Boundaries & Expectations for Web Designers and Developers
Today Sam & Karyn discuss the freedom and relief you can feel once you embrace boundaries and expectations and how to set them within your web design business and with your clients.
Episode 50: Boundaries & Expectations for Web Designers and Developers
Karyn Paige, Sam Munoz
Karyn Paige 00:00
I gotta tell you, I freaking love boundaries, I love them so much, because they’re actually incredibly liberating. Like once you identify them and put them in place, right, and there’s actually like a freedom that comes to the structure that boundaries can provide. Some boundaries are really like, you can think of them as as rules or policies that we set in our business, and, you know, in our lives in general. And these values really dictate like how we allow other people to interact with us how we create a structure of access to ourselves in our business.
Sam Munoz 00:39
Welcome to Making website magic where we empower women to step boldly into their web design businesses follow their intuition and claim the success they’re worthy of. I’m Sam Munoz.
Karyn Paige 00:49
And I’m Karen Page, where the Tech Wizards behind Sam Munoz consulting on the making website Magic School of Business. Were two women here to talk about what it actually takes to run a web design business that’s aligned with your vision.
Sam Munoz 01:02
Spoiler alert, it probably isn’t what you think it is ready to hear about everything from refining your business vision, networking with intention and creating a magical client experience. Let’s do it. Well, hello, Karen booboo, happy episode 50.
Karyn Paige 01:23
Oh, hey, Sam. Yeah, that feels really good to hear episode 50. We did it we made I
Sam Munoz 01:28
know crazy. I feel like we’ve talked about this before. Like, I think we totally need one of those things on the podcast like one of those, like sound machines like did you do? That would be fun. And that’s exactly the noise I would make for episode 50. And being so excited, being 50 episodes into a podcast that’s wild.
Karyn Paige 01:47
It sure is wild. And shout out to everybody who has joined us on this journey to get to Episode 50. We are so excited and we feel your love and support. And if you’re just recently joining us, maybe Welcome Hi,
Sam Munoz 02:02
seriously. Hello, this is the voice of Sam nice to hear are nice to have you. How do you say that?
Nice to meet you.
Sam Munoz 02:12
It’s nice to be in your ears. Thank you for allowing me inside of your ears. Okay.
Karyn Paige 02:17
All right. Hello. And I’m Karen. Hi. Again, just thank you to all of our listeners for for supporting us thus far, we really appreciate you can we also invite you to join our new community of women, web designers and developers. We’ve mentioned it before on the show. But it definitely bears repeating like we we talk about things topics here on the podcast, and you’re welcome to join us in the community to continue the conversation, all that good stuff. And so you can find us over at making website magic.com/community. To join us further.
Sam Munoz 02:51
Right, deeper conversations about the podcast episodes, networking with other women, web designers and developers. I mean, we have an entire podcast episode about the beauty of collaborations and what better place to find those people then in a place with other people who are listening to the same things that you’re listening to. We also have private podcast episodes in there. So it’s a great place to be it’s totally free. It’s on mighty networks, which is one of our favorite platforms. So yeah, definitely check it out if you haven’t joined us in the community yet. Okay, so, Episode 50. This is exciting. And I feel like to have a topic like this is so great. We’re talking about boundaries and expectations for web designers and developers. And Karen and I love boundaries and expectations. So it feels like such a fitting way to celebrate a milestone in the podcast. And I think you know, let’s just get into talking about this. This is truly going to be one of those Cornerstone podcast episodes that I’m sure will refer to time and time again, because it’s so darn important to set boundaries and expectations in your business.
Karyn Paige 03:54
Okay, so, boundaries and expectations is a topic that comes up all the time, in conversation that we have with women, web designers, it comes up all the time in the mentorship. And it shows up in so many different aspects of our businesses and the way we interact with our clients. Right. So it’s, it’s a foundational idea, foundational concept, boundaries, expectations, setting them and honoring them.
Sam Munoz 04:19
In fact, in the School of Business, it’s in class one that we first bring up boundaries and expectations, right when we’re talking about like the vision for your business, and all of that, because we’re truly talking about designing a business that fits into your life and in the way that you work. And a component of that is setting boundaries for yourself and then creating expectations with your clients. And I feel like if you’re unsure about what we mean by boundaries and expectations, it’s one of those things where it’s like, once it’s crossed, you understand that that was a boundary, right? Sometimes we don’t even realize it until like, we have a client texting us in the middle of the night and we’re like, oh, oh, I don’t like that. I need to create some sort of thing around that. So that doesn’t have But again, and it can be frustrating in your business, right when those kinds of things happen. And so this episode is truly about like, what are boundaries and expectations? And then how can we start to infuse them into our business in a way that makes us feel good and feel supported and centers us in running a web design and development? Business?
Karyn Paige 05:21
Yeah, okay. So I gotta tell you, I freaking love boundaries, I love them so much, because they’re actually incredibly liberating, like, once you identify them and put them in place, right. And there’s actually like, a freedom that comes to the structure that boundaries can provide some boundaries, or really like, you can think of them as, as rules or policies that we set in our business, and, you know, in our lives in general. And these boundaries really dictate, like how we allow other people to interact with us how we create a structure of access to ourselves in our business.
Sam Munoz 05:58
I mean, it’s like the word boundary in and of itself is like, you know, like a fence, or like a, you know, a line in the sand, it’s clear, like, you’re either on this side of the boundary, or you’re on this side of the boundary. And it does allow us to honor ourselves, right, and what we need as individual people, both in our business and in our life, so a boundary, you know, it could look like so many different things. And maybe they’re different for different people, they’re different in different situations, maybe you’re really, really good at setting boundaries in your personal life, but you’re not so great at setting them in your business, I kind of find the opposite to be true in the sense that not the reverse, actually. But more so that like, especially with people that we’re having conversations around, it’s like, I’m really bad at setting boundaries in my personal life. So it’s just bleeding through into my business. And so I have no boundaries in my business either. And so this could be like a huge growth area. And again, it is so liberating, because it’s like, I get to be in charge. And we’re thinking about what we can control, we control the boundaries, like we control how we allow people to access us and interact with us like that is in our control.
Karyn Paige 06:59
Yeah, the awesome thing about boundaries, too, is it’s really an opportunity for us to honor ourselves as individuals on it our business as an individual that has needs, right, we’ve talked about this a lot on the podcast, like your business is allowed to have needs, you are allowed to have needs, right? And your needs can differ from your clients, they can differ from other people in your life. And that’s okay. And so when we set those boundaries, we’re really honoring what we need as individuals and as individual businesses.
Sam Munoz 07:31
Right, and I guess this is an important caveat about boundaries is that they are something that we set for ourselves, that it’s not like you impose the boundary onto someone else, you set it for yourself, and then you adhere to it yourself. Right? Because then it’s like, we’re gonna get into the specifics. But like, let’s say you’re just like, I don’t answer emails after 5pm. Okay, so then a boundary, like that’s a boundary. And also another component of that boundary could be like, I don’t check emails after 5pm. Because that’s how I adhere to it.
Karyn Paige 08:01
Yeah, there’s a common misconception that I hear when people talk about boundaries, and they use the word enforce, I enforce boundaries, I have trouble enforcing my boundaries. That actually like if you really sit and think about it, enforcing is like something that you forced upon someone else, right? Like I’m thinking about, like authority, and like power and all this stuff. And it’s like, we can actually let that go. And just think of like, boundaries are something that actually keep us safe, and keep our needs at the center. Right. And to your point, it’s something that we can control for ourselves, as opposed to feeling like boundaries are something that are checking other people and controlling others. Because that’s not what’s about.
Sam Munoz 08:45
And that’s, you know, kind of going back to what you were saying about like liberating us, I find that boundaries, make me feel more in control and make me feel more like I have ownership over what’s happening in my life, because I do because I get to choose my reaction to whatever’s happening. And that’s a part of boundaries, right? Like, I feel like that was one of the biggest things that I learned in therapy right off the bat was just like, I’m in charge of my own emotions, I’m in charge of my own perception of reality, and I’m in charge of my own boundaries, but I’m not in charge of someone else’s boundaries. And when we talk about the examples, you know, and how to start setting boundaries in your business, you’re going to we can we can use all of this definition, you know, all of this defining that we’re doing as a foundation, right? Because then we say, we set a boundary around email, that doesn’t mean that like our clients can email us and that doesn’t even mean that by them emailing us outside of our business hours, let’s say that they’re encroaching on our boundary. Right? It doesn’t mean that at all, it just means that us not responding to that email is the boundary. Exactly. Really important distinction?
Karyn Paige 09:48
Yeah, when you reframe it that way, it like makes so much sense, right? It’s like, using maybe an example of office hours, right? Like, if we owned a business that was open from nine to five like what store, the door to the store is locked at 859 and unlocked at nine, and that it locks at 501. And somebody can show up to the store and be like, Hi, I wanted to buy your cupcakes or you know, you’re stationary, but they can’t because it’s closed and we’re gone.
Sam Munoz 10:18
Right. And that’s not like, they’re not bad people because they showed up, it’s just that the boundary is is set. That’s what it is.
Karyn Paige 10:27
Okay, now let’s talk about like expectations, right, because that’s the other piece of it, kind of using that idea of like, you have a store and it’s open from nine to five, but it’s close. The expectation is actually communicating that and letting people know what the boundaries are and how how they can meet your needs, how you are going to show up, right? So it’s one thing to say my business is closed from nine to five. And it’s another thing to not share that so that people don’t know that. So they keep checking your boundary that keeps running up against that fence. And it’s like, Oh, you just say, I’m not going to be here before nine. And I’m not going to be here after five, that then you’ve set the expectation of your boundary. And everybody’s on the same page.
Sam Munoz 11:09
Right. And I think, again, thinking about the way boundaries show up in a lot of conversations, that’s the only thing that we’re talking about is the boundaries. But the truth is, it’s really like a coupled effect to find the benefits for your business. Because it is setting the boundaries and deciding what the rules and policies are. And then really taking the time to properly communicate that to prospects and clients to free yourself and to free them. And so that everybody’s on the same page, there is no more confusion, it creates a lot of trust when you establish these things and communicate them to your clients or prospects.
Karyn Paige 11:44
Not only does it establish trust, it also provides relief. Because once you just start communicating really clearly, what your expectations are letting people know what your boundaries are. And that can look like so many different things, you actually probably reduce the amount of times that your boundaries are crossed in the first place. Absolutely. It’s like a full on relief for you mitigating confusion for your clients, which in turn is relieving them of frustration or confusion, all of these things. And so everybody really gets to breathe easier, and run businesses whose needs are consistently being met, when we get clear on our boundaries, and we express them as expectations.
Sam Munoz 12:27
Yes. Okay. So let’s, now that we’ve kind of set that foundation of like, what do we mean by boundaries and expectations. And again, this actually might be a different way that you’re hearing this being described, I know that women in our mentorship and in the making website, Magic School of Business have been like, whoa, never thought of boundaries and expectations in this way. So I like want to honor the fact that this might have been like a shift in the way that you’re thinking about that before we even jump into this. Like that’s kind of a big thing, right? So there you go. And how can we actually get started with boundaries and expectations? And how can it show up in our business? We’ve alluded to this already. But I think one of the biggest ones is like office hours, when are you available to work. And I love the idea I love when people say this, they’re like, I’m available to my clients tend to, but like I might be working on the weekend, and I might be working at 5pm. But they don’t have to know that like that is a boundary and an expectation in you know, kind of manifested in actual tangible form office hours,
Karyn Paige 13:25
your office hours are like, again, you think about like how that helps you how that helps your clients and also like communicating it as an expectation. That can actually be so much easier than you think it’s like you just put it in your email signature, you put it in your proposals, you know, you put it in any other place where you might have policies or whatever. And then auto responder. Thank you. Thank you. Okay, right.
Sam Munoz 13:51
And that’s the expectation part. That’s the communication of the boundary is saying like, I’m available this time to this time. Here’s all the places that I’ve shared that with you and communicated my boundary.
Karyn Paige 14:01
Yeah. Another way of kind of setting those, let’s call it b&e, which also stands for breaking and entering
Sam Munoz 14:08
in police jargon, which is kind of funny because it’s like connected to a boundary. Hallway guys.
Karyn Paige 14:13
Gosh, wow, that is so deep. Yes. Okay. This can also look like boundaries around what you do, and what you don’t do. Right. So um, think thinking of services that you might offer, things that are included in in your offers and what’s not included,
Sam Munoz 14:31
in and out of scope. And thank
Karyn Paige 14:33
you, you read my mind, right.
Sam Munoz 14:36
I’m also thinking about, like, with regards to office hours, I’m thinking about like, turnaround times for things, you know, like, how fast can you expect to get an email back from me? How fast can you expect me to make that update on your website and our retainer package? For me, personally, the biggest boundary things are connected to time because time is like, you know, my most finite resource. And so the more I Can I like, reclaim my time and then communicate that to potential clients and existing clients? Honestly, the better.
Karyn Paige 15:10
Yeah. And I don’t like turning inward right on the the internal working in the business on the business type stuff. boundaries and expectations around your time can also help you with your own work schedule, right, and things like time blocking. So you may have office hours of like 10 to 410 to two that can be totally regulated to or relegated to like, when you’re communicating with your clients. And then you have blocks of time where you’re doing client work, or we’re marketing or were working on your bookkeeping, right, like using that analogy of, of a store, like a physical store, the store might be close to from nine to five, and that’s when the clients stop, but the business owner could be in the back room, like checking your inventory, or like, you know, so getting clear on what your boundaries are for how you work. And what your schedule is, can also be incredibly liberating.
Sam Munoz 16:00
And yeah, that’s such a good point. Yeah, I think I want to I want to note that, like, put a really fine point on that. Is that like, what we’re not saying in this podcast is like, here’s what your boundaries need to be. Right? Because I can’t set your boundaries.
Karyn Paige 16:14
Right, because your boundaries are based on your needs. And everybody’s needs are different. Yeah. Yeah, it like for real. If you walk away with nothing else from this episode, your boundaries are your own. They’re not wrong. There’s no right way. And we can’t tell you what they are, you get to decide.
Sam Munoz 16:33
I think that there’s a way to think about boundaries and expectations, that feels very selfish, right? You’re like, I don’t want to set boundaries, because like, I’m a helper, like, I always want to be available, I want to, you know, be that person’s right hand, lady, when I get an email, I feel guilty, because I need to respond right away. And we did talk about this in Episode 49. About like, your clients. Urgency is not your emergency, or however we phrased it. But I just like, I want to remind you that this is actually beneficial to your clients to like setting boundaries and expectations is not just like a selfish thing. And I think like, we should probably talk about that a little bit.
Karyn Paige 17:14
Let me take a deep exhale on that one. Boundaries are not selfish, because they’re rooted in the idea that you are allowed to have needs. And you deserve to have your needs honored and met. I just want to let go of the concept that they’re selfish, because I could really like dwell on that and sit in that. But I would rather just focus on this idea that it’s okay. It’s okay for you to have boundaries. And your boundaries can benefit you. And fit into your dreams, your wants your desires, right. And if you’re in a place where you feel like you’re stuck, and you’re not getting to what you want, you’re not getting to your dreams, you’re not getting to your desires, exploring what your boundaries are, and maybe defining those for yourself can be one of the first steps to getting closer to where you really want to be in your business. And you will absolutely
Sam Munoz 18:12
yes, in the same spirit of like, it’s not like it can be beneficial for your clients to that’s where the expectations come in. Right. That’s where like communicating with your clients, what they can expect of you can be so helpful and liberating for them too. Because if you say, I am not going to look at this for the next three business days, that is my expectation for you, then they’re not checking their email, waiting to see if you’ve gotten back to them about something, they’re not expecting you to respond on a weekend because you told them that you wouldn’t. So they’re going to check their email Monday morning at 9am. And not Sunday, wondering where you are, right? So it’s beneficial for them too, because you get to release and relieve them as well.
Karyn Paige 18:56
Precisely, precisely, it’s always mutually beneficial to have boundaries.
Sam Munoz 19:03
Speaking of which, that makes me think of like creating that more balanced relationship with your client anyway. And when you’re creating policies and boundaries and things that puts you in the driver’s seat of your own business, so you’re not subject to becoming like an employee of your client. When in reality, you are a peer and a contractor and a leader of a project. And by creating good boundaries and communicating that really well you get to maintain that level playing field with them which again, to me connects back to it being mutually beneficial for everybody.
Karyn Paige 19:39
Sam, you’ve read my mind, you read my mind because I can already hear that kind of like voice of doubt or resistance coming up of people who are like I’ve worked with clients, they don’t respect my boundaries. They still do these things even though you know it’s, I don’t check my emails or blah blah blah they I hear you I hear you. That is why boundaries, and communicating those, like the expectations part really can set the tone for the dynamic of the relationship that you have from the beginning. Yes. And so there may have been times where your boundaries weren’t clear, maybe the expectations weren’t communicated clearly. And so there was a lot of blurred lines and a lot of frustration, hurt feelings, resentment, etc, that comes with that. But I gotta tell you, when you clear them up from the beginning, you’re creating an opportunity to let the type of person that’s a boundary crosser. move right on to the next, right, let them look for the person who is going to give them 24 hour access, let them look for the person who is going to check emails on weekends, let them look for the person who isn’t going to charge a rush fee, when the website is down in the middle of the night. You are not that person based on your needs. And that’s okay. So it’s almost like, hate to use this analogy. But it’s almost like when you’re dating, and you you know what you’re looking for, you know, you’re not looking for it is totally available, like on that first coffee date to be like, so. What are you looking for? This is what I’m looking for? Oh, we’re not we’re not aligned. Good luck to you. I’m sure you’ll find your person. You know what I mean? Like, yes, the alternative is you’ve never talked about these things. And 10 years later, you’re like, pop boundaries, keep getting tested all the time. So that’s a really crappy analogy. I’m aware of that. And it’s problematic. But all of that is to say, Do not beat yourself up. If this is new information for you, like I wish I had done this years ago, years ago, this is an opportunity for you to start fresh. And to start on your own terms, get those boundaries, define for yourself, and then communicate them in a way where it’s like totally neutral. Like it’s not personal, hey, not I don’t check my email between the hours of 7pm and 7am. But you can expect that, within this timeframe, I’ll get back to you. And we talked about that idea of like dependability, and reliability and Episode 49, right, that is creating that trust that’s creating that dependability, and reliability. And it’s also letting everybody off the hook of like, hey, it’s out of bounds. It’s out of the expectations. So absolutely
Sam Munoz 22:24
right. And so walking away from this episode invitation to think about those different boundaries that you could add into your business, right, the office hours, the communication time, what you do, and don’t do, how you can really honor your boundaries with things like time blocking and things like that. So just like, you know, take a minute, take some take some time and think about like, do I have boundaries in my business, and then remember that it is truly up to you to uphold them. And there’s something that you create and design yourself. And that gets to be the beauty of it is that you are designing it so that it aligns with your vision for your business and for your life. So spend some time doing that and maybe you know, if you have a boundary you want to share and you’re excited about pop into the free community. Let’s talk about it. I mean, nothing feels better than being like, hey, I have an autoresponder now that says I don’t respond to emails after 3pm and we’ll celebrate you.
Karyn Paige 23:21
Yay, we serve well. We sure Well, just last final thought, you deserve it. And it’s okay.
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