Episode #309: Why It’s Imperative to Set Boundaries in Business
TAYLOR BRADFORD: You’re listening to episode number 309 of the Boss Girl Creative podcast. Today I’m talking about why it is imperative that you’ve set boundaries in your business. On to the episode.
Well, hello, and welcome to this episode of the Boss Girl Creative podcast. I am your host, Taylor Bradford. Thank you so much for tuning in to today’s episode, which is all about why it is imperative that you have boundaries in place for your business, because your clients or your fellow vendor friends, they will if you haven’t already experienced this, they will push your buttons and push your boundaries. And if you don’t have solid boundaries and place solid processes in place solid policies in place, then they will just push your buttons and push you beyond those boundaries if you don’t already have them set, which is why it’s imperative that you have them in place. It’s your ground rules, its boundaries that are made up of what your core values are, and what your business best practices are, and all of those things.
So I’m going to ask you some questions, and I want to know if any of these hit home for you. If any of these are like, oh my gosh, she’s so talking to me. Do you feel pulled in a million directions and your business? Our clients or vendors messaging you at all hours? Do you feel stuck in the trenches doing the little things that don’t allow you to do the big things like be the CEO of your business? Do you say yes, because it’s just easier than saying no? Do you go go go all the time, but don’t make time for yourself? Do you receive requests for your services or your offerings, but the requests ask you to go against your policy because that person wants you to do it their way?
Yep, some of those have hit home for me. Some of those I have, unfortunately, allowed. I’ve bent rules, and that never goes well. It never goes well. When you bend to help somebody else out, you’re not helping yourself. And that person won’t respect you in the future because they think that you will just bend to their whim, every time because it’s them asking, and – “She won’t care, she will do it. I have that relationship with her with her,” regardless of whether or not they actually have that relationship with you. That can be so frustrating in business. That’s being taken advantage of. That is somebody not respecting you, as a fellow human and as a fellow business owner. Would they ask of themselves the same thing they’re asking of you? So if they are asking you to bend a rule, would they also bend the rule if you ask them? If you have a minimum set in place to be hired for your services, are they willing to bend their own minimum for you and your client to be hired? 99.9% of the time, the answer is no, they wouldn’t. They are just pushing to see what you will do. They are pushing to see what you’re willing to give up. Whether that is because they think they’re this awesome negotiator, or whether or not they see themselves as being superior to you, or you fill in the blank. There could be a multitude of reasons why they may be asking you to basically lay down and bend your rules and forget your processes and cross the line. You have to, have to, have to, you have to set your boundaries. You have to have policies, and you have to actively communicate them. Because ultimately, this is how you establish trust and connection in your vendor relationships, in your business relationships, and even in your personal relationships. This works in life as well.
Boundaries help you avoid burnout. Boundaries help you confidently say yes and no. Boundaries help you know where your priorities lie. Boundaries help you strengthen your relationships, as I’ve already mentioned. Boundaries allow you to be able to have the freedom in your life and business to do other things. And boundaries help you stay in alignment with your core values and your vision. Because at the end of the day, without having a business foundation made up of your what, made up of your why, made up of your core values, made up of your mission statement, made up of all of those things, your ideal client, etc. Without that, without those things in place, you won’t be successful. And if you bend your boundaries, every time somebody asks you to, you’re not going to move your business forward. You’re just going to constantly be taken advantage of, and that’s not fair. It’s not fair of the human asking you. It’s not fair to you. It’s not fair to your family. Because it ends up meaning that you are making a sacrifice to make somebody else look good, and that’s not a lasting relationship, regardless of the type, whether it’s a business relationship or a personal relationship. That level cannot be sustained for you. It might be sustainable for that other human that’s constantly asking for people to bend over backwards for them, but for you, it’s not sustainable. You will burn out. You will get frustrated. You will have all the things that work against you because you are willing to bend your rules. You are willing to bend and break your own policies.
Now, it’s one thing if that human actually does respect you and maybe gets themselves in a pickle, but it’s business that they’ve continually sent you, and this one time they’re in a pickle, that is a completely different conversation. If you have somebody that is consistently referring you business, who is consistently paying you your value, and then they make an ask, that’s one thing. But when it’s not consistent business, and it’s something where they’re trying to get you on their terms, and you’ve never worked with them before, that’s not okay. And you shouldn’t be willing to break your own rules, to break your own policies, to help them. You have to draw that line in the sand. Otherwise, that’s a message back to them that you’re willing to break your own rules all the time for them, and that’s not fair. That’s not fair for them to even make that request.
So you have to set your boundaries. There have been many times where I have been asked to do X, Y, and Z in business. I remember somebody wanted to rent my chairs, subcontract my chairs out for an event because they didn’t have enough. And subcontracting rentals is not absurd. It’s not an absurd request. It happens all of the time. If somebody doesn’t have enough of that thing, they will do their best to source the additional – meaning they’ll do the work to go find it and then make it whole for you to go forward – and that’s totally normal. However, if I’m the one that is being asked to be that subcontract, I’m totally okay with a subcontract, but it’s on my terms. It’s on Sugar Creek’s terms in order for that to work out. And since I’m not an order puller, it has to be done at my level of boundaries, and policies, and procedures, and processes. So if you want me to subcontract, that’s totally fine. This is what it’s going to cost, and this is how it’s going to work. And if you don’t agree to those terms, then I’m sorry, I won’t be the one that you subcontract with because I have my boundaries in place. Because I have my business processes in place, and that’s the end of it. You can always ask, but sometimes the answer is no. Or sometimes the answer is, “you know what? I would love to help you out, and I’m sure you can understand that we have minimums in place, just as I’m sure you told your client it was X amount of dollars to work with you.” So it’s okay to ask. But if you don’t actively work with somebody, don’t make the expectation that you’re all that and a bag of tricks and that they’re just going to fall at your whim because you are who you are. Boundaries are imperative absolutely imperative.
So let’s talk about steps to help you create your boundaries. First of all, what do you want out of your business? What kind of working hours do you want to work? What type of day are those working hours? What are your policies? What are your processes? What are the consequences if something happens outside of those things? What’s included in the contract? Like what is your scope of work? What is expected of the person hiring you as well? It’s very, very important to set those expectations before there is ever a contract signed. What happens if the client breaks the contract or the scope of work changes? All of those things have to be discussed before a contract is ever signed. It is important that those conversations are had so that the client hiring you or the vendor hiring you understands what it means to sign that contract and understands what it means to work with you.
So when a client reaches out to me for Sugar Creek rentals, that’s part of the conversation that we have. I’m going to talk to you about your event. I’m going to ask questions to get to know you to figure out where our rentals might fit into your event or where my design services might fit into your event. And then I’m going to say what it’s like to work with Sugar Creek. I’m going to lay out all of the most important things that need to be discussed before you ever sign on the dotted line because I can’t guarantee you that you’re going to actually read through my contract and fully understand those things. So we’re going to have those conversations about this is how you contract us. It’s a 50% non-refundable retainer to book those rentals for your event date. The final payment is due 30 days before the event date. We reach out at this point in time to find out how things are going with your event with the planning process. Then we reach out at this time to start working on our delivery schedule and to find out any other information that is imperative to us performing on a contract. Like what is the loading schedule? What time does your event start? What time do we need to be set up by? When do we need to return to pick up everything? What time does your end contract time with the venue actually occur? That’s strike time in vendor speak. When do vendors have to be all out by? All of that information is really important so that we can schedule our team to be there on time and to get things set up on time and then to return on time to get our things again, so that the client doesn’t incur charges from the venue if we aren’t on time, etc., etc., if we don’t have that information. We talk about rain plans. If the client is telling us that something is going to be placed outside, well, then that’s when we start talking about our rain plans, etc. So we lay out all of that really important information upfront. We also talk about cancellations and what it’s like to swap out items or, once the contract is actually signed, that the contracted amount can’t deviate down. It has to stay at the contracted amount. It can go up, but it can’t go down, etc. So we talk about all of those things because that’s important. I’m setting the expectation with the client on how to hire Sugar Creek. So you have to have that in writing. You have to have that conversation before they ever sign on the dotted line so that you know that they understand because, at the end of the day, they really aren’t probably going to read through your contract. Communicate, communicate, communicate. That is so important when setting your boundaries.
And when somebody asks of you something, and your gut tells you this as a no, because it’s not an automatic hell, yes. It has to stay that no because if it’s not an automatic hell yes to the question, it’s challenging you in some way. It is pushing your boundaries. So that’s why it’s important to understand what your boundaries are. It’s important for you to have those processes in place. It’s important for you to communicate the expectations of your business and how it means to work with you or how it is to work with you. Lay it all out there. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
You have to be so incredibly upfront of what it’s like to work with you, to set those boundaries, to set those expectations. It’s imperative because otherwise, you won’t move forward. And none of us are in the business of staying still. None of us are in the business of staying on the hamster wheel. None of us are in the business of like, “yeah, that’s as good as it’s gonna get.” None of us are there. We are in this to go forward. We are in this to create the life that means something to us. We are in this because we have purpose for what it is that we’re doing. We are in this to not be taken advantage of. We are in this to get paid our value. We are in this to make a difference. That is why we have to have boundaries. That is why it is imperative that you have them so that when you are challenged, or when somebody starts pushing a button, you automatically go back and say, “you know what? That’s a boundary that I have. Here’s how we can work together. This is what it’s going to take to work with me, to work with us, to work with you, etc.” Set those boundaries. Take time out right now, or as soon as you can, and figure out what your game plan is because if you don’t already know what your boundaries are, how will you know when somebody is crossing them? It’s imperative to create boundaries.
Thank you so much for listening to today’s episode. I so appreciate you more than you know. I will be back next week with another episode of the Boss Girl Creative podcast. If you haven’t already started binge-listening to my back catalog – if you’re listening through Apple podcasts, they only hold my last 100 episodes, so I encourage you to pop over to bossgirlcreative.com and look through the episode guide. All of the episodes, all 309 of them are listed for you, and you can listen through the website or through another podcast listening app that is not Apple podcasts. Because again, Apple podcasts only host my last 100 episodes, and I’ve got 309 for you to listen to – actually 308 if you’re listening to this one. Again, thank you again. I so appreciate your support. I will be back next week, but until then, I hope you go back and find another episode that speaks to you.