Fences are effective boundaries for our furry companions, but what do healthy boundaries between you and your clients, and you and your business look like? This month Megan offers some advice.
Owning a dog training business is exciting. You are doing what you love, get to work with dogs, help people, and you’ve surrounded yourself with like-minded dog lovers. You are passionate and committed to helping dogs and their families. It’s wonderful to be able to set your own schedule and you are eager to get out and help as many dogs as possible. However, many dog trainers begin to feel overwhelmed and/or struggle to manage growth. Often, because of our passion for the dogs and desire to grow our business, we forget about our own needs and do not set clear boundaries within our business. This can lead to burnout and limit your potential for growth. I’ve identified three areas to set clear boundaries to develop stronger relationships with clients, improve productivity and take care of yourself.
Setting your schedule goes beyond when you plan to offer training sessions. It includes everything that you do for your business, including client communications, social media management and administrative work. Essentially, everything to do with work should be scheduled within your office hours. Many dog trainers struggle with time management because we love what we do. Time management is a lengthy topic that I will dedicate an upcoming post to. For now, let’s discuss our hours of work and how they help with boundaries.
Policies set clear expectations and guidelines for the clients regarding your services. They avoid confusion and miscommunication and help to resolve conflict more effectively. Policies and clear documentation are a key part of setting boundaries because they outline the expectations and requirements for clients and what they can expect from you. Present this information upfront to avoid surprises. Policies should be visible on your website, receipts, and intake forms.
Most dog trainers are helpers by nature and as a result say yes to too many things. This can overwhelm your schedule, delay your priorities, and even limit your ability to do good work. Once you have set your office hours and outlined key policies, it is important that you stick to these – your actions must match your words. Of course, special situations may arise that constitute an exception, but be wary of doing this early in a relationship with a client. Learn to say no to things that take you away from your priorities and goals for your business. It’s not about saying no to everything, but rather learning to say yes to the right things.
Boundaries are a critical part of selfcare for you and your team. Being upfront and transparent with your policies demonstrates that you are a professional business. By outlining your policies and being clear on expectations, clients respect your time. They understand that you treat everyone as equals and that they are not the only one you are working with. It creates a much stronger relationship and will improve their overall compliance. When you set boundaries and provide clear expectations, all while delivering exceptional customer service, you will begin to attract the right clients and experience greater success.
Burnout is a serious issue that all business owners and working professionals should take note of and take necessary precautions and actions to stave it off. Your clients, colleagues, family, friends and most importantly, you, all benefit. What could be leading you down the path to burnout?Read Post >
Time management is critical for success in any productive endeavor. Megan Stanley has some tips to help organize your dog training business to ensure you're set up for success.Read Post >
Ensuring clients follow, and stay, on plan is a significant challenge for any business. This can be especially challenging in a pet care or dog training environment. Megan Stanley provides her insight to help you ensure your client's success.Read Post >