Today’s podcast episode is part #5 in our series on Better Boundaries For a Better Life.
This episode is a follow up on my series around boundaries but on this episode I am specifically speaking to business owners, large and small.
Over the years, I have seen so many business owners who face one kind of struggle or another inside their business, from financial problems to time management to staffing issues and more.
What they don’t know, and what I am going to talk to about today is that boundaries, or the lack of them, play a role in most if not all of the struggles business owners have, or could have down the line.
So if you are a long time business owner or a brand new entrepreneur, or if you’re thinking of starting a business, this episode is for you.
The best way I can describe boundaries is to say they are like lines in the sand as to what you will do or won’t do in your business. What you will tolerate, and what you won’t.
For me, personally, as a recovering people pleaser, I struggled with boundaries in my personal life for years, so when I first became an entrepreneur I had to really sit down and picture what I wanted my businesses to look like. What I wanted to do personally and what I knew I did not want to do. What I was ok with, and what I was not ok with.
Some business owners find themselves with boundaries issues and they may not even know it.
Maybe it's a client that is disrespectful of your time or efforts or is rude or demanding or impatient.
Maybe it's an employee who takes advantage by showing up late, taking too long on tasks, constantly taking time off, is not a team player or brings drama to work.
Maybe it's a vendor that is unreliable or inconsistent or does shoddy work.
Maybe it's a client or customer that takes advantage of or is disrespectful of your team.
Maybe it's a client or customer taking advantage of your return/refund policy.
Maybe it's family members or friends that don't treat your business the way you would like them too.
Maybe it's unclear goals or expectations.
There are any number of small, seemingly insignificant issues that revolve around boundaries that we as business owners have to deal with every single day.
It can be really easy to "let it slide" this once to avoid the drama or difficult conversation.
The problem is, it's never just once. It always snowballs. Maybe not with that one person, but SOMEONE IS WATCHING. Someone will see the example you set.
As business owners, one of the best things we can do to build and grow a healthy business is to define what it is you actually want and don't want inside your business and then begin to build a culture around that concept.
Too often we just jump in, head first and run with our ideas. Not really stopping to check if all the running is taking us in the exact right direction we want to go.
I’ve had to do this multiple times my businesses. It helps you bring in that singular focus on your goals.
It also makes sure that your team always has clearly defined roles, powers, restrictions and support from you as the owner.
They never wonder what they should do in any given situation because the systems, the boundaries, are solidly in place. This not only allows you to be free to work on growing your business rather than baby-sitting them or customers. It also helps give them a sense of security in their role and in the company as a whole.
Without careful planning, boundary setting and clear cut expectations it’s unlikely that you will actually reach your goals because they’re not clearly defined.
It's like baking a cake with no recipe. It might look like a cake, even taste like a cake, but is it THE cake that you as the business owner wanted to bake?
Now it's time to dig into the Common Boundary Mistakes you may be making in every day situations:
Answering emails or text messages at all hours of the day.
Allowing an employee to create a culture of disrespect by being late, unreliable or disruptive.
Not having a clear cut refund/return policy that you stick by.
Allowing clients or customers to treat you or your team members poorly.
Not having clearly defined roles and responsibilities so employees/team members know what to expect of you and what is expected of them reliably.
There are no consequences if clients or customers or employees don't follow your guidelines.
You have high turn over.
You catch yourself working late or early.
You compromise your needs, feelings or values to please a customer client or employee.
You second-guess your decisions.
You have a high level of stress or anxiety.
How do you KNOW if you need to set boundaries in your business?
Simple, If you’re resentful of clients or customers, angry with employees, irritated, annoyed or even avoiding people, it’s most likely because you haven’t set boundaries in those relationships.
If you’re second guessing your decisions, procrastinating about ideas or projects, tolerating people or situations, you need a boundary.
Every relationship in your business should contribute to your business not deplete it.
Every situation (even the ones we don’t always enjoy like paperwork) should leave us feeling appreciated, valued, motivated or contributory rather than expected, used and undervalued.
For example, doing payroll isn’t exactly fun, but when you know you have great employees who really bring their A game to work, it feels good to know you help support them and their families, even if it stings a little to write that check.
Whether you have a brick and mortar, or work from home, boundaries play a role in our everyday lives.
Unfortunately we often don’t take the time to think through the implications of our boundaries, or the lack of them, until we’re stressed out, close to burnout, or in some kind of financial trouble.
It’s not easy to create good work-life balance or to always provide exceptional customer service and be a great boss and leader.
It’s a challenge to build relationships with other entrepreneurs, vendors and influencers.
It can be difficult to build and maintain the team you need to help not only maintain your business, but to grow it. It’s a balancing act. One that we as entrepreneurs, struggle with every day.
We don’t get to “clock out”, right?
Whether we’re interacting with clients or customers, team members or vendors. We get emails and text messages all day long.
It requires a ton of coordination and time management. It’s the nature of the beast when building and growing a business.
The problem is, we feel the need to respond to every message right away. We are constantly juggling to keep all the balls in the air.
The next thing you know, you’re overwhelmed and feeling like you can never escape work.
That’s how it starts at first. We spend day and night worrying about our business.
Planning, executing, building relationships, networking. Scaling. All the terms we are all too familiar with.
It can quickly turn into “all business, all the time”.
The Biggest Takeaways from this Episode:
It’s OK to say no-in-fact you need to.
Manage your time
Clearly define your work hours and set limits on your time
Don’t do it all yourself
Say no to meetings
Define your workspace
Stick to the job or project specs.
When it comes to boundaries in business, people often get scared off because they think it will cost them business. That they will seem offsetting or rude.
I have seen so many business owners bitch and complain about how a client or customer treats them, or how an employee takes advantage of them and yet they do nothing. Nothing to preserve their integrity, or the integrity of their business.
Think about that one for a minute.
What are you telling your staff or customers or even vendors about your business when you allow the boundaries to be ignored?
Healthy boundaries will not only help you feel less stressed and create that much needed separation between work life and personal life, but it will also give you the space you need to grow your business.
Food for thought:
Do you think an employee who shows up late all the time respects you OR the company?
Do you think a vendor who delivers the wrong product or shady services is worried about losing your business?
Do you think a would be client is excited to work with you when they see other clients walk all over you?
The bottom line is, you set the tone. You create the environment that represents your company image. Your brand.
Set Your Ground Rules
Always Be Consistent-Wishy washiness can be seen as weakness and basically rendors your boundaries null and void.
Communication is key
Be aware of your triggers
If you’re ready to:
EMPOWER YOURSELF to make the best choices for your business.
Take full responsibility and ownership for yourself and your choices in your business.
Stop making excuses for not having the business you want
Finally have your business reach its full potential
Own that as the business owner you can change the things in your business that you don’t like
Then you’re ready to start setting new boundaries and take back your business.
What are you giving up in your business by not having good boundaries?
Although setting boundaries can be tough and some days you will want to give up, I will tell you it’s actually much easier than running a business without them hands down.
Once you make the decision that YOUR policies, your expectations, your vision and your mission are the priority, it’s done. Then you can focus on the running and growing of your business rather than the people pleasing and conflict dodging.
Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
I hope you find this episode packed with value and resources that will help you as you do the hard work to build the life you deserve!
Wishing you all the best in your journey to TAKE BACK YOUR LIFE!!
A Little Note From Me
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Finally, do you have questions about today’s episode or have suggestions for something you would like me to talk about on the podcast?
Drop me an email at Erin@takebackyourlifecoaching.com and let me know.
That’s the best way for me to help clear up any confusion or answer any questions and to ensure I am incorporating everything you need to help you bridge the gap from where you are and where you want to be and start the process towards taking back your life!!