Setting Boundaries: 20 Steps to Changing Your life

If you work for yourself, you have clients. So, what are your thoughts on setting boundaries?

Now, clients are human, usually, and so they have their own things going on, agendas, whatever you want to call it.

I love my clients! But sometimes people will slip in and there will be issues setting boundaries. I realize now that it is part of my job to set boundaries for the client / me relationship and I have started to think of it as part of the project to do so. So let’s talk about setting boundaries at work:

For Me

  1. Set boundaries.
  2. Keep those boundaries.
  3. I don’t work weekends.
  4. If I do happen to answer emails, I will schedule the email for Monday. If the client thinks I work weekends, they will expect it.
  5. I don’t communicate with clients via Text. Period. Send me an email so I have everything all in one place.
  6. Invoices are sent at the end of every month. I expect payment in full within 5 days unless other arrangements are made AHEAD OF TIME. Even if the invoice is only for $50.
  7. If you don’t pay me on time, I don’t continue working. No exceptions.
  8. I don’t check email constantly. I pause it so I can work. Therefore, the client is not going to get an immedate answer most of the time. It’s so I can work.
  9. If I over-deliver initially, the client will expect that type of service forever. Adjust accordingly.

For Clients

When the client relationship starts, it’s important to get things clear right away.

The big one I believe in is: Set expectations (and at the same time, boundaries) immediately.

People will push boundaries, it’s what we do. Set the expectations and it helps define the relationship.

  1. Phone and Zoom calls are reserved for planning and other milestones. We don’t need to have a call for everything.
  2. Calls are scheduled ahead of time, not last minute.
  3. I charge for the time spent answering emails, Slack messages, phone calls, etc. That includes sorting through your 25 emails. It adds up fast.
  4. If I drop everything to do something for you right now, I will charge for that time plus a rush time fee. The client’s lack of planning isn’t my problem. *if something is broken, this rule doesn’t apply.
  5. Recurring charges such as for hosting or retainers, must be autocharged on the client’s credit card.
  6. Clear communication is very important – all communication should be via email.
  7. I expect the client to take some time to think through what they need/want, and send it in an email.

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