Beginning solopreneurs and young professional services firms (consulting firms, law firms, accountants, web developers, designers, and others) sometimes struggle with setting client limits. In our always-on, 24-7 environment, it’s easy to find yourself in a scenario where you’re responding to client needs at all hours, and the rest of your business and life suffers as a result. If you answer to emails from clients after 10 p.m. or on Sunday mornings, they will come to anticipate, and even demand, that degree of attentiveness.
How to be self employed . Setting boundaries with your clients may appear uneasy or even risky – after all, you love your clients and want them to keep employing you, and Setting boundaries with clients in case Management. However, it is ultimately beneficial to be able to set some acceptable expectations in order to keep you and your business productive and happy while also making time for your life outside of work.
Self employment ideas Here are a few examples of how self-employed people can create boundaries with their clients and Setting boundaries with clients in case Management
Email is a good way to communicate.
Many self-employed persons find that if they do not have to continually respond to client phone calls and texts, their workday feels more under their control (and less frantic). Use email as your primary point of communication with clients instead of phone or text, and urge them (subtly) to do the same. Email is useful because it allows you to time-shift – you don’t have to respond to every single request in real time – and because it gives a written record of the full chain of communication, which helps to prevent mistakes and misunderstandings. Even if your clients prefer to call or text you, try emailing them back – demonstrate to them that it’s easier and better for both of you if you can respond to their questions in writing with a more detailed, considered response (rather than hurriedly typing with your thumbs), and it also helps you avoid interruptions.
However, only respond to emails at specific times of day.
Don’t fall into the trap of being continually buried in your email inbox. Email is intended to be a time-shifting tool rather than an instant communication service. It’s fine to let emails pile up for a few hours if you can react inside the business day. It’s better to be productive as much as possible during the day and respond to email just when you’re ready, rather than letting your entire day pass you by as you try to respond to every single email that comes in.
Make use of Out-of-Office Replies.
Set up a “out-of-office” automated reply message when you’re not going to be checking email during the day, just like you would if you were on vacation. Give a brief introduction and explain why the sender is receiving this communication. For instance, you could remark, “Thank you for your message.” I am now in meetings or working on client projects, however I will react to your mail after 3 p.m. today.” Out-of-office emails are a fading art, but people will frequently appreciate your time more (and be better clients to work with overall) if they know you’re not ignoring them – that you’re just busy right now.
Suggest Meeting Times Proactively
Of course, the client’s schedule takes precedence — if the client needs to meet with you or have a conference call at a specific time of day, the customer’s needs must take precedence. However, you can typically avoid being sucked into inconveniently arranged meetings by proactively recommending (or avoiding) specific times. For example, the next time a customer suggests a meeting, you can respond, “That’s a wonderful idea – how about next week, Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. work for you?” This manner, you can clearly define which times of day are better for you than others – and which times of day are off-limits.
Purchase a separate “Client Phone.”
If you have a client who makes a lot of phone calls and is particularly inconvenient on your time – but who is otherwise a solid client and worth keeping – you might want to consider buying a separate phone for that client.
It’s simple to add another mobile phone (with a separate phone number) to your existing monthly plan, or even purchase a prepaid phone that can only be used to chat to that specific client. If the interruptions are going to continue, you might as well establish a separate location where you can direct that client and keep the disruptions separate from the rest of your life. This manner, you can offer the client the attention they require while also being able to turn off the “client phone” when you need some time away.
Setting boundaries with clients in case management is the key to running a successful professional services firm, but it isn’t just about making sales and convincing people to employ you. Managing a successful business sometimes entails knowing when and how to carve out space and time for yourself. However, by demonstrating to your clients that you have boundaries, you are indirectly demonstrating to them that your time is valuable, that you are a professional, and that you are deliberate and prudent in how you utilize your time and manage your mental energy. Setting boundaries is ultimately beneficial to both your clients and yourself, and the best clients — the ones you truly want to keep in the long run – will appreciate you for it.
Maintain Transparency with Friends and Family
When it comes to respecting work time, the individuals closest to us are frequently the major perpetrators. It’s crucial to inform friends and family that you won’t be able to pick up their last-minute dry cleaning, or that they won’t be able to phone you at 2 p.m. on a Thursday to brainstorm ideas for their summer vacation.
Many individuals believe that because you operate your own business, scheduling spare time during the day is simple. Set defined workplace hours instead of engaging in unhealthy practices. Inform your friends and family about your working hours, and be sure to keep to them.
Discuss Expectations with Clients
As with friends and relatives, it is critical to inform clients of your working hours and the best way to reach you during that time. While you may want to give for some flexibility in terms of being available after hours (there’s nothing wrong with going above and above on occasion), don’t let clients abuse your time.
Even the best clients will test your willingness to produce good work, so be very cautious—especially when it comes to scope creep. You never want to nickel and dime your clients, but you must ensure that you are adequately reimbursed for the work you accomplish and the effort you put into it.
How did you ensure your health and safety?
It’s not uncommon to find yourself routinely putting in extra hours when you operate your own firm. It’s easy to be sucked into checking email intermittently throughout the evening or completing that last little work for a project.
However, resist the urge to mix work with family or personal time. Make it a point to emotionally and physically disconnect from work at the end of the day; turn off your computer and have a peaceful break.
As you establish limits, remember to listen to your friends, family, and clients since they will let you know if a certain rule you have in place isn’t working. Use this input as a chance to evaluate, adapt, and improve. It is critical to be adaptable and to recognize that each situation, client, and the project will be unique. Boundaries, with a little forethought, can help you stay productive at work and make the most of your time away from the workplace.
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