Setting boundaries for your clients

Being a wellness entrepreneur has lots of advantages – one being that you can work and serve the people you resonate with the most. At times the lines can get blurred if you don’t set clear boundaries with clients to ensure that both parties get the most from the relationship.

Developing and setting boundaries for your clients can be a learning curve at the beginning, so start as you mean to go on with clear intentions for the outcomes of the service. Remember what skill set you bring to solve your clients’ problems or issues, this is the reason they hired you. You’re there to provide a service, to help them with their health, fitness and wellness, you’re not a shoulder to cry on or someone who needs to get involved personally in the ins and outs of their private life. Keep it professional and stick to the time allocated and service provided.

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Now I’m not saying that you have to be a robot with your clients! But the truth of the matter is that you as a wellness professional need to look after yourself too! People can take advantage of your good nature in the realm of wellbeing and unload their problems and woes on you just to let off steam. Let clients know exactly how you will be showing up for them in the course of working together, and what they should expect as follows:

1.       Set your business hours. Work the hours that suit you best, and when the cut off point arrives, your life is your own. Your phone doesn’t have to be checked, nor text messages answered. Make sure you cut off each day around the same time – and be sure your clients know this too. If you immediately reply at 10pm to a client’s email or text you’re making yourself too available. Unless it’s an emergency, it can wait until the morning.

2.       Set expectations early! From the initial consultation, be sure to set the structure and conditions of working together and make them clear. If you’re meeting twice a month with work to do in between, make sure the action plan is made available to the client immediately after the session so they know exactly what they and you are working on in between sessions.

3.       Terms and Conditions. Make sure all the terms and conditions of your contract are laid out clearly – set expectations as per project on both sides – what is expected of you and what is expected of the client. Ensure all payment details are clearly defined and when and how payments will be taken (if you are providing a course, a programme or a series of treatments). If your clients require extra work outside of the remit of the course or series of treatments, then that costs extra. Stick to the terms of the contract.  

4.       Your client is not your friend! In a lot of cases in the wellness industry, your work with your clients is usually around a transformation of their health and wellbeing, the client has to do a lot of the work themselves, especially if they are being coached or mentored to attain a specific result like a better diet, or weight loss, or help with a specific mental health issue. You are there to help them in a process, you do not need to know all aspects of their private life to do this, nor should you discuss your own woes either! While it’s important to develop a relationship with your clients, being over familiar can blur the lines of your professionalism.

5.       Always trust your gut! Early in our businesses, we may work with people who aren’t good fit for us because we need the money or we haven’t had enough exposure to ideal clients. When a client is a bad fit, it makes working with them more difficult because we’re not right for them either. Go with your initial instinct, if the little voice is telling you not to work with them, or you have a feeling that you just can’t put your finger on, it’s best to let them go. There will be a better fit to replace them soon enough. A ‘bad fit’ client will be more demanding on your time, energy and resources.

6.       Be aware of how clients treat you. If your client keeps rescheduling appointments, not paying upfront for services or products, or saying things like ‘I’ll catch up with you next week with the money’, then they’re not valuing your time or your service. These are not your ideal clients, which is why it’s important to set these boundaries from the start, They won’t treat you so shabbily if you set the tone of professionalism and mutual respect from the get-go.

“Boundaries aren’t just about when clients can contact you; they’re what determine the nature of your relationship.”

Setting professional boundaries can be quite a challenge at the early stages of your business as you want to be liked and seen as a friendly, approachable person. This can still be achieved while maintaining a professional stance in your business,

Keep it simple and focused from the outset - set your business hours, the scope of the service, the expectations of both parties, and how your clients treat you throughout. As you grow in your business, you will be more streamlined in how you approach this initial setting of the boundaries with your clients. It gets easier with time, and a few hard lessons!

If you’d like to discuss how to build your wellness business, and attract and retain more clients, why not take advantage of my free 30 minute Profit Road Map Session where we address the roadblocks and challenges you currently face and get you on a more fulfilling path in your business.