Episode #007 - Boundaries: How to Avoid Burnout and Gain Respect as a Service Provider

Jul 15, 2021

A breakdown of setting and enforcing loving boundaries in your business

Katy Prince, Business and Sales Coach, walks through the reasons why you may be becoming burnt out whilst selling and providing your service. Katy demonstrates how to set and enforce loving boundaries in real-life business situations, such as on a sales call, when approached for advice and when delivering your service. Katy also helps to shift limiting beliefs and toxic habits such as those enforced by 'hustle culture' so you can become the respected and sustainably successful business owner you deserve to be.

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Scripts Discussed in Episode: 

  • For setting up the time schedule on a call:
    • "We have the next 30 minutes together, in that time we will X, Y, Z and at the end of the call, if we find we are a good fit, I will walk you through what working together would look like, sound good?"
    • If 5 mins before the end and they are talking off topic - "I want to be respectful of your time, and we now have 5 minutes left, how would you like to finish up this call today?"
  • How to respond to an attempted Brain-pick:
    • "I love that you value my input and you're absolutely right, this is something I help my clients with... are you interested in finding out the ways we can work together?"
    • "This is a great question and something that is perfect to drop in my free Facebook group for a response, or it may have already been answered there, do you want me to send you the link?"

 


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Episode Transcript: 

Katy Prince:
If you have ever felt overwhelmed, burnt out, or underappreciated for your work, then listen in. It might be because of your boundaries. If right now you have boundaries flakier than a fresh baked croissant, then this is going to be the episode for you. Because in this episode my friends, we are walking through the dangers, the hazards of not setting and sticking to boundaries within our businesses. I know you know this already. I know you do because everywhere we look now we see the B word. I'm going to offer some insight into why we might flex our boundaries, problems that can arise when we do. I'm also going to give you some real steps that you can take from today to make sure both you and your time are fully respected and appreciated.

Katy Prince:
Welcome to the Study Notes Podcast, the podcast that helps ethical entrepreneurs like you get clear on your sales, service and strategy in order to make money and reach goals without those outdated business tactics that make us squirm. I am Katy Prince, the CEO of the Squirm-Free School of Business. I am obsessed with getting people the sales and the results they deserve in a non-icky way. We are all about being inclusive, building confidence, honesty, transparency and fun in this space. If you want to level up your business, but maybe you haven't felt like you fitted in with the traditional entrepreneurial mold, then pull up a seat. You are in the right place. All right. Well, boundaries. That's our topic today. Is it weird that I feel nervous? Whenever I'm talking about the topic of boundaries, I always like to just put a little disclaimer out there that I identify as a recovering people pleaser because my boundaries used to be flaky [as 00:02:31].

Katy Prince:
When I was first starting out as a freelance copywriter, my need for clients to like my copy sometimes, oh gosh, it led to me compromising the actual effectiveness of my work. Sometimes the need for my peers in the entrepreneurial space, it meant that I would spend days at my coworking space solving other people's problems instead of getting my own shit done. Actually, this need to be always be liked above everything else, in the past used to result in tolerating late or non-payments. It meant dealing with ridiculous timelines. I know I don't need to tell you that this was not great for business. That's an understatement. Now, this nonsense went on until I realized, hey, hold on a minute, this isn't serving anyone. This isn't particularly enjoyable for me. My clients aren't getting the best of me. There aren't really any winners in this scenario. In this episode, we are absolutely going to go over how enforcing your boundaries as a business owner is going to of course help you and how to do this.

Katy Prince:
But we're also going to chat about how this is actually doing other people a favor. You will be serving your clients to a higher level by deciding to set your own boundaries. To give you a little taste of this, when I held the very first round of Squirm-Free Sales Masters, which is our signature program at the Squirm-Free School of Business, I had a customer who to this date has still only paid one of seven payments because I completely failed to act swiftly. I failed to communicate. I put my need to be nice and need to be liked over the requirement for her to pay for the services that she received in full. I was scared to upset her. Yeah, I was trying to be nice, but I can see that actually I was being cowardly. I mean, hey, if you're listening, it is never too late to settle your bill.

Katy Prince:
But I'm not only niggled by those payments never showing up in my bank account, but the real thing that makes me feel bad about it is I did her a disservice too. Because what I taught her is that it's acceptable to share responsibility towards other service providers, as well as setting her a very poor example of how to respect your own time and worth. This will undoubtedly inform some habits in the future, which are not going to serve her well at all. Let's kick off by diving into the root problem and take a little look at why we neglect setting boundaries in the first place. There is a hugely widespread misconception that success and happiness will come from being liked, right? Just look at the lead character in any movie. Very often, we as people are compromising our boundaries in order to make ourselves some validation that someone likes us.

Katy Prince:
Now, you might be thinking, well, I know that you need more to succeed than just being liked, Katy. But the thing is behavior doesn't always match up. In reality, we can end up still finding ways to bend over backwards to get that likable stamp of approval because of some subconscious need, right? Believing deep down that being liked, being seen as nice is going to help us be happy and successful. It puts us in a bit of a pickle because being likable 100% of the time is not sustainable, nor is it scalable for that matter. Putting your happiness in the hands of someone else is to be honest, never going to turn out too well. Is it? If you're listening to this, you're an intelligent business owner. You already know this. It is important to acknowledge that the need to be liked is definitely not your fault. It is rooted deeply in the races, patriarchal expectation of women and femmes to be nice and compliant at all times in order to make others comfortable. No, thank you. No more.

Katy Prince:
The classic example of this is that we might lose sleep over an email we've sent that didn't feature one of the golden tree, an apology, a thank you so much, or a smiley face emoji. Something else to check in on is, are your life boundaries tied to hustle culture? Because this is still rife in the online entrepreneur community. The hustle culture, the one that tells you to just show up more, be more dedicated, be a nonstop 24/7 boss bish if you're serious about making it big time. I'll admit, there is an annoying element of truth in getting out what you put in. However, this hustle culture attitude has never fully resonated with me. It's ableist and it's unsustainable, but we all know that we're making sales here, not saving lives. That question in your support inbox, if it's Saturday night, it can wait till Monday.

Katy Prince:
Can that family day out, can that date night, can that meal out with friends, can that wait till Monday? Probably not. If you put off those other commitments, those other important things, then the last thing I want for you is to grow to resent the work that you once loved and that inspired you to start your business in the first place because of everything else you're missing for it. Being on 24/7, it might feel like you're being generous in doing people an amazing service in the moment. But if you're going to end up resenting them down the line, then perhaps it's not as generous and professional as it first appears. What do we do about this? What is the solution? How do we fix this? Well, if you are serious about scaling your business in the future, then we have got to be willing to trade being liked for something else. We have to trade it for being respected.

Katy Prince:
There's this phrase. I don't actually know how and where I first absorbed it, but there's this phrase of people might dislike you in the short term, but if they respect you in the long term, it is worth it. The only way that we can expect other people to respect and value our time, our energy, our expertise is when you go ahead and show them that you respect and value it yourself. Let's take my payment ghosting example that I mentioned at the start. I did not act in a way that I prove that I had respect for the value of our services by continuing to demand payment or taking further action. So guess what? She didn't respect it either, right? No surprise, no surprises there. The good news is there are a number of things that we can all start doing from today to show both prove to yourself, first of all, but also demonstrate to others that you value your time, your energy, your intellectual property, your money more than anyone else. Here are four ways that you can take this.

Katy Prince:
You can take this out for a spin this week. Okay. You can practice them tomorrow. All right. The first thing that I encourage you to practice is to stop overpreparing for calls. Stop overpreparing for calls. This is a really quick and easy thing that you can implement this week to stop giving time away for free. Now I'm not suggesting that you show up with no prep done, but going into a discovery call with reams and reams and heaps of background research is not only really tiring for you to collect, but it's also quite overwhelming for the other person. If they suddenly realize that you have been reading their blog posts back from 2016 and you know where they went on their holiday last year, it's a bit intense. There may be a problem if you're focusing. Yeah. The problem here is that by focusing on the unpaid client research part before you even meet with someone who might not even turn up is it gets in the way of you actually building genuine rapport during the call.

Katy Prince:
By doing all of this unpaid research, you're coming off a bit like Dobby the house-elf, right? Like overeager to please. Like, look at all this prep I did. The tough truth is people don't buy from people who have a Dobby the house-elf vibe. You don't want your pitch at the end to feel like, will you give me a sock? What I want you to do instead is set a small amount of time pre-call to identify just one thing that you genuinely love about this person, about their work, ideally, and the reason why you think the relationship will work. Perhaps they wrote an Instagram caption that really resonated with you. Maybe they wrote a funny response in your intake form. Set a timer for this. This is a really easy self boundary that you can implement. 10, 15 minutes beforehand, let's focus on one thing that you love about their work, and one reason why you think the relationship will work.

Katy Prince:
The second thing that you can implement right away is off the back of this, stick to time limits on your discovery calls, on your coaching calls, even calls with your friends and family, right? If someone calls you during the day, your mom rings you or your best friend rings you. It's like, oh, hey, you got time for a chat? Let's say, yeah, I've got a quick five minutes before I need to get back, step back into work. Then stick to five minutes. In a work context, if you're doing consultation calls with your clients, it is your responsibility as the leader of those calls to set a clear timeframe at the beginning and then stick to it. If you keep feeling drained after either coaching or consulting, or maybe you do review or edit calls, if this is due to not sticking to time limits and also having spent ages before the call preparing, then this is quickly going to turn into burnout if we don't do something.

Katy Prince:
Again, the last thing we want is you subconsciously resenting calls. You are going to start, A, at the beginning of the call, setting the time limit. Saying, great, I'm so happy that we're here for our coaching call today. I'm really excited to dive in and find out more about how you've been getting on since we set those action points last week. We've got about 45 minutes together today so we'll finish at quarter to three. Between now and then, we're going to do A, B, and C. Setting a really clear timeframe at the beginning of any type of call is going to help you enforce a boundary here. Quick little bonus tip. If towards the end you notice like, oh gosh, I think we might overrun. Five minutes before you get to the end, you can say, hey, I noticed that we're due to wrap up in five minutes. What do we need to tackle in the next five minutes so that we can wrap up on time? There we go. There's some lovely language that you can start using this week.

Katy Prince:
Third thing. Third thing. We said four ways to implement boundaries that you can take for a spin this week. Third thing, be firm with brain pickers. Be firm with brain pickers. We all get them, don't we? Those lovely people who want a little taste of your expertise but who don't want to pay an invoice. Something that I love to just remember is that brain pickers are just curious. Can you blame them? They're there with you. You're an expert. It is down to you to show people in your community exactly how, where, when and how often it is okay for them to access you and the contents of your brain. If you want to make it clear that your brain is not a public resource that can just be tapped into by dropping a DM, seeking a bit of advice, or just hanging out on a Zoom call and just asking you how to solve a problem or rejig their homepage or what have you.

Katy Prince:
If you want to make it clear that that is not what your brain is available for, or if they want to do that, then they're going to have to pay an invoice. You're going to have to make some decisions first. Let's make some decisions about how much access people can have to your brain for free and explain those limits. Then bridge the gap telling them how they can benefit from your full value when you get paid. Let's think of a scenario. Let's imagine that you get a DM from someone saying, "Oh, hey, would you be able to have a quick look at my sales page and tell me what you think?" This is one that I used to get all the time. I would typically reply something like, "Oh, I'm so touched that you want my eyes on this. I'm really grateful that you reached out. Because of the nature of my schedule, it doesn't really make sense for me to review sales pages for free. However, if you do want my full brain power and attention on this, then I'm more than happy to send you across a link to book a paid consultation. Would you like me to send that across?"

Katy Prince:
Some of the time people would say, "Oh yeah, of course." I would send across a link and I would get paid to go and look at their sales page. Or the rest of the time, they would just disappear into the hedge ala Homer Simpson. Bye. But at least I didn't have to work for free. All right. Number four is being careful with free value. You might be thinking, Katy, this is a little bit hypocritical. This podcast is free value. No. I am talking about free, unleveraged value. No more giving away free value in a one-on-one setting or in a non-leveraged way. Because there is a huge difference between me sitting down to do a 20, 30, 40 minute podcast recording that can reach thousands of people over a number of years versus doing a 40 minute free one-on-one call with one person.

Katy Prince:
Look, I definitely been that. The intention is good. You want to be generous, but let's just avoid repeating my mistakes. There have been so many times where I've sat in a coffee shop for an hour with someone in my network offering copious amounts of free advice yet when they fail to implement the advice, I always, to be honest, end up resenting that person which isn't really fair on them. In fact, I can remember one specific incident where there was... I wasn't really approaching this person as a potential client or anything. It was more like a friend or a peer from the co-working space I used to work in, in Toronto. She used to work there regularly. She just asked me for some help. I said, "Oh yeah, of course. I'd be happy to." We arranged to meet at this coffee shop.

Katy Prince:
I literally spent an hour with her going through a sales process. I followed up with her three or four weeks later because I never got a thank you or anything. I was like, "Oh, how'd it go?" She was like, "Oh yeah, I haven't really had chance to do this." I was so frustrated. I said, yes, I kind of offered. Right? From that point, it really taught me to take responsibility for setting my own boundaries and having the rule now for me. Because if I have recorded what I had gone through with her, if I had hit record on a voice note app, it would have been such a bomb training or a podcast episode and it would have been fully leveraged. That hour would have felt really worth it to me because it would have impacted multiple people, and at least one of them would have implemented. Right? But it wasn't really fair that I ended up feeling like, oh gosh, I wish I hadn't bothered.

Katy Prince:
It would've been a much better hour spent if I'd done it as an IGTV or I recorded it as an updated training for my clients. Because for the same amount of energy, more people could have benefited when the value is leveraged. Right? Plus, side note, using your time to provide free advice to people, it kind of means that they are walking away out into the world thinking, hey, awesome. Now I have the one piece of information that I needed. The problem is you know that if they don't see the bigger picture of how the advice you gave them fits into a wider strategy, it ended up being a bit of a disservice to them when a small piece of information is just handed on a plate. Instead, what we want to do is inspire people to solve the whole problem. Then if they do want a little more soul, a little taster to get them started, then rather than give them a tip or show them some steps on a plate, activate their resourcefulness.

Katy Prince:
Ask them to go and do a bit of research or go and crunch their numbers or complete a quick task. Let's say you're a photographer. Someone's like, "Oh, can we take a few test shots?" "Well, I am open to doing that, but first, I'm going to need you to pull together a quick photography brief for me and build out a Pinterest board with at least 15 images that you like." This is going to get them into an active and resourceful state and is going to make sure that it filters out those people who are never going to take action anyway. Basically to summarize, teaching other people to respect your time and energy, it starts with you. It starts with you respecting it yourself. In terms of actually putting the moment where the boundary gets set, I'm going to put these in the show notes as well, but I've got some little sample scripts that you can use to get you started. If you are setting up the time schedule on a call, then it's the... I mean, I went through this a moment ago.

Katy Prince:
To summarize, it's like we have the next 30, 40, 50 minutes together. In that time, we will do X, Y, Z. At the end of the call, if it feels like we're a good fit, I'll walk you through what it looks like to work together. Then if towards the end, it's going off topic, then we can say, hey, I want to be respectful of your time. We've now got five minutes left. How would you like to finish up the call today? Again, if you've got someone attempting to brain pick you, it's, I love that you value my input. You're absolutely right. This is something that I help my clients with. Would you like to have a quick chat about what it looks like to work together. Or it might be, hey, this is a really great question and something that is perfect to go and drop over my free Facebook group for a response or it might have already been answered there. Do you want me to send you the link? Again, we're going to reply in a leveraged way.

Katy Prince:
In replying in a Facebook group rather than a DM, for example, is a leveraged way to respond to brain picky type questions. I don't know, by this point you might be thinking crikey, boundary setting sounds amazing. I know that I'm ready to do more of this. But to be honest, it seems kind of scary. How do I know when is the time to push back and when is the time to be generous? Well, yeah. Again, it's one of these things that there's no handbook for. There is something that I found really helpful in the past, not just for deciding when to push back but for making any decision, really. I find it so helpful to quickly reflect on these four questions. Well, what will happen if I do? What will happen if I don't? What won't happen if I do? What won't happen if I don't? What would happen if I do? What would happen if I don't? What won't happen if I do? What won't happen if I don't?

Katy Prince:
Taking a few moments to reflect on these four questions, it will help alleviate any, perhaps catastrophizing about someone coming back and saying, oh gosh, you're so horrible. How could you tell me to go away? It might seem a little bit clunky, but do, just jot them down and quickly skim through them before you respond to a request for your time. It will help you see the reality of you setting this boundary from all angles. These questions are called Cartesian coordinates, by the way. From my experience, you will see that the consequences of setting it are never quite as scary as not setting it, to be honest. I'm going to leave you with one to mull over as well. Yeah, this is what I want to leave you with today actually. What would actually happen if you said no to someone today for the first time? What would actually happen if you uninstall your social media apps for a few days? What would actually happen if you let that email that comes in on a Saturday afternoon sit there until Monday?

Katy Prince:
What would actually happen if you told that friend that this was going to be the last time that you'd allow them to pick your brain for free? Would your business implode or would you finally be giving yourself more space to go ahead and refresh your creativity, your focus, and to get stuck into more of what really moves the needle? Food for thought. That is everything for today's episode of the Study Notes Podcast. Thank you so much for listening. If you perhaps still feel a little bit shaky on either establishing or enforcing boundaries and you're ready to start better communicating them to your audience, to your clients throughout your whole sales process, then you are invited to apply now to join Squirm-Free Sales Masters. Squirm-Free Sales Masters, if you haven't heard of it yet is the signature sales skills and coaching program from the Squirm-Free School of Business. It is designed for coaches, for experts, for service providers to build sales skills that are transferable throughout the lifetime of their business.

Katy Prince:
As we spoken about the importance of boundaries today, I wanted you to know that the program also offers a great source of empowerment and accountability as you learn to not only increase your sales but also how to integrate loving, clear, and kind boundaries into your new sales process. If you fancy applying, swing by squirmfreesales.com/apply to find out more. Submit your application today and get involved. As always, all the links will be in the show notes. One final thing before I sign off, tag us on Instagram @squirmfreeschoolofbusiness with your biggest takeaway from the episode. Let us know, you can just let us know what your biggest win was this week so that we can celebrate you. If you are enjoying this podcast, do share it with a friend. If you have 30 seconds spare and you have the Apple Podcast app open on your phone right now, do leave us a review. It really helps other people discover the podcast. All right. Have a fab rest of your day. I will see you in the next one.

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