The Guide to Conquering Your Fear of Moving to LA

Picture courtesy of Pixel Garden Studio

Picture courtesy of Pixel Garden Studio

Have you ever felt…well…a little…scared of LA?

No, you’re not running around panicking, fearing, or crying about moving to LA, but you haven’t exactly come to terms with actually moving here.

You haven’t saved up enough money as you would like. You’re waiting for that perfect opportunity.

In fact, months or even years have gone by and you still haven’t made any progress at all. You’re starting to wonder, will this move ever happen?

There’s a million reasons you could think of as to why you haven’t made it here yet. Even though most of your reasons are probably legitimate, deep down, you know there’s only one reason that’s holding you back.

You’re afraid.

You’re afraid to leave the comfort of your hometown.

You’re afraid you won’t survive in such a big city.

You’re afraid of what your friends and family will think of you if you fail.

You know you have to take risks in life, but you also know you’ll never make it to LA if you don’t take the time to focus on what needs to get done now.

Yet, you still can’t bring yourself to do it. You’ve been thinking about this move for so long that you’re wondering if you’re even cut out for this LA thing.

It’s not true.

You can get here and make it.

Let me tell you how…

1. Don’t worry so much about the opinions of others.

This is one of the biggest obstacles that hold most people back from moving to LA. You’re worried of how others will look at you if you fail.

Remember this: Everyone is as insecure as you are.

So, why stress the opinions of others who are afraid to chase their own dreams?

It’s like a bird taking advice from a penguin on how to fly.

It’s dumb.

Your opinion is the only one that matters in the end because nobody will have to live with your decisions but you.

Focus your mind on what must be done. Understand your time is limited and decide to go for it now; only then will you be able to get to Los Angeles. Otherwise, you will be persuaded by others opinions into living a life you aren’t interested in.

2. Be Awesome

Am I awesome?

You damn right I am!!!

And so are you.

To live in this city, you must have a high level of confidence and energy. Know exactly what you want out of LA and prepare by doing it now.

If you’re a writer, write more.
If you’re an actor, act more.
If you’re a musician, make more music.

Whatever it is you want to do in LA, you need to be doing it now. There’s nothing stopping you now from taking classes (even online), practicing, or working with people in your local area to gain advice on how to perfect your craft.

I hear some of you now as I write this, “I’ll get started once I move to LA”.

Seriously, what makes you think you’ll have the energy when you move to LA?

I think not.

It only gets harder when you move here, trust me.

So, do it now and be awesome!

3. Make a Plan

Make a plan to save money. Work two jobs if you have to.

Without struggle and a little hard work in life; there is no progress.

Also, do some research on LA to understand the industry you want to work in. Know the power players and even the lower level ones (you’ll actually have a better chance to meet them initially).

4. Get Prepared for Take Off

Set a date.
Buy a plane ticket.
Pack your car.
Let people know.

Put some type of pressure on yourself to get to LA and hold yourself accountable.

If you really want to move to LA, you will find a way to get here. No excuses.

The Unfortunate Truth About LA

The fear never goes away.

You just learn to adapt and get better at dealing with it.

I was just as afraid as you are when I moved to LA. I didn’t know anyone.

Hell, I didn’t even know where I was going to live the day I got here. I was 23 years old, fresh out of college with no job and all of my worldly possessions packed in the back of my car.

But, I didn’t let that stop me.

I really think that defines the people who actually make it in LA. They’re afraid just like everyone else, but they keep going anyway.

They’re willing to make a drastic change in their life, despite the potential obstacles.
They’re willing to move to LA and let everyone think they’re crazy for doing it.
They’re willing to invest years of their life into succeeding in LA

These people are no better than you and me. They just know the price of success and they’re willing to pay for it.

Are you?


Justin Resarieo is a creative entrepreneur and graduate of The University of Alabama. He has lived in LA for 6 years and enjoys the weather, creativity, and opportunity the city offers.


  • Reply January 21, 2013


    This is very helpful. I am moving to LA in 2 months and am scared to death. I keep having people tell me things like “Los Angeles is bankrupt, why the hell would you want to move there?” or “You don’t have a job out there? How are you ever going to make it?” I keep telling these people that I’ll be fine, but it is still hard not to let these words get to me. LA is the place I need to be in order to achieve my dreams. I needed to read this blog entry today, so thank you for your advice.

    • Justin
      Reply January 21, 2013


      I’m glad I could help Kristen! You can make it here if it is something you really want. It’s not impossible just takes some tenacity and hard work which I’m sure you’re capable of.

      Good Luck to you!!!

  • Reply January 21, 2013


    I made it to LA with my cat back in Sept 2012 without a job, no friends, a distant relative that lives in the OC, and moved all the way from Montreal, Canada. Everyone thought I was nuts but I had zero fear. That’s right. ZERO. You know why? Because I knew that this is where I wanted to be. Found an apartment on a one week visiting trip to LA to book it before the move, found it and signed the least on the first day on on the first visit (hey, when you want it, you go after it).

    I had some money saved up, so for 2 months I dawdled and settled in. On the third month I looked for a job and landed one in November. Once you know how to budget and be disciplined, the rest is kid’s play. And you’ll be sitting there thinking, “Wow! That really wasn’t hard at all!” Everyone’s situation is different, but you definitely need balls and loads of confidence in yourself and who you are. My mum was scared to death for me cause all she thinks LA is about gangs and gunfire, which couldn’t be further from what I’ve been experiencing right now. Now, she’s cool with me living here (with some reservations – of course).

    • Justin
      Reply January 21, 2013


      Awesome story Dahlia! I admire your determination. Like you said, “When you want it, you go after it”.

  • Reply January 22, 2013


    Hey Justin,my family and myself will be moving to L.A. in July,along with some friends and their families,this website has really helped me out,i’m pretty much going out there to start over.

    • Justin
      Reply January 22, 2013


      Good luck Corey!

  • Reply February 6, 2013


    Shit, im from Mexico and i wanna move to LA maybe in a year, i have to finish college first, im so scared mostly because of where i am from, i think is gonna be harder to get an appartment and a job, but i want to live there so badly!! i just love LA!

  • Reply February 19, 2013


    Thanks so much for this guide! It eased the tension for me. I want to move to LA to pursue my dream of dancing and becoming a professional hip hop choreographer after high school. My mom thinks it will be too soon for me to move there right after high school. What do you think? Should I start and finish college in my hometown or move to LA and go to community college there while still trying to achieve my dream? And one last question, approximately how much should somebody save for the move?

    • Justin
      Reply February 19, 2013


      Hey Chandrea send me a quick email! I’ll be able to better answer your question there. Justin@immovingtola[dot]com

  • Reply March 6, 2013


    Hello Justin,

    I´m a classically trained composer, and I love to write scores for movies. I´ve already scored some short films, but I´m brazilian. I know exactly the potential I have, as well as what I need to improve. I´m very autocritical. And listening to the scores of some films produced in LA, I just know that I could write something much better. And that´s EXACTLY what motivates me. Nothing else gives me more energy to think about moving to LA. I´ve already lived in LA when I was young and my family was wealthy enough to pay my studies at Musicians Institute in Hollywood. Now I think I should never leave LA. But I did… Now, more than 10 years latter, and know that I´m 35 years old, I´m pretty scared to face it again. I´m not american, I won´t have the same support that my family gave me when I moved to LA the first time, I´m not going to study, but to work… So, seems pretty hard for me…. I don´t know what to do… I wish that I had at least a little amount of that same energy that I has when I decided to go to LA when I was young… What happens to us when we get older??? I´m a much better musician than I was… But why, where or when did we lost that energy??? It was pretty nice to read your article, though. Take care

    • Justin
      Reply March 6, 2013


      Hey Eddie,

      It is true that we lose some motivation when we get older it’s inevitable. If this is something you really want you MUST pursue it. It will bother you for the rest of your life if you don’t give it a second shot. Remember, we only have one life to live. It makes no sense to live with regrets of what could’ve of been. Do it.

  • Reply March 14, 2013


    I just wanna say im moving out there next January and im very very determined to make a name for myself and do whatever it takes and im willing to wait, this helped so much! THANK YOU!!!!!

    • Justin
      Reply March 19, 2013


      You’re welcome Dallas!

  • Reply March 19, 2013


    I’m really needing a change in my life. I am sick of the same ol’ same ol’ over here in Maryland. I don’t live in an area where there’s really anything interesting to do. I know that there’s a lot to do in L.A. – especially with the art crowd and that there are a lot of places that all you need is to walk to get there. I just want to know if there’s a certain neighborhood that you could recommend for someone in their early 20’s where they can live without dying from the cost of rent and by someone shanking them on the street. I definitely don’t mind busy places. If I’m somewhere that I can just walk to a ton of places on foot, then that’s perfectly fine for me. Driving a little ways to get to the excitement doesn’t bother me either.

    • Justin
      Reply March 19, 2013


      I would look at North Hollywood or Silverlake. The apartments are safe and affordable in these neighborhoods. And I think they would fit your personality quite nicely.

  • Reply March 20, 2013


    I really want to move to L.A., and making plans to do so. However, I am terrified because I have a 13 year old child and wondering which neighborhood would be ideal for us both. I already have a job and would be transferring to Westwood, but I don’t know too much about the area. Does anyone out there know what it’s really like to move to L.A. with a child and pursue a an acting career? I’m trying to plan the best way possible but don’t want my kiddo to suffer.

  • Reply July 22, 2013


    I am moving in 2 months and I’m still terrified. But I am doing it anyway. It took 4 years to get ready professionally but I found that I was still “waiting” for something. I think I was waiting for it to get easier but it wasn’t. Then, I finally made the decision to leave this September no matter what. A funny thing happened. In the past few months I was able to link up with two other guys that were thinking about it and once we all talked they are just as on board as I am. Making the decision cleared the way for it to get easier. Thanks for taking the time to post this Justin. It’s great to hear others express their fear.

  • Reply July 26, 2013


    Your advice has honestly given me so much hope. I’m moving to LA in two years and I was terrified. Coming from a small town where you know every persons name on your road, I’m sure you can understand. I’m just worried that LA won’t be as glamorous as it is in the movies. I’m afraid that I’ll find the perfect apartment, but won’t be able to find a job.

    • Reply September 30, 2013


      If you think movies are like real life you might want to re-evaluate your perspective on things.

  • Reply July 28, 2013


    Hi, It’s 5am and I have almost read every article on your site. Such valuable resources, Thank You!

    I’m just wondering based on your experience from living in LA. I’m looking to move to LA by the beginning or middle of November. I just started my new job, as stated earlier I’m looking to move in Nov…by november I will have about 5000-6000 dollars is that a reasonable amount to move or should I wait to January with 10,000….I really CAN not wait until January unfortunately. It’s pilot season and I need to hit the pavement auditioning in January….btw I’ll be staying with my cousin for about 3 months until I find a job and would 5000 be sufficient or should I save more? 🙁

  • Reply July 30, 2013


    I just came across your site and I’ve gotta say, it’s heaven sent. I’m seriously thinking about moving out to LA just to experience life outside of New Jersey. I’m 23, just graduated college, at a job I’m not very happy at and, I don’t know, maybe moving will help give me that extra push I need. to do something bigger than sit behind a computer screen. I totally relate to this post and many others on here. Thanks for the reinforcement. 🙂

  • Reply September 21, 2013


    Incredible. JUSTINCREDIBLE!

  • Reply November 3, 2013


    I want to move to LA to pursue an acting career. I have been having a love-hate relationship with my career and LA. LA has fascinated me for years. I have thought that if I lived in LA my career would be much better than it is today. Hollywood scares me, but I still want to experience it. I know I am contradicting myself. And people have told me that LA is horrible to live in. But I don’t care what anyone says, I am going to live my dream. Thank you for this article.

  • Reply February 4, 2014


    I really wish I discovered this site before I moved to LA! I decided when I was 18 to move so I spent a year saving up and when I was 19 I just packed up my car and left! I ended up living in The Valley for a year but due to an unfortunate roommate choice, I ended up living in my car for a short period and then having to move back home into my parents house for 3 months. But now I’m back and I’m here to stay! I love this site. All the articles really speak to me and feel so RELEVANT. Thanks so much for sharing the wisdom.

    • Justin
      Reply February 5, 2014


      I can totally relate. It seems we all go through rough patches in LA. Glad to hear you were able to bounce back!

  • Reply February 5, 2014

    Matthew Britton

    This is a fantastic site Justin! I live in a small town in Virgina, born and raised, I’m 27 and I have goals and dreams, a lot of people don’t believe in me but I will take a risk and live the life that I want. People here settle with working at dollar stores and everyone tried to drag me down with them, but I’m not like them, I want more out of life, I know that I have to work for what I want and its not a day goes by where I do something towards my goals, a lot of people want a handout and they think someone is going to knock on there door and give them what they want and need, I know that I’m an individual and I will become successful.

    • Reply February 5, 2014

      Matthew Britton

      This is a fantastic site Justin! I live in a small town in Virgina, born and raised, I’m 27 and I have goals and dreams, a lot of people don’t believe in me but I will take a risk and live the life that I want. People here settle with working at dollar stores and everyone tried to drag me down with them, but I’m not like them, I want more out of life, I know that I have to work for what I want and its not a day goes by where I don’t do something towards my goals, a lot of people want a handout and they think someone is going to knock on there door and give them what they want and need, I know that I’m an individual and I will become successful.

      • Justin
        Reply February 5, 2014


        I trust you will Matthew. Keep going!

  • Reply February 5, 2014


    Hi Justin

    just a quick reply to tell you that i LOVE your site. It s full of precious informations, well written articles and with a definitely cool design

    I am moving to L.A. from Italy (quite far wouldn t you say so?) within a month.

    I am somehow scared but at the same time pretty confident, do you know why?

    1. I am awesowe
    2. I was meant to be

    I ‘d say “see you soon “

    • Justin
      Reply February 5, 2014


      You are awesome Vinc! Best of luck to you 🙂

    • Reply February 6, 2014

      Matthew Britton

      Thank you!

  • Reply February 6, 2014


    Why did I JUST NOW find this blog? I plan on moving to LA in a few years (1 year of high school left and 4 years of college to do). Practically everyone says “just getting an apartment is going to bankrupt you” or “that’s a dangerous city! Why would you want to move there!?” I’m not a total idiot. I know it’ll be a difficult transition from Illinois but sometimes you’ve gotta do what’s best for you and your dreams. I don’t want to live my life saying “what if”. Thank you! I really needed this encouragement.

  • Reply February 6, 2014


    Hi Justin,

    Somehow I stumbled on your site and man had it been very helpful. I’ve been wanting to move out to L.A. since I was around 11 (longtime) but hadn’t made a move to my life’s experiences and discouragements here. I’m 24 and now thinking screw that! I’ve had people laugh at me and tell me this was ridiculous but I can’t hide what I’m feeling. I belong there and if you believe in “signs” or “synchronicity” I’ve had too many not to think there was something more to it. So, I’m choosing to follow that strong hunch. I’ve never uprooted myself, never been anywhere outside of Texas. This site is very encouraging and very informative. So, I’ve decided to take the initiative and give myself until mid to late summer to get the hell out of here, (saving money, finding a job, pay a few months rent when it comes to L.A.). Everybody’s negativity used to scare me but now it just motivates me to see how so many people did it successfully and never gave up! I’m okay with leaving everything behind and it’s time I put my own dreams ahead of everyone else. I need and want this change badly! I don’t wanna be sitting here til I’m 30 still stuck in Dallas, still living at home, still at my crappy job. Who knows? A whole new life just might be waiting for me in L.A…

  • Reply March 22, 2014


    Thank you Justin,

    This really helped me ease into the thought of actually making the move. I’m a 21 year old college student (with a husband and a little one I might add) and have feared just going for it for about 3 years and now I feel so much more prepared

  • Reply May 18, 2014


    Hi Justin,

    Thanks so much for your site! I can’t wait to explore it in more depth. I’m a playwright, born and raised in Boston. I got my MFA right in Boston a couple years ago and have been working a day job as an editor. Just this year I started trying my hand at TV writing, and I really enjoy it. I also left one editorial job last year for a new one so that I’d be making a bit more money. The problem? Getting a new day job didn’t make me feel happer at all — it just got me out of the red. I’m just as unhappy, if not more so. To top it off, my boyfriend, who’d been struggling to find employment after a career change, had to move back home (very far from Boston) when our lease was up because he wasn’t making ends meet. So now I’m alone with my two cats and miserable all the time.

    I’ve been thinking about just packing up and moving to LA for several months now. One thing that’s been holding me back is that I’m 32… I’m not 22 and fresh out of college anymore, and it feels scarier to take a huge financial risk. I also come from a family where we’ve ALWAYS struggled with money. I have a ton of undergrad debt that I’ve finally started making a dent into, but only because I got some money when my grandfather passed away. But on the other hand… this is the perfect time for me to make a move. Because of that money from my grandfather, I have a savings for the first time in my life. Putting that at risk is terrifying… but having it is better than not having it at all. I’m not intimidated by cities life because I grew up a city girl (granted Boston is very different from LA). I’m used to rent being sky-high. And I’m not married, and I don’t have kids or a mortgage. Nothing tying me to one location. And the one advantge of being 32 over 22 is that I *can* say “I’m awesome!” now and mean it (at least sometimes, haha). And I’ve become a much better and more confident writer.

    So, will I make the move? It remains to be seen. I’m tied to here at least until the fall because I have a staged reading of one of my plays scheduled that you have to be local for. The idea of remaining in my job till, like, November is soul crushing… but if I knew I were getting out it might be a lot easier to take. I’m starting to make this a more serious decision instead of just a “wouldn’t it be nice?” kind of fantasy. This site will definitely help me figure things out.

  • Reply October 2, 2014

    LeDerius M

    ACCOUNTABILITY!!! Its all it boils down to; make yourself take the leap of faith!

    This is a great article! I am moving to LA in just over a month. I had to tell the whole world that I was doing it, so I didn’t have a choice but to make it happen.

    I am originally from Texas, but I have been living in Atlanta for the last 8 years. With this website, I am starting to feel more and more confident in my decision and plan to move there!!! Thank you very much!

  • Reply October 2, 2014


    Great article and just what i was looking for i moved out to L.A with a friend in 07 we went by the seat of our pants .He’s still out there ,he went out there for a different reason than me but he’s been out there .I went out there to do the acting and wound up coming back a year later .Now im back at home .I told myself when i came home in 09 that it was just going to be temp now after all this time .I’m still here i finally coming to the realization that i’m just afraid to go back out again but no deep down i have to leave again if i want to make this acting thing work out . Thing is i know L.A like the back of my hand idk what my problem is .Thanks for the boost i’m sticking your article in my favorties section as a constant reminder

  • Reply November 11, 2014


    Hi Justin- great article, one of many encouraging articles on this blog. I’m only 19 and just a freshman in college (at UGA) but I’m dead set on moving to LA to pursue a career in TV/Film. Everybody’s a critic, and many people here say “Atlanta is soo much better than LA anyway”. Well, I’ve been here in Georgia all my life, and I’m more than ready for a change of scenery. Anyway, I’m going to do whatever it takes to achieve my goals. It’s just life after all, isn’t it? Thank you so much for bringing a seemingly impossible goal well within reach.

  • Reply January 17, 2015


    I will be moving to LA at the end of March (my lease is up). I’m putting the final touches on a few affairs here in Houston and I am going to make a fresh start for myself in LA.
    I love southern California, and given the type of person I am (creative) I know that Los Angeles will be the right place for me.
    My dream is to finish up my screen play, start my novel, and keep doing my blogs…of course working to sustain until those things sustain me.
    Anyway, this website has helped me fall in love with the city. I feel that it is where I’m supposed to be; and I want all of the wonderful that it has to offer.

  • Reply January 28, 2015


    I’ve been flip flopping on the whole LA thing for years. This article makes me want to just go for it. I decided I’m giving myself till the end of September to save and then I’m going to make some plans. By 2016 I hope to call LA home.

  • Reply July 29, 2016


    Well, that was a great motivation speech !

    Hell yeah, I’m scared like hell to move there… I’m French, I live in France and know absolutely no one there, but I know I have to try…

    Some part of me is absolutely convinced that I wont survive a week there, but that part of me needs to shut the hell up.

    But yeah, the prospect of moving there is both terrifying and bloody exciting… all the more reasons to try !

  • Reply August 10, 2016


    Ah this post was meant for me! Every.single.word. Thank you! I guess I better pack my sh*t. In all seriousness, I am glad I read this post, gave me great perspective and optimism. Thanks again!

  • Reply August 19, 2016

    Terea F

    Hello there! I just wanted to say thanks for sharing such a great article! I plan to move down to Los Angeles from a poverty filled small town in the Central Valley of California. Although it’s a four hour move (which isn’t as far as some Transplants in Los Angeles) I was definitely nervous.. Well TERRIFIED. I have a one year old daughter, but during the move she will be two. I’m moving to Los Angeles and my field of work is the medical field, so there is always a job there versus my current location. I’ve always loved Los Angeles, from the people, culture, art, and most importantly the opportunity! I am moving there to give not only myself a better chance and life, for most importantly my DAUGHTER! I want her to grow up in a diverse, culture filled environment, filled with the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. I love everything it has to offer here! Thanks again for finally giving me that extra push I needed to conquer the fear of the gorgeous City of Angels.

  • Reply October 6, 2016

    Tatyana Phillips

    Not going to lie, It did help me ease my mind a little. I just don’t want to wind up in a bad area and I’m only 21. I just really made my decision last year that I wanted to move California. It’s just coming up with the money and knowing the places on where to live and all the other essentials that I need, but I promised to at least give myself a year to save the money up, and just go from there.

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