Business Personal

How to decide when to make a big leap, move or transition in your creative business

People ask us all the time…


“Do you still shoot?”


For years, years, that’s how people knew us…Mr. + Mrs. Limelife. Cameras in hand. Ninjas at weddings. Self-proclaimed comedians at portrait sessions (maybe that was just me), making everyone feel comfortable in front of the camera. Aww, it makes my heart happy thinking back to laughing with bridal parties, photographing grandpas bear-hugging their grand-daughters on the dance floor.


Just the other day, I was cleaning out old boxes and folders and shelves, in one of those Monica (yeah, you’re thinking of the right one…Geller) moments. I’ve been having lots of those lately as we prepare for our babe to come home from China. Anyway, I found so many old notebooks of ideas and strategies for our first born, Limelife Photography.


It made me smile. But, it didn’t make me regret not shooting weddings anymore.


I still shoot a handful of lifestyle family sessions. I always will. But, we stopped taking weddings almost two years ago now, and here’s why…


It was the right time. For us.


This is what happened…


We dreamed up this beautiful idea of helping creative entrepreneurs take action on the lives they were daydreaming about. As we had more and more conversations about what our purpose and greatest contribution was and what our future held, our hopes for a family, the dream lifestyle we wanted in 10 years, we leaned into the idea of Limelife-ing less and Idealust-ing more.


We created a 5-year plan. On paper, the transition was beautiful! Gradual. Tidy. We were proud! We looked at the transition of percentages of our income from one business to the other. We felt grown up. Oh, look at us and our perfect financial pie chart!


Then, the flood hit. The flood of my tears, that is.


We found ourselves in the middle of a crazy busy wedding season and building a brand new business.


We were putting in way more hours than we thought we would be at that point of Idealust, doing business coaching for creatives. But doors were opening. I mean, swinging wide open! Things were happening. It was fast and furious and I was ugly crying all over the place.


Turns out, we were totally prepared for everything we thought would happen and totally unprepared for everything we had no idea would happen.


I was overwhelmed. (Even though we knew this craziness was only a temporary season.)


It was too much. (For us. Mostly me.)


So much time and energy, divided in different directions. (I give so much credit to you 9-5ers.)


And so, after a lot of big conversations, we threw our plan out the window. (Yep. Adios, pretty pie chart.)


We still had some weddings on the books but decided from here on out, we wouldn’t be taking more. We decided to use the momentum we had with Idealust, focus on that, and give it our all.


Jesse and I have made a lot of big changes and “risky” decisions over the years (sometimes by choice, sometimes by circumstance), from moving to Africa to starting two businesses, to throwing our 5-year Limelife-Idealust swap plan out the window. We’re pretty sure this will be a recurring theme for us, the life God has for us. 😉


And, every time we feel ourselves getting closer and closer to toeing that line of a life-changing transition, we ask ourselves some big questions before we take the plunge into whatever it is that’s next.


If you’re in that middle limbo, or desiring what’s on the horizon, or sweating from the pressure of trying to make a decision, this is for you.


How to decide when to make a big leap, move or transition in your creative business… 

  • Are you making the move to avoid something else that you really need to address or deal with in your life/business?
  • Is your spouse or significant other on board?
  • If everything goes south, are you okay with the worst case scenario?
  • What is the worst case scenario?
  • Do you have a backup plan?
  • Do you have a gut feeling or intuition that this is the right next move?
  • Is staying in your current situation draining your time, relationships, energy or money?
  • Have you slept on this? Given it time for the honeymoon phase of the idea to wear off and time to see what the reality of this looks like for your life?
  • What happens if you don’t make this transition or move forward? Can you live life as is, staying put where you’re at?
  • What’s the upside? What could potentially (but realistically!) happen if you move forward with this?
  • Is this what you really want or a quick fix to make you feel better?
  • Is the best case scenario what you really want? If not, is it worth it in the first place?
  • Why do you want to make this move? Is it because you feel like it’s where you’re supposed to be or is it because you’re feeling pressure from outside influences or social media or other people’s opinions?
  • How long have you been thinking about this? Has the idea of this faded or gotten stronger?
  • Do you believe you can do this?


Plans are good. Sticking to them is important. But, I also believe that being open to and flexible with the unexpected is just as important. There are no guarantees in business. You know your heart and brain and gifts and desires better than anyone. And, you just never know when one step forward in the right direction will unlock something wonderful, something you never could have dreamed up yourself. The beautiful place you’re meant to be.


How I almost failed a client, industry friends and a best friend in just two months…


We’re doing things a little bit differently with this one. One of our incredible Jetsetter Elite clients, Evelyn (of Letterlyn), approached us about writing a guest blog post for us, on a topic near and dear to our hearts: SAYING NO! We’re pretty sure her experience as a self-proclaimed people-pleaser will resonate with plenty of our readers 😉 We love Evelyn’s determination to build a business that brings her joy, but more importantly, we admire how she takes action, even through trial and error, changes course when she needs to and keeps moving right along, taking her business to the next level! After you read this, go check out her BEAUTIFUL invitations + calligraphy over at Letterlyn!


Collaboration, strategic relationships: We all know they’re great ways to grow our businesses. I love being helpful and working with others. But, like many of us, I can be helpful to a fault.

I got more than 15 requests for editorial shoots for the months of April and May. I said yes to more than half. Some were small orders, while some took days to complete. It was a lot of work and most of it was unpaid. I was hoping to build relationships and boost SEO through publication.

I was working in overdrive and hadn’t made time for myself in weeks. One day, I told my husband I wouldn’t be going to my friend’s birthday weekend because I needed to stay home to work. Did I just think about putting my work over my childhood best friend? Then, I made a mistake on some client work and fixed it so it was “good enough.” I remember the words crossing my mind. Immediately, the blood rushed from my face. I was mortified. Next, I realized I hadn’t given 100% to one of the shoots. I didn’t spend the time or energy to create something unique because my creative energy had simply run out.

Miraculously, everything turned out for the best: I went to the birthday party, fixed the client work, and created something amazing for the shoot.  But, those were some close calls. I told myself that I was making these sacrifices to help others and to grow my business in the spirit of collaboration. In reality, I was so afraid that if I said no to the styled shoots, the vendors involved would never work with me. So, I kept saying yes. If the above examples taught me anything, it was this: In trying not to let fellow wedding vendors down, I was almost failing everyone. [quote align=’right’]If the above examples taught me anything, it was this: In trying not to let fellow wedding vendors down, I was almost failing everyone.[/quote]

Let’s get some solutions started

I created an affirmation about saying “no” when its the right thing to do. If you struggle with saying no, even if it’s the right choice, tell this to yourself until you believe it:

I will not sacrifice my relationships, the quality of my work or the quality of my life because I am afraid to say no. Sometimes, saying no to a collaboration or project does more benefit to all parties than saying yes and pushing through. If I can’t give something 100%, I shouldn’t do it.

Saying no will give me more opportunity to help than to hurt relationships: it fosters respect, and gives an opportunity for me to support another business through referrals.

I commit to quality over quantity, and to making sure that I’m giving everything my best self. The alternative is a disaster for my business and for my personal life. Saying “no” can be a really great thing.

After talking to some business owner friends, including my business coaches Becky + Jesse, I have some advice for my fellow people-pleasers:

3 strategies to know when to say “no”

  1. Make a list of all the things that are most important to you. Things that you might have to give up if you say yes to too many projects. It could be family time, reading, dog snuggling, traveling. They could also be important business items like writing blog posts or developing a newsletter that rocks your subscribers’ socks. Look at this list and ask yourself if you’re willing to give up some of those for this project. Ask yourself which ones do the most benefit to you and your business. (Thanks for this one, Becky!)
  2. Brainstorm all of the things that could get in the way of executing this project perfectly. Maybe its other client projects, family obligations, trips you have planned, things you HAVE to do. Look at that list and ask yourself if you can give enough time and energy to this new project when you have all those other things going on.
  3. Meditate on it. Imagine yourself going through every step of the project. What are you pushing aside to get it done? How do you imagine yourself feeling in those moments? Imagine if something went awry, would you have the time and energy to fix it?

If you don’t have an answer at the end of all this: set a time limit. If you haven’t made a decision in one hour, that’s probably a sign that you need to say no.

After committing to these steps, I was asked to do more styled shoots in May. They sounded amazing! And before establishing the promise to myself I outline above, I would have said yes. Instead, I said, “Even though I’d love to, I’m won’t be able to participate right now because I wouldn’t be able to give it 100%. Hopefully, we can work together on something else soon!” No fear of missing out, no fear of letting them down and never working with them again. They all understood and were grateful for my fast response and my honesty. Saying “no” can be oh so good!