Have you set boundaries in your business? If not, you should! While you may have had every intention of establishing these little fences for your business, most people brush it off as something that’s important to do eventually. But other things end up taking priority.
This is a constant struggle of mine because I love to go above and beyond for my clients.
However, I’ve learned that establishing effective boundaries is key to running a successful business. And it will help you and me avoid being overwhelmed and taken advantage of by others.
Why You Need Boundaries in Your Business
Boundaries are exactly what they sound like. They are little or big barriers that are put in place for all types of protection. Establishing a few for your business can be both life-changing and game-changers. You can probably think of many reasons why you’d like to protect yourself and your business, but the top three are usually:
- To clearly communicate expectations, needs, and respect between the two.
- For defining your negotiables and nonnegotiables, which are a direct reflection of self-care.
- To have a balance between work life, home life, and everything in between.
Whether you are new to owning your business, or a veteran, there’s no better time to set some boundaries than now! Continuing to run your business without them will lead to high-level stress and quick burnout. And you don’t want to wait until then to try and figure out the problem when you can nip it in the bud now.
Below are a few suggestions for how to begin setting effective boundaries.
Establish work hours.
Do you find yourself working all day, every day yet not reaching any set goals? Unfortunately, you are not alone. But you can own your time by delegating it to do certain things, including work. This is one of the best steps toward being balanced, productive, and focused.
If you haven’t done so already, give yourself a work schedule and stick to it. Take it one step further and make your hours known. This includes giving your family a heads up, as well as your clients. Post your hours of operation on your website as well.
Set schedule boundaries.
This can vary depending on your business, but in a nutshell, schedule boundaries can look like one, all, or a combination of these:
- Have certain days for meetings, scheduling calls, answering emails, etc.
- Create weeks where you work on your business for a week and in your business the next (alternating between the two).
- Establish prep-only, plan-only, or duty-only days.
- Give yourself a set day of the week off.
The idea is to schedule everything so you know that you have time for everything. What doesn’t make the schedule doesn’t need to be completed, so make sure you consider all projects, tasks, and activities.
Set correspondence boundaries.
You can quickly get in the habit of always answering your phone, a text, or an email simply by doing it every time you hear that notification bell or alert. The best thing you could ever do is to not answer during or after work hours. You’re probably wondering when you should answer these, and the answer is simple…
Set a time to respond. Back to the overall schedule boundary, establish set days of the week that you’ll respond to emails. The same can be done for something more personal and often such as text messages and phone calls.
Until you’re ready to respond, utilize the Do Not Disturb or Airplane function on your phone. Create an “Out of the Office” email to automatically send so clients can expect a time to hear back from you.
With these three strategies in place, you’ll be well on your way to creating effective boundaries that will work wonders for your clients, your business, and yourself.