Setting Boundaries for Your Business
All small business owners struggle with separating their personal lives from their business lives, ESPECIALLY when working from home. I’ve been there too and I admit I still struggle with it during the weeks when nothing seems to go as planned (snowpocalypse anyone?). But I’ve found it’s SO important to create boundaries for your business as they not only making your work life less crazy, but they create trust and respect with your clients and customers. Here are my top two tips for setting those boundaries.
- Create office hours and STICK TO THEM. Are you a lark or a night owl? Do you prefer to get up early and get stuff done or work late into the night? Do you have children that you need to tend to and schedule your time around? Whatever your needs, decide what hours you are “at work” and what hours your “off duty”. Also decide what days and times you prefer to take meetings. I only meet in person on Tuesdays for example. I schedule all of my coaching calls for Wednesdays and Thursdays. Do I make exceptions? Occasionally and for the right reasons but my clients understand that this is my system and my process and it works for me. Don’t spend all of your time in meetings or on phone calls. You need time to actual work “in” your business and “on” your business. Once you’ve carved out your working hours and your meeting hours, write them down, post them to your website, put them in your email signature, whatever it is that you need to do to actually stick with them, DO IT.
- Develop a communication policy. How often do you check email? Every day? All day long? (cut that crap out right now, you won’t get anything done if you are ALWAYS in your inbox). How long does a typical response take? Are you available via phone? Or do you only take schedule phone calls? Are you available via text? Do you have a project management software that you prefer to use with clients? Figure out what works best and most efficiently for your business and communicate your policy to your clients. Explain that this policy exists because it works and will allow you to give them the best quality service.
If any potential client is turned off by your boundaries, than they are not your ideal client. Move along and don’t look back. The right client for you will have no problem accepting your way of doing business and will actually respect that you have policies in place.
Happy boundary setting!