3 Ways to Uphold Your Boundaries with Clients without Feeling Like a Jerk


Yesterday one of my colleagues was talking about a situation in which her client was pushing her boundaries.  The client had hired her to do some design work and she was requesting to make changes beyond the number of revisions they had agreed upon.  My colleague performed twice as many revisions than she agreed to without charging for them.  Finally, after much frustration, she decided to tell the client that she would charge for any additional revisions.

Generally speaking, men don’t struggle as much with telling people they actually have to PAY for extra services.  Unfortunately, situations like this are SO common for women entrepreneurs.  This is one of the ways women give up their power when it comes to money and business. Women work themselves to the bone; busy over-delivering but not bringing in the dough they deserve. This situation only leads to burn out and resentment.

Being natural care-takers and not wanting to upset others, service-based women entrepreneurs often unwittingly set themselves up for under-earning and overworking.

They go over time on coaching sessions, do 10 design revisions instead of the 3 they agreed upon, barter for services when what they really need is to be paid for their services, and the list goes on and on…

So if this is you, what can you do to stop this cycle of overworking and under earning?

Here are 3 ways to uphold your boundaries with clients without feeling like a jerk:

  1. Create a working agreement or contract.  Make sure you list exactly what you will be delivering and the expected time frame for delivery.  Be sure your client knows exactly what is included and what things may be added on later for an additional fee. Taking the time to put things in writing ensures that everyone knows what to expect from your work together.
  2. Stick to your agreement.  Once you start working together, it’s important that everyone does exactly what they agreed upon.  If you or your client needs to adjust the terms of your agreement, have a conversation about it and amend your agreement, but don’t just start “flying by the seat of your pants” or “giving in” to each request just because you don’t want to say “no” or ask for more money.  Most of the time clients aren’t intentionally trying to test your boundaries, they usually just need a reminder about their package or an upgrade—it’s a simple as that. It’s your job to guide them through the process of working with you.
  3. Make service, profitability, and sustainability your priority.  In order to stay in business you have to collect money in exchange for your services—that is the definition of “business.”  If you aren’t doing this consistently you won’t be in business very long and you won’t be able to serve the people you are meant to serve.  Upholding your boundaries with clients is a great way to become a powerful business owner, plug your money leaks, and create a highly profitable and sustainable business. Remember: You can’t serve as many people if you’re not in business.

Want to learn more about  upholding your boundaries, making more money and keeping more of the money you make?  Check out my new 6 week “Shatter Your Glass Ceiling” Empowerment Program at http://ShatterYourGlassCeiling.com/training.

6 Response to “3 Ways to Uphold Your Boundaries with Clients without Feeling Like a Jerk ”

Sue Painter
June 6, 2012
3:00 pm

Comment :

Tiffany,
I like all three of your tips. My own experience is that clients who are hoping for a “savior” type of relationship are the ones who will push your boundaries. So clear scope of work up front is key!
Sue

Eric Benson
June 7, 2012
6:40 am

Comment :

Tiffany, your message transcends gender, or at least it does for me! The two points that really pop for me are 1) Burnout’s the destination for those not getting this under control and 2) Client’s don’t always intend to take advantage. Thanks for sharing :-)

Jeff Brunson
June 7, 2012
4:01 pm

Comment :

Very good post. And … with most clients, once the water is tested – and you hold firm to the upfront agreement – it will not be tested again. Kinda like with children isn’t it? And I don’t mean that as a slam to any client … it is simply about the relationship.

Mary Ellen Miller
June 7, 2012
8:06 pm

Comment :

Tiffany, your timing is great on this post. Something similar has come up in my work. I would add that women need not “get their feelings hurt” about the matter of time and money either. After all, it is strictly business. Great advice and tips to live by as always!

Heidi Alexandra
June 10, 2012
11:43 pm

Comment :

Great tips Tiffany they remind me that we must always be victors and take ownership and responsibility for such situation treating our business as a business and not a hobby.

Sondra
September 21, 2012
1:51 am

Comment :

Thankfulness to my father who told me about this website, this website is truly amazing.

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