FS 256 Boundaries with Clients

Today’s episode features a discussion centered on Boundaries with Clients. Philip, Jonathan, and Curtis explore how you set these boundaries for yourself. Tune in to find out what they have to say!

What boundaries do you have with clients?
Jonathan keeps Thursdays completely free to do things he enjoys even if they are concerning work. Curtis only does calls on Tuesdays.

Why have boundaries?

It eliminates and helps make decisions. For example, if a new client can’t do a call on Tuesday then Curtis knows he can’t work with them because they won’t be a good fit for each other. It protects the ability to get stuff done. If you have a do not disturb mode on your phone turned on, you can tune texts out from everyone and only receive important phone calls. A good book to read on the subject is Boundaries by Dr. Henry McCloud. When people want to schedule things, have to make sure it fits into your schedule. If it is an emergency you can make adjustments.

“You should be comfortable with saying no without a justification.”

Sometimes you can’t come up with a justification for saying no, so you just say yes. Philip’s life goal is to get to the point where you can say no without having a reason. If you have trouble saying no it’s always good to have an external reason why.

Problems with boundaries

Family and work life can be a hard balance. Part of putting family first is providing for them. Freelancers can easily become overwhelmed by work if they do not set boundaries. Because of your clients out number family, demands are made continually and you feel you have to comply because work is by the hour. Some say “I am putting family first by working.”

It is easy to draw boundaries if there’s no cost or personal trade off associated with it. If you wouldn’t give up anything by having a boundary, there’s no reason to make one. If something is not a temptation resisting it doesn’t make you a virtuous person.

It is harder to say no to people the closer they are to you. It is harder to say no to a long-term client than a prospective client. Jonathan doesn’t have a harder time saying no to clients than family or friends. This is because he only works with people he likes. If you don’t control your life, someone else will. People will put demands on your life until you don’t have any time left.


The goal for clients should be to produce the best product you can for them. In order to do so, you have to work within boundaries. Clients should understand your schedule; if they do they will rework theirs if you will be most productive for them at a certain time. It is obvious if you’re overworked. If this happens you need to say no, force yourself to be more intentional with your time, and slow down.


Boundaries can look like discipline. Mostly need to discipline yourself: have to be careful with the schedule that you create, including at home. There is a need to be conscious enough to know the warning signs of needing more discipline. For some, twitter is a warning sign. Discipline can look like deleting twitter off of your phone.


A lack of discipline in fear response is business but not productivity. This happens when you feel like you need to do something but are not doing anything productive. When this happens you need to do something more effective. This could mean you need to stop having coffee meetings with people if it’s not working. Email and social media make you look like you’re doing something but it’s not a good use of time. There’s a difference between effective and productive work. Effective work shows you did something. It distracts you from work you should be doing.

It takes time to learn discipline and boundaries. You should have a long-term vision of where you are going. There are other blueprints out there but someone else’s blueprints are not going to work for you.


Boundaries: https://curtismchale.ca/recommends/boundaries/
Deep Work: https://curtismchale.ca/recommends/deep-work/

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