We’ve all been there in our businesses, the season where we’re hustling, saying yes to literally everything…heck, you may very well be there now! (I call it a season because it’s just a season, you can’t possibly do it forever!) Although this may be what you need to do now, it’s not sustainable in the long run. At some point you’re going to get burnt out…I’ve been there, believe me! There are so many lessons I learned from that season in my life, this is where I found what I love doing and also what I hated doing…take notes of all this!!
One of the biggest lessons I learned was that I needed to set boundaries between myself/family and my business. This is huge in adding to your enjoyment of your business & life. Your business will quickly take over your life if you don’t schedule your life FIRST.
Check out my other blogs in the Level-Up Series here!
In the middle of my hustle season, I realized that I had booked a wedding on my daughter’s birthday…whhhhaaattt?!?! Talk about feeling horrible mom guilt! My business was taking over my life and I need to take control again. This was the moment I swore I would schedule my life FIRST! At the beginning of each quarter, I look at the calendar with my husband and we block out dates that are non-negotiable, already spoken for, and that we just simply want to reserve for time off. What’s left is what I can book for work. Seeing those red X’s on the calendar makes saying yes or no to inquiries easy.
It is especially hard for those of us who work from a home office/studio to set a boundary between work & life! Afterall, work is in the same space that we live life. Set yourself office hours that you will stick to. Mine are now the hours that my children are in school–this is the first year in 9 years that I’ve had kids in full time school–whatever these hours are, just make sure it works for your life. I post my office hours on my website, in initial emails to clients, in my email signature (here’s more on what to include in your email signature), and on my inquiry form. I make sure that clients know when they can expect to hear back from me. If it’s 6:00pm and I’m in the middle of making dinner and I receive an email…I have lessened the pressure for me to respond. That client knows that it’s beyond my office hours and I will get back to them tomorrow morning.
Of course you can work beyond office hours if something comes up & you have a deadline that you have to meet…but the client doesn’t need to know that! If you answer a client’s email at 9:00pm you’re training them to think that you’re available at all times…no, just write the email and schedule it to be sent out tomorrow morning at 9:00am. I use gmail’s boomerang to schedule emails for a future time, whether it be an hour from now or the next morning.
One of the most frustrating experiences you could ever put yourself and a client through is selecting a meeting date/time that works for you both. You’re both busy! A game changer was implementing a scheduler that allowed clients to select a date/time on my calendar. I would simply send them a link to my calendar and say, “Go ahead and select a date/time that works best for you!”. It twists the message from “well what days do you have available?” to “wow, look at all the times I can select from!”. I use my scheduler in Dubsado, but there are also schedulers like Acuity & Calendly.