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Set boundaries to improve your business workflow

Samantha Ludwitzke, Samantha's Doodles

"When I first started my business, I wanted to do it all. Something I have always struggled with was saying no, and, as a result, it led to double bookings, pulling all-nighters after a 40-hour work week, and ultimately burning myself out. If I knew then what I know now, I would have told myself that it is okay to say no to projects that don’t align with me or my brand.

I would have told myself to be clearer with my expectations and my rates. I did a lot of work underpaid (or free, for exposure, or for friends), and it ended up creating more stress than anything. I needed work as I was starting my business, but I also needed to prioritize myself and my mental health.

Sometimes, as creators, we want to please everyone. But it’s okay to say, “This does not align with my business plan or values or availability," or to say it simply just doesn’t seem like a good fit, no reason needed. As a small business owner starting a new company right out of college, I needed to know that NO is a full sentence.

Nowadays, I still want to do it all, and my drive hasn’t changed, but my processes have. I have set commission rates that value my time and my effort and let customers know my policies and procedures so that both sides have clear expectations. I keep a running list of projects, to-do lists, and deadlines and will say no to new projects or provide the customer with a timeline and ask if that works for them.

Setting boundaries has not only improved my business workflow but has also significantly improved my mental health and makes me excited to work on my projects as they come up. I’ve designed exactly the job I would want to work, and I wish I could tell the brand-new business owner I was that it’s okay to put myself first. If I have clear brand values, set boundaries, and only work with the type of clients I want to work with, life becomes so much more enjoyable- and my business has grown significantly!!"

Advice Contributor

Samantha Ludwitzke

Samantha’s Doodles features hand-drawn sticker designs, laser-cut decor, custom art pieces, and more. Samantha’s goal is to bring fun and whimsy to everyone by offering functional art and educational materials at an affordable price.

See Samantha's Site