When I first started Black Unicorn Creative, I wish someone had told me just how incredibly important boundaries were in business. I’ll be honest, it’s taken me a while to not only learn them, but enforce them consistently so I continue to enjoy what I do.
How do you know you need to set better business boundaries?
- When you lose track of time daily
- When you are often interrupted while working
- When you start to resent, delay or hide from client interactions
- When you become moody or lash out over things that didn’t bother you previously
- When you lack excitement, fulfillment or joy in your day to day operations
- When you goals seem less and less obtainable
- When you are feeling like you hate everything and everyone and want to burn the whole business down
Ask yourself what boundaries you can put in place to make it a more enjoyable experience?
Let’s talk about the different types of business boundaries…
Types of business boundaries
Time Boundaries: boundaries affecting your time or schedule
- Contact during office/business hours – Enforcing business hours or contact times will help you plan out your schedule and “turn- off” to clients at a particular time. You can do this buy utlizing a scheduler for client calls or including the timing in your communication policies
- Vacation time – Vacation time should be preplanned and your business should work around it, not the other way around. Be intentional about taking time off and when you know you have some time out of the office, then you know how to best prepare your clients (and your business) to operate without you or in congruence with your schedule.
- Time bandits (meetings/conversations) – If you schedule a meeting that will be an hour, it does not need to last 61 minutes. Be clear in your communication policies, set a timer for 5-10 minutes before the closure to make sure everyone has a chance to wrap up the conversation or plan for the next. Setting this boundary will put you in a better position to stick to a schedule and minimize last minute adjustments due to a client running over.
Attention Boundaries: boundaries influencing what captures your attention and/or keeps it
- Types of clients – Knowing who you want to work with is just as important as knowing who you DO NOT want to work with. Once you have a crop of amazing clients, you will be able to conceptualize the red flags and the things you will not tolerate in a client relationship
- New ideas/Shiny Object syndrome – Is there a market for that new service or opportunity or tool or transition? Keeping your brand MVV front and center, having this boundary will give you a higher level of discernment to know what’s for you, what you can hold off on for now, or what does not align with you at all
- Distractions – Put a do not disturb hanger on your do and communicate with your better half that there are some times where you simply cannot be interrupted. It may be hard to implement, but try, communicate and adjust as needed. And understand the likelihood your pet will read the sign is very slim
Financial Boundaries: boundaries that affect your finances
- Unnecessary spending – Could you skip that cup of coffee or make some at home? Can you skip that “business lunch” and meal prep for a couple of days? If you have financial goals, then these boundaries will be key for you. (Please note, we are all for self-care in the name of better biz operations, so if you undoubtedly need it, SWIPE THE COMPANY CARD!)
- Saving/Investing – Boundaries that align with your goals! Keeping up with them and your financial health will give you the discipline you need to develop a healthy relationship with money
Mental Health Boundaries: boundaries that affect your mental health
- Energy sucks – There may be a friend or client (or even a spouse) that sucks the living daylights out of you with their incessant needs, shitty mood or repetitive drama. Setting a boundary for this person is crucial if you find it hard to self-motivate. Be clear and compassionate, but stand firm in the “I need to handle this when I’m in a better space”
- Resting when needed – Even revolutionaries require rest. Working until you are at capacity won’t bring the fruits of your labor to you any faster. Rest when your body is called to, or it will force you to rest when you don’t want to.
Communicate your policies up front. Have them, share them, enforce them!
Let me know, what are some of your non-negotiables?