Digitally She Does It Podcast

EPISODE 59: Why boundaries are crucial in business

September 06, 2023 Karen Davies Season 1 Episode 59
EPISODE 59: Why boundaries are crucial in business
Digitally She Does It Podcast
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Digitally She Does It Podcast
EPISODE 59: Why boundaries are crucial in business
Sep 06, 2023 Season 1 Episode 59
Karen Davies

In this episode of Digitally She Does It podcast, I talk about the importance of setting boundaries in business. I share my own personal experience & insights along with the lessons that I have learnt over the years.

Learn how to create a simple boundary framework from the tips that I share and how saying ‘no’ can actually propel your business forward rather than hinder its growth. Tune in to listen to the full episode.

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Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Digitally She Does It podcast, I talk about the importance of setting boundaries in business. I share my own personal experience & insights along with the lessons that I have learnt over the years.

Learn how to create a simple boundary framework from the tips that I share and how saying ‘no’ can actually propel your business forward rather than hinder its growth. Tune in to listen to the full episode.

The Digital Creators Hub

Gain FREE access here...

Get in touch:

Got a question, suggestion for an episode or maybe you would like to be a guest?

Email me at

Karen Davies [00:00:00]:

Hello, and welcome to the digitally she does this show. This is episode 59. And in today's episode, I'm going to be talking about boundaries and why they are an absolute must in business. So let's jump right in and get started.

Welcome to the digitally she does show. I am your host Karen, and I'm here to lift the lid on what it actually takes to create a successful business. If you are an ambitious creative ready to build a business on your own terms and without compromise, then this podcast is perfect for you. With my award winning approach to my in, and expert knowledge in creating online courses.

Karen Davies [00:00:45]:

This show will leave you feeling inspired, energized, and ready to bring those big dreams to life. Join each week for a dose of motivation and marketing know how, along with the actionable step by step strategies to help you accelerate your businesses grow. let's dive in, and don't forget to subscribe to all my upcoming episodes which drop every Wednesday. Hello, and welcome. Thank you for joining me today. I'm your host, Karen, and I really appreciate you hitting the play button to listen to today's episode. In today's episode, I'm going to be talking about boundaries and why in business, especially Having them in place is an absolute must, but before I do dive into today's episode, I just wanted to Welcome, those of you who are now back working full time, who have been enjoying either a quiet summer, or maybe if you're like me, you've taken the summer off. So welcome.

Karen Davies [00:01:47]:

It's great to be back. I mean, the time has absolutely flown by, And, yeah, we're we're back. It feels like a the start of a new term, and I don't know about you, but I'm definitely ready to go. Now, I don't normally take August off. Normally, I will reduce my hours, but I will work through it. But because it's been such a busy year and we've had lots going on, both work wise and personally as well, I decided that actually this year I was going to step back and enjoy August with my family. Doesn't mean to say I haven't done anything, I've actually done quite a bit, but it's been more behind the scenes. Having said that, I do think it's done wonders.

Karen Davies [00:02:37]:

not having to be constantly having to be in my business, answering emails, and just being available, because I've been able to take a little bit of time off, I've been able to evaluate things. I've been able to monitor things and track things and do things that in my day to day, I'm often too busy to do. So it's been great. And, of course, I've been able to spend time with family. I've my eldest, she started secondary school today, so we have literally just done the drop off. And it honestly, it's really emotional. I mean, I do remember dropping her off at primary school, and that being really sort of emotional. And now I feel like we we've kind of jumped ahead, and now we're we're we're going into this secondary school adventure, and it's like, my goodness, where's the time gone? So I think today, she's feeling apprehensive and a little bit anxious and unsure about what's to come.

Karen Davies [00:03:46]:

And so army and my husband, so it's it's a really odd time But what I do feel very grateful for is that at least I've had the summer, and we've been able to do amazing things, and we've gone out and had days together where we've been building memories, and I think that's what it's about. And August is such a funny time because it does go quiet, So I think being able to just take that time and enjoy that time of the family is so precious. And Truth be told, I was probably feeling a little bit tired before we went into the August holiday. We went to Florida at the beginning of April, and what I didn't realize was that because I was so busy before we actually went on holiday. And because it was such a full on holiday, it was literally 10 days nonstop. When I got back, I was exhausted, and I don't think I've really caught up. So as I say, just having a little bit of time, spend some time with the family, have some time just recalibrating, has done wonders because now I'm ready to get started. And so today, I wanted to talk about boundaries, and I wanted to just share something that has recently happened to me, but I think it's something that's probably common when you're running a business.

Karen Davies [00:05:10]:

And so I just want to talk about it, and why boundaries are important, and what we can do to put those boundaries in place, because sometimes we want to please people. We want to support people the best way we can. As entrepreneurs, we've started our business mainly because we want to be in a place of service, but I think with that, it does open you up to vulnerabilities, especially when you're dealing with lots of different people with very different expectations. And so I think having those boundaries in place is really important. And sometimes we can be so caught up in the moment of doing the thing that we do, we don't actually realize when we are not enforcing our boundaries. And so I just wanted to sort of talk about that today because it's such an important thing to have in place. So a couple of weeks ago, I was contact by a brand new client who wanted to work with myself and my team on a web development project. Now, this project requires the full remot of creative services.

Karen Davies [00:06:25]:

So we're talking branding, website development, digital marketing, etcetera. So great opportunity. And this company's been around for a long time, the well established in their space, And so it's a really exciting thing to be a part of. However, very early on, red flags started to appear Now, when I take on a client for the very first time, they have to go through an onboarding period once the proposal has been approved. Now, this is standard process within my industry, and it is required because this is where I carry out the due diligence about the client. Because up until this point, I don't actually know that much about them. Obviously, we've had the initial conversations. We've outlined exactly what they are requiring, but I don't know much about them other than what is on their website.

Karen Davies [00:07:20]:

And so the onboarding process allows me to dig a little deeper to gather the relevant information so that I can move forward with the project. Now, I've worked with 100 of clients over the years, and during this part of the process, I've never had a problem. However, with this client, crack started to appear almost immediately, but I always like to give the benefit a doubt because people are busy and things do happen. Now, as soon as a client wants to work with me and they want to move forward with the proposal, I am always up front, and I'm always setting expectations. And I want to talk time frames and so that I know what myself and my team are working to. So this is a really important part of that process. Now in this instance, I was on holiday, and I made it really clear to the client. So whilst I did take the meeting, because of the urgency that the time was asking to me, I did make it very clear that I wouldn't be able to start until a specific date because We were going away.

Karen Davies [00:08:35]:

So I was very clear upfront about my availability and the fact that I couldn't start work on the project for a couple of weeks. However, what I could do was start the process of onboarding them so that when I come back from holiday and I'm back working full time, then we can hit the ground running, which when I spoke to the potential client about this, they were absolutely fine with. So whilst the client agreed with the time frame and using the time within that 2 week period to onboard and then starting the project within the 2 weeks, when I when I got back from holiday and I was working full time, what became clear very early on was that they weren't happy to wait, because I almost immediately started to receive emails, demanding my time and for because what happened was that because the client went and told their current web partners that they were moving to another company, Things started to get unpleasant and a little unfriendly, and the web partners completely shut down their website. Hence, where I started to receive emails. Now, for me and my team, this situation is tricky because I've been really clear on my availability and my time frame. I'm not around. I'm on holiday, so I'm not here to brief my team or to put any support in place. I don't have a signed contract.

Karen Davies [00:10:08]:

The client's not assigned the contract. I've sent the contract. The clients had the contract for pretty much, you know, a week and a half. I haven't been paid any money because the invoice that I've sent has not been paid. And yet, suddenly, I was expected to stop my holiday and deal with this matter straight away. And instead of the client dealing with this matter directly with their current web company and resolving the issue directly, what they wanted to bring me in to deal with this really unpleasant situation, regardless of the fact that I was on holiday and there was no contract in place between us. So I was then having to take on the work and carry the risk without having the right paperwork in place. Now, the thing is I have worked with enough clients over the years to know when my gut is screaming no.

Karen Davies [00:11:05]:

and I'm now at a place in my own journey where I have to listen to my gut. I have been caught out so many times. no matter how good a project is or how good an opportunity is, I have to now listen to my gut. And if my gut is telling me that I something is not right, then I bear the consequences when I ignore it, and I have in the past. So I think that when your gut is telling you when something in your the pit of your stomach is making you feel uneasy, you have to listen to that. Now, there were other things that happened, and it it did kind of come to our head, but needless to say, I am not working with our client now, and I'm not because I'm not moving forward with them, because there were so many red flags. And like I say, I'm at a stage of my business where I just don't need that. I have to protect what it is I've created, and I have to have boundaries in place, which is why I wanna talk about this today.

Karen Davies [00:12:09]:

Now in the past, the way I would have dealt with that situation would have been very different. But at the same time, I have to learn from past mistakes. And whilst I absolutely, I'm I'm running my business support and help people to be able to do whatever they want to do, I have to think about protecting myself and my business 1st and foremost, and going into a really uncomfortable situation or a really unpleasant situation when I'm carrying a lot of the risk, and I'm having to almost go into a place of hostility in order to get a project started, it doesn't really bode well, and it's not something that I'm prepared to do. Now I love what I do. I enjoy doing the work that I do. I enjoy working with the clients that I work with, I work it in an industry I love, and I get it to make a difference by teaching and helping others. And I am somebody who cannot deal with negative energy from others because as an empath, I often take it on board And so what I have to do now is protect myself. 99% of my clients, and my students are absolutely amazing.

Karen Davies [00:13:31]:

They're wonderful people, but every now and again, I will find myself working with somebody who is an absolute nightmare. Now I've had clients in the past who have not paid me. They've not honored contracts, and I've even had a client who threatened my reputation when they became in breach of a contract, and I was going to have to take him to court to get the money back. So I have experienced really unpleasant situations, and I do not want to find myself back there. Now I could go on about experiences that I've had I've been in business over 6 years now, and I feel like I could write a book about my experiences because there have been times when there's been really testing. And when those times happen, it makes you question why you're doing what you're doing. But when all said and done, those experiences are in the minority. As I said, 99% of the time, I absolutely love the work that I do.

Karen Davies [00:14:33]:

the fact that when you have those negative experiences, they stand out because they are so uncommon, and so I think it's really important to keep perspective. But I guess what I'm now not prepared to do is put myself in a place where I can risk that happening again. So I think the truth is that as entrepreneurs and business owners, we are, of course, going to come across so many different types of clients and students that are going to test our boundaries because that's what people do. we just have to make sure that we have the right boundaries in place so that when we are tested, we know what we're prepared to tolerate and what we would not. Because that way, it makes it easier to know when to walk away or when to stay and take on the work. Now in the past, I've had situations where I have tolerated way too much. which has caused me so much stress and anxiety, and it's never nice having to deal with unpleasant and tricky situations, but if you are running a business, then of course, it is part and parcel of being a CEO. and we must tackle things head on and stand by the boundaries that we have in place because this is what's going to protect us and our business.

Karen Davies [00:15:54]:

Now setting boundaries in business is important for so many reasons because not only does it maintain healthy and productive working relationships with clients and with students. It protects your time and your energy, and also it is establishes professional respect as well, which is incredibly important. And it's also a way of avoiding conflicts and misunderstandings because If you're setting those expectations up at the beginning, then you know that you have made it really clear what what you're gonna the parameters in which you're going to work, and then there's there should be no confusion or misunderstanding going forward. So how do we set boundaries? Well, I want to share 7 tips on how to do this because whilst it's something that should feel easy enough to do, I think sometimes it can be quite tricky, especially if you are somebody that likes to please people, putting boundaries in place can be challenging. And so these 7 tips are going to help you to be able to sort of figure out how to do this in the easiest way possible. So my first tip is is about values. You need to understand what your core values are. determine what is important to you and your professional life.

Karen Davies [00:17:26]:

So what boundaries do you live by? What matters, and what are your limits? How do you want your personal life and your business life to work what balance do you want to create, and what are you willing and not willing to compromise on. So get really clear on what that looks like for you. My second tip is about defining those expectations. You need to clearly define what your role is, what your responsibility is and the tasks that you're going to be working on for your clients. And then you need to communicate that to your clients because this is going to help set really clear boundaries because you're going to be outlining exactly what you're going to be responsible for and what others should expect from you. And then that will open up the discussion about what other people are going to do as well. So If you find that halfway through a project that you're being asked to do something and it isn't in your remit, then you can have that discussion. But you need to have it up front so that you're setting those expectations at the very beginning.

Karen Davies [00:18:38]:

Now for me, this was a biggie. The fact that I was on my holiday, with my family, so really important time, and it wasn't being respected. This was a real deal breaker for me because I felt that if this couldn't be respected now, before the contract's been signed, how is it going to play out once I've started the project? Because However, much I like to be there for my clients, my family will always come first. And sometimes I do have to respond to my family's need before my clients needs, and I like to work with clients that understand that. I will always be open. I will always communicate and I will always have somebody there to support me in my business so that if something does come up with surgeon, I can most likely bring somebody on board to deal with it, but I like to been really open and honest at the very beginning. So you need to define clear expectations about things like your availability and and your responsibility as well. My third tip is to communicate, but to do this assertively, so that it's a, it's almost like a non negotiable.

Karen Davies [00:19:50]:

You need to clearly communicate those boundaries, because that's when people will respect what it is you have to say. You need to be direct without Waffling, so it needs to be very clear, very concise, but very direct about your needs and your limitations without being confrontational as well. So sometimes a conversation is enough, but you need to be assertive in the way that you deliver that so that your client knows that it's a nonnegotiable. Now my 4th tip is about being consistent. If you're going to put boundaries in place, and you're going to say, this is how I work, this is when I do work, this is when I don't work, then you have to be consistent with those boundaries. people are going to respect your boundaries more if they see you consistently enforcing them. If you say I'm not going to be available at the weekend, but then you make yourself available at the weekend, then that's going to send out a mixed message and it's going to compromise your boundaries. So whatever you do, be consistent with what boundaries you're putting in place.

Karen Davies [00:21:04]:

Now my 5th tip is about learning to say no. Now as women, we don't like say no because we want to help, we want to support, and we want to be there for people. But it's okay to say no, especially if what is being asked of you goes beyond your boundaries. It doesn't mean you're being rude. It doesn't mean you're being difficult, but if you are concerned about this, then just offer an alternative solution. But if you need to say no, you need to say no, and you need to do this assertively, and don't back down. Stick by your boundaries. And if you say no, no means no.

Karen Davies [00:21:49]:

My 6th tip is about asking for help. Now sometimes situations can make us feel overwhelmed. Whenever I have something going on in my business that I'm not sure how to deal with because maybe it's a tricky conversation, or maybe it requires something of me. They're just making me feel uncomfortable. I will always have people that I speak to and get advice from. My husband's great for that. My husband is quite senior in the company he works in, and he's really good at managing his staff and dealing with tricky situations. So I often have conversations with him before I enter into a discussion with a client or with somebody where it could be about uncomfortable.

Karen Davies [00:22:36]:

Outside of him, I have other people I can go to as well. So go and ask for help if something makes you feel uncomfortable. Delegate tasks that can be handled by others because you don't have to do anything. As a business owner, you are the CEO and you need to step into that role, and it's not your job to do everything in your business. So delegate tasks, get help on board, and ask for help where it's needed because not only is it gonna help you feel like you're managing a situation better, it's going to prevent you from feeling burnt out, stressed, or anxious. You that's those feelings are not going to serve you. So ask for help, get help on board, and don't be afraid to delegate where necessary. And then my 7th and final tip, and this is an absolute must.

Karen Davies [00:23:29]:

It's a non negotiable, you have to make sure that you take care of yourself first and foremost. You cannot run a business effectively if you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed. If you are working with a client that is making you anxious, if when you receive an email from them, it sends you into a state of panic, then you need to do something about it because that is not healthy, and it's not the way to run a business. We need to be waking up every day, loving what we do. We need to be bringing that energy into our business and feeling grateful for the things that we have and and what we're doing. And we can't do that if we're working with clients that just make us feel like we are not doing a good enough job, or we are not jumping when they say to jump or anything like that. So if you are finding that you are constantly feeling stressed or overwhelmed in your business, then you need to tackle that and you need to deal with that. in the best way possible.

Karen Davies [00:24:33]:

And you will also need to take time for yourself and take time out because that time will give you the clarity and focus that you need to be able to deal more effectively with issues that are going to arise. So tip number 7, really important, take care of yourself. You be you must become first, you become first before your business. Now this is why I decided to take August off was because I was feeling tired and I think looking back maybe a little bit burnt out. So I took some time off. I've come back. I'm really on fire at the moment. I'm focused, and I can deal with tricky situations that require me to go to that place where I feel a bit uncomfortable.

Karen Davies [00:25:21]:

Again, you must prioritize your self care and make sure that you create a healthy work life balance. So set aside time for relaxation Do your hobbies, spend quality time with your favorite people, with your friends, and take care of yourself because that way you can be more effective and focused in your business. Now one of the benefits about being in business for a while And I think last Friday, I, yeah, last Friday I celebrated my 6th business anniversary. So I've been in business 6 years I worked a year before that as a freelancer. So really, technically, I've probably been doing this for about 7 years. So I come with a wealth of experience now that I can draw draw from. So I can see red flags a lot more clearly than I ever did before when I was first starting out. And I think the longer you do something, the more you become weathered to the highs and the lows of business, and you can then preempt situations that may occur because of experiences that have happened in the past.

Karen Davies [00:26:34]:

Now on the whole, I love being an entrepreneur, but it's not easy. And as an empath, I'm always drawn to wanting to fix things. and make things easier for people. It's why I do what I do. It's probably the reason why I want to teach people how to create online courses, and programs and things like that because I know the difference it's going to make for them, not just in their business, but in their life as well, and the freedom that they can get from it. However, I will always give more than I receive because of the passion that I have for the thing that I do. However, in business, this can leave me vulnerable and open to things happening. And and that has been my experience to date.

Karen Davies [00:27:23]:

So when I'm talking about boundaries, I know firsthand how important it is to have those boundaries in place. Having said that, I wouldn't want to do what I do any different because I think that's what drives me results. However, the one thing that I have learned over the years is that as long as you know who you are, what you stand for, and have those boundaries in place to protect you, then you will be fine. Setting boundaries is an ongoing process. It's not just a one and done thing, and it may require you to make adjustments along the way as you work with different people and you encounter different experiences. Now, if you find it difficult to set boundaries, because, as I said previously, maybe you're a you like to please people. You're a bit of a people pleaser. then then, of course, it can be really difficult to put those boundaries in place because you come from that place of really wanting to help and serve and maybe say no, can feel uncomfortable.

Karen Davies [00:28:26]:

Please do not give yourself a hard time. Just think about your core values and what's important to you. Think about how you want to be treated and what you will and won't accept from your clients, and then stick to it. So it can be as simple as just writing down on a piece of paper. This is what I'm going to accept, but this is what I'm not going to accept. And then all you need to do is stick to it. Sometimes people overstep, but they don't actually realize that they're doing it. So it just needs to be, they just need to be reminded of those expectations at the beginning.

Karen Davies [00:29:07]:

never be scared to say no or to walk away because this is what's going to protect you and your business. setting clear boundaries is going to empower you because you're going to be in control and taking control of your business. it's going to allow you to be an advocate for yourself so that you could be really clear on your needs and make decisions that ultimately do align with your values and the goals that you've set for your business. And this is going to help you build your confidence and your assertiveness skills, which is needed in business.

Never accept less than what you deserve and always protect yourself and your business and never apologise for doing so. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to today's episode.

I hope you found this episode of value. And of course, please feel free to share with others who you may think will also benefit from listening to today's episode.

Karen Davies [00:30:11]:

If you are feeling inspired and would like to know more about getting started with creating an online digital course, then why not download my free ebook, 10 steps to digital course success by visiting my website, I will be back next week with another episode, but until then, Have a great week. 

I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Digitally She Does It Show. Don't forget to check out this show notes for all the links and resources mentioned in today's episode. New episodes drop every week on a Wednesday a final rate and subscribe so you never miss an episode. Thank you for tuning in today, and I will see you next time.