Are you feeling tired or frustrated by clients that want you to stay late, make special accommodations for their schedules, or fit them in after they miss another appointment? We are going to cover a topic that is too often neglected in cosmetology school, in continuing education, at home, and in our personal lives.
A topic that will help you:
- Avoid burnout
- Lead you to a longer and happier career
- Set you on a path to better self-care
- Help you avoid losing good clients, and get rid of abusive clients
- Boost a struggling business
Today’s topic is all about boundaries. In my career, I noticed we often talked about the importance of boundaries in my massage continuing education courses, but we never talked about it in any cosmetology continuing education courses. I am going to change that right now. Because boundaries are incredibly important to maintaining a happy and healthy career. Ready to make some changes? Let’s go!
Do any of these sound familiar?
- A client that constantly is late for their appointment, or cancels frequently with little or no notice
- You are taking clients later and later at night, on your day off, or before your open
- You are unable to say “no” to clients (overbooking yourself)
- Family or friends are not paying you or expecting a discount
- A client complains about the cost of services and wants to pay less
I’ve been there. When building a business, you are so afraid to turn down late appointments or really any appointments. You need money. Then, as time goes on, those clients become friends and we do not want to make these friends unhappy by saying “no” or establishing boundaries that we really should have set in the first place. It is a cycle or path that can be hard to break, but it is possible to remedy. However, it is going to take work and a little introspection and change on your part.
Also keep in mind, poor boundaries are not always the client’s fault. You need to look at yourself too.
Maybe you have rigid boundaries and share nothing, are unlikely to ask for help ever, and have few close relationships. Or maybe you have porous boundaries. You share too much, fear rejection if you do not do what others want, and never say “no”, let clients Your goal should be somewhere in the middle and have healthy boundaries. This is where you are the happiest.
You probably already know which one you are, but let’s introduce ourselves to the five types of boundaries and some examples of areas where you may need to make some changes.
Types of Boundaries
- Are you friends on Facebook, or other social media, instead of just having them on your business page?
- Do keep all physical contact with your clients professional?
- Do you look, talk, and act like a professional?
- Is your salon a clean professional environment?
- Is your salon the clean and hygienic place it should be?
- Do you continue to educate yourself in your field?
- Do you stay on schedule and respect the time of the clients that show up on time?
- Do you pay all the taxes owed (report all wages) or know employment laws?
- Do you work outside your scope of practice or provide services you are not trained or licensed to perform?
- Do you talk about other clients or co-workers, or create drama in your workplace?
- Are you overinvolved in clients’ personal problems?
- Do you give personal advice about a client’s life and relationships?
- Do you have inappropriate relationships with clients?
How do I know if I need to set a boundary?
When you feel anger, resentment, exhaustion, or find yourself complaining, you probably need to set a boundary. Determine if it is something you or someone else that needs to change, and what that change needs to be.
What can you do to set and maintain healthy boundaries in your cosmetology salon business?
When you identify the need to set a boundary with a client, do so calmly and firmly.
There is no need to provide a lengthy explanation of your established boundary. Really, a few words will do. You also do not need to apologize for the new boundary you are setting.
“I am no longer accepting clients after 5 on Thursdays. Is there another time that will work for you?”
You are not responsible for the other person’s reaction to the boundary you are setting. Your only responsibility is to communicate your boundary in a respectful manner.
Practice Boundaries and Scenarios
“I am no longer accepting clients after 5 on Thursdays. Is there another time that will work for you on Thursdays? Or, do you have a different day you would like to try?”
Client: No. That is the only day and time that will work for me.
Okay. Stella, a colleague of mine, is still working late on Thursdays. Would you like her number?
If it upsets them, remember that it is their problem. And their problem alone. Those accustomed to controlling or manipulating you will have absolutely zero problems testing you. That is why I recommend practicing the scenario you wish to change, so you are not caught off guard. Sure, it is possible you may lose the client. However, this departure leaves an opportunity to gain a client that respects your time and boundaries.
In the beginning, you may feel guilty and uncomfortable when you set a boundary. But do not let these feelings of fear and guilt prevent you from taking care of yourself. Boundaries are self-care. Let’s say that again. Boundaries are self-care.
Healthy Boundaries = Happy Career
Learning to set healthy boundaries takes time and practice. If you want to have a long and happy career, make sure you take the time to establish and practice boundaries. I promise it will be worth it.