Healthy boundaries in business are both good for us and our clients. especially when working at home
Without them, it can lead to toe-mashing, reason-offering, game-playing, elbow-jabs, arm-wrestling – and stress, and that last punk is no fun. It’s also a health risk, and as someone who has to intentionally keep migraines at bay since being accidentally hit with a bat at 15, stress is never to be placed on the guest list of your day unless you’re building physical muscle.
Most of us are aware of our predispositions and the main environment (both physically and mentally) required to inspire us to get this or that done. Whether you’re a ‘morning person’ or it takes you a while to face the day with zest…whether you warm up to people quickly or are more reserved…whether you have a tendency to be impatient or a knack for waiting well…whether you need a siesta in the day because you’re an early riser, or a brisk evening walk does you good…we each have our intricacies and proven strategies to tend to things.
Boundaries in your Business
Owning and operating a home-based business can sound like a relief and sweet walk in the park to someone cooped up in an office at a job they’re not a fan of, but working from home involves the strategic use of different muscle-groups when it comes to mindset. First, lemme say here it’s not for everyone, nor is it always fabulous, fun and bright but the discipline, challenges and highlights it brings can shape you into a much more patient person who values and takes advantage of the gift of time differently from your former busy-on-the-road days. Setting boundaries in business is healthy (and beneficial) for you, your family, friends and clients. It’s not uncommon for people to assume the word ‘schedule’ isn’t a part of your vocabulary because you don’t have to ‘clock in’ or be visible in-person. Many may presume you’re always available just because you happen to be at home, and that even when you do have a pocket of time for leisure, you’re always accessible or up for a client drop-by.
I purposely leave room during the day to enjoy some fresh air, cook, connect with a few close friends or reply to their messages and put certain things on the top shelf of my day even if it’s not pencilled-in in a planner. A business is not a ‘bae’ and cannot replace living breathing and loved people, not by a long-shot. Try cuddling your file-folder or making it a meal for confirmation if you like.
Boundaries for your business
At home and a close loved one calls for encouragement, an attentive ear or care- priority. Heading to an appointment or rehearsal and someone in need who the Most high leads you to reach out to – on the surface that may seem like an interruption but it’s all part of the calling and life walk. In cases like those, apply the boundary to your business for that moment because our lives are about much more than checklists and careers. Sometimes it feels awkward to bring guidelines up or share reminders but whenever we don’t, we leave the door open for all kinds of shoes to come in and muddy up the house.
What’s most important in your life, sweet sis? It’s not for me to know. That question is just a little prompt to usher in what resonates as healthy and essential for and to you. You can define the boundaries that work best for you and your business and decide on the quality and flexibility of the materials they’re made with, so you can serve from a place of refreshment.
When we operate from a place of frustration or exhaustion, that has a way of backfiring and our close ones and clients can sense it from a mile away. It’s more repelling that it is attractive. As a musician working in a career field where the clock don’t stop, I’ve re-designed a different business model in terms of hours of accessibility and am grateful for it.
Thankfully many of my clients have worked with me for years and we’ve seen each other through many seasons, so when I tweaked my tempo from a 24-hr vocal service to a work-from-home-message-me-on-weekdays-in-the-daytime-only formula, they were more than understanding, especially when the quality of work wasn’t comprised. They also refer others too, most of whom have already been oriented on the method of business so it works well. If anything I can respond faster and e-mail files which also saves on ‘transpee‘ cost and time on the road in the baking hot sun. No more 4am calls to zoom out to a studio. No more 1am drive home to get run off the road by a speeding 16year old. I was challenged with serving on the spot after taking care of housework rather than racing through the door as soon as the phone rang, maximizing time and preserving energy.
Your satisfied customers or clients will also help you market your business through word-of-mouth and testimonials, so it does well for everyone when you know what it takes for you to best serve others while tending to your wellness. That change was made because the other business model simply wasn’t sustainable and it had actually become far less enjoyable, with more road risks and variable in terms of timing.
So what’s your rhythm and formula? Please don’t be too hard on yourself; this isn’t an exam. You don’t have to know it by-heart right this second, but I do encourage you to take a moment, to be honest about this question coming up.
– What setting and timing work well for you – phrased another way – in what setting and to what timing do you work best?
– What environment (physical and mental) does it take for you to serve from a place of refreshment?
– And just as important, what are your intricacies or triggers?
– Do you find yourself rushing around, without much recollection of what you’re actually getting done?
The word ‘freelancing’ starts with the syllable “free”…yet there are still a list of responsibilities just like with anything else. Yes, make time for hot drinks and good conversations with a close friend. Yes, be sure to get some fresh air and enjoy moments in creation. And yes – be aware when assumptions are made about the rationing of your gifted time, without feeling the need to defend the design of your business. It may be hard for others to adjust at first but they can in time.
You and I aren’t meant to be hostages to our businesses, clients or to time, so take a moment to design a home-based business (or a new approach to an existing workplace) that adds to, not takes away from, your quality of life. That way we can serve from a place of refreshment and not exhaustion.
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