When I started my consulting business earlier this year, I committed to myself that I wouldn't allow it to eat my life —that, unlike my previous business, I wouldn't give up on my health, my personal relationships, or my boundaries around those for the sake of the business.
Last week was the first real challenge to those boundaries that I've experienced. It was Thanksgiving week, and I wanted to be done working at noon on Wednesday, so I could focus on my tiny bubble of people and really enjoy the holiday. Then, a client I am really hoping to work with emailed and said they needed to move their initial consultation from Tuesday to Wednesday....afternoon.
Gut punch. I really really want to close business. And frankly, I'd love to work with these folks because the problems they are solving are exactly the types of problems I love working on. But I'd made a commitment to be done working so I could spend time with my family, and I didn't want to degrade my boundaries. So I thought, deeply, about how to handle this. Did I just throw out my boundaries the first time someone asked, in the name of closing business? Or did I hold firm and possibly lose a big deal and a great client?
In the end, I compromised. I scheduled their meeting for as early in the day as possible. My Wednesday would now end at 1:30 instead of noon. And because my Tuesday afternoon was now free, I kept it clear and told everyone I'd be done at 12:30 on Tuesday, instead of working the whole day. It was the best solution I could come up with, and it made everyone happy.
But I am proud of myself for not just saying YES! the minute they asked me to move the appointment. Taking the time to think about what I was doing instead made for a much better solution, and a reinforcement of my priorities.