Creating boundaries for your business
The hardest thing to understand when you start running you business behind the chair is how to set healthy and sustainable boundaries that allow you success. Without the proper boundaries in place things can get very messy very quickly, and before you know it you’re answering client texts at 11pm and you’ve got a book full of last minute cancelations…
Without boundaries, our livelihood, income, and mental wellness is affected in a way that can feel irreversible at times. The good news is that even if we didn’t start with them, we are allowed to implement them at any point in our career. Whether you’re 6 months in or youve got 15 years under your belt, here is a list of boundaries you should implement asap if you’re not already:
Hours of operation
It’s important to choose the hours you’re willing to work right from the start, and stick to them. This means no hair at home on days off, no squeezing people in at 8pm, and no doing hair during your vacations. It’s tough, because friends and family will be the biggest culripts at trying to change and manuever around your set schedule, but i’m giving you the permission to say “no.” right now. Work when you work and rest when you’re not working.
Hours of communication
Along the same lines of creating boundaries around when you’ll work, I would set a limit on communication with clients for only during work days/hours. This is something i’ve been trying to implement lately, and let me tell you: I wish I did it earlier. There is nothing worse than getting bombarded with client phone calls when you’re trying to relax on your vacation. If you let your clients contact you outside of work hours you create a terrible habit that will eventually be a monster of stress for you. Even better, if you can get a separate phone just for business and then turn it off when you’re outside of business hours - the temptation to answer texts and calls while you’re resting wont be so strong.
Tired of no shows and last minute cancelations? Create a policy around this that includes a window for when they can cancel and a fee for canceling outside of that window. We all know we cant fill a spot with 20 minutes notice and that means we’re missing out on income that we very well deserve. Stick to your guns with this as much as possible and you will create a business where your clients do not take advantage of your time.
The best policy you can implement here is that you’re willing to “fix” hair within a certain time frame (typically 7 days) but you do not offer refunds. There will be times that this wont work and you may have to refund just to save face and avoid trouble, but explaining this policy to new clients is a good way to avoid it 99 times out of 100.
Oh, the good old “price and discount trap”. We are not a flea market friends, there shouldn’t be any bargaining happening around our prices. If you can create a price list, stick to it (even when it comes to your friends) and increase those prices yearly - you’re going to be far more successful than the stylist who gives “homie hookups” to everyone who comes through the door. (Believe me, I know this from experience.)
Friends, I learned all of these the hard way. I started with wonky prices that fluctuated depending on how much I liked the person, responded to texts at ungodly hours, and dealt with multiple cancelations a week because I couldn’t stick to my guns. I only speak on these because I know the havoc they can cause in your business, and now that i’ve implemented boundaries I realize that yes, the grass is very much greener over here. If boundaries are something you struggle with, I completely understand.. and I suggest you take small steps (maybe starting with the cancelation policy) and work from there. You will thank yourself, I promise.
P.s. if you want a copy of my cancelation policy, you can grab it here. The work is done for you!