What do your business boundaries look like?

written by Bari Tessler March 23, 2023
What do your business boundaries look like?

Dear Money Adventurer,

Building a sustainable business, a business that truly serves you and empowers you to serve your community, is a masterclass in learning how to recognize and honor your own boundaries.

You have been building those boundaries since you began your business. In sketching out the hours of operation, the offerings you share, who you serve, how, why, and for how much, you create boundaries around your work, often without realizing it.

Until a client asks for services that you don’t actually offer or requests work beyond the scope of a project. Suddenly, you have to revisit the expectations you set and redraw those boundaries–or realize that you never created a clear container to begin with.

Honoring your business boundaries might look like having a frank conversation about the work you do and how you can offer support.

It might mean explaining that your client’s request is out of scope and giving them a quote instead of doing the work and eating the loss to avoid an uncomfortable money conversation.

Or recognizing that you and a particular client aren’t a good fit and referring them to someone who can offer what they need.

Maybe it’s upgrading your invoicing software and setting up auto-pay instead of chasing down clients with late invoices, structuring your processes to meet their needs and your own.

The hard truth is that sometimes your desire to offer value and meaningful support to your clients translates into overextending yourself by giving more time or energy than you have to give right now. When someone comes to you with a pressing need or an exciting opportunity, but the timing isn’t right for you, it can be challenging to draw a line in the sand and honor your own priorities and limitations.

It can be hard not to overgive of yourself, especially when you work in service of others.

I had such a hard time wrapping my mind around the truth that we can overgive because giving our time and energy is so beautiful. So powerful. But if, in the giving, you’re depleted or left with a lack of time or resources, then it’s unsustainable. It’s not really something you had to give in the first place.

That can be a hard truth, an uncomfortable boundary to hold, too.

Because when your boundaries are questioned or challenged, even inadvertently, your brain and body go into overdrive, flooding you with big emotions and beliefs about success, self-worth, survival, and the value of your work.

“What if I lose their business?”

“What if not meeting this need right now means I’m a failure?”

“Where will they find the support they need if not here, with me?”

Maybe you’ve caught yourself in such a moment as the words “let me tell you about my sliding scale” tumbled out of your mouth, even though you discontinued your sliding scale pricing months ago.

In those moments when you run into–or stumble over–your boundaries, sometimes the only way you can create space to honor them is by sitting in mindfulness.

By noticing the thoughts and emotions coming up for you and being intentionally aware of what you want to do, say, or share, and how. By giving yourself some grace and compassion to learn from that misstep, you can hold better space for yourself and your boundaries next time.

Because learning how to press “pause,” take a breath, and check in with your body is a healthy personal practice in building boundaries in life, money, and business.

As you step into this contemplation of business boundaries with me, what thoughts or emotions are unfolding in your mind and body?

Is there a particular situation, relationship, or boundary in your business that’s calling for your attention?

Take a deep breath and allow yourself to sit with what’s coming up for you without judgment, just gentle awareness.

Then, when you’re ready to move forward, ask yourself–what is one small thing you can do today to recognize and honor your boundaries in your business?

Know that in the ebbs and flows of this unfolding journey, your capacity will shrink and expand, and your boundaries will shift. They aren’t written in stone. This journey is constantly unfolding.

What wasn’t possible when your kids were young and often underfoot, or when you were navigating that big move across the country, or needed some time to heal and recover, might become possible down the road. That dream opportunity you thought you lost might simply need more time to germinate and grow roots that will sustain your vision.

As you practice tuning into yourself and what you need to feel safe, healthy, resourced, and empowered in your life and business, you will learn to recognize and hold your boundaries more gracefully.

You will continue to grow in your knowing and understanding of what you need and what you can give right now.

Step by step, you will build a business that truly serves you and empowers you to serve your community.

This is the space I’m holding for you in this journey through life, love, money, and business.

This is my wish for you.

P.S. Hey, do you know we have a podcast? Head on over to your favorite place via iTunesSpotify or Google and enjoy!

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