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Monday, October 12, 2015

Confession #13

Boundaries are a good thing.

This is a part of my business that I have never been too great at. I've already talked about always checking in with my cell phone and being online, etc. But boundaries come in lots of different forms.

Trying to be a people pleaser.

Saying yes to everything, every whim, every project.

Accommodating orders when there really is no time to do so, unless I want to be up until super late or super early.

Responding to emails, texts, phone calls, messages at all hours of the day and night as well as weekends.

None of these things are actually bad. And lots of online businesses like operating that way. But I am not Amazon.com. And I'm not meant to be. I am a one woman shop from soup to nuts and I teach people how to treat me professionally.

If I am always saying yes, sure, can do and why not then how can I expect people to treat me any differently than always on call, always able, always willing, always available? It's certainly not the customer's fault that I make myself available at those times, and in those ways.

This year, I have chatted a lot with several close friends in small business about my desire to change my boundaries a bit. And I am ready to start taking steps to that end.

Here are some of my goals:
1. To not work at least one day of the weekend, and eventually both days. My kids are only kids for so long. I enjoyed our time this weekend at camp, and having a snuggle movie day, and picking apples during their half day today. I want to do more of that consistently with them. And to also treat the weekend like all of you do - putting my house in order for the week, working on home projects, having some rest and relaxation, food shopping (well, I don't really WANT to go food shopping, but it must be done)

2. To work a little bit more locally. Etsy is fantastic and is my bread and butter. But I like interacting in person with my customers. I miss craft shows. Working at the farmer's market this summer reminded me of just how much I missed it. And so I signed up for a local winter pop up here. I'm excited about it!

3. To control my custom orders a bit more. I love love love being able to offer custom orders to all of you. But I think I need to rethink their parameters and the times that I make them available. Not sure what that might look like completely, but definitely mulling it over.

4. To not go crazy during the holidays this year. I say it every year. We wake up on Halloween...blink....and it's New Year's. It's exhausting. And a little sad. I'm working on that one as well.

That's not to say that there won't be times that I won't be working on the weekends, and completely overbooked and overextended and trying to put my finger in all the holes in the dyke of my schedule. That's life. That's going to happen whether I run my own business or not. But I don't have to operate from that position all the time. :) And setting up boundaries and sticking to them as guidelines will help.

Do you have trouble saying no, or setting up boundaries?
One thing I found refreshingly useful was Chapter One of Jen Hatmaker's For the Love. She gave me...us...women...humans permission to take things "off the beam". An overloaded beam cannot be balanced. And that is what I'm really going for here.

:) allison


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