Why Business Boundaries are Crucial!
Running a business is a job that seems to be 24/7, right? You may be totally cool with answering client texts at 8pm while your S.O. is eating dinner alone or your fur baby is missing you snuggling on the couch with Netflix playing. And I get it. You want everyone to be happy. At first we are more than happy to jump on a phone call over the weekend or we are plugged into our phone and email at all times. Let me tell you this, being available to everyone at all times means you are not available to yourself.
Why is this bad? Well, if you aren’t taking care of yourself mentally and physically you are not taking care of your business. Don’t believe me? What will happen if you get the flu this season? Does your business halt? This is why we need to create boundaries and communicate them to our clients to protect our time and energy.
Boundaries give you the freedom to work on your business instead of in it. When you are working on your business you are moving the needle forward so you can take that vacation and not feel guilty!
The best boundaries to set up are the ones to avoid burnout and continue to follow your passion are going to be ones that revolve around your time and energy.
Answering client texts at 8pm is draining your time from family, relationships, or even yourself. We all need to recharge and do that differently but if you are constantly giving you are never replenishing your creativity. So how do you stop the onslaught of texts out of business hours? Talk to your clients and set up communication expectations. This can be in person or in your contract. Now just because you have “No text after 5pm” in your contract doesn’t mean someone is going to be texting you that late.
So this is what you can do.
Answer their questions and kindly ask them to email you their questions from now on as you tend to “clock out” at 5pm and you don’t want to miss their question which can happen if they text you. Typically it takes about two times to send this text after that I recommend not responding via text but answering the next business day via email. So they can have the answer that way and get the hint. Also remind them that you are trying to keep a healthy work/life balance and when you are at “work” you really want to focus on their problem to find the best solution and that that can’t happen when they are texting or calling when you are not at work. Typically when you explain that you want to truly give them a better experience and have their best interest at heart they tend to get it.
Now emergencies happen and that is up to you to determine what an emergency is. In the beginning its really easy to want to do everything your client asks.. however, an unprepared client is not your fault. You should not have to drop your Friday night plans to accomplish something for a client if its was not your fault.
Another thing that can drain your energy is saying yes to everything! Getting phone calls from people asking to “pick your brain” or “just run something by you” are great ways to drain your energy that typically have no reward for you. People will seek you out for your expertise, which is fantastic, but you expertise has come at a cost. You have been listening to podcasts, reading books, sacrificing friend brunches to read articles or make business plans. Do not give this away for free. You can offer consulting or develop a course or write a blog so people can have the answers they need without draining your energy. When encountering opportunities it is typical that we say yes to everything in the beginning but you need to evaluate if this will help you move the needle forward or pull you back. The best way to know this is if it aligns with your core values or mission statement. I’m not saying become an old grumpy lady and say no to everything but truly picking events or engagements that help you and give you a platform to help others will make you feel excited about those events rather than drained after them or not looking forward to them. You started a business to do what you love to do, always remember that!