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Want Clients to Respect Your Time? Here’s the Secret

We all have the same 24 hours to get things done. We lay out our plan of attack – a nice, tidy to-do list – get after it, and by 6pm we’re wondering where the time went.

A unexpected twist here or there is par for the course. Your sister calls and you decide to take it, since you haven’t connected in weeks. Your dog barfs all over the carpet after getting into the Valentine’s candy.

Here’s an extremely common time suck you can avoid, however: letting clients run your schedule by neglecting to set good boundaries. Any brick-and-mortar business operates according to set hours. Need your organic smoothie fix after 5pm? Too bad. Doors are locked.

Yet, I see so many freelancers working 24/7 to meet clients’ schedule demands. Clients are humans, just like you. They, too, have responsibilities, roles, and commitments that mess with their schedule. But if you’re able to set all that aside to prioritize a 2:30pm phone appointment, so can they.

And if they no-show, the solution isn’t “let’s connect when you’re able.” That’s a sure fire way to end up in schedule mayhem. YOU set the time options. They can make it work or move on. Running a business does not require you to become a 7/11, open 24 hours a day and available anytime. That’s just a lie we tell ourselves.

Want more time? Set your schedule and stick it, especially when it comes to client interactions. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself quickly slipping into round-the-clock work mode, fielding calls at 9pm or on weekends, missing out on precious time with your family.

If you want clients to respect your time, set the example by respecting your own time. That is how you will protect your creative energy, avoid eventual burnout, and – perhaps most importantly for your clients – maintain the mental balance to produce your best work.

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