“The most important distinction anyone can ever make in their life is between who they are as an individual and their connection with others.” Anne Linden
One of the hardest struggles a business owner has to come terms with is the issue of boundaries. When to step out, when to protect our privacy, when to give, when to hold back. Especially for new business owners, selling a service or product that will depend on the referrals of satisfied clients, the urge to please at all costs can be overwhelming.
It’s easy to promise the moon, and at any hour of the day as well, and give off the impression that we are open for business, 24-7 , just waiting for a chance to respond.
In the beginning, that might not seem so bad. After all, you are excited about having a client—any client—so you shower them with attention and love, right? What could be wrong with treating clients like the miracle that they are?
Only one thing.
We Teach People How to Treat Us.
And if we teach them that it is perfectly acceptable to call, email and show up at any hour of the day expecting instant pudding service, than we are setting ourselves up to be angry, worn out and resentful. And the client becomes disillusioned and upset as well.
Your goal as a business owner is not to have one client who you fawn over and spoil to the ends of the earth. The goal is to have many, many clients who you establish fair and high-quality services/products for, and who knows what to expect, and when, and are not disappointed when your love-fest eventually wears off.
If you have any hope of becoming highly successful, the love-fest will wear off. It has to. Allowing clients to have one hundred percent access to your life is unsustainable. It’s the quick road to burn-out. And saying Yes, when you have very little true hope of following through is…sorry to be blunt…is lying.
There is nothing clients like less than being lied to. They would much rather have the truth, even if it isn’t what they want to hear.
WHY You have the Boundaries you do is Nobody’s Business.
Stop and think it through. How do you want to be treated? What kind of long-term sustainable boundaries do you need to establish to protect your client relationship? Create the boundaries ahead of time that are sustainable and life-affirming for both you and your clients.
Be authentic, be honest, but don’t feel the need to justify or apologize. If the truth is that every Tuesday morning you will be off at the spa getting rejuvenated for success, (Don’t you wish?) then your Tuesday hours are simply 12:00 to whatever. It isn’t anybody’s business how you are spending the time that is not dedicated to them, it’s only their business to know honestly and reliably when they can expect your time and attention for great results.
Great Boundaries are Well-communicated, Reliable Boundaries.
Spend the time thinking your ideal boundaries over very carefully. Then once implemented, stick to them! Whatever you commit to should be that, a commitment to creating a structure for doing business that they can depend on. If your company is closed on weekends, and yet, every time a client calls you on the weekend you pick up the phone, then the one time you don’t answer, they are going to wonder where the heck you are. They won’t believe in your boundaries if you don’t. You will be setting yourself up for failure.
Great Boundaries Create Respect.
When you create reasonable, reliable boundaries, you are respecting yourself, your time, your energy and your personal free space. Space that is needed to be creative and to have the high-quality personal relationships that we all want. Your client might grumble about having to wait a few hours to reach you on Tuesday mornings, but deep inside they are likely wishing they had the gumption to create the same parameters on their own life. Nobody likes feeling out of control. The fact that you assertively and professionally will deepen their respect for you and they will see you in the light of a professional who comes from abundance, not a deep-rooted fear of lack that gives up balance for every last dollar.
Great Boundaries create Great Businesses.
Without clear-cut, well communicated, reasonable boundaries, an entrepreneur has virtually no chance of success. When you compile that with a creative entrepreneur’s very real need to spend time alone to flourish as an artist, then those boundaries become even more critical. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that well thought out boundaries are a luxury. They are not. They are a key component of successful businesses. If you haven’t taken the time to create a boundary strategy, don’t wait! Your business success is depending on it!