As humans we are all different. Sometimes we aren't great at setting and maintaining personal boundaries, let alone maintaining boundaries as a business owner!
By not setting and sticking to boundaries, you're letting potential clients and others know that if they argue or push back hard enough, you will eventually give in and agree. Unfortunately in my experience, 100% of the time, these are not situations which will benefit you as much as the person on the other end.
When you set boundaries and expectations in your business, you attract clients who value you and your business. They pay you because they want too, they respect you and are excited to hire you! These are the clients all business owners want on their books!
As a photographer, I want to say yes to everyone and give them all a great experience. And for some time, I did say yes to everyone. I found myself taking on so many shoots for free, working my ass off for minimal return and being disrespected and undermined constantly. I was sending myself broke by always
saying yes, which included travelling quite far for these free sessions.
At the start, it was hard to set those boundaries and stick to them. I found myself hesitating and feeling so unsure! The worry I had about nobody wanting to book me or be involved with my business was high. But I couldn't have been more wrong!
Now, I have set expectations and boundaries, they are outlined in my contract and no matter what or who, I stick to them!
I still strive to give my clients an awesome experience and images, and I still work my ass off. But now, I have clients who are as grateful for me as I am for them, I get paid and paid on time, I get gorgeous images for my portfolio and so much more!
All because I started believing in myself and set firm boundaries!
If you're bad at setting and maintaining boundaries, here are my 3 top tips:
1 - Have an accountability friend/s! Do you have a strong-willed friend who you know has your best interest at heart? Being able to go to them, explain what's going on, what your plans are and asking their advice on whether you are being taken advantage of or how to respond in a firm and professional way.
By having someone back you up and assure that you're making the right decision, helps install confidence in your abilities, your business and your self!
2 - Write yourself a Mantra! Write down a confidence boosting reminder so when you are unsure what to do, read your mantra to remind yourself that you are worthy, you are confident and you are not a door mat. You are a bad ass business owner and you deserve respectful, quality clients who will pay you what you're worth it. Because you deserve it!
3 - A photography mentor! Having a photographer mentor is a great way to learn and get advice on how best to move forward. Find experienced photographers near you who you see work hard, have similar business practices to what you want or would willing to help and send them a message. They could become your go-to person when you are in doubt.
We always want to give back to people and be kind, but first we have to get our businesses off the ground and understand our value! Unfortunately, there will always be people who will try and take advantage of others. But we don't have to fall prey to a long-term habit of saying yes.
Let's work hard and service the amazing clients who respect and appreciate us and our businesses!