I work with a lot of people who are overwhelmed in their business as they have bitten off more than they can chew. When we start working together it soon becomes clear that they need to improve how they set boundaries.
Here are a few ideas I often use:
- Practise saying “no” in front of a mirror. It makes it easier to say to a real person.
- Practise saying “no” without feeling the need to offer an explanation.
- Practise saying “no” with a polite smile
- Be clear on what you are willing to do for your clients. Your engagement letter should act as a reminder to you as well as to them of what you are contracted to do.
- When a client asks for something extra tell them “yes we’d love to help you with that and it will cost £X” (fixed fee or per hour)
- Do not discount your fees. You are not a charity. If people are struggling then reduce the scope so they do more for themselves eg we provide basic bookkeeping training videos if the owner is capable of doing this themselves
- Do not provide extended credit. You are not a bank.
- Set appointments in your diary to make time to do something for yourself
- Ring up an old friend and arrange to meet for lunch or an enjoyable activity. It will get you out of the office. If you’d prefer to be alone then book a facial or a massage or plan a bike ride with a nice cake stop.
- Set an alarm for when you intend to finish your working day and then leave your laptop on your desk when you close your office door
- Stop reading this and practise saying “no”