When you hear the words boundaries and business together, you might think it’s a pretty obvious idea. But actually, setting and maintaining boundaries in business can be hard…and even awkward at times.
Especially if you are a solopreneur, you are the line of communication for everything. A client is blowing up your email? Someone won’t pay an invoice? A client consistently submits work late? The only person who can handle those issues, and set those business boundaries, is you.
I’ve been doing this work for seven years, and along the way, I’ve had my fair share of learning experiences. Through it all, I’ve discovered five business boundaries I think every business owner should have.
Office hours can mean a myriad of things. It can be a personal boundary for you that you will try to keep work between certain hours of the day and certain days of the week.
It is only a clear signal to your clients when you are working. For instance, are you available on weekends? Do you work during holidays? By setting this clear boundaries in your business, and making it clear when you’re out of office, it limits client frustration (“Why hasn’t she answered me yet?!”) and keeps you from feeling obligated to give up your personal time.
Emails. Slack messages. Voxer voice memos. It can be overwhelming. How quickly will you respond to clients?
Ser really clear boundaries in your business about your response times (“I will respond within 24 hours” or “I respond between the hours of 8am-12pm”.) You can put this in your email signature, welcome guide, and even make an autoresponder.
When someone reaches out to you about a potential project, it can be tempting to ignore your overly crowded calendar – and try to make it happen for them. However, you aren’t doing anyone favors by overpacking your schedule.
If a client reaches out wanting to get in ASAP or for a time-based service, stick to your business boundaries about how much you can really take on. If the client truly wants to work with you, they will make it work. If not, it’s okay! There are other opportunities out there.
When you are ready to kick off a new project, make sure the expectations around the project are crystal clear. This means what is included in the project, what the role of the client vs the customer is, and timelines that need to be abided by.
Honestly, our clients crave this business boundary as much as we do. They want to know exactly what they paid for and what they can expect. And from our side, we know exactly what was communicated so if issues arise – you can refer back to the agreed upon terms.
As awkward as it is, problems arise in business. Whether that’s a late payment or a client abusing your time. Having a contract that clearly labels your expectations and boundaries in your business, along with the consequences of not meeting those expectations, will save you lots of headache later. I try to save my “per the contract” conversations as a last resort, but it does happen here and there!
While having boundary conversations with clients can be super awkward (and following through on your business boundaries is tough at times), it truly helps your business function well – and ultimately sets the tone for how you want to conduct business!
Oh by the way, if we haven’t met, I’m Alexis! I am a WordPress designer that builds websites for small business owners. I share about business-owner life, projects, and general life related things on my Instagram. I’d love to hear about your essential business boundaries – pop on over to my DMs and let me know.
You can also check out my other blogs to help you master all things WordPress, like My Ultimate Guide for WordPress Beginners.