If you would have told me in 2017 where I’d be now, I’d tell you to see a psych. No way I’d believe you if I said I bought a house in Washington state, far far away from the mountains I called home.
But…time changes things, and a lot has happened since 2017 that prompted my big move from Colorado to Washington state.
I’ve talked a lot, though briefly, about why I decided to move, so today, I want to give you the fuller scope to share more BTS about running a business with you!
I am not a Colorado native (though I’d be thrilled if you had assumed I was one!). I spent most of the first few years of “adult life” in Atlanta, GA — which is where I ended up starting my business.
I loved it there, but over time, a lot of things started to wear on me, and I knew I wanted to move, I just wasn’t sure where.
So when I took a ski trip to the mountains of Colorado, I pretty much never left (if you’ve seen those mountains, it’s not hard to imagine why).
I ended up splitting my time between Colorado and Atlanta, but obviously, Colorado eventually won out.
When I first moved there, I was sharing a huge house with six roommates — which was hardly ideal for a small business owner in her late 20s. But do I regret it? Nope! It got me to where I wanted to be and helped me both financially, and mentally, prepare to live on my own.
Fast forward a bit and I was in a not-so-good relationship, and decided it was time to move out and live solo further up into the mountains in a smaller-town setting. And I loved it! I was constantly skiing (or hiking in the summers) with my dog and, pretty soon, those mountains became a safe haven for me.
Plus, living there gave me clarity on what I needed to do with my business and how to move forward with it. The Christina Scalera brand definitely wouldn’t be here today without those beautiful mountains.
In 2019, I met my husband, who happened to be in the Navy (which is pretty funny because I always said I would never date someone in the military). There was just one catch — he lived in the foothills of Denver, which was a steep three-hour drive when you factored in mountain driving on the way to get there (yes, that’s a thing…IYKYK).
We dated for a couple of years and, when we decided to get married, I knew that I’d be moving with him when he got stationed somewhere else. If you’re from a military family or you’re a MilSpo, you know the struggle.
When he got his orders for Washington, we started looking at houses and prepared to move. We officially made the move in July 2022, right after we got married. We bought a house that we’re “slowly renovating” to turn into a long-term rental when my husband inevitably gets the call that he’s being stationed somewhere else.
Now that you know my entire life story (kinda), let’s talk about the business side of things — which played a major role in this move.
To start, state income tax influenced things in my business and in my finances. Georgia has a state income tax of up to 5.75%. And that may not be as high as some places like California, but it definitely adds up over time.
Colorado, on the other hand, has an income tax rate of 4.5%! Doesn’t sound like a huge difference, but again, it adds up over time, especially if you’re a small business owner. Now living in Washington, I don’t have to pay state income taxes…bring out the dancing lobsters! It’s saved me a HUGE chunk of change.
Remember how earlier I said the weather in Colorado can be a bit extreme? Well, even so, the state averages about 300 days of sunshine every year — which is pretty great if you ask me. In Washington, however, you can cut that number in half and then some, depending on where in the state you live.
(Does anyone else hear the intro line in Twilight, where Bella says “In the Olympic Peninsula of northwest Washington State, a small town named Forks exists under a near-constant cover of clouds”? Just me?)
For someone who struggles with seasonal depression from time to time, it’s been tough this winter, since it’s my first and I’m still adjusting. But my advice to anyone who is moving from a sunny state to a not-so-sunny state is to make sure you take care of yourself during the winter months.
Take vitamin D supplements, and get a SAD lamp if you need to. I know that sounds like basic advice, but those things really do help!
Washington and Colorado have very different weather patterns. Colorado often has more extreme weather that flip flops — like high wind speeds and heaps of snow. Because of that, car insurance is much more expensive than it is here in Washington.
When my husband and I lived in Colorado, we had one car and relied on public transportation because Denver’s systems are pretty solid. We’d take the Light Rail or Uber, or would even take the cheap (and sometimes free!) shuttle service if we wanted to head up into the mountains.
But the public transportation in Washington SUCKS and is pretty much nonexistent. The upside to that, though? Now we have three cars and pay less for the insurance and monthly costs of having a car than we did in Colorado with just one car.
So, while I’m a little bit of a public transportation aficionado (what? I love learning about the inner workings of my city!), I think the payout is pretty great.
My point in sharing this with you is to show you that if you don’t like where you live, there are other options for you to explore. You don’t have to stay in the same place forever, even if you’ve been there your whole life.
Speaking of…I do really miss Colorado…so I may be going halfsies with Washington in the near future. Stay tuned!
And in the meantime, go binge my playlist over on YouTube to learn how to get started creating and selling digital products in 2023! If you want to move around or explore new cities and states, owning a shop is one of the best ways to fund your lifestyle without being tied to your laptop. Trust me!