CYOP #52 - Taking Control of Your Freelance Career with Photographer Jessica Lowry Vizzutti

Photographer Jessica Lowry Vizzutti / Photo: Lido Vizzutti

Today's show brings me to the Missoula, Montana home of professional photographer Jessica Lowry Vizzutti. I've been following her work for years and have loved watching her build a truly impressive body of work that includes everything from huge editorial spreads to stunning wedding photography.

In the episode we chat about what it's like working with (and apart from) her photographer husband, why she decided to take on a full-time position outside of her photography work, her thoughts on being a visual storyteller and much more.





Did you know that a sprained ankle can cost up to $3000 to treat without health insurance? It's true. 

Luckily, Stride Health has your back. Head over to to sign up for a free account today and avoid paying far too much for health services when you need them most. 


"Don't let rejection decide things for you." - Jessica Lowry Vizzutti


Follow along with Jessica's adventures:

Introducing the First CYOP Sponsor: Stride Health

Introducing the First CYOP Sponsor: Stride Health

If there's one thing I've learned about striking out on my own as an independent creative, it's that the business side of being in business for yourself is hard. Period. The contracts, the accounting, the health coverage—none of it is what I'd consider fun and, quite frankly, very little of it falls into my area of expertise.

Luckily, I'm learning to get better with contracts, my CPA is amazing and my husband's health coverage is pretty stellar. However, when it comes to health coverage, specifically, I know not everyone has the same luxury. I've spoken to many freelancers and independent contractors who have had to dive right in to the murky waters that make up the current health care system in the U.S.

Let's just say it's not pretty.

So when the team behind Stride Health reached out about partnering with me on the CYOP Road Trip, I couldn't wait to find out more and see how we could work together. As many of you know, Creating Your Own Path is focused on sharing stories about individuals doing creative work and Stride Health helps creatives do what they do best by supporting them in figuring out the health care system.

Stride Health is a data-driven recommendation engine for those who, like many of my creative friends out there, need to get themselves and/or their families covered, but don't know where to start.

Not only that, the site uses some seriously impressive data sets to help predict what a household's annual health care costs might be and then walks each individual through the process of signing up for health care, step-by-step, once open enrollment begins.

But I haven't mentioned the coolest part: there are people you can call when you have questions. Actual people. Once you sign up with Stride Health, you can call about anything—from which health care costs are tax deductible and how to save money on prescriptions to which preventative services are free and why your health care provider is refusing to cover a specific service.

As you can see, I was really impressed with the mission of the company. Not only is their business model pretty genius (we can all appreciate that, right?), but they've also jumped at the chance to help creatives navigate a necessary task that I've often heard described as "painful" and "problematic."

While I don't use Stride Health's services thanks to my husband's incredible health coverage, I couldn't help wanting to share their message with my listeners and readers—many of whom are freelancers, independent contractors and small business owners. 

So, you'll be seeing more of Stride Health popping up throughout the rest of Season 2 of Creating Your Own Path. You'll be hearing from the company's CEO about why he started Stride Health, along with helpful information about the heath care system, what open enrollment means for you and more about the company's mission. 

Note: This is my first podcast sponsor, so be prepared—the episodes with ads will sound a bit different and you'll be seeing messaging across all of my platforms. That said, my sole focus is to continue to create engaging content and that includes ad content! I'm working closely with Stride Health's team to make sure any messaging I share is both useful and interesting. Just know that the sponsors I work with on the show will always fit my mission to bring you stories about creativity, adventure and everything in between.

If you'd like to get a sneak peek at my partnership with Stride, you can head over to to learn more. And stay tuned—the first CYOP Road Trip episode launches this Thursday!

On Leaving

On Leaving //

Here's the thing about leaving on an extended trip alone: it seems thrilling and completely attainable—right up until the night before you leave town when you look around at all of your gear and run through your checklists one last time and think to yourself, "Holy shit. I'M LEAVING."

As of this morning, I'm officially on the road. Luckily, my first stop includes cabin time with my husband and pups. I've conveniently worked that into the trip because... you know... I'm leaving for six weeks and I'm going to miss them something fierce.

To say that I'm overwhelmed with the hugeness of this thrip would be a bit of an understatement. It feels big, what I'm doing. It feels like a commitment. A commitment to myself, to you, to my listeners, to time away from loved ones who are going through some pretty heavy stuff, to adventure, to silence, to following my gut, to meeting incredible people along the way and to doing the work.

At the same time, though, it feels incredibly small. Because I'm just going to be waking up every day and doing what needs to be done—whether that's packing up my microphones and schlepping to an interview, checking in with family and friends, turning the key in the ignition and pointing my car in the direction of the next city or stopping long enough to take in the parts of this country I've never seen.

It's funny—my dear friends are hosting an amazing retreat in early October and one said, "Jen! If you need a retreat when you get back, let us know. You know you're more than welcome!" It was the sweetest thing because I know that I'll probably need time upon my return to process all the things—from hours of recorded audio files to everything I know I will have learned about myself along the way. But, this trip? This is my retreat. I can't imagine another time in my life when I will have weeks and weeks to be out on my own. It's a strange luxury, to say the least.

So, I'm going to mutter the word "retreat" under my breath every time I feel overwhelmed with what I'm trying to do here or worry about what's happening back home. I'm simply pointing my car in the direction of my next destination, my next interview, my next moment for reflection. That's it. No more, no less.

I'll catch you next week, my friends—from Montana, South Dakota and beyond. Remember, I'll be updating everyone as much as possible over on Instagram and feel free to catch up on podcast archives if you're missing the show this week.

See you from the road! xo