This post was written by Jennifer Taylor. Jennifer Taylor is the owner of Taylor’d Events Group, a planning firm that specializes in celebrations of all kinds in the Pacific Northwest and Maui.
As business owners, it can be difficult to maintain a happy work-life balance and we often find ourselves feeling stretched too thin (which is just a few steps away from burnout, if not managed properly).
The truth is that burnout is not only bad for your mental health, but it can damage your business if you’re not feeling motivated to keep up with everything. Saying ‘yes’ may get you a lot of places, but an occasional ‘no’ is necessary for happiness and stability. Setting firm boundaries is the key to finding meaning in life and rediscovering a healthy balance, but the eternal question is where to draw the line.
We’ve all experienced those clients who expect the world (and more!) from you – whether it’s a panicked 2 A.M. call or a last-minute “urgent” meeting, some people will expect you at their beck and call and just won’t understand that you have family, as well as other clients, to attend. This is why you must set limitations ahead of time for both your clients and yourself.
At Taylor’d Events, we’re clear with our clients from the beginning of our relationships that it’s their responsibility to schedule appointments with me in advance, as well as choose the meeting location. They understand that I’m responsible for being there on time, as well as attentive to the situation. Before we start working together, we also make sure that both parties are on the same page for coordinating the Big Day so there are no lingering expectations that go unmet because they weren’t initially set. For example, our team is responsible for ensuring that all guests make it onto the last shuttle, but it’s important that we’re not liable for those who wander away from the venue. When boundaries are established from the get-go, you’ll know how to exceed expectations while your clients will be realistic when it comes to your time and attention.
Now, my boundaries may be different from all of my industry peers’ boundaries and that’s entirely fine. The limitations that you set within your business (and your life) are based upon who you are as an individual, how your business is structured, and what you value in life.
Our offices can get pretty hectic and we love it. We’re total busy bees, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need our breaks. Everybody needs some time away to re-energize and refocus, so we’re sure to limit our evening meetings each week and, if we don’t get any time during the weekend, we’re sure to take some time off during the week. Not only does downtime allow for de-stressing, but the mental clarity that comes with it will also make you more effective at work.
On the flip side, a friend of ours allows his clients to meet whenever they need to, but he limits his appointments to a handful of coffee shops that are close to him. His clients are happy with the system and he doesn’t have to worry about commuting all over the city. Talk about a win-win situation!
There is no one recipe for finding a work-life balance that brings you happiness, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Whatever you find works for you is the best solution – it’s as simple as that! If it means you need every Thursday off to attend your son’s baseball games, do it! If you find peace and happiness in joining your family at the dinner table every night, limit your evening meetings to allow for the most time at home.
We all want to keep every client and every family member happy, but never lose sight of your own happiness. It’ll be much harder to satisfy their needs if you’re not satisfying your own, so be sure to respect both yourself and your clients when setting boundaries early on – your relationship will be much easier to manage with mutual understanding!