Self-Employment: Releasing the Guilt & Living your Life

Life has been a bit crazy lately (as it always is this time of year). The sessions and weddings to-edit list is slowly but surely getting longer & longer, and the time seems to be moving faster & faster. No matter how hard I work – I just cannot keep up. Inevitably I overestimate how much I can get done in a day and have to transfer items from my daily to-do list over to the next day… every. single. day. Because somehow, there is just never enough time?! (I’m certain time moves 100x faster once you are self-employed, by the way. This is a theory I’m still working on proving…)




While I’m feeling the bustle of busy season as I do every year at this time… the difference between now and when we first started doing this – is that I’ve finally learned to show myself some grace.

Back then I felt like I had to work 24/7 (seriously) and was slowly working myself into the ground. I felt SO GUILTY if I took any time to do anything for myself.

  1. I avoided working out because I thought I didn’t have time.
  2. I rarely spent time with family & friends (because, duh, no time)!
  3. I didn’t sleep enough and when I was sleeping I DREAMT ABOUT WORK. Seriously. I was editing, emailing, shooting, and showing up to weddings without the proper gear or wearing my pajamas in my dreams! (Hello, nightmare!)
  4. I was afraid to post anything anywhere on social media about anything other than working, because I didn’t want clients waiting on their photos to think I wasn’t constantly working on getting them to them. How dare I go to dinner with my husband?! (I really thought people would think that! Crazy!)

Clearly over the years I’ve learned how to better manage my schedule and set myself up for productivity… but that doesn’t mean these feelings don’t come creeping back up as the to-do list grows.

I start to think I can cancel plans with friends or family… or work late into the night… or skip that walk with Chloe… all for the sake of crossing one more thing off my to-do list. (Hint: The to-do list never goes away! It will be there tomorrow regardless! Step away from the to-do list!)

It’s times like these that I have to remember that down time is just as vital to our business as time working. I’m not doing anybody any favors if I’m feeling completely burnt out and exhausted when I show up to shoot their wedding! I’m not doing anybody any favors if I’ve started to resent the place our business has in my life! I’m not doing anybody any favors if I no longer enjoy taking photos because I know it means I’ll have more things to edit later!

That wasn’t the point of any of this… Right?!




I knew going into this whole gig that running a business is REALLY HARD. It’s a lot of work. It’s a constant balancing act, and test in organization. But since we’ve been doing this full-time almost 3 years now… the thing I’ve learned is even harder is learning to draw a line. When you love something so much… when your business is your baby… you don’t want to ever see it fail. (Obviously) So you go – go – go – go because you think that will keep it going. You are afraid if you stop for one moment everything will come crashing around you.

When in reality – the truth is that sometimes you just need to STOP.

And not only stop… but how about you stop feeling guilty about stopping for a moment too? Show yourself some grace and acknowledge that you have worked as hard as you could for that day, week, month… year.

Allow your brain to rest and do something else you also enjoy… like laughing with friends, doing a cannonball into a pool on a hot day, sipping wine under the market lights on your deck, getting lost in a good book, and playing with your dog – without constantly having your mind wander to work & your to-do list… without feeling guilty that you are doing something for yourself and not just for your business or clients for a change.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as life seems to be spinning a bit out of control at times. I’m trying to remember that I have the power to stop. I have the power to pause and live a life outside my business. And by doing so – everything will be better! Our business… the experience with give our clients… my relationships… my health… my sanity.

And so this weekend we are going to do just that. In a very rare occurrence – we have no weddings over the 4th of July weekend and so James and I are heading up to Wisconsin to cross a few things off our Summer Bucket List! We are spending time with some of our favorite people and taking in a small town 4th of July. We are shutting things down and living our lives… free of guilt.

And I hope you all do the same – even if it is just for a moment here and there.

Release the guilt and live your life… You’ll be happy you did. 


(Clearly my niece agrees… haha! I had to find a reason to share this photo again… I mean. Seriously.)



Happy 4th of July everyone! We will see you back here next week with two gorgeous weddings and an engagement session (& of course photos from our time away – because I cannot resist photographing adorable kids – evidenced above)!! xoxo

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Christy & James are Chicago based but happily travel anywhere in the world that beautiful love stories take them!