How to Set Business Boundaries {and Why You Need to}

How many times have you slumped down in your seat only to realize how completely and utterly spent you are. You’re tired, the list of things to do is never ending and you can’t seem to get your head above water. Friend, I get it. I’ve been there.

Being a business owner is tough, regardless of the type of business you’re running. Blogger, handmade business, client based business… It doesn’t even matter. It’s not a frolic through the flowers.

Add to that list being a mother and well… it can be totally overwhelming.

But here’s the thing. You can change your life right now. Because chances if you’re feeling the overwhelm, you’ve been neglecting one important thing.

Boundaries.

Creating boundaries in your business can feel like a challenge. Even icky at times! But the truth is you need boundaries to create calm and care!
Creating boundaries in your business can feel like a challenge. Even icky at times! But the truth is you need boundaries to create calm and care!

Boundaries are those little thing you put in place that keep you from losing it as a business owner. Okay, as a person. They’re the things that say “this is how I work” and they set the tone for your business and your life.

And if you don’t have them in place, now is the time to get them together.

So let’s talk about boundaries a bit. Why is it so hard to establish them? The truth is that so many of us are good hearted, kind souled people and boundaries can feel sort of hard nosed. We hear that term and it makes us feel as though we’re closed off. Or like we’re somehow doing something wrong or hurtful to others. Or we even worry that it may negatively affect our business!

Luckily, I have some good news for you! And it news that will absolutely challenge your way of thinking if you’ve ever thought boundaries could be bad for you or your business.

Boundaries are a form of self care.

Self care, my friend. And you know how important that is.

So by setting boundaries, you’re not showing a lack of love for others or lack of respect for them. You’re showing how much you respect yourself and respect them by being up front. And trust me… most people are going to appreciate you being up front with them.

[bctt tweet="Setting boundaries isn't selfish. It's a form of self care! Vital and important!" username="erinshebish"]

Let me give you an example scenario here.

You’re a handmade business owner. And you’re helping a woman create a personalized birthday gift. Your customer has been in contact all day. It’s now nearing 2 am and you’ve responded to her message but soon after fall asleep. Because it’s 2 am. In the morning you wake up to a snippy message about needing a response and poor communication.

Because she thought that you were open for business all hours of night since you spent all evening and half the night responding.

Guess what? That awkwardness could have been avoided had there been some boundaries in place!

And a whole host of others too! So let’s get down to business. How can you establish boundaries today to set you up for an easier time.

Set Hours for Yourself.

Now I always recommend having business hours. But here’s the thing. You need to set hours for yourself completely. I’m talking about social media, email, shipping times. The works.

So here’s what I recommend. Set those office hours. These are the hours that you’ll be “open for business.” And once that end time hits, resist all urges to respond to emails, messages or even tags on social media. If you only respond during your normal office hours, people will know exactly what to expect.

I know… you’re worried about how that may look when it comes to emails. What if an awesome opportunity pops up? A customer has a question? A reader wants your opinion? It’s okay, I promise. You can set up an email auto responder! Any time someone emails you, you can have an email automatically respond to let them know that their email has been received and they can expect a response within X amount of time. Trust me, this absolutely works and lets your emailer know that you care about their message!

Make Sure You Have Clear Policies.

If you have a handmade business, you most likely already have something like this in place. But in the off chance you don’t or you’re not in the handmade business world, let’s talk about your policies.

Policies are what I lovingly refer to as “safety nets.” These are the foundations of how you will run your business. What you will do and won’t do. And they should be clear and very straight forward.

Your policies should include things like

  • Hours of Operation
  • Turnaround Time
  • Return Policies
  • Shipping Policies
  • Refund Policies

Really anything that would have any sort of condition to it. You want to have these written out as thoroughly as possible and link to them in any place that your customer or reader may be. If you’re a handmade business owner, add a link to your policies within your listings. If you’re a blogger, have a set page dedicated to it with a button on your side bar, menu bar, footer or all of the above to make sure your readers have it available.

And do me a favor. When you update those policies, add the date to them. An effective date of sorts. This ensures that when someone says “Those policies weren’t there when I was on your page!”, you can lovingly direct them to that effective date.

Be okay saying no.

I know you’ve heard that saying “The customer is always right.” It’s a good saying. Except that it’s wrong. Sometimes you’re going to deal with difficult people. Now luckily, it’s very rare that you’ll get that gem of a person but when you do, you have to learn to say no.

Okay, hear me out. Saying no feels icky, I truly understand that. But the truth is that you cannot afford to say to everything. I’m not talking financially either. You can’t afford to say yes to every single request that comes your way because your time is valuable. Your resources are valuable. You are valuable. So when you get that customer that wants an additional product free just because they realized the color is off, you can say no. When you have a team member that isn’t quite pulling their weight on your team and they ask you to cover for them {again!} you can say no.

When you have that brand email you at 2PM and ask if you can review and write a post by the next morning, you can say no.

Saying no isn’t a bad thing. Again, it’s all about self care.

{But on that note, say yes when it feels right. Trust your gut, my friend!}

Setting boundaries can feel tough in the beginning but there’s one thing you should absolutely know. As challenging as they can be, they can be absolute life savers. Those boundaries help create calm and fulfillment in your life.

If you’re struggling to set up boundaries in your business and need some help on how to begin, reach out! Leave me a comment or email me and I’d love to help you out.

And leave me a comment to let me know how you’ve set boundaries in your business!

Until next time, have a beautiful day!

Creating boundaries in your business can feel like a challenge. Even icky at times! But the truth is you need boundaries to create calm and care!
Creating boundaries in your business can feel like a challenge. Even icky at times! But the truth is you need boundaries to create calm and care!