When I first started my coaching practice I had no idea what boundaries were. Often my “free” introductory sessions were two and half hours long. I didn’t have many paying clients so I wasn’t concerned about how much time I spent with them. I also was open to any form of payment. I did trades with people even when I would never have paid for the service in the first place (meaning I did not really value it at the same value as my coaching time.)
As I got much busier, I realized I was leaking a lot of time and energy in my business, which meant I was not making money. I started to put some boundaries in place that would protect my time and enable me to make the money I should be making.
Many women in business consider themselves “giving” and “generous”. But then they complain that they’re not making the income they think they should be making.
This is what I call “the money leaks” in your business: over-giving and undercharging are two of the biggest culprits.
So let’s look at a few of the ways you can stop the leaks in your business by instituting boundaries to protect your time and your income. One of the bonuses of creating strong boundaries is that people respect you more. They understand that your time is precious and you will not be giving them more than they should get and therefore they are much more likely to respect you, once you respect your boundaries.
Four of the biggest money leaks are:
Going overtime on sessions (or not setting an end time): This has been a really hard one for me to institute myself, so the way that I manage my time is that I schedule people back to back. This way I have to get off the phone when the next client calls me. Organize your schedule so that you have sufficient breaks in your day but clients are limited to certain specific time frames. Let them know when you begin the call that you have to end at a certain time.
Trading for services: If you MUST do this, I recommend that you limit your trades to only 2 at a time, and only for services that you would normally pay for (think massages, chiropractor, acupuncture, etc.). If you have more than two trades going on, make a date by when you will be complete with those you want to eliminate and stick to it.
Over-giving: giving too much to your clients. This occurs when you have left the door open to clients to “email me anytime” or “text me”. Even when just one person takes advantage of this you can find yourself spending up to an hour a day reading and responding to emails from clients who are not paying you for that time. A good boundary here is a policy (or part of your contract) that limits email, text or phone calls to “emergencies” 10 minutes a week.
Under-charging: This is a huge area of leakage. Women consistently undercharge, and feel guilty about “losing people” that they want to serve. Part of the problem is the mentality of charging an hourly rate. Start thinking about your service as a program, where you offer a suite of services (VIP days, sessions, and bonuses) for a bigger price tag. Or offer a package of services for a price that is less than the hourly rate but you get paid in full in advance.
These are just a few recommendations that will significantly increase your income while enhancing your credibility as a professional. Try some of them and let me know how it goes!