Setting boundaries for your business are one of the most important things you could do for your business and your sanity.
When you start your business you’re most likely to do anything and everything you can to fill your client’s requests. You’ll work weekdays, nights, and weekends, answering emails and messages, not wanting to miss out on any opportunities.
The trick is to set communication boundaries before you fall into the trap of working until midnight on every night of the week.
It’s easy to think you should be available twenty-four seven to your clients. Deep down you may fear that if you don’t answer clients or emails straight away, your business will fail. I can promise you now, it won’t!
Is your bank or GP available twenty-four seven? Hell no they’re not. Not unless they have a dedicated support team. Does this mean you won’t do business with them? No. Why? Because you know exactly when they will be available.
What are your business hours? How should your clients get in touch with you? Is Whatsapp, Facebook, Slack, or Text really the best way to manage communication? What’s your response time?
Here are a few things you can do today to set boundaries in your business… and set yourself up for success:
Schedule Your Time
You want to batch task your blog posts but don’t know when to squeeze it in. You need to be on social media but once you’re on there you get sucked in and lose hours. You go to add or tweak something on your website and two hours later you’ve redesigned your services page. Yeah, I’ve been there. Open up your calendar and add all your task’s to your calendar and set the time for how long you’ll work on that last. 3 hours for batch writing your blog posts, 30 minutes a day on your social media. 20 minutes for making that tweak to your website, add it all to your calendar so you can see how your day looks and you’ll get a reminder when the task starts and you’ll be more aware of what you’re doing with your day and how you’re using your time.
Define Your Working Hours
What are your business hours? Maybe mornings aren’t the best for you so you don’t start work till lunch but then what time are you finishing? Are you up until midnight most nights reply to emails and working? That’s not healthy and before you know it you’ll be suffering from burnout. Figure out your work hours and once you have let your clients know they will only receive a response in these hours and if you want to email them out of hours use Boomerang for Gmail to schedule emails in advance. That way you’re not breaking your own working hours.
Set Your Terms And Conditions
You’ve done all that amazing work scheduling your time and defining your work hours but it’s not helpful if you don’t inform your clients of this. The easiest way to do this is to set your terms and conditions (and yes your terms and conditions are different from your contract). You can put these on your website as well as create a simple downloadable PDF that you can send to clients so they are completely aware of your hours. You can also put your payment terms on this as well.
Robots rule the world!!! Ok, they really don’t but they’re super helpful in running your business. It’s the same principle when setting up an automation system the same way you would when someone signs up to your email list and they get your freebie without you doing anything after that one time of creating it. If you only check your emails at 11am and 4pm then set an automated response to say that you only check your email at those times or if it’s more normal for you to take 24-48 hours to respond to an email then say that or you can stick with the simple, thanks for your email you’ll receive a response within 24-48 hours. You could also include some answers to your most frequently asked questions too. You can do the same thing on Facebook if you get a query through messenger you can easily set up a bot to automatically reply saying the best way to get in touch is via email!
What boundaries have you set in your own business?