The word that can have people yelling “yesssssss!” because they understand just how powerful they are OR running for the nearest bush to hide in, Homer Simpson meme style, because they know they lack strong ones.
No matter which camp you’re in, what I’m about to write is for you because boundaries are not only an important part of business but will continually evolve as you do.
So, let’s get to it!
All Boundaries in Business Start with The Same Signals.
I can typically tell, within twenty minutes of a conversation, what boundaries a person has or needs in their business.
By paying attention to what they are frustrated by and the words they use to explain that frustration.
Are they putting the blame on external forces or internal?
How often has this issue been happening, with no improvement?
What have they tried to alleviate this issue?
I also find that there are two underlying signals at play. These signals are expectation and resentment.
You do something and expect (knowingly or unknowingly) a response or action in return. When you don’t get that expected response or action, you find yourself resentful. This resentment leads to frustration over the whole situation.
“I was on the call with them for an HOUR, and they chose to work with someone else!”
“I gave them a scholarship/discounted pricing to my course and they didn’t even use it!”
“I saw the signs when they signed up but told myself it would be fine. She was a nightmare to work with!”
This cycle repeats until you both become aware of it and make a conscious effort to change it.
Which leads to the million dollar question of the day for you…
What’s frustrating you right now in your business?
Use whatever comes up first and pay attention to the words you’re using to explain it.
Are you finding expectation or resentment at play?
If so, this is your sign to create a new boundary.
Successful Boundaries in Business Are A Result of Radical Responsibility.
Whenever a client asks if they are crossing a boundary, I say “You don’t have the power to cross my boundaries. Only I can do that.”
Whenever someone apologizes for “wasting my time”, I say “You don’t have the power to waste my time. Only I can do that.”
These moments are some of my favorites because I always can see the gears turning as they realize what I just said.
I, and only I, am 100% responsible for the creation of my boundaries.
I, and only I, am 100% responsible for protecting my boundaries.
I, and only I, am 100% responsible for the adjustment and refinement of my boundaries.
The same goes for you.
As a mentor once said to me, you teach people how to treat you.
You can choose to see that as weight or freedom.
For me, it’s complete freedom and a big reason why both my business and life feel as good as they do to me.
I consistently set, protect and refine my boundaries to make them that way.
Three Areas You Can Set Boundaries Around (or Refine) Today.
Now that I’ve stressed the importance of boundaries, how to know yours need work and why the only way to approach them is with radical responsibility, it’s time to get to work!
If you’re like me, you love seeing examples of things in everyday life so that you can both wrap your mind around it easier and/or get ideas of what you can do as well.
Below you will find the first three boundaries I suggest looking into, along with how this has looked within my own business.
1: Your Offers
For the first few years of business, everything was a fire that needed to be put out IMMEDIATELY.
If someone reached out, I was answering within that hour or as soon as I woke up.
If someone needed feedback, I was dropping everything to review items and/or give my thoughts.
If someone asks a question in a group, I was making sure they were answered right away so that waiting for a response didn’t hold them up.
Looking back, it’s clear to see that a lot of this was because I was afraid that I wasn’t enough. I had to give everything I had in order to be at the level they needed.
The reality? I was teaching people to rely on me vs. their own power and burning myself out in the process.
Both of which made me resentful.
If I wanted it to change, it was up to me.
This started with writing out what I was and wasn’t available for in each of the offers in my business.
Today, it looks like the following…
- If you join Clients to Courses®, you will find a Boundaries and Expectations document in our onboarding, our private community AND in our training portal. This allows you to know exactly what my interaction is within the community and our group calls as well as the fact that I don’t 1:1 coach in DMs or via email, etc.
- If you join The Collective, you will find a Boundaries and Expectations page in the welcome booklet you receive. This allows you to know how to best reach me via Voxer, my work hours, the turnaround time for funnel/sales page/anything review, etc.
By providing this upfront, it makes it so we are all on the same page and there are no misunderstandings/awkward conversations later.
If I choose to break my own boundaries, that’s on me. However, that means I’m also responsible for any consequences of that.
When you look at your own offers, what are you available for? What are you not available for? And what do you need to put into place in order to honor both?
2: Your Inbox
There was a time in my business where my Facebook inbox alone had the 90+ message icon whenever I went into it.
It was constantly filled with people asking for everything under the sun from me… social media strategy, debt pay down advice, tech support, how I did something I talked about on social media, etc.
I would also answer every single one because “omg people want to hear what I think!!!!” and because I was afraid people would think I didn’t care about them unless they paid me and I didn’t want to be “that person.”
“Free advice, come get your free adviceeeee!”
Do you know what happens when you spend two hours blasting through your inbox to respond to everyone? People respond back.
It wasn’t until the day I literally rolled back my office chair and crawled under my desk to cry while saying “just make it stop” that I realized this way of business was NOT ok.
That night, I wrote out a list of what is acceptable to speak to me directly about and what is not acceptable to speak to me directly about.
Did this feel uncomfortable? Yep.
Did crying under my desk feel uncomfortable? Also, yep.
Choose your discomfort.
That then turned into the following…
- Putting my VA at the front line of my inbox to filter everything before it reached me. She was provided with templates that included everything from responding to someone who wants to “pick my brain” to someone in a passive offer asking for direct coaching from me. She was also provided with links to podcast episodes of our most commonly asked questions to direct people to go listen.
- Setting up both a support specific email as well as an autoresponder for both my email and our support email with clear instructions on what I would answer, what I wouldn’t and/or where to send certain requests.
- Not allowing messages on Facebook. I’m still scarred from my old Facebook ways so trust me when I say that’s the worst way to reach me. Due to this, we have an autoresponder on the FDS Facebook page that directs everyone to reach out to support or find me on IG. We don’t check it, period.
- Every course I sell has information on both the emails we send out, as well as the course platform we use with the directions to reach out to our support team with tech/billing issues.
I can’t begin to tell you how much time these things have saved me over the years!
What do you keep repeating yourself on in your inbox? What messages should you not be receiving? And what can you set up to eliminate both of these from your plate?
NOTE: I can’t tell you the amount of times people have told me they appreciate my autoresponder and/or asked if they could use it as a template for their own. The answer is always thank you and yes. If you want to see it, just send an email to jess @ freedomdrivensuccess.com saying something like “Just looking at your autoresponder – thank you!” and feel free to use it. This will make it so I can easily mark them as read on my end. 😉
3: Your People
This can be a tricky one for many. However, I will tell you right now that the people you are around will either propel or pause you.
This is something I take incredibly seriously at this point in both my business (and my life) as I have experienced the consequences of not doing this and they’re not worth it.
Today, this looks like…
- Saying no to anyone who is looking to join The Collective or Strategize + Rise who I am not excited to work with. As both of these offers have 1:1 access to me, I refuse to put myself in a position where I don’t enjoy the experience as it is not of service to anyone. And yes, I did this before I got to a place where the money didn’t matter.
- Only joining and/or creating peer groups with people who share similar values and trajectories in business so that we are all on the same page. We are also clear about what we will help each other with in that container vs what you need to hire someone from the group for.
- Removing myself from any communities, groups and/or memberships that do not feel like an even exchange of energy.
- Unfollowing and/or muting any social media accounts that make me feel as if I am not enough/not doing enough/etc.
When you look at your business, who completely zaps your energy or excitement?
It could be a client, a team member, someone you follow on social or even a friend.
Whoever it is, you can feel the energy or excitement drain from you.
This is who you need to set a boundary for.
Boundaries in Business Bring Clarity to Everyone Involved.
The great thing about boundaries is that they bring clarity to both sides of the equation.
This allows you to fully be of service to those you work with because you can show up as your best self vs. the overwhelmed people pleaser. (Been there, got the the t shirt, do not recommend.)
Your next step?
Choose ONE boundary to set for yourself this week.
Yes, just one. I’d rather you take one step forward than overwhelm yourself trying to take 764,339.
And, as always, I’d love to cheer on the one you’re setting for yourself. Feel free to DM here on Instagram with the boundary you’re setting so I can celebrate with you!