In the over 15 years I’ve been in business for myself, I’ve developed very strong boundaries around how I will and will not operate my company. Some of those boundaries are common, some are not, but all of them have led to faster growth while being happy with how I run my business.
And yet, even with vast experience in this, there are times when I stumble.
And I realized that a common theme had emerged, that I thought would be helpful to share with you.
The theme is letting someone or something else decide anything for you.
For example, letting a client decide when they schedule coaching calls, instead of having set dates/times that work best for you to choose from.
Or allowing a client to decide when to pay you, instead of having a process in place for collecting payments on the time-table you set.
So where in your business do you need to firm up your boundaries? Where do you need to make them crystal clear?
Here are 3 key areas to look at:
Think of you current clients and notice how you feel about each one individually. If there’s any sense of negativity, see if you can discern what that’s about. Sometimes simply asking the question, “What’s bugging me about this?” and journaling your answer can bring clarity. If you can’t quite put your finger on it, talk it out with your coach or a trusted colleague (respecting your client’s confidentiality, of course).
Oftentimes if you can identify what feels ‘off’ to you, you can address and fix it fairly easily. However, if it’s something that makes you feel resentful or less than excited about working with this client, it might be time to get really clear for yourself on what the issue is and address it directly with the client. You can’t expect someone to abide by your expectations if they don’t know what they are. Yet if you’re clear and the issue continues, it’s time to let them go.
One of the items on your to-do list every day should be giving attention to your money. For example, making sure that payments are current, following up with any that are not current, sending invoices on time, giving clear instructions on how a client can pay you, etc.
On the other hand, you also want to be making sure the money you’re investing is also wisely spent. Are you getting the service you were promised for the price you are paying? Are your tasks being performed in the most efficient way with the proper skill set so you’re not paying more for something than you need to.
Where in your business can you be firmer or more clear in your boundaries around your money, both in terms of what comes in and what goes out?
This is a big boundary for me, and probably the one I am the most clear and firm on, and by doing so, it enables me to show up 1000% when I’m ‘on’ in my business and empowers my clients to do the same.
And this isn’t even necessarily about my summers off, but it is about deciding for myself how I will spend my time (which is my LIFE) and not letting someone else decide that for me.
Practically, it’s having set dates/times for coaching, not answering the phone the moment it rings, not responding to emails/posts immediately, or not re-designing a program that I’ve put an enormous amount of effort into to better please the client than it does me.
It means walking my talk of working less than part-time hours and keeping my priorities first, while still honoring the promises I’ve made to the people who choose to work with me.
Some of the lessons I learned the hard way when I first started out was letting the client run the program they were in, signing on a client who I knew intuitively was not a good fit, letting a client create a payment plan that worked for them but did not work for me – all of those were my own boundary issues. Once I recognized that and got really clear and communicated that clarity, I no longer struggled with these – and better and better clients who respected my boundaries showed up.
You may disagree with some of these examples or concepts I’ve shared – or you may have been in business long enough or have enough experience not having these or similar boundaries clear and enforced to know better – and when we know better, we do better, right?
Share your thoughts with me below…