Setting boundaries as a small business owner is essential if you hope to support your personal and professional life.
Running a business is rewarding and demanding, and the lines between personal and professional life often blur. The constant juggling can lead to burnout and issues with your mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing.
Boundaries provide a solution that helps your business grow yet gives you the time and space for life beyond the 9-5.
What are boundaries?
I like to think of boundaries as guidelines or rules you set for yourself. These rules help you define acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.
You might set boundaries about maintaining a sense of personal space or privacy in your personal life. At work, those boundaries might include who you work with or self-protection.
Your boundaries can be physical, emotional, or interpersonal, but establishing and communicating your boundaries is vital if you want to establish and maintain balance. When you maintain healthy boundaries, you increase your credibility and lead from a heart-centered perspective that honours your core values.
Why set boundaries?
The boundaries you set strike a balance between work and home life. They help you create a more fulfilling and authentic lifestyle. Business owners tend to wear lots of hats and often work longer hours than employees working a traditional job. You might feel like you have to be everything to everyone, especially if you’re a solopreneur.
However, neglecting your personal life, family, and self-care has consequences. Let’s look at why boundaries are essential.
They prevent burnout – Setting boundaries allows you to stay productive and motivated over the long term. Overwork leads to exhaustion, anxiety, a lack of creativity and enthusiasm, and even depression. When you put processes and strategies in place, you prevent burnout. If you are stressed, you can’t function properly, which greatly impacts your confidence, abilities, and mindset.
Strengthen relationships – Spending all your time on or at work puts a strain on your personal relationships. Most small business owners started their businesses so they could spend more time with their families. If this isn’t happening, then boundaries need to be put in place so you can build stronger connections with your nearest and dearest. Everyone craves human connection, and by setting down boundaries, you make a commitment to nurture those close to you who support and encourage your ventures.
Improve focus – Most of us struggle to concentrate if we’re not fully engaged, which can impact our personal and professional lives. Boundaries allow you to improve your focus, which in turn boosts your productivity and efficiency.
Boost creativity – When you’re overwhelmed with home or work, your mind can’t properly rest and recharge. Setting boundaries for each area of your life enables your mind to get the downtime it needs. How often have you had a fabulous idea when relaxing or enjoying a fun family activity?
Better mental health – When your life is balanced you benefit from better mental and physical health. Your sleep patterns improve, self-care is easy to fit into your daily life, and exercise and healthy eating become the norm. Laying down the foundations through boundaries allows you to maintain a better and healthier way of life.
It’s great to understand why boundaries are so important, but how, as a busy business owner, can you set effective boundaries that support the balanced lifestyle you want?
- Set your working hours and stick to them. If you were employed in a corporate job, you would have clearly set hours and days of work – this is no different when working for yourself. Set the hours you want to work and be sure to tell your customers. Display them on your social media platforms and website so they are clear and accessible. Resist checking emails, answering phone calls, or working on projects outside your set hours.
- Set your place of work. Unless you have premises or a unit to work from you might be floating between the kitchen table and a local coffee shop. Try separating your work and home environments by establishing a dedicated workspace. Is there an area you can assign to your work? Can you physically shut a door once the working day is over? Having a physical boundary will help you switch off from business and focus on family.
- Set realistic goals. Avoid overloading yourself with an endless to-do list. Spend time reviewing and reflecting on your business, then set realistic goals supporting your boundaries. That might include outsourcing tasks to free up time for your wellbeing.
- Just say no! Learning to say no is a powerful tool when setting boundaries. It’s okay to turn down work or commitments. It’s okay to say no to networking or collaborations.
- Schedule personal time. Mental health awareness is big news, but to be able to maintain a positive frame of mind, it’s important that you schedule time for yourself. Your diary will undoubtedly be full of meetings, networking, and appointments, but there also needs to be a blend of family dinners, exercise sessions, or space to be spontaneous. Treat your personal appointments as seriously as your work-related ones.
September is the perfect time to reassess your work-life boundaries. It’s worth remembering that boundaries aren’t a sign of weakness. To set boundaries in your work and home life is a sign of self-respect and a commitment to a fulfilled life.
By defining your limits and protecting your time, you can build a successful business without sacrificing your mental or physical health and relationships.
Are you ready to invest in your business and learn more about setting boundaries?
Book one of my Express30 coaching sessions and gain the clarity you need to drive sales in your business. Do you have a burning challenge with sales, then my Express 30 sessions are designed to solve that issue in just 30 minutes.
“I booked an Express30 session with Jules when I was feeling a bit blocked on my business’s direction. I needed clarity on the services I offer and a boost of confidence to push forward with my plans. Jules doesn’t waste a second and quickly gets to the core of your challenge, ensuring you leave with everything you need and a buzz about your business goals. I can highly recommend these Express30 sessions.” Shelley Wilson, Writing Mentor
Want to find out more? Schedule a virtual cuppa with me, and we can have a chat about the Express30 sessions or my other coaching services.
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Jules White has established a successful International award-winning business, created her own trade-marked methodology, is an Amazon bestselling author, and TEDx speaker. Her mission is to untrain anyone who has been trained to sell.