Working from home: how to have boundaries

I started working from home way before the pandemic began. And whilst it seems glamorous and fun, many of you may realise it's not all it's build up to be. It's very easy to work more than the 8 hours a day and if you are employed, working overtime without being paid is just annoying after a while.

I started my company from home, so working overtime paid off loads, but it's very hard to switch off. I worked 7 day weeks for more months than I care to admit. I didn't mind it, really. I used to wake up, go directly to the desk and only leave it at night, when I went to bed.

Even though I thoroughly enjoy my job, after a while burnout signs started to creep in. I was getting my 8 hours of sleep every night, but I was always tired. My clients didn't have set boundaries because I was always available and replying. I befriended some, and that blurred the lines even further. They felt free to reach out anytime they wanted, and sometimes I had days where all I did was answering their questions/emails/calls. Last summer, I spent 2 months talking every night for 2-3 hours with a client. We are still friends to this day, but those 2-3 hours daily added up and I couldn't do my job properly. And since we were friends, those hours weren't billable, so I still had to do the job after talking.

Until one day, when I decided I am going to ignore all the messages received during the weekend or outside my working hours. It was hard, I was afraid I will lose some clients, but truth be told, that was the best thing I could've done. I did lose some clients, but none of them were my ideal client anyway. To them, it probably seemed like I lost interest when in truth, I just imposed some normal boundaries.

But in turn, I gained wonderful new clients. I learned to value my time better, which resulted in me increasing my fees. I used to dream about signing clients that paid $4-5,000 per month, whilst now this is a normal occurrence.

Another plus is, the people that are willing to spend this much on digital marketing are the ones who appreciate the fact that it is a lot of work. They also see this as an investment, not as an expense. They realise it's a necessary "evil" to grow and they are eager to do it.

My first clients, that paid way less, probably chose us because we were cheap. They didn't really value our expertise, they accidentally got a kick-ass service that bigger companies were charging 3-4 times more. And even though we brought tangible results, when it came to us raising the prices, they weren't willing to stay on. Fun fact, most of them wanted to come back after trying out others that had smaller fees for a few months or stopped doing digital marketing altogether.

So having boundaries not only helped me restore my personal life, but also helped me gain the clients that respected and valued what I was doing and my revenue tripled.

 

Until next time, 

Carmen