An ‘Unplugged’ Maui Wedding

 In Attract more Students, Build a studio people LOVE, Get more done in less time, Student Retention

On 30 July 2015, Travis and I were married in Maui, Hawaii surrounded by 70 of our loved ones who had travelled from far and wide to join us for a week of celebrations!

Here are some of our favourite moments from the happiest day of our life and also the story of how I managed to take time off and not touch my emails for a month AND still managed to grow my business…

Bruinsma-107With Travis hailing from Canada (though he’s a fully-fledged Can-Aussie now), Hawaii was the perfect half-way point between our families to host our wedding.  We planned a week of festivities with luau’s and snorkelling trips, sunset drinks and hula lessons  – perfect for our guests to get to know each other in this spectacular setting.  Bruinsma-517As a bit of background, Travis and I both run our own businesses (Travis is the founder of, which can make it challenging for us as a couple to ever completely take time off… But we decided that for this incredibly precious time in our lives, we wanted to be able to put business to the side and focus purely on what was important: our marriage and our loved ones.

Which is why I made a decision to see if I could completely unplug from my business during our wedding and honeymoon month… Bruinsma-130One month. No emails.  No skypes.  No distractions.  Only being in the moment with my handsome groom and our fun-loving families.  Bruinsma-512But as I’m sure you well know, it’s not easy to step away from your baby – especially when you’re the one who keeps the show on the road…

On reflection, giving yourself permission to step away from the business for a period of time is more of a mentality that we need to overcome than anything else.  When you run your own business, it’s very easy to make ‘being busy’ a habit.  Going cold turkey meant not checking my phone when I felt the first twinges of looking for something to do and not jumping to on every opportunity that popped into my head.  Bruinsma-550Over the past six months, I’ve been building a dream team of virtual assistants, social media managers, designers and developers to help sustain the growth of Studio Expansion.  I’ve trained them in how to correspond with clients and and created template libraries and set procedures that detail how to complete recurring tasks.  Sure, it took a little while to set up, but now I have the freedom of knowing there is a backstop for my business that’s not just me…

The feeling of being able to wake up every morning secure in the comfort that my team was taking care of everything, that sales were still rolling in and big projects were being achieved whilst I had the time of my life was such a gift.    Bruinsma-5Someone very wise said to me recently that in order to shoot an arrow, you first need to pull back before the arrow can propell forward.  It’s such a great metaphor for running a business – if you want to grow your studio, we must first step back, recalibrate and recharge before we prepare for the next phase of growth.

And it’s true.  We’ve both come home feeling more productive and with more motivation for the next level of growth in our businesses.


Bruinsma-392There is something about being able to completely disconnect that gives you perfect clarity on the next steps to take.  What I love about this time is that instead of blindly plodding along, unplugging gives you time to consider your options and choose the best path ahead.

You may not need to take an entire month (though it’s certainly fabulous), but how about unplugging for a weekend?  Turn off your phone on Friday evening and put it in a drawer until Monday morning.  If you can manage your withdrawals, you’ll be amazed at how rested you feel afterwards.  More creative, more purposeful, more free.  Bruinsma-306It’s gotta be said: whilst part of unplugging is having systems and procedures in place that ensure business goes on as usual, the other part is being strict enough with yourself to actually unplug (and not just having a quick peek whilst waiting in the airport lounge…)

But because self-discipline isn’t always my strong suit, I went to the lengths of actually deleting the email app OFF my iPhone, so that I couldn’t even be tempted to check.  Bruinsma-624Did everything run perfectly during my month-long hiatis?  Of course not – and that’s ok – in fact it’s probably to be expected.  But the world didn’t fall apart either…

Part of the process of systemising your studio is getting over your fear that things won’t be done perfectly to your standard.  It’s probably no secret that I am someone who likes to have a steady sense on control over my life and business.  However (and this is really important) I have found a happy place where my perfectionist streak has been put in it’s place by what else I value in my life.  Bruinsma-373It’s more important to me that Travis knows that he is the most important thing in my life.  That my business can be put to the side when it counts and that I am 100% there for him.

On our honeymoon in Bora Bora, whilst having dinner under the stars with sand under our feet, we saw couples whose faces were lit not by candlelight but by the glow of their devices.  No conversation, only scrolling.  Just because we can now be plugged in 24/7 does not mean that we should be.

Put your studio where it belongs.  Bruinsma-737

For Travis and I, this past month has been a time for us to talk about our hopes and dreams for our life, the home we’d like to build and the family we’d like to create.   To share our values, what we intend for our marriage and who we want to be as partners and one day, parents.

To be honest, we barely spoke about work at all.  And that’s just as it should be.  This was a time for connecting and being completely present: the greatest gift we could give each other.

Because what life is really is about is freedom.  To be where you want to be, with those you love doing things that make you light up.

When you make the choice to structure your studio to facilitate the lifestyle you desire, your whole world will open up.

This to me is the secret of business and what I want most for your studio: systems that give you the gift of freedom.




With heartfelt thanks to….

Maui’s Angels Weddings

Love and Water Photography






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