Life Planning When Your Life is Planned For You

One of the things I struggle with the most as a self employed small business owner (and wedding professional) is life planning. My family and close friends know that every ounce of my life, details and events big and small, are planned and scheduled months (sometimes years) in advance. Admittedly, there is basically zero spontaneity in my life. There’s just no room for it!

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The big things…

Kyle and I chose our wedding date based off of my historical least-popular weekends and then delayed our honeymoon until my wedding season was over.
We schedule our vacations sometimes 10+ months in advance so that I have guaranteed down-time during wedding season.
We are constantly looking 2-3 years into the future when it comes to making financial and personal decisions.

… and the small things.

Celebrating birthdays with my family can be hard. I often end up missing them.
I’m never available on the weekends during spring, summer or fall (when the rest of my family isn’t working) so I miss out on the family BBQs, quick get-togethers with friends, family beach trips, etc.
It can be really hard to explain to some of my family members why I can’t adjust my schedule.


My clients plan their weddings sometimes 2 full years in advance which means I’m filling in my calendar and committing myself to clients on certain dates many, many months before they actually happen. And I can’t just back out if I instead want to go to brunch with my girl friends. First off, I wouldn’t anyway. But, you know what I mean. There is no calendar shuffling or postponements.

I’m completely, wholeheartedly, and passionately dedicated to my business. I love serving my clients (almost) above all else. I’m in love with what I do and have a hard time imagining my life without my business now.

So, when it comes to making big personal decisions in our lives, the first thing Kyle and I talk through isn’t our hopes and dreams… it’s the calendar.

Years ago, I came across this Life Planning Outline from Katelyn James (a wedding photographer, educator and one of the small business owners that I admire the most). It’s similar to how we make big decisions and set goals!

There are lots of things to be weighed and considered. The pros and cons. The timing. The alternatives. Our wants, dreams and fears. The worst case scenarios. How we’ll handle failure. Who we need to loop in and consider. What is the potential impact (positive and negative). The financial aspects. There are a ton of financial decisions to be discussed when one of you is self employed.

You’re probably thinking… Savannah, you think about all of that before you plan a vacation!?! Well, yes and no. I’m not able to live a life of spontaneity and I do feel a deep sense of comfort in having control over most aspects of my life and of our journey together as a couple.

Sometimes it all just happens naturally in one conversation and sometimes we need to actually break out the pen and paper, make spreadsheets, jot down our notes and thoughts and really brainstorm every aspect of a goal or decision. It just depends! If you’re a small business owner or a busy creative, I highly recommend this method of thinking for big changes, goals and timelines in your own life! Write it out and weigh all of the different considerations! I think it helps to see the big picture more clearly and make smart choices.