Setting boundaries with your clients means establishing healthy professional practices for mutually beneficial results. These boundaries often help you stay productive and happy while engaging with your clients, allowing you to separate your work life and personal life more effectively. If you’re struggling with establishing limits and communicating your needs during the working process, it’s important to understand how to set healthy boundaries with your clients.
An important lesson in client management, that lots of freelancers learn too late – is that your clients are not actually your friends. In fact, the friendlier your relationship becomes, the less likely it is that the project will be successful.
You, as a freelancer, need to decide what boundaries are important to you while communicating with your clients. Think thoroughly and figure out your own physical, mental, emotional and spiritual limits that will transform your business relationships into healthier ones.
How to set boundaries with clients
Professional boundaries should be treated as seriously as any other part of business communication. In the early stages of preparing the documents needed to start a new freelance project, you should think about the boundaries you need to establish throughout the project. And when you have already decided to start, here are 11 effective ways for you to set and preserve healthy boundaries with your clients.
1. Visualize and name your limits
The first and most important step in establishing boundaries is to make them clear and concrete. As boundaries feel invisible in our daily lives, often they tend to be confusing and abstract for us.
However, you may get far more clarity on where you want to draw the line between you and the customer if you visualize your limits and write them down.
Take some time to reflect on where you’re at in life. Create a big circle in the middle of a piece of paper. Put everything that makes you feel relaxed and secure within the circle. Put anything that bothers you, hurts you, annoys you, or drains your emotions on the outside of the circle. These are the individuals and circumstances that are testing your limitations.
You might think of this circle as a physical representation of your limitations. It’s time to assess everything beyond the arc and figure out how to set up a barrier to avoid similar issues in the future.
2. Be clear on your priorities
In order To define limits or establish your unique priorities, you must first know what exactly you want and which issues are making you feel most uncomfortable. Develop a list of your priorities. Before engaging in any kind of business relationship, it is very important to strengthen your own inner fortitude and liveliness. Taking care of yourself should always be a top priority. Then, the boundaries will appear naturally.
3. Set expectations
Setting up clear expectations from the beginning of the project is an important step in defining your limits. A client should not face any kind of surprise, when it comes to your working hours, the scope of work, response times, etc.
Clarify these assumptions as accurately as possible. That’s especially important when dealing with a client’s project scope. Some clients may even take advantage if you don’t establish firm boundaries, requiring you to put in more hours than agreed upon.
Document these expectations and discuss them with the client at the first stage of the project. In this way, you will be able to start your journey successfully, reducing the risk of future conflicts.
4. Have proactive conversations
Relax and take time to meaningfully communicate and talk it out. Clients are less likely to push the limits when there is open communication. Clients care about the results, thus written agreements should spell out the roles and restrictions of both the freelance professional and the client.
By communicating proactively you may control the conversation’s tone and focus in the most favorable light. In this way, you can prevent misinformation from having a negative impact on your business and provide them with the information you want them to have. Proactive communication allows you to steer the discussion and shape how current and potential clients see you.
5. Be ready for confrontations
While most clients are aware of and respectful of professional limits, there will always be others who don’t. As a result, it’s vital to practice patience and know where you may make concessions before getting into an argument. If a client is trying to push your limitations, you should politely explain why this is unacceptable for you and what you would prefer them to do instead.
6. Communicate effectively
Some clients will have similar communication styles to yours, and some will not. Learn the difference and have appropriate conversations early on. Timely, efficient communication should always be a top priority for you. Establish regular communication to assess the project and answer any questions that your client might have.
The communication process with your clients gets much easier when you use Lynxi. Lynxi was created to solve any kind of communication gap and help you gather the content you need and move your projects forward. As a freelance professional, this is a unique opportunity for you to gather, create and manage your clients’ content – all in one place, resulting in a successful collaboration.
7. Be honest
When establishing limits, it’s important to be honest about your intentions and reasoning. This can help your client understand your boundaries better and even help you maintain them. If you’re open with your client about the stresses you’re feeling while working on a project, they’ll be better able to advise you on any kind of changes you both can make to transform the working process into a more comfortable one, and they might also have a better idea of what resources you may need to achieve the goals you have set for yourself throughout the project.
8. Respect and protect your time
It’s normal for people to sometimes have to come in early or stay late at the office. This, however, should not be the norm. Only in rare cases or crises should work be done outside of normal business hours.
It’s true that some customers will not value your time. While it’s true that some freelancers have trouble keeping track of time, it’s important to remember that being unorganized always leads to more chaos and stress. The only way to survive here is to set boundaries about your time. You can write a list of jobs needed to be done along with time estimations, in this case, it will be easier for you to define what time will a particular job need and when you will be able to take care of your personal plans.
9. Say no when you need to
A lousy client that refuses to quit is the worst kind of client you will ever meet. You need to know when to cut them off if they are constantly causing you stress. For some freelancers, it might be about money, as the money they’re offering, may not be worthwhile, but if they agreed to up the stakes, it could be doable. The answer is in your hands.
Some customers never change, even though they might be making some promises. In this case, the only way for you is to cut the connection. But there are some cases when you need to give one more chance to the client who is willing really hard to win you back.
10. Understand your workload
It’s always essential for freelancers to understand what makes up their workload and how many tasks they can finish each day. If you have a good understanding of these two factors, you’ll be in a much better position to establish boundaries for yourself in terms of your workload capacity and maintain your productivity throughout the day. Consider timing how long it takes you to complete tasks or counting how many tasks you can complete per workday. Setting goals and maintaining a consistent working pace will help you succeed throughout your freelance project.
11. Respect your clients’ boundaries
Respect your client’s boundaries just as you would expect them to respect yours. Respect is a two-way street, after all. When telling a client your expectations, ask them whether they have any terms of their own. If they do, note them down and be attentive not to push any of the boundaries set by your client throughout the project.
Ready to set healthy boundaries with your clients?
Setting boundaries with clients is critical for a productive relationship. They foster an environment of trust, allowing you to advance professionally while still fulfilling your personal responsibilities. It’s far simpler to prevent boundary breaches than to fix them once they happen.
Setting boundaries with your clients should never be considered a bad thing in a designer-client relationship. Your professionalism establishes you as a leader and a relationship based on mutual respect builds trust and sets your client up for greater potential in the future.
Ready to take control of your boundaries throughout your client project? Start implementing the 11 effective ways above to set the groundwork for a successful project. For even more control over your freelance projects, check out Lynxi – content Marketing and AI writing assistant platform that will help you manage client content in one place. Using Lynxi, you will streamline your workflow, organize project details and collaborate seamlessly with clients, all within a single user-friendly interface. Say goodbye to scattered documents and mixed-up communication threads – Lynxi simplifies the content creation process, allowing you to focus on what you do best – producing outstanding work that exceeds client expectations. Start using Lynxi today and unlock the full potential of your freelance career.