Not having boundaries can cost you half your income

not having boundaries in your business

...yes, NOT having boundaries can cost you 50% of your income. Literally!

True story of how not having boundaries is deadly to your business:

A couple of months ago I swapped "gifts" with a graphic designer who was looking to make a transition into a different creative career, and so I was to coach her and she was to do my website.

This was great, I thought.

For the longest time, I have wanted to have my website done......pretty much since I started my blog, but I can't and I won't pay thousands of dollars for it.

Being a creative multi-passionate, I know I will want to change things up sometimes.

Also, being able to change things myself is important to me.

I also learned a valuable lesson from my first online vintage clothes shop business.

Being new and having no clue, I paid loads of money to have a web shop build, and I couldn't change a single thing myself.

It was a huge and costly mistake and one I won't make again.

So, I thought this was great arrangement.

Related: 5 lessons I learned from my first online business

We started off good

One week it was about website, the next week it was about coaching.

My "swapping gifts" partner was so lovely and very good at her work. As I said, she was in a transition period and had a lot going on in her life.

She disappeared one week we were supposed to meet and I didn't hear from her. This was my first clue.

Another clue was, that I was beginning to see how uneven our swap was, in terms of time.

Doing a complete website package for me with design and branding was going to be a lot of work for her, and me coaching her didn't need nearly as much prep time.

Because it was her intention to do the whole thing.

Anyway, we met one evening and I could tell she was not in great form. We chatted a bit, trying to find out where the shoe hurt, and here it comes:

She was struggling financially and so she was happy to have any paying clients. Whether they were a right fit, or not.

She charged by the hour, but the work she did always ended up taking way longer than she charged the client for.

The quality of her clients work was important to her, as was her own.

She shared with me how she ended up doing work that she didn't get paid for.

I asked how much, roughly.

She said 50%!

And here I have a confession to make.

My reaction was so bad and unprofessional, 'cause I went "WHAT! You don't get paid for 50% of the work you do?"

I apologized and tried to backtrack my shocked response but it was too late. I had shamed her, and that was so not my intention.

And the truth is, I totally understand her.

I've many times not wanted to disappoint a customer, and wanted to give outstanding customer service, by going above and beyond.

Also to the point where I have LOST money.

I will nearly give everything away for free, rather than having to ask for money.

And I have justified this, by thinking the customer would talk nicely of me, and then her friends would become customer too.

But has that happened?


I can see from the different business circles I'm in, that this is a very common female entrepreneur problem.

We have a tendency to not charge what we're worth, perhaps out of fear of not being seen as "nice".

Why is that?

Maybe it's because we're sensitive to other people's feelings.

Maybe it's because we are brought up being "good girls" who have the pleasing-everybody-thing going on.

Perhaps our self-worth is not so good.

Maybe we're afraid of letting people down.

Maybe we don't know how to set a boundary or that we even need to.

There can be many reasons, and I can personally tick the first 4.

But it's crazy pants though.

Not having boundaries, about what is okay and what is not okay, lands us in all kinds of trouble.

And not just financially.

So let's get better at being clear about what's okay with us, ladies!

How and where you set your boundaries, is totally personal to you.

I'm with you in this. I find it difficult sometimes. Not with my kids, but with money and business.

The more I learn about boundaries, and the effect of lack thereof, the more I am positive, it is something we need to pay more attention to.

Not having boundaries can cost you half your income and perhaps half your sanity too! Let's do something about that, shall we?