How to Set Boundaries with Your Friends and Family
I’m a people pleaser, so naturally boundaries came hard to me.
I feel like I’m good with setting boundaries in my business, if I didn’t have those boundaries then I would just get walked over by clients. But for some reason, whenever it came to friends wanting last minute sessions or family members always wanting discounts on shoots, the lines I had drawn for my business were going all over the place.
I was sacrificing even more for my business than I was comfortable with to please others. I was building up resentment towards these people and I felt like I was taking more time away from my family, and that they were taking advantage of me. A lot of people in our lives, especially those closest to us, want things for free or at a discounted price. They just don’t value us like those stranger clients we usually book. We must figure out how to set boundaries so we don’t get walked over by the people closest in our life.
I realized a while ago that I don’t have to people-please to be successful. I don’t have to serve everyone – from the last minute sessions-ers to the free shoot-ers – just to have clients, and from there I learned how to set boundaries with these people.
I know we hate confrontation, I know we like to make everybody happy but at some point we have to draw that line and start caring about ourselves, our families and businesses and stop letting people take our time from clients that will actually value us and pay us what we’re worth.
Boundaries are GOOD
Boundaries are a part of self-care. They’re healthy, they’re NORMAL. You’re not a bad person for telling people no. We’ve gotten into this thought process that tells us we can let people get away with things because we need their business in order for us to be successful or for us to be a good business. A lot of our self worth may also be tied in helping others, which is why it’s hard for us to say no to people when we know they’re taking advantage of us, especially our family.
But in all honesty…
We may start to build up resentment or feel like we’re being taken advantage of, but if we are feeling that way, it is really on us because we never spoke up for ourselves. In all honesty, we are letting people take advantage of us. We must be up-front and set expectations when a friend or family member first approaches us about giving them discounted services. Otherwise, we’re just enabling them. If you feel like people are still taking advantage of you, that is because you are letting them.
HOW TO SET BOUNDARIES
1. Be up-front by setting a specific date, time and price
This does not need to be a formal thing. If someone wants to work with you, you need to set a specific date and time up front. Set your expectations with the person right there because if you don’t, you’ll wonder if you are going to get paid, they might feel comfortable changing the time on you and you’ll lose all control of the situation. The more up-front you can be with them, the easier it gets.
A lot of times people expect us to sacrifice but will not budge on their end. If you’re constantly squeezing them in, then you’re enabling them. Setting a time and date right when they ask let’s them know that you don’t have a free schedule and they work around your availability, not there’s. It’s not a crazy boundary, it’s just setting yourself up for success.
2. Set rules for who gets free and who gets discounts
Friends and families expect services for free and everyone needs to set rules for who gets free, who gets discounts. You need to have your limits and set them out when you start your business. Who has provided a ton of value that you want to give back to each year? Write that down right now.
Family and friends come to us because they’re family and will probably think they will get a deal, but we don’t want those clients because they’re just looking for the cheapest option. They don’t value us. We want to be serving people who value us, and we can find that through the stranger clients that find us. If the people closest to us really value us, they will wait for us and respect the times that we have available. They will value our work and our pricing and respect that we have a family and don’t work around the clock for them. Friends and family will want things discounted, that’s not going to go away but giving things discounted is on us and that’s our responsibility for drawing that line.