MY ACCOUNT
Checkout
photographers
SHOP

Personal

The Unhealthy Version of Hustle

Ask Anything

filed in:

I'm Katelyn James Alsop, a photographer, educator and momma who believes any photographer can have a profitable AND purposeful business.

WELCOME

Top Categories

Browse All

read more

WEDDINGS

Browse All

EDUCATION

Browse All

PERSONAL

A wintery boston wedding

w/ inside, dark ceremony

KJ ALL ACCESS

WATCH ME SHOOT weddings
Come join over 3,000 other photographers from around the world & become my virtual third shooter! 
FREE TRIAL
Arrow KJ
Arrow KJ

Browse Series

 Baby James Story

Our Home

Our Kids

Ask Anything

I think it’s safe to say that I’m in a new season of work/life balance. Life looks a lot different these days. However, I can’t hide the fact that I hustled HARD in my 20’s…. really for all of my 20’s! I had the advantage of starting REALLY young and building my business before kids and before bigger responsibilities entered my life. I’m grateful for that…. but before some of you who are trying to build businesses WITH kids get frustrated… let me explain that my hustle didn’t happen without a cost.

This is how it happened.

I started my business and I LOVED it! The rush of building something that was quickly becoming successful was exhilarating!!! I worked hard and threw myself into YEARS of non-stop, beyond crazy work loads, and that became my normal.

Here and there I would feel little internal tugs that some things were slipping in other parts of my life, but I ignored them because when you’re the hustler, you can VERY easily excuse those little heart tugs by saying “Well, I don’t have time to work on that stuff because I HAVE to keep this business running and building momentum!!! It’s succeeding after all, right?! ”  

Yikes. (I’ll tell ya why that’s bad in a minute)….

So fast forward and now the wheels are slowly and subtly falling off in other areas of your life…. maybe for you it’s marriage, relationships, your faith, your relationship with your kids, self-care…. but because you’ve been neck-deep in work for so long, that “work” has scarily become your “happy place”. You can’t step back, slow down, and focus on the other parts of your life because the SAFEST place in your life is in your office…. that’s where you find your identity and that is where you feel most at home and most important and valuable…. so you stay there.

Insert the “victim” mentality phase….

This is when the wheels are long gone, and the rest of your family/friends are ready for a change, and when they ask you to change, you say “Well, WHO IS GOING TO RUN THIS? Who is going to do the hard work and keep this business afloat?! It’s all up to me! There is no escaping this!!!! You can’t expect ANYTHING of me because everything is already ALL ON ME!”. 

Oh heavens.

1. The victim mentality makes EVERYONE else around you feel like they contribute nothing.

2. You become completely unapproachable and

3. The unhealthy cycle just continues to swirl. It’s an entrepreneur’s nightmare, and I’ve lived through it…. and I’m still working on healing the parts of my life that were hurt during my hustle years.

So yea……. starting young and diving in head-first was great. It was smart….. but it’s not the only way. I could have built my business a tad slower and saved my family some heartache in the process. I would have protected myself and Michael from some bad patterns. I may or may not have gotten to where I am today…. but that would have been ok.

I truly believe God allows hard seasons of brokenness to happen in our lives in order to transform us. I believe that I hustled a little too hard and now I’m in a season where I can share my experience and hopefully save hundreds, maybe even thousands of small business owners from the pain of over-working.

Sure, my hustle has resulted in GREAT things financially, and we’re thankful for that… but it came at a cost. Also, I’m not saying that hustle is BAD. Unhealthy hustle is what is bad. When you start to feel those little internal tugs and have thoughts of “Is this too much? Am I neglecting other parts of my life?”….  stop and make changes. You can still be successful… and you can still build an incredible, thriving business…. but you don’t need to do it at the expense of other parts of your life that are way more important.

I’m thankful that we’re in a new season… but transformation is hard… and I know that there are a lot of people who would start down the road to change and feel how uncomfortable it is and just back away…. forever living in the pain of unresolved issues. I sadly think that the majority of people live this way. So if you’re not one to love confrontation, my hope is that my honesty about our journey will allow you to make changes in your life so that you don’t have to walk through a hard season of healing.

So what is the summary of this extremely personal post??

  • Things aren’t always as they seem….
  • People who have succeeded and have grown exponentially haven’t always had a smooth ride…
  • If you’re desperate to experience success and growth, you would be wise to only desire business success to the point at which your lifestyle can handle it.
  • Don’t sacrifice the health of the relationships in your life in order to keep pressing on… it’s not worth it long term.
  • If you’re trying to raise a family, and feed kids in the evenings (and morning, and snack time and afternoon), and you feel like they are keeping you from your dream… it could be God’s way of protecting you from unhealthy hustle.

The DANGER in all of this is that most big dreamers, hard workers, and goal seekers don’t realize how harmful their habits are UNTIL THE DAMAGE HAS BEEN DONE. Michael and I NEVER thought something was wrong with our lifestyle and the way we did life and business simultaneously. We actually LOVED those busy years!!! We don’t regret the travel, and the big adventures, and the amazing opportunities!! We regret the way we handled stress…. I regret the way I let the business steal so much of my joy when I was in over my head… I regret falling into the hurtful cycle of unhealthy hustle! Everything that we’ve had to work through was hidden under layers of built up walls, and we’ve spent three years tearing them down.

If this resonates with you…. let me know…. because I would love to know that this vulnerable post was meant for someone!! And if I’m not the only one who has experienced this cycle in business and in life, then we will have some more resources for you all coming in the next month or so. :)

 

Thanks for reading!

— Katelyn

Nathan + Jenni Rae Historic Estate Wedding | Franklin Tennessee

This beautiful day way unlike any wedding I have ever photographed before. It’s hard to put into words how powerful and inspiring it was.

READ MORE
Weddings

If you’ve been following my updates since I got the R6 two years ago, you know I LOVE it!! It has been a game changer for me! But there is ONE mistake that I’ve made that cannot be fixed afterwards!

R6 Mistake That You Cannot Fix
READ MORE

R6 Mistake That You Cannot Fix Learn how to avoid this!

Youtube
Common Website Mistakes to Avoid

Common Website Mistakes Tips to Avoid & Change

There are things that EVERY photographer should have on their website! We will walk through some students’ websites to see how small changes can impact their perceived value, and for you to see if what they’re missing is something that you are too!

READ MORE
Youtube

The Waldron Family A Backwoods Family Session

You know what I’m realizing? I’m realizing I am loving getting to see people I love and miss in this very busy season of our life.

READ MORE
Portraits

We’re gearing up for wedding season and there are so many ways to market yourself DURING a wedding to keep new clients coming in! I have been a wedding photographer for 13 years, and I have never paid for ‘traditional’ advertising!

How to Book More Weddings
READ MORE

How to Book More Weddings Easy & FREE Tips to Market Yourself

Youtube
Customize With Canva

Quick + Easy Tutorial for Canva A Game Changer for Designing Content

I am eating my words again! For years, I have used InDesign for everything… but Canva had a HUGE update last year which changed everything!!

READ MORE
Youtube

READER FAVORITES

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

- Kara Abbey, ALL-ACCESS MEMBER

"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
OUR KJ COUPLES REUNION
A Lake Como Destination Wedding - Greg and Kate
A Letter to the Go-Getters fearful of Motherhood

The KJ blog
must-reads

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

YOUTUBE

Join 54,000+ 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! 
MORE FREE EDUCATION + CUTE BABIES ON
WATCH NOW

"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.

"I'VE INVESTED IN SO MANY RESOURCES... 

and none compare to what I get from KJ!"

- LAUREN M.