A strong future focus in Coffs Harbour

Justin and Samantha Clarke Founders of digital start up Social Ally, Justin and Samantha Clarke, relocated their business from Sydney to Coffs Harbour in 2014.

In doing so, they're breaking down the traditional perceptions that digital agencies need to locate themselves in a major metropolitan area to be successful.

"It's definitely not the case anymore that you need to run a digital agency from the city," Samantha said. "There's great infrastructure, such as the National Broadband Network, available for technology-based startups in regional NSW."

Justin and Samantha see a strong future ahead for their business. "Where we would have an expanding office of regional employees that have the ideal work/life balance. The future is quite exciting for us as business owners," Justin said.

Justin and Samantha Clarke video

By moving to Coffs Harbour, they've been able to enjoy a more balanced and more relaxed lifestyle.

"We've definitely felt a relief from the pressures of living in Sydney now, we can walk down to the beach whenever we want," explained Samantha. "Or catch up with friends in a coffee shop at lunchtime, which is something we wouldn't normally do in Sydney, because we'd be completely involved and immersed  in our work.

"There's a sense of community here which I didn't experience in Sydney," she added. "I can pop into my local bank and everyone actually knows my name and is genuinely interested in how my day has been."

Before leaving Sydney, Samantha and Justin compared the cost of living in both Sydney and Coffs Harbour to find out if they'd be better off in the regional centre.

"We quite quickly came to realise you can have a much better lifestyle, enjoy a lower rental price on office space and buy a larger house than you would be able to in Sydney.

"Even factoring in flying back to Sydney regularly, the expenses you have in a metropolitan area that you don't have in a regional area means you're still better off," Justin explained.

They've quickly overcome any doubts they had about moving away from Sydney.

"We were concerned we'd miss out on the cultural aspects of life such as coffee shops and restaurants," Justin said.

"Now we've spent a bit of time in Coffs Harbour, we've found there are many events to attend and attractions to discover – one of my favourite restaurants in Australia is up here," Samantha added.

To find out more about Justin and Samantha's business Social Ally visit www.socialally.co