Last weekend I went for a walk along the beach in silence with my friend. The water was an incredible shade of blue and there were dolphins playing in the bay.
Sounds pretty lovely… it was such a shame my friend missed it all because she was on her phone replying to clients - even though it was a Sunday.
It got me thinking how many things I must have missed when I was stuck in this cycle of always being on.
I wonder if you’ve been missing out too?
I would reply to clients on weekends, on holidays and even at midnight! Whatever is best for my clients right?
Running a home based beauty business I was always on, I just couldn't put my phone down or switch off.
I would tell myself to book in or reply to that one extra client and then that one oh and that one too and before I knew it working 12 hours a day without a lunch break become a normal day.
I did this for such a long time, I’d knock off, wrap things up at the salon and practically collapse on the couch or the bed, watch some TV and get up to do it all over again.
Not exactly a healthy or sustainable business plan orlifestyle?
I found myself becoming really resentful of my home based beauty business and my clients, I felt like they had more control over my business then i did.
I wasn't enjoying work at all, I was so mentally and emotionally drained I even considered changing careers and started thinking that maybe owning a salon wasn't for me.
I soon realised that I did actually love owning a salon, It was just that I wasn't running the type of salon I dreamed of, the type of beauty business that served both me and my clients. I was me bending over backwards willing to sacrific my enjoyment and precious moments in life to suit my clients.
Once I realised this I knew something had to change but I was afraid to take responsibility and set boundaries with my clients, I didnt want to be mean or selfish or confrontational.
I went back and forth in my head with all the worst case scenarios of losing clients, what they would say and I even started to justify to myself why I should just leave things the way that they are.
Maybe I shouldn't say anything maybe I should just deal with it, I can live without boundaries if my clients are happy right? Wrong!
I had to give myself a pep talk to work up the courage and take action, I wasnt running a salon that made me feel happy and aligned within myself so I had to change something to make this happen.
I decided to write down what my ideal day looked like and felt like to me, Once I did this I started to pull out all the pieces that were not currently working in my business for instance I wrote down:
I wanted all of my clients to be 5 minutes early or on time to every appointment
No children, friends or family allowed in the treatment room
All clients will pay a non refundable deposit etc
Once I was clear on these boundaries I started writing down scenarios where I may have to be flexible, I role played them in my mind again and again.
Scenarios such as if a client was 5 minutes late, I will mention that they are late and that I require the full appointment time to give them the best possible experience and treatment possible. I would let them know that I was happy to carry out this appointment but next time I would need them to be on time or their appointment will be cancelled and their deposit will be forfeited.
This made it really easy and super clear for me when I was put on the spot in any given situation to already know how I would respond.
By mentioning it to my client I was making it super clear that they understood what is expected of them for me to meet their expectations in carrying out the best possible service, treatment and experience for them.
It sounds super scary though I found that my client respected me and my business more once I implement these boundaries. Crazy how our minds create worst case scenarios that almost never happen in reality.
I then started implementing them, I added them onto my website, onto my social media and onto my terms and conditions page that clients would tick and agree too.
I wanted them everywhere so people were seeing them again and again and becoming familiar with my boundaries. I made sure to explaine to my client how and why these boundaries benefited them (not me).
Once set you then have to stick to them and be consistent, there is no point having boundaries if you're not going to hold people accountable, as people will not follow them and not take you or your business seriously.
It's important to have the same consistent boundaries for every clients as people talk, If one client lost her deposit because she couldn't make her appointment for the same reason as her friend but her friend got to keep her deposit its going to leave a bad taste in the mouth of both clients as they will start to lose trust for you and your brand.
This was one of those why didn't I do this sooner moments and I known it will be for your too
So are you ready to create a business that works and feels better for you and your clients?
If so here is your checklist of steps to creating boundaries
1: Write down your ideal day
2: Pull out the pieces of your day that are not currently a reality
3: What boundaries can you put in place that will create this reality
4: Be clear on what they are and when you are willing to be flexible
5: Implement them and upload them to your social sand website
6: Stick to them
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