Do you often feel like you have to answer work-related emails, texts, and voicemails outside of normal working hours?
Do you find yourself working evenings, weekends, and holidays even though you told yourself you wouldn't?
Are you pressured into saying yes to clients who are making demands on your time that seem unreasonable?
If you said yes to any of these questions, you need better boundaries. Creating and sticking to professional boundaries with your customers is key for all business owners--but it's especially important if you have your own company and work from home. When work and home life are in the same place, it's easy for them to start blurring together.
If you don't set and stick to healthy boundaries, your business will control you instead of the other way around. This can create a feeling of being overwhelmed and burnt out. But if you do set healthy boundaries, you gain control over your day, your business, and your life. If establishing healthy boundaries with clients feels like the right move for you, consider these five strategies to get started.
1. Define your boundaries: Before you can set boundaries with a client, think about what kind of relationship you want and how it should relate to the delivery of your product or service. Then put those expectations in writing with clear legal agreements.
Here are some common factors business owners must consider when setting boundaries with clients:
- Their availability to clients
- The manner in which clients can contact them
- What their response time will be
- What is included and what is not included in their deliverables
- When, where, and how disputes between you and the client will be handled?
First and foremost, decide the hours during which you will answer emails, calls, and messages. Then include this schedule in your future agreements as a way of setting these boundaries. Clear communication is essential to effective time management; if you establish these expectations with clients from the start, they will be more likely to adhere to them.
2. Include your boundaries in your binding contracts: Draft your legal agreements such that they incorporate your boundaries—and the penalties for ignoring them. Then, make signing your client agreement part of the sales process. And lastly, get every single client or customer to sign an agreement, even if they are close friends or family members.
Let's say, for example; you include in your client-service agreement or product-purchase agreement how much work is entailed, what the customer needs to do, and the fallout if either party doesn't uphold their end of the deal. You should also list in these documents when and how you get paid, like specifying the sum total, payment schedule, as well as penalties for late or absent payments.
We can help you make agreements that will be legally binding and enforceable. This way, all your business relationships run smoothly with no legal issues.
3. Communicate Your Boundaries Upfront: To avoid any issues later on, it's important that you communicate your expectations and boundaries to your clients before you start working with them. Get their questions answered and have them sign a document agreeing to everything so that there is a written understanding between the both of you. That way, if they don't show up for an appointment or pay their invoice late, you can just follow protocol without having to waste time sorting things out again.
Remember, giving away your services for free, having long consultations with prospects, and offering discounts all devalue your worth. This not only creates upset feelings, but it also can establish poor expectations with clients you work with in the future.
Make sure that you feel like your time is being compensated by negotiating about it before you start work. Enforce this in an agreement so that there are no miscommunications later on. If you have trouble valuing your time or don't know how to create these boundaries, our Money Map To Freedom program can help address those problems.
This program will show you how to make the most of your resources, both renewable and non-renewable so that you can have financial freedom. Furthermore, we'll help you manage your time and money wisely by mapping out what you need and when you need it. Contact us for more
4. Consistently Enforce Boundaries: Be consistent in your expectations and enforce them with clients. If you don't establish boundaries from the beginning, or if you let them be crossed without any consequences, it sets a precedent that your time is not valuable. As a result, demanding behavior is likely to continue unabated.
Creating boundaries is all about developing habits, and the most prolific method of creating a habit is by doing something constantly. If you aren’t constantly implementing your boundaries, you are leaving room for them to be crossed time and time again. If this becomes an issue, it’s not up to your clients to fix—it’s yours. The good news is that clear enforcement of boundaries and being consistent with agreements will typically solve the problem—at least with clients who are worth keeping around.
5. Get used to saying "no": It's good firing clients who cause more problems than they're worth. Instead of thinking about what you can do, think about what you really want to do with your work. This is your business, so make sure your boundaries line up with your priorities and passions. That way, you'll have the freedom to do more of what you love instead of what drags you down.
Honing in on your business vision may require that you pass up certain clients and projects. This also might necessitate saying goodbye to customers who will not adhere to the limits you set. Even though it can be scary at first, rejecting work and ridding yourself of troublesome clients is best for business in the long term.
If you set boundaries with your clients, you won't lose any good ones--in fact, most will respect you more. It's crucial to remember that not every client is a good match for your business, and setting boundaries is one way to get rid of the harmful ones before they create serious issues.
This post forms part of our Small Business Series and to access the other in-depth articles, please visit the links below…
7 Tips For Creating A Winning Business Plan
How To Choose The Right Entity Structure For Your Company—Part 1
How To Choose The Right Entity Structure For Your Company—Part 2
How to Grow Your Business for Sustainable Success in 2023
5 Best Practices For Establishing Healthy Boundaries With Clients
6 Essential Strategies For Starting A New Business
Putting Your Kids On The Payroll Can Benefit Your Business AND Help You Save Big Money On Your Taxes
3 Red Flags To Watch For When Dealing With Problem Clients
5 Strategies For Boosting Your Startup Business’s Cash Flow
If you need support establishing healthy professional boundaries, reach out to us, your Family Business Lawyer™. 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.
This article is a service of a Family Business Lawyer™. We offer a complete spectrum of legal services for businesses and can help you make the wisest choices on how to deal with your business throughout life and in the event of your death. We also offer a LIFT Start-Up Session™ or a LIFT Audit for an ongoing business, which includes a review of all the legal, financial, and tax systems you need for your business. Call us today to schedule.
Get Professional Help
If you're having trouble setting and keeping boundaries at work, give us a call. Your Family Business Lawyer™ will help you set healthy boundaries with your clients that are legally binding. We can also take appropriate action if someone isn't respecting the boundaries you've set. Schedule a visit today to learn more about how we can help you protect yourself and your business.
If you want legal assistance for your family business, we are the lawyers for you. We offer an extensive array of services and can help you with each choice relating to your business - both during life and after death. In addition, we have a LIFT Start-Up Session™ or LIFT Audit if your business is already established. Give us a call today so that we can get started!We want what's best for you and your business, so we offer a wide range of legal services to aid you in making the smartest decisions possible. We also extend an opportunity for a LIFT Your Life And Business Planning Session - this comprises a review of all the legal, insurance, financial, and tax software you need for optimal functionality in your company. Schedule online today.