5 Ways to Actually Stay Motivated ALL YEAR!

filed in:

I think the BEST way to start 2018 STRONG is to have a game plan for how you’re going to maintain the motivation that you feel RIGHT NOW for the next twelve months! I mean, think about it…. are you really going to feel THIS motivated in September when your editing is piling up and you’re in the middle of your busiest season? Take a look back at your 2017 year. During what months were you thriving, and what months left you feeling swamped and overwhelmed? We all go through seasons where business life is hard, but there ARE ways that you can remedy the roller coaster of motivation that peaks and falls throughout the year.

Today I’m sharing 5 ways to maintain motivation in your business! This could be motivation to grow your business or motivation to grow in your technical skill. No matter what your goals are, I think I can speak for everyone when I say that everyone wants to ACHIEVE at least ONE of their big business goals this year, right? No one makes goals WANTING them to fail or never come to fruition!!! We all desire GROWTH and CHANGE but for some of you, you have STOPPED making goals after years and years of nothing happening. I’m hoping that this post will shed some light on why that may be happening and how you can avoid it for 2018!!!

 1. Recognize what sucked your motivation away this past year! :
For me, 2017 was my first year having a business and being a mom at the same time. So my motivation sucker was “comparison”. I just simply had NO drive to get my work done and grow my business. I was nursing Evy and scrolling through Instagram seeing people doing stuff that I used to be able to do but now couldn’t because I had this new (wonderful) but very demanding new role! I had to stop that! It was killing my momentum in business, and I’m so thankful that I recognized it about 6 months into being a new parent or else it would have crippled me this entire year!

2. Don’t write down the Big Goal.. Break it Down!! : I learned this during my time speaking at the Making Things Happen Conference with Lara Casey! It sounds SO basic… but it’s changed the way my big projects happen. When I think back to this past year and all that happened in our lives, I have NO IDEA how I created and filmed and launched a massive Lighting and Location Course with a new baby, plus shot through my wedding season… and finished our basement … and had some demanding medical complications with Evy’s hips… it was just one thing after another. So how did the work get done?! I’ll tell you what wouldn’t have worked… it wouldn’t have worked for me to write down “Create the KJ lighting and Locations Course” on my to-do list! Nope! That would have been so overwhelming! Instead, I divided up the entire process into incremental steps. One week my only task for the Lighting and Locations Course was to set filming dates with Tyler and create a launch calendar. That’s it. The next week, I had a goal of outlining the course lessons and dividing them into modules. Step by step, the work got done. If you’re dying to get your bridal guide done but you just can’t seem to make it happen, let’s think about what ways you could divide up your steps. Instead of saying “Finish Bridal Guide” by Tuesday, maybe you need to say “Collect my favorite 2017 detail shots”, so that when you begin to work on filling in your guide you’re not at a loss for what images to use! Collect groups of images first and make that your task for the week! Then the BIG goal is one step closer to being done and you won’t get overwhelmed every time you decide to dive in!

3. Prevent Pitfalls: 
We all have seasons throughout each year that seem to constantly catch us off guard and throw us off. I’ll be rolling along with my goals and my to-do lists week to week and then all of a sudden, I’m behind and I don’t know how I got there!!!! Normally, this is caused by something like a trip, sickness, surprise visit from friends for a few days, and a back up of work because I didn’t look in advance and recognize that I had 5 eshoots happening in 2 weeks time, etc! Pitfalls can pop up at any time, and I have found that I tend to keep my motivation throughout the year when I don’t get blindsided by these events. I could write a BOOK on this stuff but in a nutshell, you have to communicate and pre-plan. This is so hard to do. However, when I look at the calendar and see a trip coming up, I don’t just look at the week we’re gone, I’m also looking at the week that follows our return too. What is going to be needed, and what will I be coming home to? What can I get done NOW so that I don’t hit a wall after being gone for a week?! This is the type of pre-planning that saves my motivation! So, what do I do before trips? I get one of our moms to come down (or hire a sitter) and I cram as much into that extra pre-trip work time as humanly possible so that I can come home with less on my plate, ready to pick up where I left off!

4. Get some SLEEP!: I recently spoke at a conference about how my LIFE used to revolve around my business, and how I sacrificed sleep and other important priorities in order to get stuff done. The reality was that my goals were NOT getting done. I was believing the lie that less sleep equals more productivity. That’s actually not true at all! Studies have shown that humans can work really hard and efficiently for only about 4 hours a day! When you start losing sleep in order to get stuff done, it’s going to take LONGER than if you had just worked efficiently during your most productive hours!! So don’t stay up until 3am and think that that is the secret to accomplishing your big goals! HUSTLE can be HARMFUL if you’re not careful!

5. Create a consistent educational plan! :
How many of you have invested in some form of education at the end of one year or the beginning of the other, and NEVER went through the content?!?! It’s sad isn’t it?! You see people posting about how a course is transforming their business and you OWN THAT COURSE, but you still haven’t made the time to go through it! Your $450 investment is just sitting there! I feel you… it’s hard to sit down and focus and take notes and make it happen. However, you owe it to yourself, your family, and your investment into your business to make time for your own education! I recommend creating a 2018 EDUCATION PLAN if this resonates with you. Give yourself two afternoons a MONTH to go to a coffee shop, close out your email, leave your editing hard drive at home, and just spend a few hours LEARNING from either resources you have already purchased, or resources that are free online like webinars, or blog posts! You deserve this!!! We’ve actually created a BRAND NEW way for photographers to have manageable, consistent education EVERY month throughout the year!!! We are SO excited about it!!!

INTRODUCING…… (drum roll please)…..

 KJ ALL ACCESS is our first ever Membership site where photographers can join in and receive monthly video access to the BEHIND THE SCENES of our wedding and portrait season!!!!!!

The best part?! It cost less than what you spend on your Starbuck drinks each month! F0r only $29 a month, you can watch me do my thing. The good, the bad, the hard, the exciting. From bad lighting situations, to tight timelines, and everything in between, you’ll see me handle it all!


So I’m a little nervous! … I mean, not only am I allowing people to see my every move on a wedding day and during portrait sessions, but I’m also going to be PREGNANT in the process!!! Gah! I must really love you guys!!!!!

So how can this help you keep the motivation pumping and the goals rolling throughout the year?!?! This is the FIRST TIME that we’re offering bite size, monthly chunks of educational content that is fast and easy to digest!!…

Imagine what your life is going to be like in September… you’re going to be in the midst of your busiest season. Summer weddings are ending and the crazy fall portrait demands are beginning, and you’re beginning to feel like you’re in a slump. You’re tired, you’re overworked, but you still desire to be inspired and challenged. Sitting down and watching through 12 hours of one of our large scale courses isn’t the answer that month. You need fast, inspirational and educational content that’s relatable to what you’re shooting!

We don’t shoot million dollar weddings, but we do photograph modest weddings for the most incredible couples who are allowing us to film their day in order to teach others!!! This means that the behind the scenes access that you will receive monthly will show you how I handle imperfect situations… situations that most photographers find themselves in on a regular basis!!!

If you can’t tell by all of the exclamation marks, I am SO EXCITED about this!!! And what’s exciting is that not only is KJ ALL ACCESS on SALE for $29 a month, if you sign up anytime between now and January 12th, 2018, you will receive a BONUS WEDDING to watch IMMEDIATELY!!!! All of our monthly content goes out on the 15th of each month!

Can’t wait to start learning?! CLICK HERE to become a KJ ALL ACCESS MEMBER!!!

Thanks for reading!

— Katelyn

Jonathan + Melanie Grand Ivory Wedding

Oh, this wedding day!! What a beautiful Texan dream! I met Melanie when she attended one of our workshops years ago in our home. She had the sweetest spirit and such a kindness about her. I remember loving how she made personal marketing her own and did headshots in a pile of Skinny Pop!! I loved her creativity and her ability to envision what she wanted in her brand.


My review of the Canon EOS R6 after shooting a full wedding day is LIVE on Youtube! I was so nervous to use a brand new camera system for full wedding day… I had my Mark IV ready in my bag just in case… but thankfully, I never had to use it! I was really hoping that I would love it and feel comfortable with it….


Real Wedding Canon EOS R6 Review My first wedding with the R6!

Ask Anything

Brandon+Meghan Paynefield Farm | Wedding

This wedding venue may look familiar to some of you who have been following us for a while! I photographed Meghan’s brother’s wedding a few years ago at this very same farm and venue!


Epic Locations in Harsh Light When your clients ask for the impossible!

Natural light photographers…. (flash photographers, we know how you would handle these scenarios and that’s awesome for your style! This is for the natural light folks!)

Ask Anything

I’ve been hoping for this day for a very long time…. but I wasn’t sure that it would ever come. That sounds dramatic but let me explain. I LOVE my website company. Showit is incredible and the more I learn about and experience other platforms for hosting and creating custom websites, the more I realize, they aren’t really, truly “custom” at all. Showit is the website design platform for the creative. Hands-down. It’s so powerful, so intuitive and so easy to use. Years ago, Showit created a way to implement a Showit theme onto a Wordpress blog!!! Genius! I couldn’t wait for my blog to be a Showit blog…. but it never happened.


Introducing the New KJ Blog! A Showit Blog on a WordPress Site


How to Setup the Canon 600 EX-RT II Flashes Flash for Wedding Photography

If you are like me and you’re a natural light wedding photographer, you may not love using the Canon 600 EX-RT flashes. But they are so necessary!

Ask Anything



Unedited, unfiltered, real-life behind-the-scenes education delivered monthly! Come be our Virtual Third Shooter for FREE!

A wintery boston wedding

w/ inside, dark ceremony

"Best money I have EVER spent on education! ... and I've spent a lot!”


"I love all the lessons I'm learning from KJ All Access! Thanks Katelyn!”

- Shannon Drummond, ALL-ACCESS MEMBER

"I find very few educational resources worth it ... this one is!”

- Kate gansneder, ALL-ACCESS MEMBER

"Recently signed up for KJ All Access and it's EVERYTHING!”

- Kassidy Mowery, ALL-ACCESS MEMBER

"Being able to see behind-the-scenes of Katelyn interacting with her clients has been SO impactful!”

- Angie mcpherson, ALL-ACCESS MEMBER

"Recently signed up for KJ All Access and it's EVERYTHING!”

- Kassidy Mowery, ALL-ACCESS MEMBER

"SO worth it! It's amazing the amount of knowledge you get out of them!”

- Brittany Lowe, ALl ACCESS MEMBER

"I learned just as much in one All Access as I did in a whole course! SO GOOD!"

- Joanna Krueger, ALL-ACCESS MEMBER
10 Steps to Starting Your Photography Business
Helping a friend survive a season of Infant Loss
How to photograph a first look in Harsh Light
A Lake Como Destination Wedding - Greg and Kate
A Letter to the Go-Getters fearful of Motherhood

The KJ blog

The KJ Blog is where you get to know me, where you meet our KJ Couples and see their beautiful wedding days, where I have been building an archive of education for over a decade and where I let you see a peek into our life, our home, and hear about our purpose! 
don't miss the
Arrow KJ
Arrow KJ
Arrow KJ
Arrow KJ
Arrow KJ
Arrow KJ


Join 10,000+ others and learn, grow and get connected via our Youtube Channel! This is where I'm constantly sharing new content, talking all things gear, business, tips, tricks and letting you into the behind-the-scenes of our everyday life! 

"I have invested in all of KJ’s education!

The way she teaches makes so much sense and I’m so grateful for her! My business will be forever changed!"

- Renee Nicolo

"KJ education has been life-changing

 It has elevated my work so I could quit my day job and work from home with our baby boy!"

- joanna k.


and none compare to what I get from KJ!"