8 Ways to Plug Into a New City

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8 Ways to Plug Into a New City

After three months of house hunting from an RV in Chattanooga, we made Signal Mountain home just a little over a year ago. I had left a small business and six years of friends behind in Georgia. While I was very eager to kick things off in Tennessee, I knew it would be hard to start a business without knowing a soul. So I decided to spend my first year meeting people and getting to know the Scenic City. 

Through my previous business I learned the importance of networking and through a few professional development courses, I had come across some networking suggestions that proved to serve me pretty well. In just over a year, I am seriously plugged in. Our family has regular friends, I am writing for Chattanooga Moms, we’re an approved foster home, I have a part-time job, bought a rental, and I’m collaborating with other local business owners. My network is expanding rapidly. I have even opened my business back up in a commercial space with clients on the books! 

Shortly after moving here, I joined many local groups on Facebook. I started to notice that Chattanooga was drawing quite the transplant crowd and many seemed to have the same questions regarding ways to meet people. So I decided, after a year of putting these to the test, to create a list of 8 ways you can plug into a new city:

  1. Join local Facebook groups, but here’s the key: you have to engage. Comment, post, and converse. You will start to attract your people — trust me.
  2. Write for a local blog! (Cough, cough.) We are looking for contributors!
  3. Become a customer. This is a little trick I learned in a mentoring session. Becoming a customer is a great way to meet local people that know more people. So book a hair appointment, a facial and something for the kiddos. When they have friends, you have friends.
  4. Attend local events. Facebook makes this so easy! Check the events tab and search for something in which you are interested. Since Covid, there are even online events that will allow you to meet people via Zoom. 
  5. Get a part time job! I dream of living out my years as a super cool barista, but my husband has other retirement plans, so I decided to stick to marketing and photography. But being in a tourist town has its perks. Find a cool little boutique, coffee shop or small business and see if they could use a hand. You can get paid to meet people!
  6. Plug the kids in! Remember what I said in suggestion #3? When the kids have friends, you have friends. Plug the kids in and you have a direct line to the parents.
  7. Volunteer. There are a number of organizations looking for volunteers. CASA is a great program that is always looking for new people to advocate for abused and neglected children in the local courts. 
  8. Get out and chat! One of the best friends we’ve made since being here we met while relaxing at a coffee house patio. We chatted for over two hours, swapped numbers and now we are swapping babysitting on the weekends. 

There are many more ways to plug in; these are just the ones that have worked the best for me. The key is to engage and be present in the conversations. Ask about things and let people know you are new. I have moved a good bit during and after my military time, and Chattanooga has definitely been one of the friendlier places I’ve lived. 

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Hello! I'm Jessica. I grew up in Northern Indiana where I joined the Navy right out of high school. After 3 deployments and some amazing port calls I married a fellow sailor and began a family. We moved around a few times in search of a forever city. After a few visits to the Chattanooga area we fell in love and set in motion our move to the highly recommended Signal Mountain. I am slowly chipping away at my marketing degree while working part time at a local marketing agency. I am also a huge portrait photography lover and have a small studio up here on Signal Mountain where I shoot luxury portrait for children and women. You can check out my work at www.venyaportrait.com. We have 2 kiddos, Jazzy(6) who's larger than life and Joseph(3) who is taking his sweet time growing up. We have always planned to adopt as well and are currently awaiting a match for a big sister in need of a loving home. I also volunteer as a court advocate for abused and neglected children in the area. It's a great program and you can check out more at https://www.tncasa.org/. You can find me binging true crime podcasts and dark drama shows late at night. I'm a serial hobbyist, I'll never turn down an iced coffee, I actually try hard not to cuss like a sailor and I love meeting different kinds of people.

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