My move to LA has been one of the best moves that ever happened to me, but I wish someone gave me a guide book to the city before moving here.
LA has so much to offer and it also has some real challenges. To help you prepare, I came up with a guide to help with important things to consider.
- Financial Preparation-
I am starting here because this can make OR break you. The stories of coming to LA with $1,000 are great and good inspirational stories, but you are going to be in a word of hurt if you do that in or after 2017.
Here’s why. The cost of living is something we hear a lot about as it pertains to LA, but that does not put into perspective what it means. Groceries are more expensive, housing is not just more costly, but it can be too to have a safe place to live if you are not prepared to drop more than $2,500 for a studio, and then buy appliances and a window unit. You read that right not central a/c a window unit and buy machines. So if your mental calculator is not the best, your total move-in costs could quickly exceed $3,000 for a studio with no real updates completed since 1990.
Another aspect of preparing for is the super competitive housing market. Here today, gone today explains apartments in LA. If the apartment is a great deal, comes with a stove and fridge (or 1 of the 2) expect it to be gone quickly. Shopping around is a luxury in LA.
Check out the housing links for Craigslist, HotPads, and Westside Rentals to help you find a place to live before moving so that you can unpack your bags and not find yourself couch surfing for months on end.
- Physical preparation-
The hustle and bustle of the city are real. That said, you need a healthy outlet to sweat out the alcohol, possible stress, and being photo ready for the LA weather.
Start early. Before you move, find a park near you to go running or map out a route in your neighborhood. LA is a city where a gym membership is friendly, but plenty of people stay fit with a hike and boot camp.
- Spiritual preparation-
This is probably the biggest and most crucial point. Know who you are before you get here—something a sound spiritual life can only provide. Moving to LA, you are going to encounter your favorite actor or singer in random places. You may be invited to countless events, and there is always something to do. Be sure those opportunities do not define you and that your self worth does not need a backdrop, exclusive party, or celebrity picture to let you know you belong.
The fantastic thing about LA is there are great spiritual outlets. There are churches, Buddhist temples, and everything in between to meet the spiritual and religious needs you have.
- Work Ethic-
Point blank has it before you get here. You may be the best in Middle America, Dallas or Houston, TX, or even Miami, but 100k people in LA are just as good and probably better. What is going to differentiate you is your work ethic. No is going to be something you hear a lot of. It may come in the form of “let’s talk later,” “let’s do lunch,” or “something came up,” but be diligent and stay ready. You have to be prepared like never before, which is why your spiritual preparation aligns with your work ethic.
- Professional Preparation-
Be good at many different things and master one. LA is the land of opportunity. You should be knee-deep in what you say you want to do. You may be moving to be an actor, but do not be afraid to dust that degree off and find a 9-5 until things get moving for you.
You may DJ on the weekends or in the evening but drive for uber/lyft until you establish a network. In LA, most people have multiple hustles.
This connects to the spiritual preparation portion, be kind and be humble. The person in yoga pants could be a yoga instructor, the VP at a major network, or your next publicist. LA is a casual city. You just never know who is who. I know social media makes you believe you have to dine at $100/plate restaurants nightly and brunch every day just do not fall into the trap that if that becomes your lifestyle, you no longer feel the need to be kind and to stay humble.
- Learn the Areas-
Before moving to LA, I thought I knew where I wanted to live. After over a year in Los Angeles, I now realize I knew nothing. Here are a few neighborhoods I have learned about.
I first crashed with a friend in Hollywood. I loved the walkability and inexpensive Uber/Lyft in the area. The downside can be pricing and parking. Be prepared to only have street parking except from 8 am – 6 pm and not on Mondays for the street sweepers, which I never saw.
The Valley (Sherman Oaks, North Hollywood, Van Nuys)
Surprisingly this area comes with some fairly nice spaces. You can get more bang for your buck and you can get some good updated spaces. The downside is you are far from a lot of things and rarely does anyone travel to the Valley if they do not already live there. The area is also great for those who work at studios and dancers. North Hollywood also has a train station to help get you through the city.
This area has decent apartment pricing. The challenge is parking. There is rarely parking available, so if you live in one of those areas, be prepared to pay for a spot if the option is available.
This neighborhood is a true gem. You can find homes that remind you of a suburb of your local community. For me, it reminds me of some areas in Houston. After taking a look at my place, I walked to Starbucks, the cleanest one I have EVER seen and found nearly 50 people playing Chess and checkers. Everyone seems to be friendly and it is not too close to the airport, but close enough for you to get there for $5 in an Uber/Lyft.
Good luck with the LA move. May it lead you to the next level of your journey!