Are your work obligations always spilling over into your personal life? It’s time to set some boundaries with clients then.
It’s important to dedicate your time to your craft and your clients but being a business owner doesn’t mean you have to work 24/7. However, it can be tough to know when or even how to unplug, especially when clients are sending questions and requests your way every hour of the day.
While it’s essential to deliver the high level of service that attracted your clients in the first place, it’s even more important to establish clear boundaries for the sake of your well-being. By setting realistic expectations with clients about your availability, you can create a better work-life balance and ultimately thrive as a freelancer.
Here are 4 of my favorite tips on how to make that happen.
Tip #1: Set a Schedule and Stick to It
Before you set boundaries with your clients, you need to set boundaries with yourself. When do you want to work?
Decide on a schedule as soon as possible and then stick to it. This gives you a clear timeframe of when you’ll be available to communicate with clients and when you’re off the clock.
Tip #2: Be Upfront About Your Boundaries
When communicating with potential clients, be clear about your boundaries. Let them know what hours you’ll be available and what days you take off. If they want someone who’s available at 8:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning but that’s outside your working hours, let them know you won’t be responding to those messages until Monday.
Think about it. Grocery stores don’t open whenever the occasional customer needs something after operating hours – there’s no reason your business should be any different.
Tip #3: Stick to What You Said
If you tell your clients that you aren’t available but send emails every weekend, you’re making it seem like you’re open for business when you aren’t.
By setting this precedent, clients might assume you work on weekends and attempt to get your attention when you’re off the clock. Go ahead and draft those emails, but don’t hit “Send” until you’re officially open again.
Tip #4: Communicate Changes ASAP
Taking a vacation? Feeling under the weather? Holiday coming up? Family in town? Fluctuations in your schedule are inevitable.
The key is to communicate any upcoming changes with your clients as soon as possible. Advance notice minimizes disruptions and keeps everything running smoothly.
Setting boundaries enables you to have a great relationship with your clients while enjoying a healthy work-life balance. Set your schedule, set expectations, stick to the plan and communicate changes with your clients to make it happen.
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