Have you set business boundaries?
If you haven’t, you really should.
You see, when you’re a female entrepreneur (especially if you’re flying solo), it’s easy to end up overloaded, overwhelmed, and overworked because there is always something or someone that needs tending to.
Which is precisely why setting and sticking to boundaries as a business owner is so important.
Because boundaries in business are life-changing, life-giving, game-changers.
WHY YOU NEED TO SET BUSINESS BOUNDARIES
There are a multitude of reasons why you should be setting business boundaries. The top three of which are broken down for you below:
1 | “A lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect.” – Unknown
Setting business boundaries gives you the ability to clearly communicate expectations with customers and clients so they will respect you and your time. It also gives you the ability to clearly communicate your business needs and rules to family and friends so they will respect you and your business.
2 | Boundaries are a form of self-care.
Setting business boundaries allows you to clearly define your negotiables and non-negotiables so you’re saying YES to more of the right things instead of everything.
3 | “Create boundaries, get your life back.” – Lara Casey
Setting business boundaries enables you to have both a life and a business you love aka achieve your version of work/life balance. It also means there is less of a risk of you experiencing major burn out.
WHEN SHOULD YOU SET BUSINESS BOUNDARIES?
It doesn’t matter if you’re a baby business owner or someone who’s been doing the business owning thing for a while now, setting business boundaries will change your life, while also giving you back your life!!
Take it from someone who’s been there.
#nobutreally. I didn’t have boundaries when I first started my business. I worked all the time, said yes to everything, and answered emails when I should have been sleeping. I experienced several different levels of burn out before I began setting boundaries in my business.
My only regret is that I didn’t set them sooner.
So, please, take it from me, and set those boundaries ASAP!!Because boundaries in business are life-changing, life-giving, game-changers!! Click To Tweet
BUSINESS BOUNDARIES YOU NEED TO SET THIS YEAR
Now that you know the importance of setting boundaries in your business, you’re probably pretty pumped to set some (or even change some). But maybe you’re not sure what boundaries you need to put in place…
I’ve outlined some of the business boundaries I’ve set for myself and my business below to give you a little inspiration and a point to jump off from!!
SET OFFICE HOURS
Setting (and keeping) office hours is probably the greatest step toward work/life balance that you will ever take. It means you’re serious about owning your work time and protecting your life time. And when you’re serious about your work time, others will be serious about your work time, too.
Office hours will also help you be more productive and focused. When you know your cut off time is X, you’ll be more inclined to make the best use of your working time (and less susceptible to distractions to boot)!!
In case you’re wondering: My office hours are from 10am – 4pm with flexible (uninterrupted) work hours from 8am – 10am and again from 4pm – 6pm.
Pro Tip: Make your office hours known. Put them on your contact page, in your email signature, on your Facebook page, in your Facebook group’s description, in the welcome packet you give your clients, and anywhere else you deem necessary. Use the Reminders app on your phone for when your office hours start and end if you have trouble sticking to/keeping track of them.
SET SCHEDULE BOUNDARIES
Schedule boundaries can be as easy as not scheduling any meetings or appointments on Mondays and Thursdays, only taking client calls on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and having Fridays off. They can also be as complicated as having an A-Week/B-Week schedule where you work ON your business one week and IN your business the next.
In case you’re wondering: I have a monthly prep + plan + duty day on the first workday of every month that is non-negotiable. I don’t schedule meetings or appointments on Mondays. I try to only schedule work meetings or calls on Tuesdays or Thursdays and personal appointments on Wednesdays. And at least two Fridays out of the month are education days.
Pro Tip: Schedule everything so you know you have time for everything. And when I say everything, I mean everything. From checking and responding to email to interacting on social media to writing blog posts to client work to whatever other tasks you must do in your business. This ensures you get to all the important stuff without overloading your day or overwhelming yourself.
SET EMAIL + TEXT + PHONE BOUNDARIES
I’m going to break this particular boundary down into two parts:
Part 1 | Don’t answer work texts, calls, or emails outside of work hours.
You risk people getting used to you responding any time and will come to expect that every time if you do. And that’s not right. Just because you own a business, does not mean you have to hang a 24/7 sign on your brick and mortar or virtual door. Communicate your office hours and/or response times clearly so that people know you’ll get back to them in a timely fashion.
In case you’re wondering: I only check email twice a day, but I set the expectation that I will return emails within two business days right on my contact page. And while I do my best to overdeliver every time, I have that clear expectation as a cushion, if I need it, to fall back on. I also took work email off my phone and that has made all the difference in the world!!
Part 2 | Don’t answer personal calls, texts, or emails during work hours.
Ever had a friend or family member call (or worse, drop by) just to chat when you’re trying to get work done? Talk about a productivity buzz kill!! The best thing you can do is tell friends and family what your office hours are and politely ask that they not interrupt your workday unless it is an emergency and add that you’d love to catch up with them when your workday is done.
Pro Tip: You can use the Do Not Disturb function or Airplane mode to stop personal calls, texts, and other notifications from stealing your attention away while you’re in work mode.
SET BOUNDARIES + EXPECTATIONS WITH CLIENTS
If you’ve set working hours for yourself, make sure you stick to them (like glue) with your clients. Clearly communicate to them during your first consultation, or better yet, in a welcome packet what your office hours are, what your response time and turn-around times are, what they can expect of you, and what you expect of them. This helps you set the stage for a great working relationship as well as an incredible client experience!!Just because you own a business, does not mean you have to hang a 24/7 sign on your brick and mortar or virtual door. Click To Tweet
SET BOUNDARIES FOR TIME OFF/VACATIONS
I know you love your business, but you need time away from it in order to keep doing it well. Productive rest is just as important, if not more important, than productive work time. So make sure you’re scheduling time off/vacations and setting boundaries specifically for those times like not scheduling or taking work calls while you’re away and only checking your email once a day (leaving non-emergent responses for when you get back).
In case you’re wondering: I have a stupendous (if I do say so myself) pre-vacation workflow that helps me set up for my time away and an equally stupendous on-vacation workflow that allows me to quickly check-in, make sure things are running smoothly, and ensures that I’m not buried in to-dos and emails when I get back to the office. (Both of these workflows will be coming to the blog later this year!!)
Pro Tip: Connect with your clients well before your scheduled time off/vacation to let them know you’ll be gone and how they can reach you if an emergency comes up. Set up an email auto-responder so everyone who emails you knows when they can expect a response from you. Create and schedule blog and social media posts ahead of time so your business stays fresh while you’re getting refreshed.
RESPECT OTHER PEOPLE’S BOUNDARIES
This is super important, and should probably go without saying, but make sure you respect other people’s boundaries as you would like them to respect yours aka The Golden Rule of Business Boundaries!! ✨
ONE LAST TIP ABOUT BUSINESS BOUNDARIES
You’ll find that boundaries will need to be either chucked or changed as your business grows or your season of life changes. Don’t be afraid to adjust your boundaries when necessary. And remember that everyone’s version of work/life balance is going to look a little different and it’s always going to be a work in progress.
Have you set boundaries in your business?
If yes, I’d love to know what they are and how they work for you!!
If not, I hope this post inspires you!!
And leave any questions you have below.
Cheers to setting boundaries and taking back control of your business so you can have a life you love!! 🥂