Strategy for Creatives: Business Minus the Bullshit

The Silent Pillars of Business Success: Boundaries and Systems (Repeat EP 38 Aug. 9, 2022)

July 11, 2023 Sasha | Business Strategist for Creative Women Season 1 Episode 72
Strategy for Creatives: Business Minus the Bullshit
The Silent Pillars of Business Success: Boundaries and Systems (Repeat EP 38 Aug. 9, 2022)
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Imagine running your business like a well-oiled machine, where your time and energy are respected, and your boundaries are upheld. In this episode, I'm unveiling the power of setting business boundaries and the transformative impact it can have on your success and sanity. Rooted in personal experiences and struggles, this episode is brimming with valuable tips to safeguard your mental health while achieving entrepreneurial growth.

Peel back the layers of your daily routine and let's implement systems that genuinely serve you. I'll share my journey of using Google Calendar and a trusty planner to manage appointments, reducing stress and enhancing productivity. Not only that, we'll dive into creating communication structures that add consistency to your business conversations. Brace yourself for a candid exploration of authenticity, trust, and the importance of self-care in the journey toward business success. Trust me, by the end, you'll be armed with the strategies needed to construct your boundaries and systems, leading to an efficiently run and profitable business. Tune in and let's navigate this path together.

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Speaker 1:

One thing that I talk a lot about on this podcast is the balance between self-care and business, and that's because if we don't take care of ourselves, we won't be able to effectively run our businesses. We can't ignore the conversations that happen around being a business owner and how that affects our stress levels and mental health. I've seen firsthand how running a business can put a strain on our mental health and what happens if there's no one to talk to. That can help. If you've reached a point where you might be feeling stressed, anxious, depressed or overwhelmed, then my sponsor, betterhelp, is here to help you. Betterhelp offers licensed therapists who are trained to listen and help you. You can talk to your therapist in a private online environment at your own convenience And with a broad range of expertise and BetterHelp's 20,000 plus therapist network, you can find access to help that may not otherwise be available in your area and request a new therapist at no additional charge. Anytime, simply fill out a questionnaire to help assess your specific needs and get matched with the therapist in under 48 hours. Schedule secure video and phone sessions. Plus, you can exchange unlimited messages, and everything you share is completely confidential. Join the 2 million plus people who have taken charge of their mental health with an experienced BetterHelp therapist. Get 10% off your first month at betterhelpcom slash strategy. That's better H-E-L-P dot com slash strategy. Welcome to strategy for creatives Business minus the bullshit. Whether you're new in business or find yourself in a season of change, get ready to build a strategy, create an action plan and crush those goals. I'm Sasha, host of strategy for creatives, and I help female lab businesses grow their brands in authentic, measurable and meaningful ways, without the stress. There's no sugarcoating here. I'm serving up real tips and actionable steps you can take to help get you organized, get off the path to burnout and grow your brand like a boss. So go ahead, pull up a chair, grab a notepad and let's talk business. Welcome to another episode of strategy for creatives. I, of course, am your host, sasha, and today we are talking about one of my favorite topics boundaries. Y'all know that I am so serious about having boundaries in place for my life, for my business. It is essential to my self care in order to have boundaries in place, especially when it comes to my business. I don't work certain days of the week, for example, most Fridays. You will not see availability on my calendar to talk with me. I don't work after about 5pm. I respond to clients primarily through email and I let my clients know that unless you show up in my inbox, that you will probably get forgotten about. If you hit me up on a DM or something like that, i don't mind having conversations starting in my DMs, but if it ever turns into a business conversation it has to get moved over to email or I literally will forget about it because, mom brain, that's just what happened after I had Stokely. I am very serious when it comes to boundaries and having boundaries in my business. It's just a way for me to protect myself, my self care and my sanity. Y'all know I do a lot. I have the podcast, i have my business, i'm a mom, i'm a wife, i have like four other businesses and a full time job. I do a lot. My time is very important to me. I wanted to talk today about boundaries, but I wanted to talk about it in a way on how having certain systems in place in your business can actually help enforce and protect those boundaries that you're creating for yourself. Systems allow us to contain our clients and our customers in a way that still allows them to feel important and allows them to feel heard and feel like they are being serviced and catered to, while also protecting your time and your energy, and having those be protected is so important to me. I always say that having a business shouldn't come at the expense of your own self-care, and so the whole episode is going to be an action item. I want you to kind of listen to some of these systems that I'm going to talk about, how it can help protect boundaries that I think you should have in your business. And if you don't have them, i really think you need to think about why and whether or not you should have these types of boundaries in your business. But if there are certain systems in place that you don't have in your business and it sounds like something you should have in place, i just encourage you to try to make that happen for your business. And so I'm going to kind of go over three different ways to use systems as a way to protect boundaries in our business, because they are important, and you will be surprised how much having these three simple types of systems in your business can allow you to really protect your space and your time and your energy. So, first up, i want you to think about having a scheduling system. This is everything from something like Calendly which links to like a Google calendar and allows people to schedule client calls with you. You can do it through a CRM, a client relationship manager, such as Dubsado or Honeybook. I use both. Actually, i use Dubsado and Calendly, depending on the business that I have which one I'm trying to get booked. But by having a scheduling system, it allows calls and client communication to only be scheduled based on a predetermined availability and based on your current calendar. And why is that important? Because you are putting the boundaries in place for when your time is available. You are letting clients and potential clients know this is when I am open to receiving communication from people, it's when I have the mental ability to talk to people, it's when I'm in the right frame of mind to conduct a business. You are putting that boundary in place that allows other people to come into your space when you are ready for it and not the other way around. Too often I see people trying to have open schedules and telling people that they are available whenever that person is available and that they can talk to them whenever is most convenient for them. And that's fine. On occasion I won't lie and say that there haven't been times where I've taken late, late calls or where I've talked to a potential client or a client on the weekend, but I do not make it a habit. If you want to talk to me, then you have to schedule it in my scheduler. I've talked extensively about my planner and I keep essentially my Google Calendar is essentially a digital copy of the paper planner I keep right at my desk. I put all of my appointments in it and I set my schedule with what works best for me. For example, if you go out and you try to schedule a discovery call with me, there are only 15 minutes, because I don't think it should take longer than 15 minutes to decide whether or not I'm the right person for you to work with, with strategy or to answer any questions that you have. I've made my website in a way that should give you all of the information that you need to make that type of decision And really 15 minutes should be more than enough for us to feel whether or not we vibe with each other and if we're the right people to be working with each other. Some people do 30 minutes, some people do an hour, some people try to do 30 minutes and then let people take an hour, and that's why I think it's important to put those scheduling in place and to make sure that you're telling people what they can expect from you. So I point out that my discovery calls are only 15 minutes. Whenever I hop on a discovery call, i essentially outline how the call is going to go. I say you know, it's a 15 minute call, it's meant to do X, y and Z, and I've never had pushback from that. And of course there are some times where I am talking to people and I go over. But because I'm laying that expectation at the beginning, nine times out of 10, like people will tell me at the beginning of my discovery calls, i know we don't have much time. Here are my questions, and so they're coming prepared to get answered what they need to know. They are understanding what my process is and I'm protecting my space around, how much time I want available to other people. I'm an introvert. I really don't like talking to other people. It takes a lot out of me to have a lot of calls with people And so by limiting that, i'm protecting my energy by not getting too tired and having to talk to many people And again, i can set when I'm available to people. So for the summer I'm not available on Fridays. It's family time. I want to go out and enjoy myself. I have limited hours on Mondays because my husband is home and that's when we also have family time together and we'll go to the beach and things like that. It probably will change during the school year, but that's how I have it set up during the summer. It will change definitely during the school year when school starts and my son is back into his school, sports and things like that. Well, i won't be available as late in the evening because I'm setting that boundary between when I'm available for my clients and when I'm available to have my own time or to have family time. I highly, highly suggest that you get a scheduling system in place, because it will allow you the freedom to do what you want to do on your own time and also know when you need to be available for clients or potential clients to talk to you. The next thing that I think you should have in your business to help protect those boundaries is some sort of communication system. This might not be an actual system per se, but it could be everything from workflows, response templates, things like that. I want you to think about establishing when and how you communicate internally and externally and, if at all possible, using templates when it makes sense. So what does that mean exactly? So when I talk about establishing how you communicate externally to people, that's for the example I gave earlier, like if I have conversations that start in my DMs and then they turn to business, i'm always going to move it into my inbox because that's how I conduct my business. Some people are fine doing business over DMs and having that communication, or doing business in Facebook Messenger and things like that. I can do it. I choose not to because I honestly will forget. If someone has DMed me and asked me a question, i will forget about it if it's not in my inbox. I literally keep my laptop open all day long. I keep my email open all day long And if I have not responded to an email, i keep it up in my inbox so that way I know I owe someone a response And so I need those conversations to come to my inbox. I also have my phone on me 24 seven. It's a bad habit, but if you email me, i'm going to see it on my phone and I can market or flag it as something I need to respond to, versus it's gonna show up in my DM and then it's gonna go away as soon as I get off of Instagram or as soon as I get away from Facebook. I'm just not gonna be able to remember to do those things And again, it's not something that I've had pushed back from clients. I've had clients ask me you know where do you prefer for me to send you something? And they know if I say email, then they will move a conversation to email, and it's about respecting someone's, the way that someone operates and the way that they communicate. So think about how you want to communicate with people, what works best for you, and you establish that. Yes, you will get clients who say, hey, i work better with text or I work better via DMs. You don't have to operate your business that way. I do not give out my personal phone number to any of my clients And, as much as I love my clients, that is my personal space. There are some business owners who don't mind if clients text them. I'm not one of them. I like my text to be from my family and from my friends and for personal things, and so I won't give out that type of information to clients. If you want to reach me, you can schedule a call with me and we'll do it over Zoom or I'll give you my business number if you wanna talk to me. I also don't communicate past a certain time, so if you send me an email at five o'clock on a Friday, i will see it, but you're not gonna get a response for me until probably Monday morning at like 9 am, and that is because I have set boundaries around when I am available to clients. I don't work past five o'clock most nights. I don't work on the weekends if I really don't have to, and so I let my clients know. You can expect to hear from me within 24 to 48 hours. If it's something pressing, then I will make sure I try to get back to you more quickly. But I set that boundary and I set that expectation early on in my client relationships so that they understand that it's important to me and that it's how I operate my business. And I encourage all of my clients to do the same exact thing. Do that with your time. Figure out when you want to be available to talk to people when you want to be available to answer questions or to respond to clients, because it doesn't have to be right away. We live in a world where a lot of stuff happens instantaneously and people expect responses as soon as something is asked. That doesn't have to be the case in your business. You can decide what works best for you. I also want to quickly just touch on using templates whenever possible. If you are using a client relationship manager, like Dub Sado, for example, to have communications with your clients or potential clients, you can set up responses that will go out automatically, or at least that you can just click on a template and edit as necessary, so that you're not having to rethink and rework this every single time. It's protecting your time and your energy to not have to say the same things over and over again. So if someone books a discovery call with me, i have a templated email that goes out and says thanks so much, i can't wait to talk to you. Here's your call information. Could I send that information myself? Sure, does it take time? Yes, do I want to spend my time doing that? No, i don't. And it's the same thing whenever I send out clients who I do one-on-ones with when it's their time to book their next strategy session. I have a template email that says hey, it's time to book your next session, don't forget to fill out your strategy sheet. And here's the link to my calendar to book. All of that is a template email And I know that my clients know that it's templated because it reads the exact same time every month whenever they have to schedule their calls. But it's still that way. I don't have to spend the time and the energy worrying about doing something like that And it's protecting my boundary around what I want to do in my business and when It also just honestly helps my business run smoother, because I can click a workflow button, say that that email is approved and then it just automatically goes to my client. So I'm not having to always revisit how I communicate with my clients. I set that up and set expectations very early on in my client relationships So that way I know how things are going to work and they can understand how I work in my business. The last type of system that you want to think about, having to kind of protect your energy and how you spend your time in your business, is some sort of sales and marketing system, and so what this is is a system that determines how you're going to respond and build relationships with potential clients, so that way they can actually become clients and you end up getting paid. So you want to think about how your marketing is billed like. How are you having people get to know, like and trust you? and then what does that look like? as far as setting boundaries, so for me, if you are on my email list, you most likely only get emails on Tuesday, and that's a boundary that I've set for myself, that I'm not going to send emails to people outside of probably once a week. I don't want to spend the time that it takes to write that many emails every month, and I also respect other people's inboxes. I don't want to show up in your inbox that often because I know you have time that's better spent somewhere else, and so I create emails. I pretty much bang out my emails at the beginning of every month. I schedule it for every Tuesday of the month, and then I don't have to worry about it, and that's protecting my energy around trying to figure out what I'm going to talk about, what I'm going to write about, and that's how I manage my time and my boundary around communicating and marketing in my business. I have a predetermined schedule that I'm going to do that with. I also have things that allow me to still market to people and potential clients in my business without me having to again recreate something that I'm using over and over again. So, if you newly joined my email list, i have a welcome sequence. That welcome sequence is automated. It sends out the same three emails at the same set interval to every new person who joins my email list. I set that up because, one, that's how you nurture people on your email list. You get them to know and like you and trust you by telling them thank you for signing up for my email And here's more about me and here's more about my business And here's how I can help you. But two, i don't have to recreate that wheel every time. It's saving me my time and my energy and my business, so that I don't have to worry about whether or not potential clients are being nurtured in their email From me. That's already something that's set up. I do the same thing when it comes to my Instagram and my social media marketing. I have a system in place on how I create my content that I put out. So that way I'm not stressed about when I need to show up And I protect the boundary of my time on how often I need to show up on social media. If anything, it allows me the freedom to show up more often than I might. Because I have these systems in place. I have most of the time on Sundays or Monday mornings where I create my content for the week, and I have the same type of templates that I use. So if you go to my Instagram feed and you actually look at the feed itself, you'll see that the images are probably pretty similar. That's because I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel. I don't have the mental capacity or energy to spend trying to figure out what I'm going to post every week. So I made it very simple for myself And one of the easiest things that I do that helps just protect my time and my energy and my stress levels when it comes to content creation for social media is I do a reel pretty much every week focusing on whatever my topic is of the week, but I don't do anything fancy with it. I show up as authentically myself. I'm sitting in the same exact spot in my desk and I'm literally just talking on camera about whatever it is the topic is, and those reels do well. I get tons of saves, i get tons of sense Like people are sending those reels to other people. I get a lot of views on those And I'm not doing anything special And I don't feel like I need to, and that's the way I protect my boundary around how I show up for other people, because I do believe and I've talked about this before I believe in being very authentic And I'm not the kind of dance. I don't have a very exuberant personality or anything like that, and so I want people if they're choosing to work with me or potential clients, i want them to see how I really am and how I really do function, and it's a lot of what I'm doing right now. I am my best when I'm able to just talk and give information, and so having a sales and communication or sales and marketing system which helps you figure out how you're going to build relationships and respond to potential clients is a great way to put boundaries in place on how you show up for potential clients. How do you want potential clients to see you? How do you set expectations with potential clients on what it is to work with you. All of that is some sort of system that you can create in your business in order to create that like no trust factor and help people be excited to work with you but also respect your time and your energy and respect how your business operates. And so if you don't have any of these in place a scheduling system, a communication system, a sales and marketing system I want you to think about what that looks like in your business. How can you protect your time and your energy in your business? It is so important. It's so important to limit the stress that you could have from running a business. It's so important to establish boundaries in your business so that you enjoy working in your business when you are working in it. Of course, there are moments where we're not going to always have fun working in our businesses, but as long as we are putting parameters around how we show up for people and what people can expect from us and how we protect our time and how we protect our energy, then we can go into business and enjoy what we're doing, because we're doing it on our terms. And really I'll say it again, y'all know this is so important to me, self care is number one when it comes to running your business. Do not let your business and your wanting to grow your business overshadow your need to protect yourself and take care of yourself and your energy and your time. Use systems to create boundaries in your business so that way, as your business grows, you will still enjoy working in that business and you won't get burnt out or feel that others are taking advantage of your time. Are you ready to up level your business? Join the five day, be your own CEO challenge. All the details are available on the website at wwwbuy-sashacom. If you like what you heard, make sure you write and review. It really helps other people find the show And, of course, follow and subscribe on your favorite podcast platforms. Want to follow me on social? I'm on Instagram and Facebook at strategybySasha. Make sure you tune in next Tuesday for more business tips. Part of the Balas Audio Podcast Network.

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