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January 4, 2022

136 | Best Boundaries For Online Business Owners in 2022

best boundaries for biz owners in 2022 with Annie Miller

The best business owners I know, and the people that I look up to most from a business standpoint, have clear and strong boundaries in life and in business.

I find that for me personally, it’s easy for me to have some boundaries, but very difficult for me to uphold others. So this episode is very much for you and me both.

It took me almost all of 2021 to finally be able to stick to my stop working before 6 PM boundary. I believe I mentioned that in my 2021 planning podcast. And I still plan to do a 2021 recap with the 2022 goals focused podcast episode. But that first boundary of stopping work before 6 PM didn’t happen until we literally moved into a rental house of our own.

I absolutely could’ve made other choices while in our other living situation, but I can’t deny the difference that was made by having individual spaces in a house for certain tasks. And while it was a complete blessing to be able to live with my mom for a year, I just wasn’t allotted the luxury of separate spaces for separate things to the extent that we have in our current rental.

So that kind of brings us to one possible boundary. Today’s episode is going to be very broad with possible boundaries that you can play with in 2022 for your online business. From boundaries on social media to boundaries in relationships, with your clients, and with your self in your own work schedule.

Even if you don’t work full-time for yourself yet but maybe you’ve experienced working from home, there are many challenges that come with the luxury of working from home. One of them being, that when a schedule is not imposed upon you, it can actually be very difficult to be productive and have clarity.

And that kind of goes along with not having a separate space for work. Having to go into an office or even a coffee shop allows you to switch into work mode much easier than if you’re working in the same space that you eat, prepare food, watch TV, do anything else other than work. So you can see where working from home brings different challenges than working in an office, or a gym, or any other setting outside of the home.

TIME AND SPACE

And so the first two boundaries, or habits, or whatever you want to call them, or setting work hours for yourself, and creating a designated space for work. And this doesn’t have to be all or nothing. So even with myself, and our current house where I have a full office space, sometimes I just need to switch up my scenery when I go from working on one task to another task. And that’s OK. Really whatever is going to get the work done is best case scenario.

When it comes to setting a schedule for yourself, you can be as specific or as broad as your personality prefers. That could look like working for one hour blocks with 15 minute breaks, where that could look like 23 hour blocks with a workout in between, or a meal, or both. Or as broad as you’re starting work at 9 AM and being done by 6 PM and whatever happens in that window of time is game.

And yes, I recognize the irony, in a bit of satire in the fact that many people leave at 9 to 5 just to end up attempting to stick to a 9 to 5 within their own business. That’s a very real thing, but it can be helpful nonetheless to have that schedule. There’s a difference in having that schedule for yourself versus on somebody else’s watch. And I think that’s a big differentiator.

If you’re thinking to yourself that you don’t have space, or you don’t have a separate room for an office, please know that moving into this rental in June 2021 was the first time in my 5 1/2 years of business that I ever had an actual office. It was always shared with a closet space or laundry room or I was working in the car half the time, or in hotels and Airbnb’s when we traveled.

I just don’t want you to limit yourself, or allow yourself to think that because you don’t have an office, you can’t be productive or that somehow is going to hold you back. Because it absolutely does not have to. But you can do everything within your means to create some kind of workspace within your current living situation.

So those are two at home, business functionality boundaries that you can set. Now let’s transition into the inner workings of your business, privacy and productivity.

PRODUCTIVITY AND CLIENTS

Batching certain work tasks on certain days is a way that you can create boundaries and structure within your business whether you’re working on your business one day per week or seven days per week.

I’ve talked about two approaches before, and I teach these inside my FitsPRO Foundations course. You can come up with all tasks for the entire week that need to be completed and then choose 1 to 2 of those to complete per day if you are working on your business seven days a week. Or if you’d like a more rigid schedule, you can designate certain days per week that you complete certain tasks in your business.

So maybe you do client work on Mondays and Thursdays. Maybe you check your email every day first thing in the morning. Maybe you create content every other Thursday. These are just some ideas to help get your brain going and how you can use batching tasks in your business to create boundaries and more productivity for yourself.

And also note that this is going to take trial and error. So you might commit to one approach for a month and then take what you learned from that month, what worked, what didn’t work, and then make the needed changes for the following month.

And on the topic of clients, I highly suggest setting boundaries and clear expectations if you have yet to do that in your business. And this is something that can be refined as your business grows, and as you gain experience.

Are there certain hours per day that a client can contact you? Is it clear what platforms a client can contact you for certain things on? We want to make sure that this is clear to the client, both to protect our own time but also to give them the most seamless experience that they can have in working with us.

For instance my one on one clients can contact me anytime, but they know that I’m going to check in with them on Sundays no matter what. For my one on one business clients it’s Monday through Friday only. And I stick to a 9 to 5 Pacific standard time. So they can voxer me whenever, but they know when they will get a response.

You can see how that is very clearly a boundary. And as long as the boundary makes sense for you, it should allow you to function more peacefully in your business.

With literally anything in life we know that what is tolerated will continue to happen. So that is not to say at all that your clients are pests, or that they are trying to step over a line. But if the lines aren’t clear, and if the expectations aren’t clear, that’s probably going to leave some room for miscommunication or resentment on either side of the relationship and that can easily be avoided with boundaries.

Again if you haven’t set these boundaries with clients it’s a very easy to do in the on boarding process with either a call if you do calls, or a call plus a welcome email or packet of some kind. It just needs to be communicated upfront ideally.

SOCIAL MEDIA

If you happen to be building an online business, I’m going to assume that you are using social media. If you’re on my podcast, you’re probably using Instagram. And we all know how much of an absolute time suck that app can be when we approach it from a consumer standpoint.

So let’s look at some boundaries that you can set around social media, and some mindset shifts that you can practice throughout 2022.

Number one boundary for social media is that you don’t owe anyone anything. And to remember that you have the last word, and that while Instagram or any other social platform is not your platform. As in you don’t own it, it is your page, and you are not holding anyone hostage on your page.

That might sound very extreme if you have a rather small following as of now. But trust me. Hear me now. As you grow, it is an absolutely lovely thing, AND, it can bring along entitlement from strangers on the Internet.

This is not to scare you, or to paint social media in a bad light. Social media is largely how I grow my business and I’m super grateful for it. I just also have learned that boundaries are very much so needed when running a business on social media. So that is what I’m going to share with you today.

Some boundaries that I have created or used in 2021 specifically have been posting twice a day and only being on for that post and interactive period of time. Funny enough, I was the most discipline and less distracted on Instagram when I was posting two times a day. And that makes sense, right? Because I was focused on creating, putting out contact, and interacting with the engagement that came from that high frequency of posting, rather than opening the app aimlessly and scrolling, and consuming.

So even if you’re not posting twice a day, I do suggest coming up with like a mini system for yourself. So maybe you get on at eight in the morning comment on people‘s posts watch some stories, DM people, respond to any of your DM‘s and comments, and then post your post at 8:30. Stick around for 15 minutes to interact with anything that happens, and get off. The rest of the day you can be adding to your story, while attempting to limit your consumption. It’s not an exact science. But having that initial system can be helpful. You just have more intent when you approach the app.

One of my favorite things to do is go into your settings and decide who can respond to you and your stories, as well as comment on your posts, as well as tag you. So my current settings only allow people who follow me to tag me in anything or to comment on my posts. This has completely eliminated trolls for me. Because trolls don’t follow you, right? People who come and spread hate on pages typically don’t follow those pages.

And I have an absolute zero toleration policy for heat on my posts and on my page. Whatever that might look like. So turning on that feature of only allowing people who follow me to comment on my posts has helped greatly in really saving me time and energy.

Now the caveat to that is that I do lose some engagement especially on reels. Reels are obviously known for getting in front of people who don’t follow you. Reach and exposure is their main sell. So people who don’t follow me can still like my reel which helps with engagement, but it won’t allow them to comment on it. So they have to go to my page and follow me if they want to leave comments on my posts. I am personally willing to make that sacrifice. But it’s completely an individual decision.

There’s other things you can do as well like turn off DM responses from stories. That saves people time and it makes your audience email you or contact you in another way. I do not suggest that if you’re trying to grow or build a relationship with your audience. But I have definitely seen larger accounts do that during seasons where they need to limit their distractions. Which I absolutely respect.

Basically I just want you to poke around in Instagram and see if there are any privacy settings, functionalities, or things that you want to turn off or turn on in order to help you function as a business owner on the app. Because that is your right, and you have those abilities.

All in all, we can talk about different boundaries all day. But I hope this is episode gave you some ideas regarding your home situation, time management, client relations, and social media.

I definitely think always focusing on and trying to find what is essential, and what is the most worth your time is at the root of all of these boundaries.

And again, you could take boundaries and 5000 directions. So please know that these are just a few of my own experiences and a mere snippet of what is possible within business. And it’s only one person‘s perspective so take it with a grain of salt.

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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