Boundaries in Business (And Why They're Important)
Before we dive in, I just want to affirm that you can still be kind and courteous to your customers and provide great value to them, while also setting firm boundaries.
Actually, it’s difficult to provide a high-quality level of service without boundaries! Lack of boundaries creates a sense of resentment on our part because we feel like our clients are “always” reaching out to us, while in actuality, we’re “training” our clients to do just that!
What if I haven’t had boundaries and all of a sudden want to implement them?
Hey, people can change, right? And just because you may have operated in the past without them does not mean you can’t get started today!
Some healthy boundaries to consider
Boundaries are important to set and hold because they provide structure and ensure that we get rest. (And we all know what good rest fuels, right?) They allow us to grow and look at our business in a new way. They allow us to “show up.” Here are some examples of areas where you can get started setting up boundaries (to listen to all the details via podcast - click here) :
Change: You’re allowed to change and grow. Sure, you might lose some clients, but that’s alright. You’ll also attract clients who may be better suited to work with the “new you.” Feel free to make changes that not only serve your clients but serve you, too!
Your clients: You know you’re not responsible for the happiness of your clients or customers, right? So don’t tie your expectations to something you can’t control. While we need to honor their feedback, we can still have an amazing business even if they’re not always happy with us.
Your time: We don’t have to meet everyone else’s expectations. Every person you work with is bound to have different needs and wants; it is virtually impossible to meet them all - nor should you try! Set YOUR expectations for your business - they matter.
Your rates: We don’t have to lower our rates in order to be more affordable. We should charge what we need and want to charge, although we can make a conscious decision to meet a potential client’s need. Be confident in what you offer!
What happens when we don’t set boundaries?
This affects us in so many ways. It can drain our time, drain our energy, drain our emotions or creativity; it damages our ability to get rest.
The easiest way to check where boundaries may be an issue is to look at the “sore spots” in your business. For example, consider that client that you’re just not connecting with. Perhaps she calls or texts you at inappropriate times, and you’re starting to resent her. Maybe you’ve set the expectation to deliver things that are outside your contract. That would understandably become a source of frustration.
Now it’s your turn
Take some time now and self-assess your business. Identify an area that you want to have stronger boundaries with. Revisit the list of healthy boundaries above, but only use them as a starting point when considering your own business.
Then, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what boundaries you’ve come up with! Tell me one boundary that you will set and work at keeping.
At the end of the day, boundaries allow us to get good rest, and, of course, good rest fuels great work...