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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
If you sell something, it costs something.
A massage. Photography. Design Services. Clothing. Mental Health Services.
The business formula seems simple enough. You have something to sell. You price it. People buy it. More people buy it. You end up with a mansion on the beach. If only it were that simple.
Your mansion days may come- we should all have big dreams! But often business goes more like this. You have something to sell. You price it. Not so many people buy it. You wonder if you should lower your price, post to social media more often, or update your graphics. You’re just not sure how to get more people to bite on the amazing stuff you have to offer.
Price is a factor in buying behavior, but perceived value is a much stronger pull towards handing over the money.
How do I increase my perceived value and convert more sales? Get your sales message on point.
If you are not saying the right thing, they won’t buy. If what you say resonates with the right people, they buy. Good copy and messaging strategy converts. Poor copy doesn’t, and it won’t matter how many messages you throw out into the world either in person or online, if it’s the wrong message.
All you need are some simple strategy shifts! Let’s look at 3 thoughts you may have had and how to shift mindset to move your messaging.
Communication Challenge 1: I need people to understand all that my pricing entails- the product or service but also all my time to prep, edit, or create.
It’s easy to want to get into a discussion online or in person about all the time you pour into your craft and hence the reflection of your time investment in your pricing, but at the end of the day, the customer is not concerned about you. They want to know what’s in it for them.
The best place to start is to figure out your value proposition. What do you do or sell that is unique to you? Think about process and product. What do you do best and what credentials say so? What benefit can a customer receive from doing business with you that your competition cannot deliver? To figure this out, take a look at a few of your competitors. Do some investigation. Clearly define your difference(s). Like get out paper and pen and write down a Venn diagram to compare and contrast.
Once you know your value proposition and you’ve defined it to paper, you have to start communicating that message at every networking opportunity, on your social platforms, and in your email campaigns by connecting it to the emotional trigger that will make them buy. Does your client value exclusivity, luxury, value, family, beauty…? Align your value proposition with their desires, and you will never have to explain your pricing again.
Communication Challenge 2: I need people to understand my price reflects the quality of my product.
If you sell a thing like clothes, jewelry, baked goods, or art/crafts, you really have to focus on finding your people when it comes to having customers who are fine with your pricing- start with hour value proposition defining as stated above. Look at who is buying from you and what they are saying in their emails to you or testimonials. Then, find more people like them who want the same things- to support small business, to have something they love, to not take chances buying a shirt that is too small on Amazon and then fuss with return, to have a showpiece in their homes.
Once you really dig through a survey or current customer testimonials of why they buy, your customers will have pretty much fed you the verbiage you need to communicate your value to more people like them. Start thinking about how you can find more people like them, and keep in mind people keep company with other people who often have the same buying habits or want to keep up with the Jones’. Referrals and word of mouth are important for all business types, but when we think about how much it influences the way we buy, we’ll realize the power of using messaging to market the people already buying from you to share their “circles of people” with you. Think about how many times you were looking for something, and a friend or family member shared how much they love their___________ and how worth it it was, and next thing you know, you’re on the same buyer rabbit trail.
Communication Challenge 3: I want my customers to know just how much love and passion I have for what I do!
This is a beautiful sentiment to want to get across to your potential and current clientele. All of us should be in love with what we do so much that we want to ooze that love onto others. The best way to write copy to convey all your love, energy, and passion is storytelling. Check out last week’s blog and social media posts to take a deeper dive into this topic, but stories will convey to your audience all your passion and tell them why they should be part of your story (brand).
If you haven’t yet realized it, when you jumped into business, you were unwittingly going to get an honorary degree in psychology! Keep your customer’s thought processes ahead of your own, and your messaging will win over new fans and retain past customers with little effort to selling.
Dream Big and Shine On!
Everyone loves a good story.
Children love to listen to a story. Adults get hooked on Netflix shows for the storylines or devour books with good plots, relatable heroes, and villains who represent common evils.
Think of the best Superbowl ads. Whether they are funny or moving, they tell mini-stories, and you’ll wade through a football game even if it’s not your cup of tea to see the ads.
So why do we love a good story (Better question…Why should we use stories to connect to our audiences?)? I’ll give you three reasons that’ll hopefully tip you towards incorporating story in your sales strategy.
First, from a neurological standpoint, stories ignite visual centers of the brain that bring words to life. Think about a time you read an amazingly authored book. As you read, weren’t you able to vividly imagine the story as if there was a movie reel in our mind? In fact, not wanting to turn the stimulating mental movie off, might be what kept you sitting on your couch or at the beach reading cover to cover. Stories stimulate the senses, and the more senses involved with exploring information, the more likely we are to retain and act upon information.
Second, when people engage stories through your business content (lives, stories, posts, videos, blogs-stories can be told through many mediums), they don’t feel you’re fishing for a sale. They feel your business cares to bring relatable content to the relationship with them. This friendly and non-pushy feel pushes your know, like, and trust factor higher.
Last, a good story makes you human. Being human in today’s content cluttered world will help you stand out from all the other “noise” calling people to buy, click, download, sign up. A story will make your ideal client stop scrolling and still their minds long enough to take in the high quality content you’re delivering. They will feel served not sold or told.
You might be saying, “Yes, Geneva! I want to build more storytelling into my content, but I don’t know what to talk about.”
Let me give you 7 ideas that any business can use to develop this powerful type of content. I want you to be able to take the content in this blog, MOVE, and see how your audience responds. I promise you’ll be amazed at how people will latch on.
- Tell the story of how you came into your passion/niche. What prompted you to start your business journey?
- Tell about how you uncovered one of your brand’s core values. Why are you committed to accuracy, the creative process, your customer service? What happened to you that made this value so important for your work?
- Let your customer be the hero. After all, we have no businesses if not for our customers. Tell a story of a customer/client and how you worked together towards a solution. Look at your testimonials and recall the stories behind them.
- Tell about why you’ve connected your business to a certain organization or cause. Talk about what/how you were moved towards this cause.
- Talk about your “behind the scenes.” You’ll allow them to know the care and time you put into each piece of your work. Tell about how you came up with a design, system, office decor.
- Talk about a conversation you had with someone this week that really impressed upon you.
- Describe a personal obstacle you had recently. Depending on the situation, use humor or deep emotion to tell your audience how you overcame and ask for them engagement.
These are just a few ideas. Stories can be long form content or very short. Use lots of “I” and “you,” so your listener. Remember, stories have a beginning, middle, and end. They bring your customer through a thought process that makes them reflect and connect. Your call to action and messaging does not have to directly link to your product or service. It may, but the beauty of storytelling is that you become memorable. The more memorable you are, the more business will come to you!
I hope you’ll give it a shot! Don’t say I didn’t tell you so, when you get tons of comments and dialogue back!
Go get your story on!