By Jennifer Taylor, Taylor’d Events Group
As a business owner, it can be difficult to manage the needs of all of your clients as well as those of yourself. However, finding a satisfying balance is the key to a successful work-life balance and ensures that all of your clients are treated fairly. Easier said than done, right?
If you find yourself stressed out by the demands of your clients, it’s time to set boundaries to ensure that nobody holds you to unrealistic expectations and you don’t find yourself burnt out down the line.
The best way to set boundaries for your clients is to present them upfront after the contract has been signed. While it’s perfectly normal for them to hold certain expectations and visions of their event, it’s essential that everyone is on the same page so that each party involved is well aware of their responsibilities.
While it may seem that covering boundaries from the get-go may be aggressive, it can actually foster a positive relationship as nobody will be left feeling alienated. Your client wants (and deserves) the best you have to offer and you should also have limitations to keep your sanity intact – that means no panicked calls at two in the morning or emergency weekend meetings!
Discuss your business hours, the best ways to reach you, your response time, and the levels of involvement expected from everyone – this prevents any disagreements later in the planning process because the policies have been set from the beginning. It also gives you way out if a client continues to cross the line; in fact, it may make sense to include clauses in your contract that outline your boundaries and the repercussions of breaking them repeatedly.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t just mean working out expectations with the couple – it could very well involve family members and friends that are also involved in the event. Try to identify the key decision-maker early on, as this will save you from going through hoops and hurdles. Once you know who is calling the shots, they can be your primary contact which simplifies the process for everyone.
With that said, do your best to stay impartial during family meetings – things can often get heated with many opinionated individuals, so it’s best to stay out of the drama and keep everyone focused on what matters. Avoid promising things in the heat of the moment. Take the time to think things through before telling your client that you can do something; otherwise, you may find yourself over-promising something you can’t necessarily meet.
If a client continues to push you, don’t be afraid to let them win even it means walking away from the agreement. Sometimes, the argument just isn’t worth it – ending a difficult contract can even save your peace of mind and your company from the unrealistic pressure of difficult clients.
Jennifer Taylor is the owner of Taylor’d Events Group, a planning firm that specializes in celebrations of all kinds in the Pacific Northwest and Maui. She is also the creator of The Taylor’d Plan, a self-administered class for wedding planners who are new to the industry and looking to grow and develop their skills.