Put On Your Boss Pants
I’m going to say something you might not like…
People respond to you in the way you allow them to.
So if your clients are emailing you a million times a day, are throwing requests at you, are changing their minds, are asking for discounts, and you’re feeling resentment creep up…it’s because you’re allowing it to happen.
Eek, I know. I’m sorry.
“But what do you MEAN I’m allowing it to happen? I sent them a contract 3 months ago about how this would go.”
Hey I hear you. And a contract is GREAT. In fact it’s essential. And it really does help you to set the tone for the work you will do together. (Don’t have a contract? Don’t worry - my friend and lawyer Natasha Minchella has you covered over here.) But, it is merely a guideline that your client may or may not read in depth before you start work together. (I mean, they absolutely SHOULD read it in depth, and you absolutely should make sure that happens.)
But what YOU are allowing and setting as an example on the daily is what sets the continual tone for a working relationship.
If you’re replying to emails during weekends and evenings, your clients are going to continue emailing you during evenings and weekends.
If you’re finishing initial discussions or email proposals with the words ‘here’s the price, but if that’s a problem we can work something out’…you’re going to be asked if there’s any wiggle room on said price.
If you don’t want meetings or phone calls before 11am but you hear yourself saying YEAH, SURE through gritted teeth when your client asks for a call before 11am, you’re going to continue having calls before 11am (and resenting it.)
This is where putting on your BOSS PANTS comes in.
You’re the boss of your business. (And your life, time, wellbeing, energy, but more on that another time.)
So how does the business owner you want to be, behave? Step into her Prada shoes. Would she reply to emails at all hours of the day? Would she offer wiggle room on the price? Would she take phone calls before 11am?
Think about what you DON’T want to have happening anymore, and review your terms and conditions. Literally and metaphorically.
Your clients are looking for you to be the example and to let them know how things go. So until you say NO, the things you don’t like are going to continue.
So, ready to set the rules?
Here’s an example script for once you've reviewed where you’re at and want to put into place some changes or conditions you’d like to reaffirm.
I’m going to jump straight in with a few changes that are going on in my business right now, and I wanted to share them with you so we can make sure we’re ready to rock and roll together for the next phase of our work.
Due to high workload, and of course my want to provide you with the best service and attention possible, I have some new (requirements / working hours / conditions) I wanted to share with you:
To ensure I’m continuing your project with the care and focus it deserves, I’ll only be checking emails between 11-5pm. Anything that is received after that will be checked and responded to the following day.
I love our phone calls and want to make sure they’re as effective as possible, so they will be available at a time that suits you between 11am-2pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
If you have any questions, let me know!
Thank you so much in advance for your understanding.
I know it feels uncomfortable. But no more uncomfortable than when you’re scrolling through your emails at 9pm with your partner tugging at your arm to remind you of the dinner they’ve prepared for you that has now gone cold. Again. Those eyerolls and disappointment are paiiiinful.
(Yeah, kinda been there.)
It’s important you remember this: people don’t know unless you tell them.
Yup, isn’t that a golden piece of wisdom that could harness world peace if we were to apply it in every area of our personal and professional relationships? ;)
So time to put up those boundaries, baby. Or y’kno, pop on your boss pants.
Queen Bee says it best:
Action Step: take some time to review and assess what’s NOT working in your business, and how YOU might be allowing that to happen. I know you’re absolutely perfect and your clients are the ones completely taking advantage of your good nature, BUT, let’s just imagine in a hypothetical scenario that you were playing a small part in it - what needs to change?
P.S. If you’re still struggling with what to say and would love an entire book full of scripts you can use to tackle any and every tricky client conversation, I absolutely categorically recommend Ash Ambirge’s Unf*ckwithable Words - A collection of 300+ expert-written business scripts to help you say bye-bye to feeling like a naive, too-sweet-for-her-own-good pushover—and show up to the table like an in-control pro.
It’s hands-down one of THE best investments I’ve ever made in my business. Not only did it help me cut out the worry, time and energy of constructing tricky emails, it also gave me permission to BE THE BOSS.
You can get your hands on your very own bible for every business conversation you’ll ever need to have, HERE.*
*I'm a proud affiliate of Ash’s work, and that’s because I absolutely LOVE everything she does. I can genuinely say my business life has been turned around by this collection of scripts.