Client love guide – boundaries

Because of this shift in my available hours, I’ve been putting in work during my usual “off hours” – after 5 pm + on weekends. and while my clients are my priority, it is important to me that my normal boundaries stay in place + these late-night projects don’t become my new routine.

Boundaries are good for everyone

client love guide – boundaries // tiny blue orange

I know, I know, why am I talking about boundaries in terms of making your clients feel loved? The answer is painfully simple – your clients want you to be a good business owner. I had a hard time understanding that until I really focused on my boundaries. As soon as I did, I kicked myself for not doing it sooner because the response was overwhelmingly positive.

Take what Crystal from HeartStories said when I interviewed her in February…

Not only did Crystal appreciate my business boundaries, but she used them in her own interactions. By explaining my non-negotiables + policies, Crystal was able to improve hers + therefore improve her business/life balance in the process.

Business boundary basics

Wondering what sort of boundaries you can have in your business? The possibilities are truly endless, but this list is a great place to start browsing for ideas that make you say “oh heck yeah!” –

  • Working hours/days
    {Are you not a morning person? You don’t have to start your day at 8 am if you don’t want to.}
  • Rates for rush requests
    {When someone gives you almost no notice for a task or project, other client’s requests get delayed or you have to work longer days. you should be compensated for that.}
  • Contact methods
    {Don’t want to get text messages all day on your personal cell phone? Then don’t give that number out + certainly omit it from your business cards, website + email signature.}

Sending your new client a list of “here’s when I don’t work, here’s when I’ll charge you double + don’t call me ever” rules won’t give them the warm fuzzies. but outlining the best ways to contact you, what they can expect for turnaround time + how you treat rush projects is a better way to share the specifics. Plus, them knowing you charge a higher rate to bump scheduled projects out of the way lets them know you value their project once it’s placed on your calendar. that is bound to make them feel valuable as your client. Which of course they are.

So take a few moments to think about what rules + limits you want in place to protect your sanity, health + other clients.

less planning, more action

Once you have your must-have list of boundaries in place, it’s time to start implementing them. If you have on-going or current clients, you might need to gradually introduce your new policies, but you can certainly start with any new or future clients the moment you decide to.

For example, late last year I decided to implement a “no client day” during my work week. That way I could devote an entire day to maintaining, monitoring + growing my business, instead of scheduling time throughout the week. Then I spend the other 4 days focused on projects + clients. In order to put the plan into motion, I started telling all new clients my work week was Tuesday-Friday for tasks + requests. With existing clients, I started scheduling tasks to be completed on any day of the workweek except Monday. If they had a deadline or something important came up, I scheduled it for Monday, but within a few weeks, that day was all mine for tiny blue orange tasks only.

One of the most common issues with freelance or self-employment that I see is clients expecting you to work all hours of the day. This happens when they get emails at 8 pm, 2 am, 10 am + 3 pm throughout their time working with you. My favorite tool to combat the urge of sending late-night emails is Boomerang. You can draft your email + schedule it to send at a “normal” time, whatever that means for you.

But the best way to ensure your boundaries stay in place + are respected by your clients is to actually enforce them. Along with not sending emails during “off hours”, you can focus on replying within a certain timeframe {especially if you expect your clients to do the same}, not scheduling meetings on your “no client” days + charging clients your rush rate when they give you almost no notice on a project at all.

Have a question about making your clients feel loved? Send me a note + I’ll reply +/or turn it into a blog post in this series
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