Self-Employment: 2016 Goals Check In ~ Chicago Wedding Photographer

It is crazy to think that I wrote our goals for last year when I was almost 34 weeks pregnant with the boys and so huge I couldn’t fit into any of my maternity clothes anymore! Honestly, the fact that we even had any goals other than to give birth to two healthy boys and survive the year kind of blows my mind! haha! And in all honesty – I didn’t really even remember what we had come up with for our goals until I went back and reread this post recently. (Oops.)

Anyway, James and I are planning a date to sit down and write down our goals for 2017 (like we always do) so I figured now was a good time to check in on how we did last year before we move on to this year! So here we go!



  • Healthy birth: Healthy babies / Healthy mama. We made it! How amazing! I cannot believe this is on a list from last year, because it feels like we had these boys yesterday and 5 years ago all at the same time! I shared their whole birth story on the blog if you’re interested.
  • Enjoy our maternity/paternity leave together as a new family.  My gosh, this also seems like forever ago, but it wasn’t even a year yet! In retrospect, I would suggest taking more time off to those who are able and can afford it – especially if you’re having twins!! BUT – we made it work and were thankful to be back at work doing what we love at the same time (though more sleep would have been nice)! haha
  • Be good examples, parents, and partners. This will forever be a work in progress, but I think we are doing our best. 🙂 I have a full post brewing about all of this soon – but let’s just say that adjusting to being parents (and TWIN parents on top of that) was probably one of the hardest things James and I have gone through ever – even more so than our infertility battle, because at least we did that well rested! Ha! This we went through severely sleep deprived and not totally sane, which makes things extra interesting! haha. Honestly though, we have had some hard times over the past year, but our gratitude for finally being parents and our love for each other and our boys got us through every time.
  • Survive. 🙂 Hey – we made it through 2016!!! haha
  • Finish our backyard! Our insane backyard is a work in progress – but we did make some serious progress last year because we finally gave in and hired landscapers!! haha! As James likes to say “I fought the yard and the yard won.” LOL.
    1. Finish clearing the weeds (and who knows what else is back there) James actually did this himself numerous times but they Just. Kept. Growing. Back. (hence hiring landscapers)
    2. Plant grass We ended up hiring landscapers who cleared, leveled, and laid sod for us all in a day!
    3. Get a blue stone patio laid for an outdoor entertaining/grilling area, and get some outdoor furniture (table & chairs, market lights… etc).
    4. Put in a fire pit in the back corner.
    5. Install new fencing around the entire backyard. (So we can stop seeing that gorgeous view of a parking lot through our fence in the winter! haha) I promised James I wouldn’t try to plant any bushes, trees, or flowers until we get these main things handled, so I’m going to try really hard to follow through on that! haha
  • Get Life Insurance!  I am finally covered after having what felt like 5 million at home physical exams! James still needs to get his.
  • Transfer my old 401k to a Roth IRA Done!! Thought I need to start contributing to it again! Oops. But at least I got it transferred over!
  • Save $x,000 for backyard projects listed above, and maintain our current savings. I’m happy we managed to pay for our landscaping without needing to dig into our savings and we did manage to add more to savings since. We have a long way to go though, because oh my gosh do the house projects just keep piling on! So much we want to do!!
  • Shoot film photos of our boys and family consistently throughout the year. I was good about the film photos up until a point and then I started liking the ease (and speed) of shooting digital instead. I tried to shoot a few minutes of photos of the boys on either on my film camera or “real” digital camera every month and kept up with it so far!!
  • Go to the Dermatologist. I finally did this and all was well! Whew! I was so worried about a growth on my face, but it turned out to be nothing and I even had it removed and felt much better about it all!
  • Start walking 60 miles a month again. Ohhhh man, this is funny! This was totally dependent on weather that was appropriate to take babies out in (not to hot, not too cold), whether or not the boys were okay with being in a stroller/carseat for long periods of time that particular month, and how busy I was with work. To give you an idea – here are my monthly mileage totals after the boys were born: April 38 miles; May 27 miles; June 9 miles; July 16 miles; August 25 miles; September 23 miles; October 20 miles; November 12 miles; December 6 miles. HA!
  • Lift free weights 2-3x a week. I can definitely say I did NOT do this at all. I lifted weights maybe once a month – I’m not even kidding. I had terrible diastis recti from my pregnancy and so much of working out was a struggle and trying not to make my condition worse. Not to mention I was already totally starving all. the. time. because I’m nursing two babies (that’s an extra 1,000 calories a day I needed for that!) so working out kind of fell by the wayside. BUT – for 2017 I’m back on the horse!! I’ve been lifting weights and doing circuit training in our basement 3x a week again and I feel strong and it is awesome!
  • Print Photo Books from 2015. Yeah… nope. I was terrible and didn’t do this. I would still like to print books from our trips that year, but that is most likely all I will get done. I have started ordering Chat Books from my Instagram posts about the boys so those automatically come for every 60 images I post and it is so nice to have that default so I know at least something will be printed!
  • Show myself grace and understanding as I adjust to life as a mom and business owner. I think I’m actually pretty decent at not giving myself a hard time or riding the mom guilt train. I know a lot of moms that reeeeeally don’t show themselves much understanding, so I think I’m doing okay.


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  1. Book at least 8 more weddings for 2016 (cap out at 28 weddings, at most). Yup! We shot exactly 28 weddings last year!
  2. Have a smooth transition to childcare on wedding days. We are so thankful for the two amazing women who watched our boys this past year (and my mom on occasion too)!! Karli and Sarah were amazing! Karli is staying on for 2017, but Sarah is welcoming her own little boy – so she won’t be back! 🙁 If you know of anyone with baby/kid experience who is interested in making some extra money on (usually) Saturdays – let us know!!!
  3. Update our website galleries. Nope. And I still need to do this!!!
  4. Book 2 commercial shoots. We actually had a few opportunities for shoots arise this past fall but we were so swamped with work that we couldn’t make them work at the time and the company ended up having to go with someone else. I really hope we can manage to do some this coming year though!
  5. Expand the Beautiful Session side of our business. Again – nope. We really were just getting by this past year, and hope to get back to goals and chasing dreams in 2017!
  6. Continue to have James shoot more groom portraits during prep. Honestly,  J’s work just continues to get better and better and I’m more and more impressed with each wedding we do! Some of his prep photos this year I’m obsessed with!!
  7. Keep up with our turn-around times and client service level/experience throughout the year. We did it!! We kept our normal turn around time for shoots and weddings and I’m pretty proud of that!! Email replies took a pinch longer than they once did, but other than that – we’ve basically managed to keep the business running smooth!
  8. Get back to throwing an annual client party!! Oh man, we dropped the ball on this one – between IVF, then a twin pregnancy, and twin babies to take care of this definitely fell to the wayside. I’m scheming about getting this rolling again though soon – I HOPE!
  9. James take initial steps to start a dog care business. hahahahaha. Oh my gosh were we naive about how much work twins would be, you guys!! Yeah. This did not even come close to happening!! haha.
  10. Host Workshops. We didn’t do any in 2016, but we are on track for 2017!!! Stay tuned because the first one – Let There Be Light – opens for registration on MONDAY! Yay!!!
  11. Submit more weddings to blogs & magazines. I did submit a few things last spring before the boys were born, and we had J & B’s Adler Planetarium Wedding featured in print in The Knot Chicago – which was so awesome!! I still need to be better about this though!!


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So, that is it, friends!! What a year it was!! Clearly we weren’t as on top of some business goals as normal, but prioritizes change and the important thing is that we stayed on top of our client relations and shoots/weddings, and also spent lots of time soaking in our first year as totally sleep deprived parents! 🙂

Now, I’m excited to start looking forward to a new year ahead and new goals!! xoxo


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