As your business grows and your client roster increases you can guarantee that you will start running into issues with your clients. It is likely that the issues could be fixed with a few key policies and boundaries. So, how do you set new boundaries with current clients? It can feel awkward, but you can do it in a way that feels natural and professional.
Figure out What Boundaries are Needed
Before you start announcing new policies get a clear picture of what issues need to be addressed. Are you getting phone calls late at night, are deadlines being missed? Figure out all the places that you have frustration with your clients and write it all out. Once you have a comprehensive list creating wording around these issues addressing what your policy is and what the consequence of breaking the policy is for the client.
Put Them In Print
Once you have your boundaries written out put them in print everywhere that makes sense. They should be stated clearly in your contract, in your welcome letter and if you provide any onboarding information make sure it is stated clearly there. For clients you are already working with send them the new policies with the offer to chat about the changes and what that means doe their contract.
Enforce, Enforce, Enforce
Finally, and probably the hardest part; enforce your new boundaries. Make no exceptions. If you start excusing behavior it is a slippery slope until you are right back into your frustration point. Even if you get some pushback initially, clients will treat you in the way you teach them too. So, stick to your new policies and clients will respect you. If they do not abide by your new policies then you really need to think if you want to continue to work with them in the future.
Setting boundaries and creating policies can feel really uncomfortable at first, but in the long run it will allow you to enjoy your work. When you are constantly aggravated by clients you become resentful of them and their projects, so think of your new protocols as a way to give better service to those who hire you.