We are so excited to introduce Episode 024 of With Grace and Gold: The Podcast — a business education podcast for small business owners and entrepreneurs. With Grace and Gold: The Podcast features 5-minute episodes with clear, actionable steps to guide you toward successful small business ownership. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Anchor, Spotify, or elsewhere!
As small business owners, we tend to feel very connected to our businesses; our businesses are a blend of our creativity, our passion, and our work — so it can be challenging to separate who we are from what we do. The results of not having healthy boundaries for small business owners can vary. Maybe you’ve found your mood is sometimes correlated with the highs and lows of your small business — or maybe your sense of self or self-worth seem tied to the performance of your business.
In today’s episode of With Grace and Gold: The Podcast, we’re going to talk about boundaries and how we can create healthy boundaries as small business owners. With healthy boundaries, we can build a foundation for successful and sustainable small business ownership.
Healthy Boundaries for Small Business Owners
As small business owners, so much of what we do is up to us. Having ownership over so many decisions can lead to creating bad habits, like we talked about in Episode 020. Even further, having ownership over so many decisions can lead to feeling especially connected to the successes, failures, and learning experiences which we inevitably journey through as small business owners.
When our business successes feels like our successes, and our business failures feels like our failures — the line between who we are and what we do can become blurry. When our business isn’t performing how we’d hoped or planned, we might feel overwhelmed or even defeated.
That’s why today, we want to talk about creating healthy boundaries between you and your small business. Because, the truth is, what you do is not who you are. What you do for your career is just one part of your life. And when you create healthy boundaries and develop in the areas outside of your small business, you can create a healthy foundation for both personal and professional success.
So, today, I’m sharing 10 ways to create healthy boundaries. And whether you apply none, one, or all of these tips, we’re hopeful you feel encouraged and supported as you take your next steps as a small business owner. Because you’re doing better than you may think!
- First, remember why you started your business. Maybe you started your business so you could have flexibility. If you reflect upon your small business journey, maybe you had planned for 20-hour work weeks, but you’ve been working 50-hour work weeks. Maybe you’re no longer experiencing the flexibility you had once dreamed of and planned for. So, why did you start your small business? What do you value? How can you ensure what you value is protected and preserved? We’re hopeful our next tips will guide you.
- Create a designated workspace. For work-from-home small business owners, it’s no wonder the lines between who we are and what we do become blurry; our workspaces are our homes, and our homes are our workspaces. Where we live, eat, sleep, and relax is also where we work. When you create a designated workspace, you create a healthy boundary. You’re able to focus on work during your workday, and leave your work behind at the end of the day. Even though I work from home, too, at the end of my workday, I ask my husband to “pick me up from work.” He comes to my office, closes the door behind us, and then we go for a walk around our neighborhood. This seemingly-silly ritual is actually really helpful; it allows me to create an ‘end’ to a workday that otherwise wouldn’t have a clear ending.
- Set business hours. At With Grace and Gold, business hours are something we feel so strongly about. Business hours allow you to bring structure to your workday, to focus wholeheartedly on the work you’re doing, and to hold yourself accountable, too. Business hours empower us to do the best we can, to work the hardest we can during set hours. This leads to our next tip:
- Set client expectations. From when your business hours are and how often you’ll communicate, to the communication channels you’ll use… there are all types of client expectations you can set. Setting expectations is a good thing. Expectations are helpful for both you and for your clients, because both you and your clients will know exactly how you can make the most of your experience together. In Episode 009, we share ways to communicate expectations to create a personal, elevated client experience.
- Say no. When you say no to the wrong things, you’re creating space to yes to more of the right things. Say no to working beyond your business hours. Say no to offering products or services you don’t currently offer, aren’t equipped to offer, or don’t want to offer — like we talked about in Episode 015.
- Outsource when wanted or needed. In Episode 013, we shared how outsourcing can truly uplift your business. By outsourcing, you can hire a trusted professional to manage an area of your business you don’t feel equipped to manage, or simply don’t want to manage. Outsourcing is a wonderful way to maintain balance within your business and to ensure you aren’t overextended as your business continues on.
- Keep your personal contact information private. While every small business is unique, at With Grace and Gold, we are passionate about sharing only our business contact information with our clients. By doing so, all client communication goes through specific business-only channels, which help us to stay organized and maintain clear boundaries and expectations.
- Limit phone usage. Do you wake up in the morning and instantly begin to scroll? Do you check your email right before you go to sleep? As business owners, it’s natural to want to have the pulse on what’s happening online, or what’s happening within your business. Just like we can set business hours, we recommend setting phone usage hours. By doing so, you can give yourself space to simply be, beyond your business. At night, I try to put my phone on my nightstand around 8 PM, and I try not to look until the following day. In the morning, I aim to get completely ready for the day — exercise, get ready for the day — and then take a peek. Doing so allows me to have just a little bit more clarity before my workday officially begins.
- Schedule your posts. If you know your social media posts perform best in the morning, or if you want to get back to an email right away — consider how scheduling your posts and your emails may be able to help. Apps like Planoly allow you to automatically post Instagram posts, captions, and hashtags — so you can post successfully even when you’re away from your work. So much in business can be automated, so consider the ways automating and scheduling can help you to create healthy boundaries.
- Do something just for you. As we get older, and as we become more engaged with the work we’re doing as small business owners, it’s almost natural and normal to let our hobbies and personal interests fall to the wayside. Find something you can do, create, or try outside of business that is just for you. There doesn’t have to be a clear benefit, it doesn’t have to be a means of making money — it can be something in which the only purpose is to have fun, to learn, or to grow personally.
We are so hopeful that these 10 tips help to encourage you and equip you to create healthy boundaries for small business owners. Who you are is so much more than what you do.