5 Places to Set Better Boundaries as an Entrepreneur
"Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices." - Betsy Jacobson
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Last week we talked about the importance of setting boundaries in our business and life.
We went through three tips for setting better business boundaries: give yourself permission (you are allowed to have boundaries in your business!), get clarity on what your boundaries are, and communicate and hold your boundaries.
Turns out boundaries are a hot topic for a lot of us and not the easiest thing for many of us to get a handle on.
Where should we have boundaries? Will our boundaries hurt our relationships or businesses?
This week, I wanted to shine a light on a few areas in our businesses that could benefit from better boundaries.
Ready to strengthen your business boundary muscles with me?
5 Places to Set Better Boundaries as an Entrepreneur
1. Client and Customer Expectations
This sounds like a no brainer, but it’s pretty easy to be vague about our services and products with new customers and clients.
Sometimes this comes from insecurity and a desire to be everything to everyone. Other times we’re worried we’ll seem too “salesy” or bossy if we get all business-heavy.
But setting clear boundaries around what to expect makes clients feel at ease.
The boundaries we set at the start of a business relationship set the terms for the remainder of the relationship.
Client expectations include contracts, scope of work, deadlines, what you can and can’t do, pricing, extra fees, return policies, etc.
If you’ve ever been interrupted at dinner by an “urgent” work text or call you’ve seen the result of weak communication boundaries. Conversely, if you’ve ever sat, finger hovering over "send" in an email to someone you’ve hired, wondering if it’s ok to send, you’ve felt the stress unclear communication boundaries can cause.
Communication boundaries include hours you can be contacted, how you can be contacted, what your expected response time is, and who to contact with questions and concerns, etc.
3. Loved Ones
Your kids probably didn't barge into your corporate office, and I bet your friends didn't pop by your 9-5 expecting to hang out. But when we ditch the suit and swap it for yoga pants to start working for ourselves, people don't always understand that you still have working hours and work to do.
Working from home can make this boundary especially unclear for others because they're conditioned to expect you to be free to play if you're home.
These can be, in my opinion, some of the tougher boundaries to set.
With new clients and customers, we get a clean slate to set boundaries and there is the added air of business and money exchange.
With family and friends, well, they knew us when, and will often operate with the same boundaries we set in the past.
Before you go pointing fingers at your kids, partner, spouse, or friends realize it’s up to us to communicate our needs and set our boundaries. No one can do this for us and no one can read our minds. Womp, womp.
4. Work Hours
Are you working too much and feeling burnt out or barely working? This isn’t just about being productive and showing up to do the work. This is about having a boundary around starting and quitting time.
Work hours can get very blurry without a boss to tell us it’s time to start and when to call it a day.
With an office that sometimes doubles as a living room, it can be tempting to be a little too flexible with our starting time. Fun distractions, interruptions, and chores can make us wonder where our day and business went.
On the flip side, loving our work can make it hard to know when to shut down for the day... and there's always something more to do. Sure some days or weeks require us to “stay late”, but continually pushing our working-hour boundaries can cause us to resent our businesses and the time they take away from the rest of our life (life, remember that?).
5. Being the “Yes” Woman (or Man)
Hear this with me because this is one I have to constantly remind myself. It’s okay, in fact, it can be wildly beneficial to say "NO".
In business, this can mean saying no to clients who aren’t a fit, saying no to opportunities that seem great, but we don’t have the time or bandwidth to commit to, or saying to no to opportunities that just aren’t beneficial.
It can be tempting, especially at the start of our business, to be the "yes" person. But the faster you can start saying no to things that don’t serve you, the more space you’ll have to say yes to the things that do.
Where do you need to say "no" or set up a better boundary in your business? (Having trouble deciding? Click here to get your Free Decision-Making Guide!)
Remember, this isn’t about building walls or keeping people out. Instead, it’s about putting on our own oxygen mask first and setting ourselves up for success.
Now it's your turn. I'd love to know where you feel you could benefit from a stronger boundary in your business. Let me know in the comments below!
Big love and wishing you your version of success!
P.S. Having trouble knowing what to say "no" to? I've got you covered and made you a FREE Ultimate Decision-Making Guide with a Bonus to saying "yes" and "no"! Click here to get your Free Ultimate Decision-Making Guide!