Drowning under soul-cracking expectations.
Does this sound familiar?
If so, stop the madness and set your boundaries!
If you're making money, you're dealing with clients. You're navigating client relationships and doing your best to always be in their good books. No clients = no business, after all.
Much as we want constant cash flow, we also want to set our boundaries upfront. Why? Because nobody, and I mean nobody, wants to work with difficult people forever waffling and changing their minds on a dime. One nightmare experience is quite enough, thank you.
When you set clear, firm boundaries, you set the tone for the kinds of clients you accept and how you treat each other. This saves you from constantly figuring out what to do with their unreasonable requests and wishing you could slap somebody just to ease your frustration.
There are 3 major benefits to setting boundaries:
1. You know what to deliver.
When you know exactly what's expected of you, it's much easier to deliver it and stay on top of your deadlines. Cutting out the constant back-and-forth of what goes where saves you time, effort, energy, and money. Phew!
If either of you need wiggle room, make sure you have prerequisites in place for it. Be open to change, yes, but be firm on what needs to happen along with the change.
This is where a client questionnaire or agreement comes in handy. Detail your work process, state your non-negotiables, and only accept projects that honor your requirements.
If they're pushing back before you even start working together, they'll be pushing back throughout the relationship. Act accordingly.
2. You're not under pressure to be "on" all the time.
As creatives, it's hard to switch off because we're always on the lookout for new ideas. It's great for brainstorming, but hell on our leisure time. Make sure you protect your off-time so you don't get roped into working nights and weekends because your client's panicking or needs you to hold their hand.
If you decide to power through a night or weekend to wrap a project, that's your business, not your client's business. Don't get sucked into working outside your hours unless you want to feel resentful and stressed!
3. You focus on your job, not how your clients feel about your job.
I'm all for extraordinary customer service, but if you're burning precious hours hand-holding, it might be time to hire a team member to do that for you.
You won't always have time to be constantly reassuring, and you shouldn't have to be. Clients who need endless attention outside regular check-in times eat up more than you have to spare, and that's no good for business. If they don't trust you to get the job done without firing off volleys of emails, why are you working with them in the first place?
Clear, firm boundaries protect your sanity, creativity and productivity. They let you work the way you want to, with the people you want to, whenever you want to.
Set your boundaries so you recognize the headaches before you sink your precious time and energy into them.
About the Author
Shannon Davis is the CEO behind The Empire Strategist. Her team uses their systems savvy to take the behind-the-scenes operations of online business from shaken-up to supremely seamless. See how they can help you take your online business to online empire at The Empire Strategist. You can connect with Shannon on Facebook or on Twitter.
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