I get it: You want to be the business that bends over backwards to make their clients happy.
But … at what cost to you?
Last week, we celebrated International Women’s Day. Seeing all of the positive posts on social media made me feel even luckier than normal to be part of a community of such bad-ass and inspirational women. But it also made me sit back and really think about what it means to be a woman.
I am a mother to three daughters and have a very strong relationship with my own mother and my grandmother.
I am also proud to be a strong, independent woman, but there is one thing I know for sure: women are complicated.
We can choose to be so many things, often at the same time.
We can be:
Strong and feminine.
Smart and accommodating.
Logical and fun.
Brave and safe.
And that is just one piece of the female puzzle. When you become your own boss/mother/wife, it gets even more complicated.
No wonder we are so fricken tired all the time (and NEED wine!)
So, how are you meant to be and do it all?
Personally, it took me a really long time to figure out the whole work/life balance in my business.
For the first five years as a boss-lady I was a slave to my clients and the way I validated it was by telling myself, “I’m a one-of-a-kind customer always comes first kinda gal”. I also kidded myself by thinking my clients knew I was going above and beyond for them and appreciated me for it … even if they didn’t pay for it.
But, at the end of the day, I was just a “yes” girl.
The people pleaser who went above and beyond to make my clients happy …
Forgetting – or, okay, ignoring – my private life being in favour of work.
It was bullshit.
Working in your business as a ‘yes girl’ will get you nowhere except for burn out.
First up, business is business, and even though you feel you pride yourself on your customer service, if you’re dead you won’t be pleasing anyone.
Seriously though, killing yourself by working silly hours to get a scrap of approval from your clients isn’t doing you any good.
Sure, clients like being looked after and getting their work on time but that’s it. Do not do people “favours” that they do not know about – they will not appreciate it.
I hear designers say things all the time like, “I did her a favour and didn’t charge her for that extra proof and now she wants more!”
But, lady, did you even tell her you were doing her a favour? Did you mention that the extra revision you did was for free? No? Well, no wonder she didn’t gush over you!
Stop doing it.
Be a kind person … but a business woman too.
When you start acting like a KIND BUT FAIR BUSINESS WOMAN you can see the difference between what business is and what is life and things will become so much easier.
Don’t know where to start?
Here are the steps I took to regain my work/life balance
1. I stopped doing my clients favours
Favours don’t make you money, and they often mean you work harder than you have to. Stop it. Right now. The value you are already providing your clients is enough. (And if, for some reason, you do decide to do your client a favour – tell them!)
2. I took emails off my phone
My weekends and weeknights used to get ruined by client emails. So now, when I am away from my desk, I am work-free and not distracted by shit that can wait. Reclaim your life!
3. I respected my own boundaries and never worked out of biz hours
How would you react if your boss told you to work until 2am? Or to work on Saturday? Yep. Nope. Which is why you need to set yourself business hours, put it in your email signature and stand by them. Physically turn your computer off and step away.
4. I put on an auto-responder and took my time replying to clients
Does your day get screwed up because you are constantly stopping paid design work to answer emails immediately? And then surprise surprise, you have to work that night to make up for it? STOP. No one will die if they have to wait three hours for a reply. Put an auto-responder on and check your emails twice a day: Morning and afternoon.
5. I took a day off every dang week
Hey, you! Yes, you. You are the boss! And the boss says you can take every Friday off. Clients will not die, jobs will not be lost, you however will feel SOO MUCH better for doing it.
Because yeah, being a women is fricken complicated and
we are expected to be all the things.
We are women and we can HANDLE IT.
And that’s what makes us pretty fucking amazing ?
PS. Click on the image below and print out this poster and stick it on your office wall and remember you got this, you are a woman!