Setting Clear Boundaries In Your Business Is Part Of Being A Professional Virtual Assistant

Setting clear boundaries and communicating them, especially with your clients is fundamental. Being in the service industry and hungry to get clients, many Virtual Assistants allow their clients to set their schedule instead of the other way around.

Reasons For Setting Clear Boundaries

  • You are setting an expectation by allowing your clients to dictate your schedule.
  • You will burn out!
  • Your health will suffer.
  • Everything else takes a back seat to your business.
  • You start to resent your clients.

I left Corporate America so I could have more freedom. I ended up working longer and harder for less money when I first started my VA business because I said YES to everything. I quickly paid the price with my health and sanity.

Setting boundaries is part of being a business owner as is learning how to say No! If you have clients that are not respecting your boundaries, it is time to have a chat with them and reset expectations. Take charge of your own schedule. Remember…

  • It is your business and you do not work for them. You are not their employee!
  • It is important for you to have a work-life balance –  you cannot work 24×7, I know I’ve tried.
  • You do not have to say yes to everything. Say No and stand your ground.
  • You started your business for a reason, remember what that reason is, and build a business that supports it.

Make sure you read my post on how to manage Virtual Assistant clients. It will give you many useful tips on how to set clear expectations and how to avoid frustrating experiences. My Ultimate VA Success Guide: How To Start A VA Business will also help you to set up your professional VA business with clear structures from the beginning.

Have you set boundaries in your business? Please take a moment to leave me a comment and share your thoughts.

Thanks for reading and listening – Susan

P.S. If you're ready to invest in yourself and a professional future, please check out my VA Success Training. It's for people that are serious about running a successful Online Business. It includes everything you need from business set-up, getting clients, client management, a WP website, coaching, a supportive community, and so much more.

Susan Mershon
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22 Comments
  1. Tamara W

    Thanks, Susan. This is a great tip for both personal and work life. Especially for those who are business owners. The employee mindset has a very strong hold so by default some of us will want to please other and that would cause all the problems that you mention. Great tip for those planning to become VAs especially point #1.

    Reply
    • Susan Mershon

      Thanks Tamara, I still have times when I battle with that old employee mindset 😉

      Reply
  2. Delia wallace

    Interesting post, the follow on question I have, is if you haven’t made your boundaries clear with your clients, how do you go about doing this with an existing client?

    Reply
    • Susan Mershon

      Hi Delia, thanks for your comment. I would create a Business Policies document and add to it your boundaries and then share that with your existing clients and well as all new ones. If you are looking for a template, I’ve got one in my Welcome Packet Kit .

      Reply
  3. Robin Carter

    Susan, I love the title Techie Times, and am so glad I am receiving it. Everything about you and your business is something I am thankful for. You are a great example of a super VA, and I will be following you everywhere. So glad we are connected!

    Reply
    • Susan Mershon

      Thank you Robin, I appreciate your kind words 🙂

      Reply
  4. Pamela atkins

    Susan, thanks so much for this post! Being a bit of a people pleaser, it can be difficult to set boundaries at times, You almost feel guilty for not being “available”. I’m sure some of that stems from working for an employer and trying to say Yes to all requests. You’re so right about burnout being the result. Thankfully, I’m making the mental transition to set limits with my own business. I’m truly a work-in-progress!

    Reply
    • Susan Mershon

      Pamela, my pleasure. I’m thrilled you found it of value. I am also a bit of a people “pleaser” and it can be difficult to say No especially when you are coming from an employee mindset.

      Reply
  5. Carolyn witt

    Great post! I am so guilty of being an overachiever at my own expense. Thank you for the reminder that it’s okay to set boundaries.

    Reply
    • Susan Mershon

      Carolyn, thank you! It’s a great exercise to remember it’s ok to say “no”.

      Reply
  6. Nadine Herring

    Boundaries are extremely important and sometimes extremely hard to stick to!

    I have set boundaries with my clients and have stuck to them with the occasional slip here and there. As you said it is so very important to keep that balance because if not you will burn out very quickly and start to feel like an employee, which is NOT what we are.

    Great article Susan 🙂

    Reply
    • Susan Mershon

      Nadine, thank you! I remember letting client’s slide on boundaries and I ended up paying the price for it.

      Reply
  7. Donna Rondeau

    I had a hard time saying no even while I was in my corporate jobs. I pride myself on being able to do anything, but to a fault! I think most people understand that a person isn’t skilled at everything, but when it comes to myself, I want to be that uber-skilled person and be everyone’s “go-to-person.” I have to work on this, especially now that I am starting out in my own business. Thanks for the helpful tips Susan.

    Reply
    • Susan Mershon

      Donna, you’re welcome. I was that way too in corporate and found it hard to turn off when I started my business. Trust me it comes with time and experience.

      Reply
  8. Michelle Gibson

    Great post Susan. It’s so important to get your boundaries sorted and put them in to practice. I’m super guilty of sometimes not adhering to them, so I’m making a conscious effort to change that.

    Reply
    • Susan Mershon

      Michelle, thank you! I was that way too when I started out and learned the hard way 🙂

      Reply
  9. sHELIA FRAZIER

    As usual, great advice!

    Reply
    • Susan Mershon

      Thank you Shelia!

      Reply
  10. Damaria Senne

    Thanks for the reminder. I also paid the price for lack opf boundaries when I first started out. I still struggle, because I think deep down I’m a people pleaser and have a hard time saying no. But I know I do have to say no, when the job or the terms and conditions are not right for me.

    Reply
    • Susan Mershon

      Damaria, I’m a people pleaser too, so I get how hard it is to say No.

      Reply
  11. Gaynor Paynter

    It all rings true! It is one of the hardest things about being self employed. I’ve asked myself sometimes why I work such long hours, when others are having holidays, getting time off, KNOCKING off. And then I realise – I enjoy it. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t do it. But I have had burnout in the past and learned from it – it’s no good for anyone!

    Reply
    • Susan Mershon

      Gaynor, I’m with you, learning how to say No was hard for me. I still have to work on it 🙂

      Reply
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