Are you an independent business owner stressed and rapidly losing the love for your business? Then setting yourself boundaries is a must. So, what do I mean by boundaries I hear you say. Well, boundaries are a bit like having your own personal set of rules and regulations. For some professions such as counselling, boundaries are a fundamental part of our ethical guidelines. Put in place to protect us, the professional from burn out and also our customers from misleading services and relationships.
Let’s take some time to imagine a business owner without boundaries. This business owner is working every hour god sends and saying yes to every customer. Their customers are demanding the world and the separation between business and life is a blur. Their feeling fed up, panicked and completely overwhelmed. Now, I know what some of you are thinking, “but, I need to work this way to get enough money to survive.” I do get that, when I first started my business, I was in complete panic mode and said yes to everything and everybody. It was no surprise then, that very soon I was exhausted and actually doubting that I had done the right thing. I started searching for “real” jobs and was ready to give it all up within 4 months. My reasons for running my own business had not turned into reality. I know i’m not alone, the majority of my clients say that one of their top reason’s for going self employed was the flexibility that it was supposed to give them and their family. Another reason is that they want to be doing something that they love but they are actually resenting it already.
If you are feeling stressed, burnt out, overwhelmed and disappointed of the promised magic that working for yourself brings, then have a go at setting yourself some boundaries.
Start with being really clear about when and where you want to work. Devise yourself a working rota. Ask yourself these questions:
- what days do I want to work?
- What times do I want to work?
- When am I prepared to respond to customer queries?
- Where do I want to work?
- When will I exercise, self care, meditate?
The other thing you may find helpful is to do this exercise alongside your business plan. That way you can account for the fact that in the beginning you may need a very quick cash injection. If money is tight, then you may need to set longer working hours in the beginning until cash flow becomes constant and perhaps you can then outsource some of your roles to others. Be realistic about how long things take to grow and if you have a family does this working rota marry up with your family vision? If not, are you willing to sacrifice that for now or do you need to make your timelines longer to achieve that vision? Remember though that if you are stressed and frazzled your customers will pick up on that and the money will stop flowing, people just wont want to work with you. What you put out, you will get back.
The use of a contract, T&C’s or agreement is another great way to set your boundaries and to help you be clear with your customers around, when they can contact you, how and when they need to pay, what they do if they have a complaint and what services they can expect from you. The best advice is to take your client through your contract, that way you know they’ve read it and any questions can be answered then and there. You will feel so much more in control and empowered knowing that all expectations have been set and agreed.
Now let’s imagine your own business, where you are working the hours you want to work. Time for other things in your life, time for you to recover, stay strong and love what you do. This will give you strength, focus, clarity and energy that is essential to allow you and your business to flourish. What boundaries do you need to install to achieve your vision?
Boundaries are just setting your expectations with yourself and your customers and also checking they align to your vision and timelines. If your feeling stressed, overworked and frazzled, give it a go, it may be just what you need.
Daniela Stones is a Life Coach, Hypnotherapist and soon to be Counsellor, specialising in supporting Independent Business Owners to overcome the pain, fears and self sabotage and emerge as thriving, happy and successful beings!
Contact me today for a free, no obligation chat, to see if I’m the support you need. Call me on 07948 685680 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org