Having Boundaries in your Small Business

Starting your own business, for the first time or fiftieth can come with its difficulties, especially without boundaries in place. For this reason, it is important to know when you need to stand back. Having boundaries helps keep your work fresh as well as prevents excess stress from having a negative effect on your business. Here we go through ways you can successfully set your own boundaries when it comes to entering your solopreneur journey.

Although not easy to implement, planning these is a step you have to take to ensure you’re doing the right things, for the right reasons and in the correct order. The last thing you want is stress, which can then lead to burnout. For this reason, we recommend trying these 5 things!

Keep a Diary

Having fifty tabs open in your mind becomes easier to manage when you’re not fully relying on your memory. If you’re able to make a note of things like stock dates, sale events, coupon codes and trending products then it will free up your headspace against work boundaries and allow you to focus on something else.

Use a Social Media Planner

Using a social media planner not only allows you to keep track of what posts are going when, but it also allows you to see the trending items, and what items you’re sharing that receive the most attention and, in particular, when they do. Where a printed media planner will allow you to keep physical copies of such events, you can also use online planners like Hootsuite, Asana and even Facebook Business Suite – which enables you to post on both Instagram and Facebook simultaneously. Using a planner allows you to do exactly that – plan. Planning ahead of the game, following your boundaries and instead of updating your profiles daily it'll give you that time to work on other sections of your business.

a grey spiral social media planner book with flower clipart.
Physical Social Media Planners can help keep you on track. https://amzn.to/3D4sMX2

Have a timetable

Unfortunately, not everyone is able to work as and when they please, so having a timetable that shows you when you’re able to put some time aside is a great idea. How many hours do you spend playing a game on your phone or watching Netflix only to release that half the day is gone? You know yourself that you could’ve put those hours to better use! Well, have a timetable for yourself, even if it is in 10 minute periods throughout the day.

In addition, if you opt to have things to ship, then make sure you have periods of time for this to happen. Whilst you may be able to simply drop products into your local post box you might find that this is no longer an option if either a) your products do not fit or b) you have a large number of items to post. So, instead of running back and forth numerous times per day, it is best to set yourself a limit. For example, make ‘post days’ 3 set days during the week (for example, Monday’s, Wednesday and Friday evenings). If you happen to be passing, then of course this is the exception to the rule. But don't go out your way when you already have the shipping section slotted into your working week.

a detailed yearly wall planner with a dark green/blue colour scheme.
a planner you can display can be great for keeping you in the loop. https://amzn.to/3B4yTtY
a 'busy  b' duckegg coloured planner pictured closed and open with timetable inserts.
Planning & keeping notes can be pretty too! https://amzn.to/3iuS4pD

Be Consistent & Have Ground Rules/Boundaries

When you first open your shop it can be such an exciting time that you'll find yourself checking on the app, viewing how many visits you've had numerous times per day…that it can be difficult to step back and see your business as a business. Yes, bigger chains have a large amount of staff and stock, but you definitely would not expect to hear back from them at 3 am if you were to email them at midnight. So whilst it is important to reply to your customers, interact on social media, share posts that attract your shop… it isn’t something that you need 24/7 and instead, slot it into your timetable so you’re able to fit it in during the working day.

As a person, never mind a business, you don't have to justify the decisions that you've made about your business to other people. This can include setting shipping rates, offering discounts, limiting the amount of one item a person can buy etc. When on marketplace websites it is surprisingly common to have a prospective buyer message to ask for a discount or free delivery. Whilst you may see this as an exception, it can start the ball rolling so to speak. If you have a discount code, then share it. If you offer free delivery, then share it. But be sure to stick by your decisions and ground rules, and don't be afraid to reiterate them if need be.

Suggested Read: Our Work From Home Essentials.

Have Goals

Having goals in life can be one of the most motivational ways to inspire yourself. This also applies in small businesses. Here we go through a few goals you might find yourself adding to your Etsy shop list and how you could go about scoring them.

  • increasing traffic to your website/blog, we suggest:
    • Using ETSY ads
    • More interaction on social media
    • Working on your product SEO
  • create a new product/range, we suggest:
    • Find a product that is wanted but doesn’t exist
    • See if your current products are going in the right or wrong direction
  • hire your first employee, we suggest:
  • Having enough profit to accommodate a salary out with your own expenditures.
  • open a physical location, we suggest:
  • Choosing an area where there is a desire for your product
  • schedule a break, we suggest:
  • By doing this you can see if your business is able to operate without you, albeit for a short period for time. It may be a combined stressful yet cathartic experience.

Do: Make goals.

Don’t: Stress over the timelines, it takes time.

So, that's the guidelines we recommend sticking to when you first begin working with your small business! Would you suggest something different? Let us know in the comments!

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