into our lives for a reason. Temporary or permanent; a positive or negative experience, in my view, there’s a reason for it. Ben lived in Portishead, Bristol. I had only ever passed Bristol on my way to and from Exeter Uni (many moons ago) on the M5. I had never been, or knew what it was like as a city.
Ben and I became firm friends almost overnight and I visited Portishead in November 2014 for the first time. I fell in love instantly. And yet I hadn’t even thought about living by water, let alone on a marina! A few emails later I had a part time position at a clinic in Clifton and by the end of January 2015 I was working in both Bristol and at my clinic in SW London.
Slightly crazy how quickly things can happen…
However, despite my initial excitement about being part of a clinic again (rather than being completely on my own) it was short lived when I realised it actually wasn’t the clinic for me.
So here I was, finally with my own flat on the marina and actually no work! To say I was stressed was an understatement. I’d left behind a thriving business, only to find myself experiencing sleepless nights over what to do. This was not part of the plan!
Quickly back to the drawing board, knocking on other clinic doors and I found a home at the long established Portishead Chiropractic Clinic, owned by Tom Scourfield and his wife Davina. From day one, I felt like I had been there years but, as the only massage therapist there I found myself in a position of starting from scratch re business.
No one knew who I was. No one knew how I work or whether I’m any good. How can I relax, taking my time to build a client base again when I have bills to pay now?
Some days I feel really positive and my gut instinct is that everything is going to be OK. This was the right move and if I could fast forward a year I would see that this stress is temporary. It really will all work out.
But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have days where I panic. When you’re new to an area, it sounds obvious, but literally everything is new. I don’t know my way around, I have few friends, a small client base and actually no guarantee I have made the right move!
It’s both exciting and terrifying at the same time. And it can totally depend on how I feel on the day, which is in itself ridiculous. But here I am giving it a go. Trying out stephanie blake massage in Portishead to see if, in a year, I can look back and say, ‘this was the best move I ever made’.
Here’s to possibilities. Here’s to risk. Here’s to a fresh start.