Want To Have Better Business Boundaries? Don’t Miss this Crucial Step.

Boundaries specialist KMB Coaching

The most common step that business owners miss with boundaries is telling people what they are!

Clear communication is vital and will avoid headaches, heartaches and angst for future you. Isn’t that something we all want?

I work with many clients who are self-confessed people-pleasers, fixers or conflict-avoiders- both women and men. They struggle to assert firm boundaries because they’ve learnt to be self-sacrificing, overly focused on the needs of others ahead of themselves, and lack healthy self-esteem and a sense of self-worth.

I love this piece:

According to Brené’s (Brown’s) research, compassionate people “assume other people are doing the best they can, but they also ask for what they need and don’t put up with a lot of crap”. Assuming that people are doing their best without setting boundaries and looking after yourself, is another route into resentment, judgement and misunderstandings. We’re not our best selves when we’re coming from this place.


People pleasing is something we learnt subconsciously long ago, but the patterns of behaviour still play out today. It can create not only feelings of frustration (how hard is it to say no?! I’m hopeless at this), but also have tangible flow-on effects on your work, client relationships and home life when work takes over.

Whether I’m working with a client 1:1 in private coaching, or doing a Human Design session, this pattern comes up a lot. I’m probably attuned to noticing it more because:

1) it was me (yep, people pleaser from way back. Until I wasn’t – I’m living proof you can become a boundaries queen- or king!) and

2) it’s quite likely that if you struggle with boundaries you may be experiencing people pleasing.

There are key steps to building better boundaries. These include being aware of your needs (not just the other person’s); knowing what your boundaries need to be to meet these needs, and navigating a healthy relationship with your emotions. In doing so you boost your self-esteem.

BUT- the step that everyone misses even when they’ve done ALL of this, is to tell people!

You got it- you’ve got to communicate what your boundaries are for them to actually work. Now, I’m here to tell you that it’s one thing to say this, and quite another kettle of fish to be able to confidently put into words what your boundaries are. It’s not because it’s insanely hard. It’s because you’re not used to it. Things that are very unfamiliar feel challenging. But let me assure you that you can definitely improve this and make it way easier. The way to do that is through practice. Sorry it’s not sexier, but that’s the one thing that will improve the way you communicate about your boundaries with others- by doing it.

For example, a new client signs up with you which is amazing. The next steps are crucial. Consider these:

  • What is the next thing they can expect from you? This might be letting them know how to pay their first instalment; explaining that you have an online calendar link for them to book their first appointment; that you will provide key resources and information once that payment goes through; or how to connect (for example, I connect with my private clients on Voxer so that they have access to voice chat with me right from the get-go).

  • What should they know about keeping in contact? Can they email you, call you, use Voxer or Whatsapp, and is there anything to know about which one to choose according to what the issue is? For example, if you’re a mortgage broker and your clients keep calling for updates, but you don’t have an update, what would be a better way to handle this? Have you communicated that (if you don’t hear from me, that’s totally fine. I won’t contact you unless I have an update. I expect that will take at least 2 weeks and then I’ll make sure that I (or x team member) send you an email with key information.

  • What are your rules of engagement? This is all about what you expect from your clients, and what they can expect from you. My private clients know that I will respond to Voxer between Monday to Friday at 1 pm and that their messages are a priority and they’ll receive a response as soon as is practical (that means when I’m off a call or have finished running a workshop or webinar and can get back to them and give them my full attention. I am always on time for Zoom meetings and expect the same from them. I show up ready to go and expect the same of them. What do you need to let your clients know so that you can provide an excellent service?

  • What are your non-negotiables? What do you expect in terms of payments; attendance at appointments; no-shows; cancellations and rescheduling? You may have important information covered in your terms and conditions but do you go through these and make sure they’re overt? Do you let your clients know what’s ok and what’s not ok? So for me, I know that something things go wrong and that now and again and client needs to cancel or reschedule. I request a minimum of 24 hours’ notice where possible.

Remember to focus on the difference between being kind, considerate or ‘nice’, and when you’re ignoring what you need to please someone else. If it’s the latter, this counts as people pleasing and it’s important to put your own needs back into the picture. Start small with people you already know and trust to get the hang of setting assertive boundaries (yep, kids are a great one! Your own, preferably! Or a partner or good friends as well). Consider letting people know that you’re trying improve the way you communicate your boundaries, and ask if they’d be willing to help while you practise. Chances are they also find it hard, and you can do it together!

If you’re interested in Human Design, our unshaded (undefined or open) centres are where we experience the most conditioning. This can create a tendency to people please, depending on which centres are open. If you’d like to learn more about this feel free to book in a 1-hour 1:1 Human Design for Business session to gain personalised insights and practical tips on how to decondition these and live in the wisdom instead.


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