Building a Business Boundary Plan: Run Business so it Doesn’t Run You

Let’s cut to the chase. If you want a long and healthy relationship with your business, you’ll have to establish boundaries around it.

Think of your business as a person. Do you want it calling you and texting you at 10pm? Do you want it to coerce you into work you’re not excited about? Would you want it to feel like it monopolizes all your time? I’m sure you’re saying, “Of course not,” but the truth is that without clear boundaries around how you conduct business and allocate your time resources to your business, you run the high probability of becoming resentful of your business. If you’ve ever been in a relationship with a friend or partner in which you feel resentment, it’s really not fun. It makes you less than the best version of yourself, and that is no way to have long-lasting relationship with your business.

The good news is that it doesn’t matter if you’ve been in business 5 days or 5 years, you can begin to groom habits that help you stay in harmony with the dream you have for your business. Here are 3 areas to examine and develop plans for to help you maintain balance through boundaries:

  1. Task Boundaries- Make a list of all the day to day tasks you need to manage like social media, returning emails, writing reports, packaging items…ALL the stuff. Set designated times of the day to tackle each in order to prevent flitting from task to task and checking in on social accounts are emails which will wrangle you in for more than work (Raise your hand if you’ve ever gone down the rabbit hole of social media? We’ve all done it and regretted how much time got sucked into nothing productive). Stick to your deal with yourself of when you will do these tasks.
  2. Customer and Client Boundaries- Before we talk about what boundaries to set up here, let’s talk about why we struggle with customer boundaries. One word. Fear. Scarcity mindset feeds the fear that if we are not all things to all people when they “need” us, they will land with our competition. However you respond to people will set the tone for what people expect of you. If you do not want to be answering emails at 8pm on a Monday, when you’d rather watch The Bachelor, then determine you won’t. Set an autoreply email for after the end of your business day, if you’d like, or be really good at disciplining yourself to respond to after-hours emails as one of your first tasks the next business day. When I first started in business, I struggled with client boundaries for a few years. I was over-delivering thinking I was giving exceptional customer service. I was providing great service, but it was through unsustainable behaviors at the cost of fights with my husband and lack of “me” time. I came to realize I could still provide outstanding care to my clients but had to prioritize my priorities first, otherwise, I was training my clients to act like young children who were constantly in need of me. I’m a stickler now for boundaries around texts and emails to my clients. A little secret… I often draft back text or email responses on Sunday mornings, but I don’t hit send until 8am Monday morning. Why? While I worked the weekend for a couple hours perhaps to alleviate my Monday morning time, I do not want my customers perceiving I work weekends. Texts and emails received after 6pm relative to work go on the next day’s task list. Lean in and listen closely friend. You have to know something. You’re amazing at what you do, and you are a wonderful person to do business with. That is your sell. Your people will not leave you if you are responsive when you tell them you will be. They do not do business with you, because you reply to all their FB comments immediately. They do business with you, because you are reliable and they have the confidence you will follow through on communication according to when you say you will. Build your business on the value of you and your integrity.
  3. Personal Time- I should have listed this one first in order. When you go to schedule your week (I do mine on Sundays), you must put your needs on the calendar first, and then the other time is work time. I have a need for 30 minutes in the morning to drink my coffee and eat my breakfast. I might write or watch the news or read during this time, too. It’s non-negotiable. I know when my day does not start this way, I will struggle the whole day feeling aligned. Whatever is important for your personal inner balance, schedule first. A workout. A half hour lunch. A dinner date with a friend. Time to curl your hair or put on makeup and your best face forward. It may sound silly, but a swipe of mascara, a pop of lip color, an outfit I like, and good hair make me feel put together which boosts my confidence that no matter who I run into during the day or what Zoom meeting I end up on, I represent myself for my business in the best way. I put on perfume, even when I have a day of video calls. Why? It simply makes me feel good. Set yourself as a priority, and whatever you do, do not compromise your boundaries during YOU time for one more email or one more phone call. They can wait, but your mental health is always immediate.

If you want to shine and truly see your dreams reveal themselves, getting harmony and balance with your work and within yourself is one of the keys that opens the doors to fruitfulness and success.

This is as important a business strategy as any others I teach. It’s foundational and life-changing. I’m here to support your boundary plan and cheer you on, sister!

Dream Big and Shine On!

Geneva

Get Your Head in the Clouds

If you live on planet Earth, you’ve faced a huge possible fog ahead of your 2020 goals in the huge changes we’ve all experienced the last couple months. You can still know where you’re headed even if there’s a storm threatening to make you forget your destination.

Today, I want to talk to you about your dream. When I was younger, my mother often told me to “Get my head out of the clouds.” Usually, she was referring to me thinking about boys or my social life or what she saw as potential threats to my academic or personal success. Sometimes, though, my daydreams were not about marrying Jordan Knight from New Kids on the Block but were really about my heart visions.

Much of our lives and often by people who really care about us, we’re conditioned to live in the practical, and I believe as we get older, we forget how to dream in vivid color. We forget the inner child who could take a box and with a little glue, some paper, and some markers create a time machine. We literally slow thinking outside the box and dreaming in vivid color.

In this time where life has taken a sharp shift for us all, through discussions with friends in business and further sparked by some recent reading, I’ve really been contemplating how to tap into my 10 year old self. She was old enough to know she couldn’t become a Disney princess when she grew up but kept her head in the clouds enough to imagine influencing the world. She wrote tons of vivid dreams in her Little Women inspired diary (remember the ones with the lock and little key?) visualizing her dream home, thinking about the type of healthcare provider she wanted to one day become.

Today, I’m telling you and myself, “Get your head in the clouds.” Give yourself time each week to contemplate the ideas you have for your business or personal development that make your heart jump. Don’t think too much about how to get there. Your kid brain never started making a list of all the reasons the dream wouldn’t work, so don’t go there. Sit in the joy of the colors of your dream and remind yourself that whatever is bubbling up is there in your mind and heart for a purpose- your purpose.

I’ve found as I’ve permitted myself the freedom to dream more recently that the goals have become clearer. The things that were muddy for a while are cleaner and brighter. My goals have new life breathed into them.

So find a hammock, porch, shade tree, or beach to sit in this week and have a talk with your 10 year old self. What would she be telling your adult self about your goals? Which dreams would she have? I bet that child could reveal a thing or two to you.

What is it? How can you take the ordinary “box” you have of your business or personal life and turn it into something extraordinary? Dream away…

What Will You Leave Behind?

☔️Oh rainy day. How I love thee. If you’re in the Tampa Bay area, it’s been a wonderful stormy day…not the piddly rain that is just enough to make the Florida air soupy once the sun steams the streets, but the thunder rumbling, air cleansing, sit and read or write kind of day all day storm.

I have a question for you and for me, too.
I’ve seriously been contemplating the opposite of many posts I’ve seen. Instead of what will I do first when life reverts to some parts of its old self, because the answers are easy anyway- Disney and beach, I’ve been asking,

🤔”What do I not want to return to?”

You see, we have had the chance to reset and rearrange. I can take my life back however I wish. I can let go of whatever I now see I am better to release. You can too.

Early on in this quarantine journey, I had visions of tackling the calligraphy learning set I gifted myself for Christmas, beginning to make Christmas wreaths, and picking up my guitar and hanging with YouTube tutorials. I was going to do these three things and a few other projects before reentering the world. I’m sure you also had some gangbusters plan of all the productive things you’d do. But here’s the realization I had- we don’t have to shove these pursuits into quarantine time. We can do them whenever, because we get to decide what’s meaningful to life moving forward. We can pick up the heavy overpacked suitcase of our past lives or unload some of the weight.

My time is what’s heavy in my suitcase. Lugging heavy time luggage is par for the course sometimes in life, but I no longer want to pull time out of my sleeve like a magician with a neverending scarf. It’s either there or not. I either have it or I don’t. Even if I have it, it’s mine to do something of my choosing based on what I know I need to be my best self. Some days Disney is going to win over volunteering and a beer with one friend over an event I “should” be at. Other days, my best self is when my cup is full, and I can effectively pour into others.

My goal is that people and causes dear to me will never be in an unknowing affair relationship- you know when you have to cheat time mentally from one event or person to give to another? I’m ok with making those choices every once in a blue moon, but I don’t want to return back to feeling like I’m “dating” 10 obligations at once all while trying to convince myself the “one” I’m currently investing my time is the most important while I really just want to be sipping a champagne flight in France at Epcot🥂.

There’s my truth. What is it you want to leave behind?