Do you feel obligated to check work emails, texts, and voicemails at all hours? It’s easy for hardworking business owners to get caught up working evenings, weekends, and often even holidays.
This is why boundaries are such an important part of a growing business. Not only does this keep you healthy and at your best, but it is the best way to enforce healthy professional relationships with your clients.
Unless you set and enforce healthy boundaries, the lines can be easily blurred between work and home life, which can quickly lead to burnout. Creating healthy boundaries allows you to take charge of your day, your business, and your life. If you are ready to establish healthy boundaries with your clients, here are some strategies to help you get the process started.
1. When it comes to setting boundaries with clients, you first need to decide how you want your relationship structured, and how that relationship relates to the delivery of your core product or service. Once you’ve established those parameters, you’ll want to prepare clear legal agreements that outline and clarify the expectations of both parties in writing. Some common things all business owners need to consider include the following:
- When you are available to clients
- How clients can contact you
- What your response time will be
- What are your payment terms are
Above all, set the hours during which you will respond to emails, calls, and messages, and stick to that schedule religiously.
2. To ensure your clients are aware of your boundaries—and the consequences for breaching them—incorporate your boundaries in the terms of your legal agreements. Then, make your client agreement part of your sales process. At Truest Law we can support you to create legally binding agreements that clearly define your boundaries and outline exactly how they will be enforced.
3. you must discuss these expectations with your clients, answer any questions they have, and get them to sign off before you start work. With a written policy in place, you won’t have to waste time and energy figuring out how to handle things if a client fails to show up for an appointment or pays their invoice late—you’ll simply follow your established protocol. Time is money, so make sure you are being compensated fairly for your time. Again, having clear, well-drafted agreements is a key way to communicate and enforce this particular boundary.
4. Overly demanding clients often don’t realize they’re overstepping boundaries—and this is particularly true if you’ve let them cross your boundaries already without saying anything. If you answer a client phone call during your off-hours or perform extra work that’s beyond the scope of your agreement, you’ve ultimately set a precedent that your time doesn’t really matter, and such behavior is likely to continue.
Setting boundaries is all about creating habits, and the most effective way to create a habit is by doing something consistently. If you don’t consistently enforce your boundaries, you are setting yourself up to have your boundaries crossed again and again.
5. When establishing boundaries, don’t think just about what you can do, but what you really want to do with your work. You are in charge and this means getting comfortable saying “no” to clients and projects that are simply not in line with the vision you’ve set for your business. This is your business, after all, so align your boundaries with your priorities and passion, so you have the freedom to do more of what you love and less of what you don’t.
In the end, you aren’t going to lose any clients worth having by setting boundaries. Most clients will respect you more for clearly defining the terms of the business relationship. Ultimately, not every client is a good fit for your business, and establishing healthy boundaries is one way to weed out the bad ones.
If you need support establishing healthy professional boundaries, reach out to us at Truest Law. Whether it’s helping you define your boundaries, putting your boundaries in legally binding agreements, or taking the appropriate actions to enforce your boundaries with your clients, we are here for you. Schedule your visit today to learn more.