Creating Boundaries In Your Business

I felt compelled to write this blog post about boundaries, as I often feel as a business owner, it is really hard not only to create our boundaries but to stick to them too.

In the past year, I’ve had clients cross my boundaries many times and many times I’ve not enforced or stuck to my own boundaries.

katie colella, business mentor, va, virtual assistant, setting boundaries, female entrepreneur

I’ve had clients call me at weekends, when I’m on holiday and late at night. I’ve had clients decide that they can’t afford their due payment so they’ll have to pay it the following month. I’ve had clients decide that they don’t have to stick to my contract that we both signed. I’ve had clients call and say what they want doing is urgent, and allowing myself to leave the task in hand to go and help with their urgent ‘thing’, when I was already busy for another client. I’ve had clients send me one email, which if hasn’t been replied to within an hour, send another, or a messenger message or a WhatsApp message.

And there has been plenty more!

I think I’m too much of a people pleaser at times, and I love going above and beyond for clients, but when it’s against my own boundaries, then I’m left feeling like I’m being taken advantage of.

I can feel overwhelmed and frustrated and sometimes guilty and even resentment.

In a bid to become better at sticking to my own boundaries with clients, I’ve put together a list of things that will hopefully help the process!

I hope they help you and please share anything else that works for you!

“Healthy boundaries are not walls. They are gates and fences that allow you to enjoy the beauty of your own garden.” -Lydia H. Hall

  1. Be Crystal Clear

This sounds so obvious right! But, I honestly tell my clients as much as possible when we start working together. I send them a contract and ask them to read before signing, but you’ll be surprised at how many boundaries are crossed still.

If you don’t want to work at the weekends, or after a certain time, let your clients know. If you are taking a holiday where you don’t want to work, give them some warning, so they know you won’t be around those days.

If you don’t like answering messages via messenger, WhatsApp, IG, Twitter, emails, texts and phonecalls- let your client know. Make sure you add as much in your contract as you can, or even when you start working with a client, jump on a call and let them know what works for you and find out what works for them!

 

2. Automations

What automations could you put in place to remind clients of your working hours or how you work? Could you put an auto-responder on your FB page or email letting people know you’ll reply within 1 working day for example?

 

3. Checking your emails just once a day

So many people in business swear by just checking their emails once or twice a day can do wonders for productivity. If you relay this to your clients, then they’ll at least know that there is no chance of expecting an instant reply. This also stops you getting distracted and concentrating on one task at a time.

 

4. Take Responsibility

Act like the business owner you are and take responsibility for the decisions you make in YOUR business. If you’ve let clients get away with things once, the likelihood is, they’ll try to do it again. You need to set the boundaries that work for you and your business and not let yourself cross your own line!

Communicate and stand up for your own boundaries. (Harder than it sounds I know, I’ve been there!)

 

5. Say No

If it isn’t possible, you have the choice to say no. I know this can be tough at times, but we all have the choice. If a friend wants to call over in the middle of a workday but you simply don’t have time, you are able to say so. If a client wants you to drop it all for their urgent request when you are already working on other tasks and you really don’t have the time, then again, you can say no. Of course, I’m not suggesting you be as blunt as that, and I’d always try to offer another solution or time, but sometimes we simply can’t do it.

If a client asks for something to be done late on a Friday afternoon/evening, I’ll politely let them know that I’ll take a look Monday for them, as it’s important for me to switch off and spend time with my family.

 

6. Let your client know what you need from them

If you have payment terms that need to be stuck to, don’t let clients pass these. The payment schedule set out from the beginning should be stuck to. You are also running a business and have set your terms to suit you. If you had 5 clients that all paid late, where would that leave you?

If you need content or copy from a client by a certain time, again, they need to know this, so you can get on with your work, on schedule. If not met, this can lead to major frustrations and slow work down. So make sure your client knows throughout what is needed from them and by when.

7. Communication

Is it possible your client may have simply forgotten something? A simple reminder may be all it takes to let them know that you have a set of boundaries and so you both know where you stand. Could you give updates, so the client knows if a payment is due, if they are running short on time etc. Again, make sure you are clear in your contract from the start.

8. Be clear about the time required

Make sure you are super clear about the amount of time some tasks can take you. As a Virtual Assistant, some clients seem to think the list of tasks I can get done in 10hours a month is huge. Now, I’m good at what I do, but I’m not a magician. If you are in an industry like mine, if you have used the hours a client has asked you to do, don’t be tempted to do more ‘as a favour’ or ‘to help out’ or ‘finish the list’.

If you are doing something unpaid for one client, it takes you away from another client who will be willing to pay for your services

katie colella, business mentor, va, virtual assistant, setting boundaries, female entrepreneur, boundaries, boundary

 

I’m sure there are plenty more and I’d love to know how you help set and stick to boundaries in your business.

Check out my mentor services here 

Book a call with me here 

Have a great day, gorgeous,

Katie xx

 

Female Entrepreneur Video Series- Kate Reynolds

Kate Reynolds is a Relocation Coach, originally from the UK and currently living “down under” in South Australia.
Kate helps courageous ladies to plan their move to a new city/country and re-establish, re-invent themselves in a brand new location.
Kate works alongside her clients, aiming for smooth transitions and happiness. Kate talks from experience as she has moved herself multiple times around the UK and to other countries.
Kate assists her clients with many emotional challenges that crop up within the relocating journey, including, building a social network from scratch, developing a brand new routine, and coping with homesickness.
Her aim is to minimise the overwhelm and assist ladies to start creating the life they want in their new location.
Kate loves nothing more than offering bags of impartial support, encouragement and accountability when it is needed the most!
Kate can be contacted via her Facebook Business Page www.facebook.com/katereynoldscoaching
You can find out more at www.katereynolds.com where you can find all the information you need for a smooth move!

 

kate reynolds, katie colella, va, virtual assistant, female entrepreneur, business mentor, relocation coach

Top 10 Tips When Choosing To Work With A Coach Or Mentor

Ladies, I felt compelled to write a blog post for those of you that are thinking about working with a coach or mentor some time soon.

What is the difference between a coach and mentor?

All coaches and mentors are different in their approach but according to the BREFIGroup

Coaching: helping another person to improve awareness, to set and achieve goals in order to improve a particular behavioural performance

Mentoring: helping to shape an individual’s beliefs and values in a positive way; often a longer-term career relationship from someone who has ‘done it before’.

Full article here

katie colella social, va, virtual assistant, mentor, business mentor, coach

In my opinion, I wanted to be a mentor for women in business, as I felt having started, owned and sold numerous businesses, I had the experience and skills to help support, show and assist other women in this same position.

I’ve recently read quite a few stories about women having had bad experiences whilst working with coaches and mentors and this can give the industry a really bad name.

There was the lady that signed up over the phone and paid a UK based coach £4000 upfront, with a promise of another two £3000, the following two months. Within a week, the lady had changed her mind and decided that due to personal financial issues, coaching wasn’t for her at that time, or at least this particular coach wasn’t for her and asked for a refund.  No contract had been signed. A month later and still no refund, despite numerous messages to this coach.

Another post I’ve come across lately is a lady that had signed up to a coaching package and paid £2000, with another £3000 to follow. They had one session together and the coach failed to deliver the content that had been agreed on before payment had been made. Due to this, the lady in question decided that this wasn’t going to work and asked for a refund and to end the agreement. As above, no contract had been signed. Unfortunately, the coach tried to take the 2nd payment for £3000 without this ladies consent and again ignored messages sent.

These are just two horror stories that I’ve read in the past week. I appreciate that they are just the one side of the story, but this type of immoral behaviour and ignoring requests from clients can give the coaching and mentoring industry a bad name.

 

I realised that there must be plenty of women who are looking for the right help and support but aren’t sure what to look for in a coach or mentor, so wanted to put my own (opinion based) tips together for you. I’m a business mentor myself and have worked with a few coaches as well as worked with coaches as my client (for my VA business), so hoping this has given me some insight to be able to offer you some help when selecting who you’ll work with!

Prefer to watch by video?

 

My Top 10 Tips for choosing a coach or mentor

  1. Resonate

When you are choosing your coach or mentor, it’s imperative that you ‘gel’ with them. If you don’t feel in your gut right about working with someone, then it may not be right for you. Trust in your instincts and make sure you resonate with this person’s beliefs.

2. Testimonials

This can be tricky when you are starting out as you don’t always have testimonials. However, someone who is charging high-end will generally have worked with others previously and received testimonials from their clients if they were happy. Check them out!

 

3. Ask friends

Ask around. You’ll find lots of friends, family or colleagues that will have worked with a coach or mentor. Ask around in the groups you are in for a recommendation for what you are looking for.

 

4. Contract

Sounds obvious, but always make sure you check through the contract and are happy with it all. If you aren’t let them know. A coach or mentor shouldn’t start work with you before a contract is signed.

 

5. Be Clear

Know what you are looking for from this experience. You need to be clear about your expectations and what you’d like by the end of your time together.

 

6. Avoid Fake Promises

We’ve all seen the promises from coaches of making £20k in 20 days. In my opinion, nobody can make you a financial promise. The coach can explain how they have done things and what worked for them and even show you how they have done things. But you need to do the work and take the action and there are no guarantees. 

They need to be authentic and that will come across when you are speaking with them or looking around at their videos etc.

 

7. Book A Chat

Always have a relaxed chat with the coach you are thinking of working with. It helps you understand what they are about and how they can help you. If it doesn’t feel right, then avoid. Also, don’t be forced into agreeing on the phone to anything if that isn’t good for you. Yes, we all love a client being happy to sign up straight away, but you are entitled to have a think about it too.

 

8. Avoid Promises Without Proof

Some coaches like to share their results, especially financial to show us what they are doing. Now, this doesn’t bother me as such, I find it quite inspiring. However, I know a lot of colleagues can’t stand it. What I would say is to be aware of financial results being shared without proof to back up the claims. If a coach does this it doesn’t mean they are dodgy of course, just something to be aware of. Do they have integrity? Have they got results before?

 

9. Experience

Business Coaches or mentors that are offering this help without ever having owned a business before this doesn’t quite sit well with me. Again, this is my opinion, but when I am looking for a business coach, I like them to have had a business previously to this one. Again with a mindset coach if they are constantly having a moan, then they are probably not for me.

The coaching industry is unregulated so you don’t need to have specific training, but some experience at what they are teaching is a definite must for me!

 

10. Integrity

Do they show integrity in what they believe? Do they practice what they preach and do you love what they stand for?

I’ve seen posts from coaches that promise you one thing, then the next day show a post that completely contradicts what they’ve just said. We can all change our mind occasionally, but look out for anyone not showing their true colours.

katie colella social, va, virtual assistant, mentor, business mentor, coach

What do I do?

As mentioned I’m a business mentor helping female entrepreneurs. I’ve started various businesses, grown them and sold some too.

Does this make me the right fit for everyone? Absolutely not.

Before working with anyone as a mentor, I like to have a chat and see that we are a good fit. That my skills are what the person is looking for and that they are ready to work with a mentor.

If you’d like to book in for a free 30min call to discuss working together, click the link below

Book A Call

If you’d like to read more about my mentor 1:1 packages or group mentoring, check them out below!

1:1 Mentoring

Group Mentoring Program

Thanks for reading, Katie xx