Let’s talk BOUNDARIES.
Like, how to say no to people when you *really* don’t want to do something, WHY that strengthens your brand, and what boundaries you should put in place for your biz.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
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Here’s a transcript of the episode
Hey everyone, I am here and I want to talk today about boundaries.
I really wanted to talk about this today because I keep hearing it around the Internet a lot and I even still have some issues with this stuff myself. So let’s talk for a second about why boundaries are important. Number one reason being so you don’t want to stab people. So you don’t hate everyone and hate your life because really that’s like the reason that we start our own businesses, right? Is to be able to do what we want to do and be happy doing our own thing. When other people interfere with that and like suck the energy out of what you’re doing and just make it not fun. That sucks, right? So we want to avoid that. The way that we avoid things like that are putting firm boundaries in place.
The things that I’m talking about are when you don’t have boundaries in place, you might get people that like don’t respect your time. So I actually had, this is the first time this has happened in a really long time to me, but I actually had this week, someone not show up for a call that they booked, which infuriates the piss out of me. It makes me so mad when people don’t respect my time. And that’s one of my really strong boundaries that I try to enforce. And the way that I do that and the way that you can do that is to set expectations. But the way, but the way that you can set up boundaries, and the way that I have attempted to, is make it so that only the right people can even get on a call with you in the first place. So if you’ve noticed, if you’ve been on my website, if you are interested in working with me, you have to fill out an application and then you get a link to book onto my calendar. And it’s like that for a reason. Not only does it pre qualify and make sure we’re a good fit, but it shows me that you are like actually invested in, you know, just your time. Like you’re setting up the expectation that this is something that you want to do and you’re not going to waste my time. And for me, if you can’t take the time to fill out a form to book a call, then we’re probably not a very good fit to work together anyway.
So that’s just one of the ways that you can set up boundaries. Now, like I said this week, somebody still filled out the form and then still didn’t show up. So obviously people are going to get through. But it’s really, really important to set those up and in the beginning of your business, especially when you’re first starting out because you want to try to avoid as much of that as possible.
It’s really important to set those up at the beginning of your business because if you wait until later, if you wait until people have already started taking advantage of you, it’s much harder to set them up after the fact. People have already kind of gotten that expectation in their head, even if like if they’re an existing client. But it’s really an important too just for your mental space, you know, like setting firm boundaries for what you will and you will not tolerate in your business.
So some of the other things that you might consider for boundaries are obviously your time is the most valuable asset that you have. Whatever the money that you’re making is important, but it’s not based on your time, you’re, you charge your money based on your value. The value that you’re giving to your clients. So your time is the most precious thing that you have. So anything you can do boundary wise to protect that is awesome.
Schedule. Like even if you don’t have an application form, even just having a calendar to let people book a call with you instead of you just throw on your, your phone number on the website for anybody who wants to talk to you, that’s not an efficient use of your time.
Ways that you can do that are putting it on even on a sales page or like your page on your website that talks about your program. You don’t want to go into too much detail there, but you know, they’re really effective if you have a section that’s like, what can you expect or how do I know if this is for me? That’s an awesome place for, for things like that. If you are 100% committed and you trust yourself and you’re going to take responsibility for your actions and your results.
So like for me, with my clients, I have absolutely no control over one person’s success or failure. It’s totally up to them. Like as a, as their mentor, coach, strategist, whatever you wanna call it. I like strategist because it doesn’t sound as woo-woo-y, but it’s essentially a coach. I have no control over whether or not they do anything, but it’s my job to help them and guide them and give them every single tool they could possibly need to get where they want to go and encourage and support and just be there and, you know, create a space for them to do what they want to do. But at the end of the day, I have no control over it. So making sure and setting up those boundaries at the very beginning and making it very clear what it is that I actually do and what it is that you actually do and what each of us are responsible for is super, super important to not only like keep everybody happy and not cause any problems, but also to just like set up that relationship from the start with you being like in that position of expert, like I am the leader. This is the journey that we’re taking. I’m the guide. Whereas if you don’t have any kind of boundaries like that and you’re just like, yeah, well we’ll just do whatever you want. That’s, that’s not really, not really helping them. Like in that sounds kind of counterintuitive almost like – don’t do what they say. Don’t do what they want. But that’s not it at all. It’s more like setting up the expectation for how things are going to work so that they can get the most out of the experience working with you.
So we’ve talked about money, we’ve talked about time. So maybe it’s just like you’ve had trouble with people still just not respecting your time. There are just lots of different ways people can be disrespectful of your time. I talked specifically about like booking calls and not showing up.
Like I said at the beginning, time is your most important asset that you have. So maybe it’s that they don’t show up for a call, so you want to put those boundaries in place for how to actually get on a call with you. But maybe they always show up late or they are showing up on time, but they’re not prepared. All of that stuff is super important to address beforehand.
The next thing I like to do is an orientation packet or a welcome packet or whatever you want to call it is one of my favorite things about my program. It was so fun for me to make and it’s so cool. And it talks about like super practical things like that you should do like clear out any other courses that you’re already working on. So you can focus on this and you know, block off your calendar for certain times that you’re going to work on certain things so you can be efficient and actually get shit done. But it also has a lot of stuff in there about setting up those boundaries and like what is expected of you and what is expected of me. And it’s in the contract. Yes. And hopefully everybody reads the contract. I always read everything. But just in case it’s in there again and it says things like, it’s your responsibility to show up and be prepared with questions.
So that’s the point of these boundaries and these practical things, but you want to also like keep people excited and you want to phrase these boundaries in a way that actually makes them excited about them. That can be a little bit tricky. One of the ways you can do that is just how you word things. So you don’t want to be like, okay, this is all up to you. You got to do the notes, I’m just going to be here. Make it very clear the things that you as a coach, strategist, business owner, landscaper or whatever it is, whatever your business is, make it very clear what your responsibility is also. So if I say something in there like, it’s your job to show up and be prepared with questions. It’s my job to show up and guide the conversation and make sure that the questions that you have prepared and make sure we’re on the right track. And it’s my responsibility to say something if I feel like we’re getting way off track and you know, put myself in the position of “leader” and say, okay, well do you really feel like this path is going to help you get to your goal faster? Or is that just like Shiny Object Syndrome over there?
That’s the second side of boundaries – is you have to be able to back up what you’re, what you’re saying. You can’t just say, you’re going to do this and you’re going to do this and I’m going to do this and then not actually do it. So you have to practice what you preach, basically. You have to be the expert. You have to embody that with everything that you’re doing.
You can’t be afraid and you can’t shy away, not just from confrontation. Hopefully you won’t have any confrontation. Honestly, I haven’t had a lot. Setting all this up beforehand helps eliminate some of that, a lot of that stuff, most of that stuff. And you’re only attracting the people, the right people in the first place. So that really eliminates all of that. But sometimes it doesn’t. And you have to be willing to step up and practice what you preach again and really own what you’re talking about and have those hard conversations if you need to have them. And that doesn’t mean you have to be a dick about it. That doesn’t mean you have to do anything that makes you feel gross or mean. But it does mean that you have to, you know, trust yourself and make sure that what you’re doing really aligns with your goals and your business and make sure that you are able to give your clients whatever it is that you promise them.
So if they’re doing something that doesn’t feel right or it doesn’t really align with their goal or your goal, you have to step up and you have to say it. That’s your job as their leader, mentor, service provider, whatever, whatever your business is, it doesn’t really matter. This applies to literally any business ever.
When we’re setting up these boundaries, you have to back up what you’re saying and you have to be willing to like step up and have that conversation. Setting the expectation beforehand eliminates that. But if not, there’s always a way to have those conversations and do that in a way that is respectful and, and nice, but still like firm and getting your point across.
I feel like there’s a misconception sometimes that people think that, like the customer is always right and it’s not your job and it’s not your place to do something that they don’t want to do. But especially in my industry, and I know a lot of the people in this group and in your industry too, that’s just not the case. That’s not true. People might think they know what they need and they might think they know what they want. But that’s definitely not always true. And it takes a little bit of reeducation. Again, gracefully, nicely. It takes a little bit of reeducation though and teaching them what is actually best for them and why and making them understand that. But like the customer is not always right. That is for damn sure. They’re not always right. Even if they think they are. Sometimes they are, hopefully they have a good idea of what they’re doing if they’re in business, but if they’re not, it is your job to step up and give them direction and guide them and people actually want direction and they want you to guide them.
That’s why they come to you in the first place because they don’t know what the eff they’re doing. Like if they didn’t need your help, they wouldn’t come to you in the first place. So if you’re worried about that, that’s where you just have to take your brain back and kind of rewire your brain to think like if they came to you, it’s because they need you.
If they came to you, it’s because they need you. And because they value your expertise and they want your help. So freaking give it to them, give them your help, they’re asking for it. They want that guidance. They just might not think that they do. And it might be a little bit hard, but at the end of the day, that’s really the difference between an expert and a service provider.
So obviously we want to be an expert at our thing and we want people to see us as an expert and we want people to value our work and think that what we’re doing is helping them. That’s really the difference. A service provider does what you tell them. Like let’s say when I first started out, I had my graphic design degree. I was a service provider. And I was freaking miserable. It was terrible because I had no boundaries and everybody was just awful all the time. But anyway. A service provider is like someone you go to, like in design industry, what’s like Fiverr or Upwork or something like that. It’s like, I need this, here’s this person, you go do it and then give it back to you.
Whereas an expert, like a brand strategist or a even even a graphic designer that has specialized in your specific thing, will tell you if you say, I want this. And they’re like, Eh, if your target audience is this, that’s really not a good idea and that’s really not going to resonate with your people and that’s not going to help you get where you want to go. That’s the type of person you want. And that’s the type of person you need working with you. And at least in my experience when I have done that, and when I have stepped up and said that, people respect the hell out of that. Like they want to know. They don’t know what they don’t know. So just putting yourself in that position of being the expert and giving them the information that they need, even if they don’t know they need it, ups your values so much. Like it makes you more valuable to them, but you have to step up and you have to say it and you have to have the courage to do that.
So just keeping that in mind. We want to be an expert. We want to not be just a service provider and we want to give the most value possible and we want them to get the most out of whatever it is that you’re trying to help them do. You want them to get results. Obviously. If you don’t, then leave the group. But you want them to get results and that’s the best way to do it.
I will talk to you guys soon. Have a good night!
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