Guest Post: Setting Boundaries

boundaries

I’ve been an entrepreneur for the past 8 years, I’ve had 3 different businesses, and I’ve worked with hundreds of clients. When I first started out, I don’t even know if I used a client agreement {don’t tell my wife – she’s a lawyer}. As time went on, however, I learned more and more closely and clearly that setting boundaries in your business is ESSENTIAL to your sanity and success – and will actually improve your client’s experience working with you as well.

Let me explain. Think back to the last time someone got upset with you or you got upset with someone. In all likelihood, it’s because expectations were mismanaged. You expected something of someone and it didn’t happen or vice versa. You expected someone to be nice and they weren’t or someone expected you to be on time and you were 30 minutes late. And setting expectations go hand in hand with setting boundaries. When a client is disappointed, it’s often because she thought something was going to happen that didn’t — you were going to respond to her email more quickly, you were going to express more compassion when instead you went the tough love route — you get the picture.

The problem is is that when boundaries aren’t set, expectations aren’t clear and people start getting upset because they’ve set their own expectations without telling you what they are. Boundaries don’t limit you or your client; they actually allow for more space. Boundaries actually invite spaciousness into a relationship because they allow each person to be more of who they really are. Maybe you’re not an email person, but you’re all about offering text support. Let your clients know. Maybe you don’t check email on weekends. Let your clients know that too. What I actually do when I work with clients is that I send them the fancy schmancy client agreement with all the legal stuff, and then I send them an addendum with super clear, super straightforward – here is what I expect of you, here is what you should expect of me, and here is what you need to do to get the most out of this program. I kid you not – clients have actually THANKED me for giving this to them. People like to know what they should and shouldn’t expect from you. People like structure. People like boundaries. It’s just that the word “boundaries” has gotten a bit of a bad rap – because it sounds like we’re shutting people out and limiting access.

Imagine a fenced in yard. A dog in a fenced in yard is free to run wherever she wants to go. Boundaries create spaciousness for the dog. If there wasn’t a fence, she would be a leash because letting her run freely would in all likelihood be unsafe. Same goes for your relationship with your clients – boundaries create safety for both you and your client; you’ve clearly expressed what can and cannot be expected of you and your client will feel safer with you because you’ve set straightforward guidelines. It’s showing them that you respect yourself and that you care for them. You’ve put in the time and effort to get super clear and share how you want to help them. This may also empower them; a client who has no boundaries may come to rely on her coach to a detrimental degree, and lose faith in her ability to pick up her own pieces when necessary.

Now it’s best to set boundaries and expectations from the beginning; that said, if you’ve already started working with clients, and you know you’re long overdue for some serious boundary setting, it’s all good. First, get clear on what will and won’t work for you moving forward. Second, share how this new change will actually benefit your client and enhance her experience working with you. Then, get it in writing and send it to your client. Share that you’ve made these changes from a place of love and care. Most, if not all, of your clients will probably thank you for setting these new guidelines. And the ones who throw a tantrum? Perhaps it’s time to let them go. You’ve just shared with them what really and truly works for you and if that doesn’t work for them, then the relationship might not be meant to be.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Brene Brown:
“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.”

May you dance in the spaciousness of your new boundaries, and
celebrate the gift you’re giving to yourself and your clients.

 

JordanaJaffeJordana Jaffe is the co-founder of Magical Business Academy, a company she created with her wife, Gena. She works with women entrepreneurs and supports them in creating a business that fills both their hearts and their bank accounts. She believes that a successful business comes from allowing yourself to be exactly who you are and finding a way to make everything you do feel fun. Jordana’s superpowers include, but aren’t limited to, mapping out a super simple step-by-step plan of action for you (she loves spreadsheets), asking you the right questions so that you can uncover the answers that are already within you, and helping you design a business that highlights and celebrates your you-ness, which then magically attracts the people you’re meant to work with to you {since they’re finally clear on what you’re all about}. She is obsessed with creating communities, connecting people, chocolate chip ice cream and TGIT. You can connect with Jordana and over 1300 amazing women entrepreneurs in her free Facebook group, which she endearingly calls the magical playground, here: bit.ly/youaremagical

 

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