Welcome back to Systems Sunday as we wrap up this month’s topic of how to set business boundaries so you can achieve that precious work/life balance as well as explore why we tend to resist boundaries.
Let’s talk about feeling guilty.
If you open a business and approach it as a way to serve your client base, you may find yourself falling into the ‘people pleaser’ category. There’s nothing wrong with serving your clients and wanting them to have a wonderful experience; in fact, that’s what will keep clients and customers coming back to you. But at what cost to your own mental health are you willing to please them? Business boundaries are vitally important.
In today’s episode, we will Get Over Boundary-Setting Guilt to Grow Your Business and Your Confidence.
Welcome back to Systems Sunday as we wrap up this month’s topic of Creating Balance with Business Boundaries.
I am Lisa Wells, your Virtual Assistant Trainer.
Guilt is a human feeling that we’re ALL familiar with, but have you ever thought about WHY we feel guilty? What are the root causes of feeling this way, especially if this is a daily occurrence?
Feelings of guilt often stem from blaming ourselves for something. Sometimes we go so far as to blame ourselves for things that are completely out of our control.
In today’s episode, we will Get Over Boundary-Setting Guilt to Grow Your Business and Your Confidence.
Let’s talk about feeling guilty. If you open a business and approach it as a way to serve your client base, you may find yourself falling into the ‘people pleaser’ category. There’s nothing wrong with serving your clients and wanting them to have a wonderful experience; in fact, that’s what will keep clients and customers coming back to you. But at what cost to your own mental health are you willing to please them? Business boundaries are vitally important.
Think of any brick-and-mortar business. Every single one has business hours. So why do you feel guilty for implementing business hours for your service business? You still have a personal life just like any traditional employee. You still need time to sleep and eat. Just because you’re missing a commute doesn’t mean you need to be on call 24/7 (unless you want to and that’s part of your business model).
Boundaries are a must-have to avoid blurring that line between work and private life. Remember your core values. You started this business for a reason. YOU are in charge of creating your dream life and business. If you burn out, who will carry on your legacy?
Here are some tips for getting over boundary-setting guilt:
1. Other people’s emotions are not your responsibility. You can’t change how someone responds to you setting a boundary, but you do get to choose how you show up and whether you choose to honor yourself first. And No is a complete sentence. You don’t actually have to provide an explanation to anyone, about anything. (Yes, I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating!)
2. Remember that every YES to someone or something is a NO to something, too. If you say YES to lunch with a friend, you might be saying NO to a call with a prospect. What are you willing to reasonably give up in order to ‘please’ someone else?
Try these other tips and tricks when saying no or setting a boundary feels hard:
- Create an email autoresponder so you don’t have to respond to emails right away (and you can use the litmus test from earlier)
- Get an assistant who will gatekeep your schedule and calendar and ensure you’re not overscheduling yourself.
- Let your calendar do the talking. Block all our priorities off in your calendar so you can clearly see them–and any client who is trying to book with you isn’t able to book unless you’re TRULY available.
- Create a rule to respond to every request for your energy or time (or money!) with, “Let me get back to you.” Then, run it through your litmus and core values tests before giving a final answer.
- Practice! You can only get better at something if you practice, so practice saying NO in every area of your life, as often as you can.
- “No, thank you.” “I can’t at this time.” “I’m not available.” “I’m not interested,” are all acceptable responses–no additional context needed.
- Keep it in perspective. Most things in business are NOT life and death situations. Yes, they can FEEL very urgent and like emergencies, but you still ALWAYS have the power to say no or not right now.
If you do NOT currently have boundaries in place, don’t waste time writing a list so you can implement them within the next week.
If you DO have boundaries in place, take time to examine if they’re working for you. Are you enforcing them across the board? Or are you giving certain clients leeway?
Also, take time this week to write them out in email or print format and distribute them to all your current clients. Use this also with any new prospects so they know from the beginning how you run your business. Business owners who set boundaries will foster a happier and more healthy work environment. When everyone is on the same page, you’ll breed trust — something that’s vital in an online business.
If you enjoyed this episode and want more tips and strategies on how to set business boundaries, check out my new Business Boundaries: When to Say Yes and How to Say No training system. You’ll learn what to do when you don’t know what to say yes to – or how to say no. How to be more discerning with opportunities that come your way, choosing only those that match your vision and will benefit you instead of just filling up your calendar. You’ll get a training guide and accompanying workbook complete with worksheets, 4-week done-for-you calendar, and a handy checklist.
You can find the product below or head over to my VA Business Builder Boutique by clicking on Shop in the menu bar.
Stay tuned next month for an all new Systems Sunday, until then, have a great week!
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Business Boundaries – When to Say Yes and How to Say No
Does any of this sound woefully familiar?
You started a business to help people–as many people as possible, to be exact–so you say yes to pretty much anyone who reaches out for coaching, consulting or even just a “quick coffee chat” (face palm)
You’re always-on for your people, and you often wake up to “emergency” emails (and late night texts) from clients–even on weekends and vaycay (and worse? You respond to them quickly because otherwise you feel overwhelming guilt.)
Your family is growing increasingly annoyed by your business eating up all your personal time, and your self-care has taken a complete backseat to everything business.
You’re involved in one (or many) projects, JVs or other commitments that you don’t even really want to be, because you didn’t want to hurt your biz bestie’s (or the rando coach who DMed you on IG) feelings.
You show up to every single meeting (even if it’s outside your preferred business hours), say yes to every last-minute request and drop everything for your client’s “emergencies” (which–let’s be honest–hardly ever turn out to be actual emergencies).
You work at all hours, respond at all hours and you’re never off social media for more than a few hours, just in case.
You’re secretly resentful of your clients and having to “show up” for them, when truthfully, you don’t even have the energy to show up for yourself or your own business goals.
Despite getting a lot done, you feel forever-behind, perpetually-defeated and you know that burning the midnight oil is actually making your work (or marketing, or client calls) worse…but it’s like you can’t stop.
If so, you’re far from alone.
But if you’re still reading, I think it’s because you want to make a change. You want to step into your leadership, into your power and start putting focus on what matters to you and your business, while still serving clients at the highest level, of course.
Sound about right?
Then it’s time to set some boundaries, friend.
*cue screeching halt*
Now, hear me out…
I know “setting boundaries” sounds like self-help speak – not business development speak.
But the truth is, unless you carve out clear boundaries for your business, you won’t ever have a life – or self! – to run said business.
It’s true: In order to leave behind a lasting legacy, serve your clients at the highest level and experience all the expansiveness, joy and freedom you set out to experience when your launched your biz….you have to get intentional about your priorities.
Which means? You have to set boundaries. And not just with clients, but with yourself, your team and everybody else (and everything else) in your life, too.
If you don’t start putting actual parameters in place–with yourself and your clients–you’re doing everybody(and everything) in your life a disservice.
Because how can you do good work when you’re exhausted, existing on lattes and pints of Ben & Jerry’s (cue the dopamine and sugar rush!) to get stuff done?
How can you show up and coach or teach clients when you haven’t taken a shower, eaten a proper meal (read: something not out of a plastic carton, or delivered by UberEats) or put on real pants (let alone taken a pause to journal or mediate) in days?
And how can you effectively handle your zillion responsibilities – from managing your shining team to creating your next best-selling course – when you’re drowning in client work with no time to dream, create or even think?
Spoiler alert: You can’t.
But what you can do is start putting yourself and your business first, with rock-solid business boundaries.
Stop Over-scheduling, Overworking and Overpromising–For Good!
Allow me to be frank: Boundaries aren’t as scary as they sound.
I know they’re a touchy subject for most people because most people think boundaries are “bad.” We’re all human and we want other humans to like us. We’re taught from birth to be helpful, be kind and show up for others – often to our own detriment.
Boundaries, then, feel counterintuitive to our own survival. So lots of us aren’t shown or taught how to appropriately set – and stick to – healthy boundaries.
But without them, we sincerely run the risk of being taken advantage of, giving up our power and ultimately, not being able to serve others or take care of ourselves the way we’d like.
And what fun is that, am I right?
Here’s the good news: Boundaries are not a death wish, like our cavemen ancestors might’ve mistakenly believed.
Having boundaries simply means knowing what you will and won’t do or tolerate.
In turn, boundaries help you focus on what matters most and actually get those things done. They help you decisively determine what will and will not get your attention, so you actually have the time, energy and bandwidth (not to mention, patience) to pour into what’s most important to you.
Basically, if you want to experience any semblance of work/life balance and experience the exponential business growth you dream about… you absolutely need boundaries.
That’s why I’m offering a comprehensive training all about how to effectively set healthy boundaries with clients, with yourself and with everyone else in your life that will move your business forward (without you burning out).
Business Boundaries: When to Say Yes and How to Say No to Create a Healthier Relationship with Your Business
When you purchase, you’ll receive a training guide and workbook walking you step-by-step through how to establish, set, and stick to your own unique business boundaries. You’ll learn how to discern your core values, say no (and yes!) to the “right” projects and clients with more ease and confidence and finally have more time, energy and bandwidth for your top priorities (including yourself).
Here’s what we cover…
- Pinpointing the “weakest boundaries” in your business, so you know exactly what needs to change
- Overcoming self-sabotaging “people pleasing” behaviors that are draining your life force and actually hurting you and your clients
- Uncovering your true core values, so you can say no (or yes!) and (finally) prioritize the projects, clients and activities that matter most
- How to know exactly which opportunities to say yes to, and which to turn down so you can move your business forward faster
- How to ditch the dreaded “boundary setting guilt”–for good
- How to feel confident about the boundaries you set, so nothing (and no one) can shake you (or walk all over you), ever again
In short? When we’re done, you’ll have ninja-like boundary-setting skills, and you’ll know how to quickly & easily say NO (or YES) to the right opportunities, people and projects–leaving you with way more time and energy to focus on what matters most.
This work can truly change your business – and your life.
Just imagine what life with solid business boundaries could look like…
- You’re crazy-productive (almost) every day because you actually have the bandwidth for all the things you’ve said yes to (and you’re not struggling to “make up for” lost energy with coffee, sugary snacks and other self-sabotaging behaviors)
- You’re more realistic & in tune with what you can and can’t handle and intuitively know (and trust) when you should say no to an opportunity or client
- You feel happy again – not overwhelmed or even mildly annoyed – when a potential new client books a discovery call or someone asks you to speak on their podcast
- You have oodles of energy & time to work on passion projects, hang out with your family and/or take actual, unplugged vacations, because you know clients won’t be contacting you with emails with “911” in the subject line (or contacting you at all!)
- You’re working only with clients you adore and you’re loving it (Translation? Coaching or creating programs for your clients no longer feels like a chore, but an honor!)
- You know deep in your heart you’re showing up as your best self for everyone in your life, from your clients to yourself to your family (and it shows in all the raving testimonials and referrals always coming your way!)
… and so, so much more!