Last January, my email was titled “More of the Same” the idea of "no resolutions." My focus was on how I want to run my business. What I want to try, connections I want to deepen, and what I am doing that’s really just ‘nice to do’ vs things I truly ‘want to do.’ I took time to connect and, in some cases, reconnect with colleagues and friends.
One painful realization I had was that I give away a lot for free. As I committed to being present and intentional with my connections, I became aware of how many times I heard these phrases:
“Do you have a minute?”
Which I often allowed to turn into hours...
“We will totally pay you once we…”
Which meant never...
“We are scrappy and small, we can’t pay you…”
From companies that were neither scrappy nor small..
Good vibes don’t pay the bills.
As empathetic humans, we want to lend a helping hand, giving out knowledge to those that could benefit the most. As entrepreneurs, we know how hard it can be to go it alone and want to be a resource so others can succeed.
However, without business boundaries, without honoring our own time AND the need to be paid for our work. We are actually doing a disservice to ourselves and ultimately to the business owners we are supposed to be helping.
If I over-give, I’m less available to serve more clients. If I over-give, I’m resentful and less willing to work with that client in the future. If I over-give, without feeling the energetic exchange of being paid, I feel more stress.
A stressed business owner is not able to serve to the highest potential.
It became abundantly clear to me that “good vibes” (wine, chocolate, or cookies) don’t pay the bills. In order to run my business like the competent, generous, and brilliant consultant that I am. To serve the highest growth of others’ businesses, I needed to do the same thing for myself:
Not only do I need to pay my bills, but I need to honor my desire to be paid for my work and the gifts I bring. So how do you balance that desire to help while deeply valuing your gifts, even when others might not?
Business Boundaries are the responsibility of every business owner.
Each instance that I over-gave, let a payment slide, or went the extra mile (ok, 10 miles) because I wanted to be “helpful,” was MY responsibility. My choice.
So this year, I am inviting all of us to consider our own Business Boundaries:
Be crystal clear - What are they asking and what are you offering? Friends, family and associates alike. You have a business, not a hobby.
Get it in writing - Sounds obvious but think about how many hours you’ve spent letting someone ‘pick your brain.’ Before you agree, ask specifically what they need.
Know your worth - You’ve worked very hard to gain the knowledge that you have. There is value in your knowledge, skills, and the connections you have to offer.
You can say no - It’s okay to say no. Sometimes you have to say no. In fact, it’s in integrity to say no when you feel a no.
Now I’d love to hear from you:
Where do you struggle with Business Boundaries?
How do you intend to implement more this year?
Seriously! Send me an email and let me know! I’d love to hear!