Sunshine Coast or Prairie Winters?

Moving to Gibsons, BC from Edmonton, Alberta

A friend recently asked me, “When moving to BC, how difficult is it to find work/income on the Sunshine Coast?” I say, “It is what it is – nearly the same here as it is elsewhere.”

Maybe the question is: “How do I find work and a life I enjoy?” (Quickly here, the life you enjoy is already in you. You don’t have to go looking outside yourself for it.)

You know by now we have choices everyday to create the life we want. The choices you’ve made for the most part have gotten you to where you are now. You can make new choices in an aim for new results! Mind blown?! Actually, instead of getting philosophical, I’ll try to keep it bare bones in just sharing my experience. By the way, for the short version, skip to the last four paragraphs!

Living and working in Edmonton Alberta, I did what I had to do (or what I thought I had to do). I was working hard and maybe vacationed once every two years. I never seemed to get ahead. After moving to BC, I live on the coast, I work hard, I maybe vacation once every two years and I’m not ahead yet. Or am I? I don’t need to vacation; a recreational lifestyle is all around me. I have my lunch by the ocean if I so choose and the travel or vacation budget has turned into travelling back to see family and friends.

A lot of changes had to happen to get here.

First: I just got to a point where I had it…

I’d had it with the cold and snow of the prairies. I needed and wanted a change. Other people lived and worked in the milder climate of southern BC, why couldn’t I? Why was I waiting for retirement, sickness or old age to live in the surroundings I would prefer to live in now? I had to be ok with uprooting myself from what I was justifying a good life – nothing wrong with this. Most people are paying into a pension job and why would they upset that? A good life is what holds us back from a great life.

Second: Moving to BC is something I had to want.

Uprooting, moving, changing is hard emotionally and financially so I had to want it, to survive through those struggles. Probably like having a baby! (I have no idea about having a baby!)

Third: I had to create a plan.

Maybe our plan could have been better. Yes, definitely our plan could have been better! Our plan was more about physically moving to BC; finding a place to rent first, preparing our house to rent it out in Edmonton, and packing.

Our plan wasn’t very clear about the budget and income part!

Fourth: I had to be adaptable and open to possibilities.

I was going to continue being a mortgage broker and Paul was going to start a hyperlocal newspaper with my help on the side. We realized newspaper deadlines and frankly covering town council stories was not our thing. Ok, reset.

In doing the newspaper, we met Tony, a local Realtor who was making a name for himself marketing his properties online. I had been dabbling with video with just fun hiking stuff. Paul and I decided to do a mock video home tour of our rental townhouse and show it to Tony. He liked it and asked us to do a video for each of his properties he had listed. He also asked, “ While you’re there, can you take photos too please?”

Ok! We know nothing about photography and just the basics about video production. So we learn! As you know YouTube is a great teacher. Enjoying the video work, I put a pause on doing mortgage work. Paul and I are now partners in video content creation and marketing, mostly for Realtors under our company: Burnt Boat Media.

Fifth: Learning and evolving is fun when it’s something you enjoy.

Truthfully, I didn’t know I would like photography and video making. Sometimes we don’t know but we just have to start and try something to figure it out. It’s scary not knowing exactly how you’re going to produce this product you’ve said “ Yes” to, to a client.

Paul’s attitude is best: “How hard can it be?”

Me, on the other hand, I’m afraid to say “ Yes” to challenges so it’s good I have Paul to say “ Yes” and drag me along into learning and growing! What helped us with re-inventing our work and income was having an open mind, being perceptive to what is missing in the marketplace and being willing to learn new skills to offer that service.

Sixth: You’re never ready, so just start anyway.

That’s the secret: just to “do”. Start. Take Action. Paul starting booking us for jobs with Tony. Over time we kept growing our skills in video production and photography. Paul had a marketing background and was very good at turning the video home tours into effective marketing for Tony. Next thing you know, other Realtors started approaching us to do the same for them. Paul created a narrated-video-home tour that is one of its kind.

Seventh: Time. Be patient.

Once you’ve made up your mind, loading a truck and moving to BC happens relatively quickly but learning new skills and inventing new possibilities for yourself takes time. You have to be patient with yourself through the process. I’ll briefly mention here that I got into saying positive affirmations. Cause really, listen to the thoughts you have, often they’re destructive thoughts. They don’t serve you! I started catching myself when I had negative thoughts and rephrased them into positive thoughts like: I am able to learn and grow new skills. I am willing to learn and grow new skills. I am patient with myself. I love myself. I have plenty of time in my day to do what I enjoy.

Eighth: Support.

Paul and I love and support each other. We are nice, encouraging and patient with each other. We are each other’s best friends and work partners. We really appreciate that we are both interested in creating this lifestyle together. As a bonus, we have different interests in the work we do and delegate the projects accordingly.

Sometimes we take turns of being discouraged but that’s when the other one steps up with strength and encouragement. Whether a life-partner, a friend or co-worker with similar struggles or someone who is doing what you want to be doing, you likely can find that uplifting someone in your life. And ignore the others!

You can watch endless YouTube videos of entrepreneurs and be encouraged by them and learn from them. You’ll know what advice you’re ready to take in and what advice to ignore.

Ninth: Balance.

Yep, I said it! Work/life balance. You’re moving to BC so be OK with slowing life down a bit. Breathe. Take time for outdoor adventures whether for an hour or for a weekend. Make a list of healthy habits you’d like to have to keep you at your optimal thriving self. Habits are created. You created bad habits, now create good habits; a regular schedule, going to bed early enough, to wake up at the time you want, without being tired, eating delicious fresh food (have delicious fresh food available in your fridge), going outside once a day for a 20-30 minute walk or run, having walk or coffee dates with friends that want to be their best self too, learning something everyday (follow a YouTube channel in the field you want to grow your skills in). Podcasts are a good one too.

Anyway pick one habit and work on that one for a few weeks. Once it’s in place, pick the next habit and make that one part of your routine. Then the next. And be patient with yourself. Make the habit non-negotiable but send love to yourself if you do miss a day.

Last four paragraphs!

There is opportunity for work on the Sunshine Coast. If you’re determined about moving to BC and building a life, you can make it happen. Be open to creating your own work here. It’s a less developed area than the Lower Mainland so there’s lots of opportunity for growth. Home building is happening, and the wide trades involved with that are needed. There’s also a need for landscapers, yard maintenance, house cleaners and property managers. There’s the need for another ICBC certified autobody shop. Maybe a real carwash. Open-up an elderly assisted living lodge. That’s easy – no big deal eh?! Start a business plan. My friend Donna would say; “Make sure that plan includes market research.”

If you’re going to be moving to BC, have a plan, save-up to have two years of cushion money. It wasn’t ideal, but we survived with secured line of credit room we had. (Because it’s a secured line of credit the interest rate is low.) The fright of not making ends meet will cripple you or force you into action to make your lifestyle dream happen. Or expect to experience a tug-of-war of both: action and crippling. Maybe we’re still trying to make it happen! We’re determined not to move back – we’re not making it an option. We’d have to re-invent ourselves in Alberta with work anyway. Why not continue growing and trying that here. In the first year here there was a time we thought we’d go back to Alberta, but instead we put our energy into evolving our skills and creating value where there was a need.

Moving to BC’s Sunshine Coast or with other things in life, ask yourself; “what do I want? And do I really want it? Yes? Then, you’ll make it happen. There will be struggles. There will be adjustments. We each have unlimited potential we can tap into! We have the strength within us. We can live with excuses or we can live with failed action steps that are really learning steps in a wonderful life. Your dreams start as thoughts. Focus on those thoughts and take at least one action everyday in the direction of your dream. You won’t know that whole path ahead of you but you just need to take one step at a time and one day at a time.

PS – I don’t even want to print this because reading it you might get the impression we have things figured out and things are easy for us! Haha! Nope! Financially, we’re constantly trying to be prudent with our budget. Heck, we went from not having a budget plan to having one. You have to be clear about where you’re starting from to be able to improve on it. Physically and emotionally, well, today for example started good but it was quickly derailed with various stresses; rental property issues, unexpected bill, family things and disorganized clients. So instead of resetting and focusing on a work project or even taking a refresher walk outside, we enabled each other to go buy and eat a pile of junk food! Hmmm, time for affirmations: I love myself. I am improving daily. I am learning to pause and make choices that will serve me. I can do this. You can do this! We can do this!