When you work one on one with clients in a service-based business, you need to make sure that your clients understand the expectations you have for them. Boundaries with clients are essential to running a thriving, sustainable, and fulfilling business. Burnout will creep in a lot faster if you're constantly feeling strain when dealing with clients.
Being clear what you need prevents great clients from turning into awful clients. People want you to lead them, you're the expert after all! Avoid red flags so you know someone trusts you. But once you build that connection with them, it's that much easier to be clear. Here's the most important boundaries to set to have an amazing project.
In your process, you'll have a preferred way how and when you'll be in contact with your clients. Make sure to be clear right at the beginning how you prefer clients to be in touch during your project.
Some ways I keep more consistent contact with my clients is having a client dashboard in Asana during our project, checking in each Monday just to say hello and what they can expect that week from me, and all of their files organized so they are easy to manage.
This boundary goes both ways and shows a lot of respect during a project. Getting to know one another can build connection. I've made quite a few friends out of past clients. But you must remember, too that you are not a robot. A truly good client will not expect you to be perfectly productive all the time and when life happens, you can't expect that from them either.
When you need more time or you're going through something personal, be transparent but vague with your client. Honesty is the best policy and make sure they know they can be real with you, too. It builds trust but also an understanding during your project.
When communicating during the project, always err on the side of oversharing. Ways that you can be clear on expectations with clients are:
- After something ends, like they sign off on a design, explain what comes next
- Tell them where they are in their project timeline often
- Give feedback guidelines so they know how to best share their thoughts
- If things start getting behind, whether because of you or them, let them know as soon as possible
Do you have great boundaries with your clients? It may be time to improve or expand on them but now you have some guidance to make your projects even better.