This post first appeared in my October 2021 newsletter. Want to get my newsletters directly in your inbox? Sign up here.
Do you ever find yourself thinking that if you set a boundary around availability, or price, or extra work you’ll lose out on clients? Or that people will see that your shop is closed for a few weeks and will never return to buy from you in the future?
Over the past years I’ve experimented a lot with my own boundaries, in my business and my life. I’ve also spoken to many small business owners about their desire to set boundaries, and their fears around doing so.
Here’s what I’ve learned about setting and communicating business boundaries that feel good.
In need of some help setting and communicating boundaries in your business?
I can help!
In a one-off session or a package of four, we can work on discovering what is important to you in your business and life, how to set boundaries that fit this–and how to communicate them to your customers, clients, friends and family.
Two things to keep in mind when setting and communicating business boundaries
All of us worry about setting boundaries. Setting a boundary is taking up space in the world. It’s saying that something is important to you–something that could potentially inconvenience someone else.
I’ve discovered that we can take away much of that worry if we do two things:
a. get clear on which boundaries are important to us
b. have a plan for how to communicate them.
Once you’ve figured out which boundaries are important to you, communicating those boundaries is 90% managing others’ expectations. People often really don’t mind that you’ll take a little longer to ship a product. Or that you’re not available for calls on certain days or weeks. As long as they know.
In business boundaries that feel good I help you get really clear on which boundaries you want to set in your business. Once you’ve done that, I help you make a plan for sticking to them and communicating them. I’ve put a lot of work in this, especially in all of the templates that are included and which you can use to communicate your own boundaries. This post is a taster from the guide, which you can find out more about here.
How to stick to business boundaries
- write them down: keep a list of your boundaries where you can see it. Add to them why you’re setting these boundaries. How do they make you feel?
- make them part of your routine.
- find accountability: tell a friend or business buddy about your new boundaries, and encourage them to check in with you about them. Or, work with a mentor (like me!).
Some places to set + communicate business boundaries
- scheduling software for clients where you can set available times and dates
- create templates for yourself that you can use when necessary (e.g. an email that replies to a request for a special service or discount; messages to tell friends and family you’re working; a collaboration document; an email communicating you’re unavailable, etc.) (the boundaries guide includes pages of templates like this!)
- turn off your notifications on your phone
- add a text and /or to your website about production and shipping times.
- create an out of office reply
- update your social media bio: how can people best reach you? Don’t like DMs? Encourage people to email you.
- plan ahead so you can communicate busy times and breaks ahead of time.
My guide business boundaries that feel good includes five days of prompts and strategies to help you figure out, set and communicate your boundaries (in just 20 minutes a day!). It also includes pages of templates, checklists and strategies to help you communicate boundaries. I’ve created sample emails, website texts and even a list of things to keep in mind and communicate when you’re collaborating with someone.