Your CFO: Setting Boundaries for Successful Relationships

creating boundaries with clients

It’s 10pm and you’re finally laying down to relax and read a book when the phone starts ringing. As you reach for it, your mind races – Who could be calling this late? I hope it’s not an emergency! Your eyes move to the caller ID… It’s him again – the nightmare client without boundaries!

In my first year of business, I was eager to impress and I made the mistake of taking on every client – even when they left a bad taste in my mouth. I told myself it wouldn’t be so bad. After all, I only had to see them once or twice a month…

What a mistake! I should have trusted my gut and run after my first meeting with him. He was disrespectful to his employees and was even rude to customers. Alas, I decided to suck it up and deal with the discomfort because, surely, he wouldn’t treat me that way.

For the next several years, my nightmare client called all hours of the day and night (weekends too) with no regard for the boundaries I set. He yelled and spoke as disrespectfully to me as he did to others until I decided to let him go and rethink how I choose the people in my life — including clients.

We demand a certain level of respect from the people in our lives, and that needs to include our clients, employees, vendors and other business partners. It is absolutely necessary to set boundaries and expectations in our business relationships – especially when it comes to communication and respect.

When is it appropriate for them to call, email or text?
I usually tell clients if it’s an emergency and you need a response in the next hour, call me. If you need a response in the next 6 hours, send me a text. If you need a response by tomorrow, send me an email.

Be clear about your hours of business and stick to them.
Make it clear that calls and texts to your cell phone won’t be answered after hours. You don’t need to justify this one. Your personal time is sacred!

Demand respect.
Don’t go into business with someone who speaks to or treats others disrespectfully. Odds are, they’ll eventually do it to you too. It’s not worth the stress – build relationships with others that offer you the same respect you give them.

My most successful relationships were founded on clear boundaries and mutual respect. In the words of Anna Taylor:

“Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how you use it. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.”

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