Setting (and upholding!) boundaries as a solopreneur

How to set (and uphold!) boundaries as a solopreneur

Wondering how you can set (and uphold!) boundaries in solopreneurship? Do you have a hard time setting — and KEEPING — boundaries as a solopreneur — both in your life and business? Would you like to have more control over boundaries, prevent and manage boundary violations, and improve your own boundaries? In this video, we’re going to go over exactly that... plus 4 key questions you can ask yourself to assess your own boundaries (and improve them!)

Quick overview of what's in this video: 

  • 0:00 Intro
  • 0:35 One of my favourite things I’ve learned over my 12+ years in business — 99% of the time, YOU are the one who has crossed your own boundaries (not your clients!)
  • 1:10 Examples of why this problem of crossing boundaries is often a result of YOU, rather than your client being the problem
  • 1:55 The first area you can handle a boundary violation is BEFORE it happens — what this looks like when you prevent boundary-crossing
  • 2:25 The second area you can handle a boundary violation is IF/WHEN it happens — what this looks like when you manage boundary-crossing
  • 3:30 Why “working through it at an internal level” is SO IMPORTANT for any type of situation when your boundaries have been crossed
  • 4:00 Find out why clients haven’t crossed my boundaries in years (specific things YOU can do in your own business, too!) — includes examples for when I’m working one-on-one with my solopreneur coaching clients
  • 6:50 How this works as an INTERNAL boundary
  • 8:00 Why we’re addressing this topic today — how I see SO MANY people struggling with this, but they don’t even realize that they actually have full control over the situation
  • 8:30 A hypothetical example for why I’m so strict about certain internal boundaries with my coaching clients
  • 10:30 Boundary-crossing is generally internal and often a direct result of assumptions you're making about your clients/customers, rather than the reality of your clients/customers. Plus, here are 2 reasons why I set clear “office hours” for my clients.
  • 11:05 Several questions you can ask yourself to assess your own boundaries
  • 11:50 You can get support with all of these questions and with learning how to set (and keep!) better boundaries as a solopreneur — book your spot in Solopreneur CEO today:
  • 12:10 Wrap up


Do you have a hard time setting and keeping boundaries as a solopreneur, both in your life and your business? In this video, we're going to go over exactly that! 

My name is Sagan Morrow and I'm an anti hustle Productivity Strategist and internationally board certified Success and Life Coach who specializes in working with solopreneurs. 

Let's get into today's video — setting and upholding boundaries as a solopreneur. So one of my favourite things that I have learned in my 10 - 12+ years of working with clients is that when it comes to boundaries, clients are pretty much never the problem. Yeah, 99% of the time, when there's a boundary violation, it's YOU — not your client. 

Now, this is actually a good thing because it means that you have complete control over the situation. 

Here's an example of why this problem is often as a result of you and not your client: Back in my freelancing days many years ago, I did last minute work for a client on Christmas Eve one year, and I responded to supposedly urgent emails while I was on vacation (and they weren't actually urgent at all). I allowed clients to message me about work projects on social media. And I even took client calls during a friend's wedding photoshoot. Yeah, that was not a great moment for me! And you know, the truth is, in all of these scenarios, I could have prevented every single one of those situations from happening. 

But I didn't have good internal boundaries at the time. And that was my real problem. So there are two areas in which you can handle a boundary violation: before it happens, and if or when it happens. 

Let's go over these… 

Preventing boundary crossing is where you are determining what boundaries actually matter to you. You are working through it at an internal level, setting out specific terms and conditions in advance, being very clear with clients or customers about your boundaries and communicating them effectively. That really ensures that you are setting the stage upfront. 

Now when it comes to managing boundary crossing, you are working through it on an internal level. Yes, you're still working through it on an internal level! No matter when boundary crossing might happen, you're always doing that internal work. You might be determining the best course of action for how to proceed from there, reminding your clients or your customers about your boundaries if needed. 

And by the way, if you need to remind them of your boundaries, that's always a really good time to revisit how you initially laid out or communicated your boundaries. Because you know if you initially thought that you have laid them out really well, but then some issues are arising, then your clients likely have absolutely no idea that they're crossing the boundary. So again, that's kind of a “you” issue, where you need to then make sure that you're being very clear and communicative upfront with those sorts of boundaries. So you can revisit, “how did I express my boundaries and why is it that there must be something sort of lost in communication there?”

Now, the *working through it at an internal level* is the point that I really want to highlight here, because it is happening in both scenarios of dealing with boundary violations. And again, there is a difference between a client crossing your boundary that you explicitly stated and that they know about, and you crossing your own boundary. There is a difference. 

I genuinely cannot remember the last time that I had boundary issues with any clients. I cannot remember the last time that any boundary issues have come up from my clients. It has been literally years! This is in part because my boundaries are clearly stated upfront and in multiple areas. For example, on my coaching landing page, they are stated there very clearly (you can actually check them out if you want on the Solopreneur CEO landing page — You can see my terms and conditions and my different boundaries). Those same boundaries are again clearly stated on a form that a client reads and agrees to when they first join, before we can have our first session. They're explicitly stated in the welcome package that clients get; all of these different areas. We’lll often go over it or mention some few of the key pieces at our first call as well. They're very clearly stated at multiple stages along the way. 

But more importantly, a big reason why I haven't had any issues with clients crossing boundaries, is because there just isn't really any space for my clients to cross a boundary. how to set and keep boundaries as a solopreneur

All of my boundaries are things that I am directly responsible for upholding. 

For example, I work with my Solopreneur CEO one-on-one coaching clients for a minimum of six months at a time. They can renew if they want for another six months and another six months on top of that if they like; this starts with a minimum of six months, and during that time, they get unlimited access to me. And so they know (because again, it's clearly stated upfront and I reiterate to them to make sure that they know), they know that they can expect me to respond within about 24 hours Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm Pacific time. 

They get unlimited access to me, and this means that they can contact me as many times as they want in the evenings or on weekends at any time, day or night. And I love receiving messages from them! I absolutely love it. It's wonderful. Waking up in the morning and seeing a message there from a client. It's delightful. I love it. 

And so they know that they can message me whenever they want, as often as they want, as many times as they want. They also know that if they happen to message me five times between Friday and Sunday, they know that I will not get back to them until Monday. They know that that is what is going to happen, that they can contact me as many times as they like, but I will not be responding to them until Monday, probably, because again it's within approximately 24 hours within those particular time periods (Monday to Thursday, 9am to 5pm Pacific).

Now this again is an internal boundary, it is 100% up to me to not respond to them outside of those official hours. It's not up to them. It's up to me to make sure that I am upholding that boundary. 

And so I just again want to reiterate that when we're talking about unlimited access, this also means that they can ask me as many questions as they want or need. They can share with me as many thoughts or updates or experiences as they want or need, as many times as they want or need, as frequently as they want or need, and I will give them my full attention and respond to all of those questions and messages. Okay, that is what unlimited access means. It doesn't mean that I'm available 24/7 to respond to them, but it means that I will respond to anything that they want to bring up. I adore working one to one with my clients and again, it is always wonderful to receive messages from them. I love it. 

So this topic has been in the back of my mind for a while now, because I see people all the time in both nine to five jobs and in solopreneurship capacity, who really, really struggle with boundaries. But they don't seem to realize that the vast majority of those issues that they're experiencing are all things that they can actually do something about because they're actually internal boundaries. 

Now, I'm sometimes flexible about responding to client messages on Fridays, because I sometimes take Fridays off and I sometimes don't. Even though I have the Monday to Thursday boundary there, I'll sometimes respond on Fridays. But I'm pretty rigid, I'm actually very rigid, quite strict with myself, about not responding to messages in the evenings or on weekends. Part of the reason why I'm very strict with my internal boundaries about evenings and weekends is because I can see my thought process going something like this… 

So hypothetically I could see this happening: A client contacts me on Saturday afternoon, and I'm just hanging out, maybe sitting on the balcony and happened to check my phone for emails, and I happen to see a message and I think to myself, “Oh, that's a pretty quick question. I can just respond to that right now. You know, I'm not doing anything else. That's easy to respond to. Let's just do it.”

And then in this hypothetical situation, maybe the following weekend, that client happens to reach out to me again, and then I think to myself, “You know what, I responded to them last Saturday. If I don't respond to them now maybe they'll think that I'm ignoring them. I don't want them to think that so I better respond right now.”

And suddenly, I would be checking my emails every weekend, which would probably slide into different evenings, right.

And so you can really see how in this hypothetical scenario, this type of boundary crossing has absolutely nothing to do with the client, and everything to do with me as the service provider. It's about assumptions that I am making, that may not be true. It is completely internal boundaries that I would be crossing. It has absolutely nothing to do with the reality of the situation and has nothing to do with what they are doing. It would be completely up to me as everything to do with me in that case. And therefore I'm the one who's responsible for dealing with that. 

Boundary crossing is generally internal. And often again, it’s that direct result of assumptions that you are making about your clients or your customers, rather than the reality of your clients and customers. So when I set clear office hours, I really do it because first of all, that way my clients always know when they can expect to hear back from me and I want them to be able to know that, and second of all, it ensures that I just do not cross my own boundaries. 

Now so much of this connects back to trust both of yourself and your clients. But that is a topic for another day! 

So this week, take some time to assess your boundaries. Okay. So here are a few questions that you can ask… 

  • Number one, what can you change about your boundaries to ensure that only you are the one who is directly responsible for upholding them?
  • Number two, what aspects of your boundaries are you satisfied with and where do you have room for improvement?
  • Number three, do your boundaries make sense for your unique wants and needs?
  • And number four, what are you doing to ensure that you have awesome internal boundaries?

This is something that you and I can absolutely work on together in the Solopreneur CEO coaching program! Give those questions a little try, try going through them, give them a little experiment there and see what comes out from it. And again, we can always work together on it as well.

If you enjoyed this video, please subscribe to my solopreneur YouTube channel, give this video a thumbs up, and also drop a comment on YouTube sharing your favourite takeaway from today's video.

Don't forget to attend my free on-demand training, Anti-hustle Secrets to Solopreneur Success. It teaches you a whole lot more about how to fix your solopreneur problems so that you can skyrocket your success. Enjoy!