Lately, I have been in the space of questioning if it’s worth going beyond the agreed-upon contracts and proposals between my clients and me. Like many coaches and consultants, I have had the opportunity to interview, I find myself between a rock and a hard place, especially when we see greatness in our clients and particular projects. As thoughtful business owners, we share ideas and strategies as we desire to see them excel and be successful. There are times where we may volunteer to give more that goes beyond the scope of agreement, but at what point should we draw a line?

I am a giver. I’ve been that way all my life. I used to give away my lunch in elementary school to those who had none. I would give my gloves and hats away to children whose parents could not afford to buy them. I’d share my toys during circle time so that the children who didn’t have any would not feel left out. Being a giver is a way of life for me; however, when it comes to business, lately, I have begun to question my going the extra mile.

With the season soon to change, what better time to change my coaching and consulting. I recently attended a transformative workshop. It was titled Healthy Boundaries for a Healthy Business by Elizabeth Dekker, the owner of The Right Hands.

As a person of prayer, I had been asking God to show me if I give too much to clients outside of their paid package choice. God is a giver, so to be transparent, I had a challenge even asking the question. However, since spending time lamenting, God began answering my request. Time and time again, God showed me that I needed to use wisdom in my giving.

I had my answer. I began to implement ways to shift the paradigm within my own business. To my surprise, it wasn’t going to be easy. At the age of 54, I have too many years under my belt of giving over and beyond. I began to ponder two questions.

1.  Do we risk doing too much for clients to where we are then taken for granted or even       taken advantage?

2.  Do we put ourselves in places whereas it becomes expected of us to do things that are        not included in their paid and agreed upon package choice?

For an authentic and serious business owner and entrepreneur, there are times we must take a step back and evaluate our packages, price points, processes, and systems.

Here are my findings after 90-days of evaluating my business, interviewing eight business owners, and accepting a challenge from a fierce business coach.

In doing more than the agreed-upon project outline, it is possible that as business owners and entrepreneurs, we are pinning ourselves against a wall. Whereas we may see it as being helpful, we could be doing ourselves a disservice. How?

  • By taking time away from other current or potential clients.
  • By sending the incorrect message that we are available regardless of the agreed contract/proposal.
  • By devaluing our coaching and consulting packages.
  • By setting ourselves and our businesses up to be labeled as not fulfilling our client’s expectations, although the extra items were not included in the package they chose.
  • By creating unnecessary stress, which could also cause a strain on the business/client relationship.
  • By neglecting our non-negotiables.
  • By taking time away from personal projects to grow our business.
  • By taking time away from self-care and family.

Yes, every coach and consultant will, at times, add an extra touch. The question becomes, “At what cost to our calendar, health, and value?” and the response should be, “At the point that we can effectively execute the project without neglecting our non-negotiables.
As the season changes, I have committed to being more intentional in setting boundaries. I’m exercising the wisdom God encouraged me to implement.

Newsflash: Our clients are not to blame. We are. We have to take responsibility. Additionally, we have to hold ourselves accountable to change by implementing boundaries and new rules. The growth of our businesses may depend upon our doing so.

Clients purchase packages they believe are best for them. It’s time to honor their package choice and work within the agreed contract/proposal outline.

I have a new sign on my office wall that reads, #FollowTheContractProposalOutline

Earlier I mentioned a fierce business coach. She challenged me to look at my last five clients and take the package price divided by the actual (not projected) hours spent. She stated, without blinking an eye, “When you see the bottom-line figure, that is what you are stating you are worth.” #Ouch

Tweetable: #WhenYouDontKnowWhatToDo implement new rules and #FollowTheContractProposalOutline. @GailDudley

What about you? As the season changes, what will you implement within your business? What new rules are you implementing to hold you accountable to your values, processes, and systems?

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