A no show is more than a missed appointment.

It happened again…my “busy” client was a no-show for a scheduled call. A call we put on the schedule over two months ago. It’s not the first time they have done this. When we do connect its apologies, apologies, things are so crazy, etc. I would be understanding and accommodating, while beneath the surface, I was irritated and felt insignificant.

But you know what? It’s my fault. I didn’t set clear boundaries, and those I did set, I didn’t enforce.

I could make excuses, such as I’m in a creative field, and creative people can be flaky, impulsive, unreliable and temperamental. But, I am also a business owner and time is my most valuable and limited commodity. If you are into DISC assessments, you can probably guess that I am an S, or that I’m a middle child (the peacemaker) or other profiling tools. I’ll confess to all of that, I want people to like me, I don’t want to upset others or push back even when I don’t agree.

But even as tempting as it is to shrug it off and have a suddenly “free” hour, it affects much of my planned workflow for not only the rest of the day, but the scheduled writing time over the coming week and the overall deadline. That makes me feel even more irritated.

Better business contracts leave no room for guessing

I recently signed an agreement with a business coach. We’ll be meeting via phone call and her agreement left no gray area when it came to expectations and staying on schedule. Actually, I read it in awe, it was like a work of art – there is no question what happens if I miss a call or if I’m late. It was just the jolt I needed to realize that I wasn’t valuing my time which means the client doesn’t either.

I’ve adopted part of her agreement as my own business policy. It is now one of my Money Rules – and morphed into a bit of self-talk to keep me focused and on track. I’m also putting it out here to stay accountable. While I am in a service business and love to help clients overcome their sticking points in the writing and publishing process, overcoming my sticking point ultimately benefits us both.

So does that mean I’m now immune to missed appointments and clients that don’t follow through on their part of the agreement? Not entirely, but it does mean that I won’t be spending time fretting over why they aren’t doing their part to keep things moving. No matter how busy clients are, the boundaries are good for both of us.

How have you enforced boundaries in your business? How can we, as women business owners help each other identify and define the areas that need a boundary check up? I’d love to hear how you’ve done it.