July 6, 2015

Setting boundaries in my business - Part III

I knew the post series of setting boundaries in business wasn't done after writing part I and II a while back. Setting boundaries pops up as a big life lesson for me over and over. And it doesn't just restrict itself to private situations. Sometimes I think the reason I ended up with a small business is really the lessons I have to learn from it. Having your own little business is a great teacher, no doubt about that. And with my Summer vacation coming up I feel I really need to set some new boundaries to make life a little easier on myself.

Since I'm constantly learning myself it kind of feels weird to write a post in which I tell my readers what to do in certain business situations, so I didn't want to give this post a title like '10 tips to set boundaries in business'. Although it would probably do better in Google rankings than the current title it wouldn't be fair. This post is just to share my experiences with setting boundaries and to let you all know with what decisions I came up. And who knows, maybe in time I will have to get back on those decisions and alter them. Life changes, right? So let's see what boundaries I set these last days concerning my business.

If you're working with clients you're working with real people. People that have lives outside the connection you have with them. Some clients are really focused on the project you're working on with them and some clients have other stuff going on in their lives which makes them less focused. The latter kind of client might have so much on their plate that the project is kind of bleeding out in the end. I will be waiting for them to answer certain questions or to come up with certain info or data in order for me to complete the project. And then they just don't.

Now what? Do I keep asking them? Do I wait around until I hear from them? I was really confused at first how to deal with these kind of situations. To be honest, I was kind of surprised these situations even occurred. I thought that if people had already paid they would like to see the results and would be focused enough to bring the project to a good end. But I guess I was wrong. Maybe something happened in their lives that put the project on the back burner for them. So after a while I decided to leave it up to them to contact me again when they felt they were ready to work on things again.

This way of dealing with it goes pretty well if it's just a couple of these clients and they don't all decide to contact you to pick up the project again in the same week. If it's more than a couple of clients I realized I would have a problem on my hands once they all decided to work further on things at the same time. I would probably have trouble to fit it all into my working schedule, not to mention the time I need to work with new clients. Also, having unfinished projects is creating a bit of stress or restlessness for me. In the back of my mind I'm still thinking about these projects and when a client finally decides to pick up the project it costs time and energy again to dive into the project. Where were we? What still needs to be done, etc. While thinking about my life and business this last month I knew I needed to make a decision on this issue as well. And so I did.

At the end of July I will be on Summer vacation for a couple of weeks and before that I really want all those loose ends tied up again. So I sent out emails to the clients that had unfinished projects and from whom I hadn't heard back in a while. I told them I was going on vacation and I really needed us to finish the project before that time. It doesn't come natural to me to call out people on their part of the deal or responsibilities, but by not doing so I'm my own worst enemy in the end. I'll end up with a ton of unfinished business that only provides stress for me.

And to prevent more unfinished projects I will have to be stricter with clients from now on. I need to point out to them that if they are working on a custom project with me I expect them to return my messages within 48 to 72 hours or something like that. And when someone purchases a premade blogger template that I have to install for them I think it's not that weird to expect them to come up with all the info and data I need for the installation within one work week. By setting these boundaries I give myself some air and space. And in the end everyone is going to benefit from that. Myself and my clients.

If you have a business, please let me know how you set boundaries in the comments below. I would love to hear your stories and experiences!

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