One Word to Help You Set Boundaries with Your Clients | By Ruby McGuire

Are you saying 'yes' to your clients, when you really know you should be saying 'no'?

When you signed up to being a coach you wanted to serve people, right? I know, but that doesn't mean you have to sell yourself out in the process. You know that old philosophy; you have to help yourself first before you can help others.

The lines of running your own business can get very blurred, especially if you are working from a home/office. Unless you shut the door on what you're doing it's easy to get sucked back into work again.

So, if you're sitting at your desk or on your sofa answering emails at 11pm at night , you're training your clients to expect you to be available 24/7. If you don't want to work at 11pm at night, then something has to change. It starts with not replying to emails at 11pm at night (unless you're a night owl and that's when you want to work).

Now you might be thinking that if you set boundaries with your clients you'll lose them, or they'll fall out of love with you. The reality is some of them might, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't set them. Some people actually like boundaries - and people respect you when you have defined lines that cannot be crossed.

You're also modelling behaviour that your clients might need to bring more of into their own lives...

What boundaries do you need to set to ensure your needs get met?

Think about what you expect from your clients, i.e. to arrive on time, complete the tasks they've committed to, payments in advance etc. And set these boundaries with them at the beginning of the coaching relationship. And especially think about when you're available for your clients? You need to train (or retrain) clients to know that you're only available between the hours of x am to x pm on set days.

ACTION FOR YOU: Make a list of your boundaries. When you're done, build this into your client intake process.

One Word to Help You Set Boundaries with Your Clients

So, the word for setting boundaries is to practice saying 'no'. And there are many ways to do it.

Sometimes it can help to have a few phrases to hand, whether it's a reply to an invite to work with someone else, or a client approaching you with a problem. Here's a few examples to test out this week.

  • "I'd love to but I'm already committed to ...."
  • "I only work Monday to Thursday and don't work weekends, so you can contact me any time between those times"
  • "It's really kind of you to think of me. I like to give things my 100% and right now my priority is 'x' so I wouldn't have the time to dedicate to it and give it the full attention it deserves"
  • Offer an alternative... "I can't do (date) but I could do (date) if that works for you?"
  • "It's a busy month. Let me check my diary when I'm back at home and I will send you over some possible dates."
  • "It's not something that feels right for me but I could put you in touch with ...."

Here's a few reasons why you want to consider setting boundaries:

  • You will gain control (not in an egotistical way, but you will feel like you are running your business, not your clients)
  • You will be nicer to know! (being grumpy because you're working too hard is no good for anyone)
  • You will get time to do things you love (ooh, what could you do with that extra time?)
  • You will feel more confident (knowing that you are honouring yourself, your family and also teaching your clients how to be strict with their own boundaries)

So give boundary setting a go! If you work on your boundaries, you're going to have to re-train your clients so they understand what is/isn't acceptable to you. It's tough, not for the faint hearted, but it's oh so liberating!

What or Who do you need to say "No" to?

Ruby McGuire

Contributing Author: Ruby McGuire, Visibility Diva, aka Queen of Connection, is a mum, wife, cappuccino lover and introvert. She helps unseen solopreneurs step up and shine on/offline so they can make money doing what they love. She's a Co-Author of Awaken Your True Potential, a Trainer, EFT Practitioner, writes for International Coaching News and heads up Business Support for IIC & M's Invenio Magazine. If you liked this article you might like her podcast show, Rock Your Fabulous Biz. You can find Ruby at her pretty online home, www.rubymcguire.com on Facebook. Failing that she may be satisfying her obsession of pinning on Pinterest!

So what about you? Are you ready to start working on your mindset, and stop being invisible? Let's work on visibility to get you more profitable. It's time that you and your fabulous business were seen, both on and offline. If fear is the thing holding you back, then you'll love my new programme, Fearless Visibility Divas – it's time to become a fearlessly visible, fiercely profitable, and hugely impactful solopreneur.

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2 Comments

  1. Julia

    Thank you for this article.
    I can add that in my experience, setting boundaries and NOT being available all the time actually makes me more attractive as a professional.
    I guess when you react to every request immediately, whether consciously or unconsciously, people assume you need them more than they need you.

    Reply

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