Boundaries in Business – 5 Tips for Boundary Creation and Success
Boundaries are defined as: The line that marks the limit. A limit of a subject or set of activities. Early on in my business, I had no business boundaries. My phone was an extension of my body and when ever it chirped or buzzed I answered the call.
My business was RUNNING ME. Perhaps you can relate? It was impacting nearly every single part of my life. My relationships. Myself. My Soul. My business. My sanity. My well being. ALL OF IT. I answered emails, facebook messages, text, calls etc at every hour of the day. I was always on and I was always miserable.
As a result, I completely burnt myself out. I crashed and burned and it cost me business. It took completely burning out to learn that I need to create boundaries in my business especially as it was getting bigger and bigger. I simply could not operate at that level of plugged in and stay sane. That was 2013 and a huge turning point for me in my business.
Today, as my business grows ever larger, I’ve come to realize (and come to terms with) the fact that we all need boundaries in business to succeed. Perhaps it is just client communication expectations or simply setting work hours for yourself. Whatever it is, if you want to succeed as your business grows beyond six figures it will become absolutely essential to creating boundaries in your business. Here I share my five 5 tips for creating boundaries in your business.
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So the definition of a boundary is the line that marks a limit, a limit of a subject or sphere of activities. So I want to talk to you guys today about boundaries in your business because you see so many of you just out there grinding away trying to push the business forward. And I want you to know that you’re not alone. That’s exactly what I did early on in my business.
I had no boundaries whatsoever in my business. Um, my phone was lit, literally a, an extension of my arm. I answered emails, calls, text, boxers, every single thing at every hour of the day. And I’m not proud to admit this, but it is the truth. I would like have, I’d be watching my kid at the house and be like answering calls and emails and he would see me do this. And at the time I thought it was really cute. And when I look back now, I actually think it’s really sad. You know, he would pretend play being on the phone because that’s what he saw me do all the time. It affected my relationship with my husband, my real relationship with my son, um, ever affected my relationship with myself, my wellbeing, my business, my clients. It affected so much. And this was in 2013 and I was always on and I was always miserable and my relationship suffered and my business suffered and I burnt out.
Like I completely burnt out and it costs me business and it costs me relationships in business. And I had to repair my relationship with myself and I really had to get on attached to my phone. And I shared this with you guys because I see so many of you being so responsive and I’m a huge fan of, and I’m not going to go on a tangent about this, but I’m a huge fan of understanding what your human design is so that you can understand how you need to operate in business. And I am a projector and we are not like renewable energy sources. We can work for a bit and then we need to Ross and we can work for a bit and then we need to rest. And you know, that’s not what I say. I work an hour and then take two hours off.
It’s, it’s just understanding your energy and how you operate as a human being so that you don’t burn out. And for me, I was so addicted to my phone and so addicted to being connected and literally responding within minutes to clients that it nearly killed me. And that’s not an exaggeration. Like I was very, I had session unhealthy relationship with work. And I think that happens with a lot of different entrepreneurs because you know, our business is an extension of ourselves. Like, it’s an extension of who we are as a person and it’s like our baby and we want to take care of it and we want to nurture it and we want to care for our clients. But as I’ve gotten older and as I’ve been in business more, I’ve realized that you really have to find a balance and create boundaries because work is always going to be a part of your life.
it’s always going to be part of what you do. It’s always going to be part of like your regular nine to five, yada, yada, yada. And you know, I think that oftentimes we think like, Oh, let me just do this one other thing. Let me just get this other thing done. Like, Oh my family can wait or that thing can wait in that thing can wait. Um, and they ended up, it ends up being the personal things that suffer. And ultimately that’s not why we went into business or at least not for me. Um, I believe many entrepreneurs go into business to have more freedom in their life. Whether that’s time, freedom, freedom with the freedom to have more money to be with their family, to be able to be present, to do all these things. But ultimately our business controls us instead of us controlling our business.
And perhaps you can relate and I would love for you to let me know if you can relate, cause I think this is a really important topic to talk about and it’s an epidemic that’s going on in the online world. You know, and one thing, you know, like I said, this is, this happened in, in 2013 and I think, you know, there’s, there’s so many lessons I’ve learned along the way, but it was a very important lesson to learn. And I want you to know a, you don’t have to have like a big burnout to get to the point where you need to set boundaries and then B, you know, it doesn’t have to start crazy. So today, you know, I want to share some Ninja tips with you about creating boundaries in your business. So one of the very first things that I did in kind of reclaiming back, you know, some personal Janie and some personal time was to set work hours.
And I do this at the start of every year. I say I only want to work certain times and or I set work hours. And I really create those, those boundaries around that. And I make very, very, very few exceptions to that when it comes to being present with my kids. For example, I’ve, I’ve started introducing back podcast interviews on the podcast and I set up my calendar. So the, you know, there’s only X amount of times per month that I’m going to do that. I cannot even tell you how many people have asked me to make an exception around when I’m available to do podcast interviews. And I simply have said, if you can’t find a time that works, cause I’ve opened up eight months worth of time. Now granted I’m batch recording them. So there’s only one day a month that I’m doing that. And I keep having people ask me to make exceptions to that.
And of course if it were like, you know, Oprah, I would make an exception for that. But ultimately, you know, to me it’s really important to keep that boundary, right? It’s really important to stay strong and not making an exception. Right? So, cause if I make an exception for one, then it becomes a slippery slope. I have to make an exception for another and another and another and another. And so I truly believe you want to create work hours and when you have your work hours, you want to work like you want to work during those hours, like do not sit and scroll Facebook, do not like lackadaisically work, do not online shop, do not, you know, focus on work and create those work hours. And that’s where I started. I created work hours and then what I did is I set my phone so that this is something that I did recently.
I set my iPhone cause the new iOS has this ability to like shut your whole phone down. There’s also apps. So if you’re not, you don’t have a newer phone, you can do this with the moment app. Um, so I shut my phone down to have like limited activity so everything doesn’t show me any notifications. So I don’t feel that urge to check it after hours. So set those work hours and be very clear about it. Put it on your website, create a communications policy and we’ll talk about that more. But make sure your clients are aware of what your work hours are. So that’s an injury tip number one, Ninja tip number two is have a work uniform or clothes that are designed to work in. And it’s so funny because I’ve kind of come full circle on this. There was a period of time where I was like, I’m wearing athleisure every day and there are still days where I wear app leisure to work.
That’s not to say that I’m not going to do that, but I try to not cross pollinate the clothes I wear personally with the clothes I wear to work. And I try to, I’ve tried to really create, and I know tries a hedge word, but it’s kind of like a process with clothes because um, I’ve been in business for, it’ll be 17 years in September. So for probably the first 13 years I just kind of wore whatever I wanted to, not even, probably more than that, probably the first 15 years I just kind of wore whatever I wanted to. And then a couple of years ago I’ve started to incorporate quote unquote more work clothes so that it signals to my brain when I put this glows on like, Hey, we’re working, we’re doing work today. And it’s really helped me to kind of get into work mode. And then I almost immediately change out when I’m done for the day.
And I know that might seem crazy or silly, but it just is what it is. So, you know, and that’s not to say don’t work in my PJ someday. Like I’m not crazy strict about that rule. But if I am front-facing with clients, I have work clothes on, right? Or if I’m creating content like this podcast, I am in my work clothes, right? So from time to time, one thing that I find that helps me is I like being comfortable when I have lots of writing to do. So I will make an exception for that. But there’s very, very few exceptions that I make for that. And so come up with whatever your work uniform is or clothes so that it signals to your brain, Hey, we’re working. So that’s an into tip number two. And it simply might be something as khakis versus jeans, whatever it is, or you know, if you have a ton of clothes are ready, I’m not suggesting go out and buy a whole new uniform, but like legit separate out.
Like I wear these clothes when I work and I, you know, I generally don’t wear yoga pants that, that unit work uniform. So, so, so, so, so helps, um, Ninja tip number three, dedicated workspace. So a dedicated workspace has been a game changer for me. So I get a dedicated workspace when I, we moved into this house in 2014 and it has made a huge difference for me because I can literally, when I’m sitting in here, I know it’s work time. Okay? It tells my body, it tells my mind, it tells my soul, Hey, here’s my space to work and then when I’m done working, I can literally get up and go wherever. One of the beautiful things about working for yourself is that you can work anywhere, but what happens is when you can work anywhere and you’re not having like a set place to work, your body can be like a, where am I supposed to?
What am I supposed to be doing? Like for example, if you go downstairs and turn the TV on while you’re trying to, you know, respond to some emails as an example, you’ll probably find that you’re going to get more distracted down there because there’s a lot more distractions and that’s like your living room. And so I find that having a space that’s dedicated, it doesn’t need to be a whole room like I have. It could just simply be a desk where like, Hey, this is where you’re working. Whatever it is, figure out what that dedicated workspace is and use it all the time. It makes a huge difference. Ninja tip number four is a communications policy. So to set boundaries with clients is a tricky thing if you don’t have any boundaries in place and you have to kind of gradually do it with existing clients.
So what I did is I created a communications policy. So my communications policy literally covers everything like response times for emails, boxers, Beth message methods to communicate in the event of a quote unquote emergency, how best to communicate. Um, every little detail like what happens when you reschedule an appointment, like all of those things around communication. And so I share this because it’s really easy to set new boundaries with existing clients. And if somebody is like continually messaging in one boxer and you don’t want them to do that or their messenger on Facebook, you can just be like, Hey, like the best way to do this is to send me an email. The best way to do this is to do acts, like just simply communicate it because the more that you let it go on over time, the harder it is going to be to redirect that behavior to something different.
So set those expectations out of the gate for new clients with existing clients, I always have a conversation, right? So I’ll always have a conversation. Like one big thing for me that I really struggled with in 2013 when I had this whole burnout and crash was text messaging. Right? And I would literally be like going crazy because so many people were sending me text messages and I had to redirect that to email and I had to redirect that to wherever or what would happen is people would like, I messaged me all this stuff and it would be in my email and then it wouldn’t get communicated to, you know, whoever was doing certain things. And so it’s really, really important to have those hard conversations with your, with your existing clients about the changes that are going to be happening. Uh, you can send an email, but I find like a personal conversation to be best.
Then send the new communications policy. Like I’ve even gone so far to have my communications policy on my website so that if there’s ever any question, it’s like referenced right there. And then the fifth and final Ninja tip around creating boundaries for your business is making the commitment and resisting the urge to check, especially after hours and on weekends. So, you know, it’s really easy to, to to say, Hey, I’m not doing X after, you know, X amount of time. And it’s really hard to resist the urge to go in and check or resist the urge to, um, you know, respond to an email that you see that comes in later on or so when you make that commitment, you have to really meet that commitment, right? And it’s a hard commitment to make and it’s, but it’s a really important one because the affects that it has are like a huge ripple effect in your life because when you aren’t so plugged in you have so much space and freedom and you know, you just, you feel really great when it comes to the space that you have around the work that you are doing.
So what does that mean? It means like, Hey I know at three o’clock that I’m done for the day so I’m going to be hyper efficient when I’m working versus in the past I would just kind of dilly dally cause there was no and time to be done. And so you know, work expands to time, allowed it. And I’m sure you’ve heard me say that, but it really, it does like work expands the time allowed. If you have two hours to write an email, it could take you two hours to write that email. Same thing with if you had 30 minutes to write that email, either one, you’ll get it done in the full amount of time that you had a lauded. So when I talk about making the commitment to creating boundaries, it’s really important to a truly sit down, make that commitment to yourself, get an accountability buddy to help you, but also set up systems and processes in place.
So like I said, you can put downtime on your phone. It’s a really, really cool thing. I love it. It shuts all my apps off and yeah, you can override it. But for the most part, I don’t find myself doing that and I don’t find myself checking. Same thing. Like I took email off my phone because if I’m sitting here and I’m working, why do I need to have email on my phone? So I just like literally hit the button. It’s still logged in, but I just like swipe it off. So I don’t actually get those notifications unless I choose to log in and do it. Right. So I think it’s really, really important to, you know, it’s set yourself up for success by removing temptations. Right? So maybe that’s taking, you know, social media apps off your phone for a week. Or maybe that’s, you know, like I said, turning on downtime or maybe that’s like separating out your work stuff from your personal stuff.
Like one thing that I did this year, or right around Christmas this year or 2019 was to, I bought a work iPad because I was mixing my work iPad with my home, my iPad and everything was kind of all jumbled together and it didn’t feel really good. And I was like, you know, and so you know, Voxer is something that we leverage a lot in my business, but I was finding myself like after hours feeling this like anxiousness to check boxer when I have a two day response time for boxers. So you know, I set myself up for success by creating systems and processes so you don’t have to like rip the whole bandaid off at one time. I don’t know, I don’t recommend that. But figure out the places where you find yourself like aimlessly doing work stuff after hours and then create systems around that because that commitment and making those big changes makes a huge difference for you in your business and your mental health.
And your relationships and yourself and your soul longterm. And so start small, keep adding in layers, but you know, figure out what those work boundaries are. Implement them, stick to them, make the commitment. So thank you so much for tuning in. I super appreciate you. If you haven’t already had an over to the OMG show group on Facebook, we’re having lots of fun conversations around all sorts of different topics and I’m sure we’ll have a fun conversation around boundaries in your business as well. So thank you so much for tuning in and we will talk to you all soon.