Episode #34: Set Up Your Business Operations with Boundaries with Terra Bohlmann
The Fast-Track Entrepreneur Podcast: Episode #34
Set Up Your Business Operations with Boundaries with Terra Bohlmann
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Meet Podcast Host + Business Strategist, Terra Bohlmann.
Terra Bohlmann in a business strategist who helps female entrepreneurs accomplish in one year what would normally take five-years. As the creator of The Business Map Method™, she has crafted over a hundred custom business models for clients who have gone on to build six and seven-figure businesses.
Through her speaking, training, coaching, and live events production, she's impacted thousands of female entrepreneurs across the United States and Canada. Terra has been featured in publications and podcasts including Forbes, The Huffington Post, and The Sigrun Show. She's also the host of The Fast-Track Entrepreneur Podcast with Terra Bohlmann.
She lives in Houston, Texas with her husband, three boys, and spoiled rescue dog and cat. Terra's forthcoming book, The Fast-Track Entrepreneur: Create Your First Class Business with Clarity and Confidence, is due out in 2021.
About this Podcast Episode.
Terra Bohlmann shares an easy way to put boundaries around you and your business by setting up your Business Operations. No matter if you are new in business or have been in business for a while, taking as little as an hour to set up your basic Business Operations will save you time, money, and stress later. Customizing your Business Operations are a great way to reduce your own guilt on working too much in your business let alone reducing stress on your team members and customers. If you don't have your Business Operations clearly defined yet, you will love this episode where you will learn exactly what you need to decide and how to run your business without burning out.
Resources, Tools, and Links Mentioned in this Episode.
- Apply for your complimentary Fast-Track Session with Terra HERE.
Read and Download the Transcript for this Episode.
Announcer (00:02): Welcome to the fast track entrepreneur podcast with your host Terra Bohlmann, you are about to get filled with business strategies, advice and motivation to get you prepared to fast track your five year plan in less than one year. So buckle up and let's create your first class business with clarity and confidence.
Terra Bohlmann (00:29): Welcome back to the fast track entrepreneur. I'm Terra Bohlmann, and I am super excited about today's topic. This episode is going to be all about setting up your business operations with boundaries. And this is one of those things that I hold near and dear to my heart, because I wish I would have known this 10 years ago when I got into the space. And like a lot of things, like the reason I call this podcast, the fast track entrepreneur is because we all want to go faster. And in my case, I did everything fast. When I was in the corporate world, it was fast, fast, fast, you know, move up, you know, get the accomplishments, get the promotion, do this fast, fast. What could I do to go faster? Right? And with this podcast, it's kind of crazy. How 10 years later, how this works out while you know, I've been able to do some great things.
Terra Bohlmann (01:24): I still haven't went as fast as I've even wanted to, but I think this is part of starting to learn. I'll say this is part of my journey too. Sometimes you have to slow down so that you can understand, and that I can also teach what other entrepreneurs need to know so they can go faster too. And that's what today really is going to be about. So when it comes to setting up your business operations, some people think something that is really not what operations are at all. Like operations can be awesome. They can be really beneficial in your company. And it really doesn't matter if you're a team of one right now, or you're a team of thousands taking time to define how your business is gonna operate. And what that looks like is going to save you time, money, stress down the road.
Terra Bohlmann (02:20): And what I love about business operations setup is sometimes you have to go backwards to go forward. And in this case, if you've been in business for a while, like me, it's just really taking the time necessary to go put that stake in the ground and create your operations, and then sharing those with your team. And even if you don't have a team yet you will, at some point have a team and I'd venture to say, you probably have a team. You just aren't considering that a team. A lot of the times we think, Oh, well I don't have full time employees, Terra. So I don't have a team. But if you have anyone who does is an independent contractor that sometimes does works for you. They're part of your dream team. If you have somebody who is on call for any legal issues, you've got somebody on your dream team.
Terra Bohlmann (03:14): If you have a maybe use Fiverr F I V E R R from time to time, like that's a website where people will do things for $5, like simple tasks and whatnot, but now it's $5, but now it can be more expensive. So it's kind of like an Upwork, which is also another website where you can find independent contractors to do things for your business. And so maybe you're just using a fiber now. And again, you've got somebody on your dream team, right? Even if it's not the same person, but you have a resource. So the whole thing is you do have a team, you know, and who and that a team I'll do a whole separate episode upcoming on the dream team and whatnot. I'm super passionate about that and virtual teams. But if you're going to have a team or you have a team, you have to have business operations in place.
Terra Bohlmann (04:06): Because if you don't, it's going to be up to your team members to either figure out what you want as far as operations go, or they're going to make up their own. And in this case, you're the CEO of your company. So you get to decide the business operations. So I'm going to walk through some things that you can put in place in your business so that you have awesome business ops. And, but yet we're also putting boundaries around things so that you and your team members or your future team members have understanding around your own boundaries. Because the last thing I want you to do as a quote unquote busy business owner. And I say that as a quote, because my friend, Heather and I just had a podcast not too long ago. And we were like, ah, the term busy is driving me bananas because we're not busy.
Terra Bohlmann (05:02): I don't think we have busy problems. I think we have priority problems. So, you know, if we can banish the word busy, I think that would be excellent for all women entrepreneurs. So it, cause it's not a badge of honor, just like a lot of things that we're going to talk about on this episode. So I want you to have business operations that also set up boundaries, not just for you, but also for anyone who works on your team. So there isn't this expectation that you expect them to reply at 10:00 PM after you send an email. Right? So business operations are there for us as a container. So everyone's on the same page. All right. So what's the first thing that comes to mind as far as business operations go. And I think in terms of having core business hours and when I first started building my business a decade ago, it was, you know, I woke up, I was in the corporate world and then I transitioned and went like part time.
Terra Bohlmann (06:02): And then I started building my business, but on my business working days, yeah, I would wake up and be like, okay, what do I do? And that kind of went on for a little bit until I realized, Oh my God, gosh, what made me successful in the corporate world was living and breathing by a calendar. And I just decided at that point that Google calendar was going to be my boss. So I was going to schedule out things that needed to be done so that I was getting things done to move the business and grow it and all that kind of stuff. So the first thing from a logical perspective was all right, I got to get the work done, right. When you're in startup, there is never, ever, ever, you know, free white space where you're like, Oh, I have nothing to do. Right?
Terra Bohlmann (06:45): Like there's this whole thing around, there's always something to do. And at some point you have to go to bed and it's going to be there tomorrow. I didn't think like this back then, now I do. I'm a little bit better at it, but you know, it's just a matter of, we've got to have clear boundaries. So when you're thinking in terms of your core business hours, these are the days of the week that you're open as well as the time that you're working and in your time zone. Right? So for example, mine is I work Monday through Friday from nine to five. In reality, my clients know I tend to communicate, and this is what I put on my expectations document. When I start working with them, I tend to communicate from 10 to six, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM central standard time outside of that, I'll get back to them the next day, right?
Terra Bohlmann (07:37): I mean, I'm, I'm a business coach, right? I'm and there are going to be things that are dire from time to time, but I'm very clear on these boundaries and these expectations before we start working together or right at the beginning, right. If you can't do it before, you want to make it on your onboarding process so that any customers you have understand your working hours, and then you want to make sure that you communicate that to your team so that they understand kind of when you would expect that they could get back to you and whatnot. And when they can expect you to give an answer as well. So you want to have your core working hours. So again, mine are Monday through Friday, very similar to what it was in my corporate world. Even though, you know, like many overachievers, I worked a lot more hours than just my, you know, I think I was seven 30 to 4:00 PM, but you know, I worked more than that, but it also led to burnout.
Terra Bohlmann (08:31): So I knew going into my business there, wasn't going to be a badge of honor. If I worked seven days a week, we have to have time to rest period, as well as our team needs time to rest. So the idea of like, and I know the term hustle is really polarizing for people, you know, there's a time to work and then there's a time for white space and you just build this in, at the beginning as close to the beginning, as you can, and your business, at least there's just really clear boundaries. So in my case open Monday through Friday, and then I time block and then I'm closed on Saturday and Sunday. I'm a mom, I'm a wife, you know, the time that I spend time with them and my friends and family and whatnot. So it's like, it's my time that I can read my Kendall that, you know, it's that white space time we all need.
Terra Bohlmann (09:23): And I can schedule accordingly not to say sometimes as entrepreneurs, we can't, Oh, we have a free few hours on a Wednesday. And if we want to hop over and get a pedicure, that's our right, because we are entrepreneurs of course, but from a core working hours process, you want to be your and keep it consistent. And then within those specific days, I even time block accordingly, like I tend to do Tuesdays and Thursdays for client calls and coaching calls and consultations and stuff like that. My Mondays are around marketing and doing that, you know, doing even the podcast, like it's a less client interaction day and maybe more team and whatnot. Then Tuesdays and Thursdays, I tend to schedule in calls. Cause my logic is, Hey, if you're gonna get dressed up, put makeup on all that kind of stuff, make it count. And then, you know, Wednesdays tend to be operations or, you know, doing things for the business content creation.
Terra Bohlmann (10:24): And then my Fridays, I call them, I think them free Fridays. So what I've done is if I can get all my work done during the week, then I can take off early on Fridays. This was always like my favorite thing in the corporate world when we got to work half days and stuff like that. So I just mimicked what I've really enjoyed about working in corporate and then rarely do I work on Saturdays and Sundays, rarely, rarely unless I have a live event or something like that. And that's just what I've established. My family knows this. My clients know this, my team knows this and I don't expect them to work on Saturdays and Sundays unless they want to, it's totally up to them. But my expectations are we're a Monday through Friday company. However, if it doesn't make sense for you to be a Monday through Friday, if you're in a services type of business or whatnot, where you need to be working with clients on weekends, you know, I've probably said it before my mom owns and operates a barber shop in my hometown.
Terra Bohlmann (11:23): Well, they're closed on Mondays and then Tuesday, their Saturdays is when they're open. So you can adjust accordingly or, you know, maybe you're the type that you just want to take and close down on Wednesdays. You want a midweek, totally your company, your business, just be consistent with it. So business operations tip number one, define your core business hours of when you're opened and also when you're closed, including the days, the times and the time zone. Okay. And then we want to communicate that. So core business hours, let's put a stake in the ground that is a clear boundary that we're putting in place. And that just saves you again, time, stress, expectations, all that kind of stuff later. And it literally will take you maybe five to 10 minutes to decide on this. So after core business hours, you know, the one thing I like to think of from an operation standpoint is which holidays your company is going to be closed.
Terra Bohlmann (12:21): And it's really cool because you get to decide, right? And you can choose to take off what you want as long as you're consistent with it, which is amazing. And it's also really good for your team to know what days you're closed as well, so that they don't feel this guilt or, or whatever. And they can plan accordingly. A lot of companies are closed on specific holidays, like new year's day, Memorial day, independence day, labor day, Thanksgiving day, Christmas day, that kind of thing. I'm talking based on the U S type of holidays. But, you know, we have our specific holidays when typical schools, clothes or government facilities, that kind of thing. I say, make sure you have those days off too, and allows anyone who's working with you to be able to plan accordingly, whether it's taking a trip or a vacation or managing childcare and that kind of stuff.
Terra Bohlmann (13:21): What you get to decide is the above and beyond days. So for me, and I've done, I know I talk about business maps all the time, cause I'm completely obsessed, but you know, I've personally done over well over a hundred of them. And what's interesting is like some of my clients are just hard boundaries. Like they're very, those days I just mentioned, that's when they're closed and they're open every other day. But then I have some that are like, you know my birthday, I take that off. That's a holiday for the company. There's new year's Eve, which is you, you know, like these extra, the day after Thanksgiving, a lot of companies maybe closed Christmas Eve and you know, certain days of Hanukkah, like whatever works for you, but you get to decide. That's what I love. So we want to get really clear and all you need to do is pull out a calendar and look at all the different holidays and just declare in writing that here's our hours that we're open.
Terra Bohlmann (14:23): Here's when we're close, as well as these holiday office closings as well. And it could be just the basics, you know? But in your case, if maybe you are super busy, like you're running an event planning company and new year's Eve, you have to be open, you know, or something like that. So, but you get to adjust accordingly. Another thing clients have done is they create what they call a floating holiday as well. So if a holiday, you know, on a Thursday, they make, give the company a day off the next day just to make it easy and whatnot. So floating holidays, I've seen all kinds of really cool things, but so office closings, we want to be clear with that. Another thing would be vacation time off, right? Or holiday time off outside of what we in the States call our holidays, but like a vacation schedule.
Terra Bohlmann (15:18): And I challenge you to do this as well. And I try to do it every year when I'm planning and to some, I do some planning at the end of December, I shut down from December, usually the 15th, like the second Friday in December, and then I'm closed for the rest of the year. And I've done this for the last 10 years and my clients, they know how to get in touch with me and we still communicate, we have boxer and some other things, but there's some real peace that comes with knowing I'm still going to be working on my business, but I'm a Jew. I'm doing a lot of planning and kind of introspective work and whatnot. So I always, you know, closed down those last few weeks as well. And what's really cool is I also take at least two weeks off for, you know, throughout the year as well for me personally.
Terra Bohlmann (16:07): So like this year, my family, we're going to go to Denver for a week and do the mountains. I have a 17 year old son that is going to start his senior year in high school and we're starting the whole college thing. And he wants to look at the Colorado school of mines in golden Colorado. So we're just decided to make our family vacation around that. So we have that scheduled out for the week. And then I also do usually a trip that is my husband and I, or my husband and I with our friends and neighbors and stuff like that for another week. And so minimum, like a two week vacation time is totally fine. It's exactly what we would have gotten the corporate world. And I said, I heard this once and I'll just never forget it. And it's ingrained in my head, but it's, if I can't do my work during the 40 hours a week, when I'm in my business, then I might as well go back to the corporate world because at least I get two weeks paid vacation. So we want to make sure when we're running our business, we are able to still make the income that we need, even though we get time off, around holidays, as well as vacation time. Okay. So something to keep in mind. That's why I think understanding your business operations are really important because it allows us to plan better. So
Speaker 3 (17:21): Schedule out how much vacation time you get and then take
Terra Bohlmann (17:25): The time to go and actually block out your calendar with your holidays, as well as what vacations you're going to take. And even if you haven't decided like we're planning on going to Disney or whatever, just black out a week, just so you have that white space available. Because for me come December, January, I pretty much know like what conferences I want to go to and all that stuff. And my year gets pretty booked, you know, already. So let's be thinking ahead, which I know sounds crazy in some cases, but it really just again, puts those boundaries in place. So yeah, so vacation time, and then also any, you know, full time team members that you have, you want to be really clear what your, the vacation policy is and how that works. So that's also considered a business operations type of declaration that you need to put in place.
Terra Bohlmann (18:21): And then the last thing I want to talk about is something fairly new that happened with COVID. And a lot of people went from going into an office to working remotely. And so part of business operations is also being really clear on your remote work policy. So you want to be really clear on if anyone on your team, if they need to work at home, that's fine, but what needs to be in place as far as their availability to you, how they need to be available, where you know, what the schedule needs to look like. And as long, long as that's communicated to you or someone else on your team, right? You want to keep it fairly consistent. And then that the daycare policy that you have. And I know in some cases, if you're using an independent contractor, like the whole thing is they work on the hours that you've allocated or that they've decided, and it's not on you to manage their day to day.
Terra Bohlmann (19:21): All you can do is tell them your core business hours so that they know from a communication standpoint, what to expect. But if you have actual team members that are working from home that are full time with you, you want to be really clear on your, the daycare policy. So in some cases, I've had clients that say, if you have children who need care during work hours, you know, there needs to be a consistent, you know, child care provider in place. You know, that remote work isn't necessarily intended to, you know, also be a substitute for daycare while you're working. So you can decide that you can say, Hey, if you're working from home, we trust that you're going to get all the work done. And, you know, we understand that you may be a mother as well. That's fine. So regardless of where you're, where you stand on it, you just need to declare it because it's part of your operations and policy.
Terra Bohlmann (20:19): So daycare is something I would take a look at from a remote work policy standpoint, that would be part of your business operations. Another thing would be the tools that you issue and the tools that you expect that anyone on your team already has, so they could do their job. So in some cases, I've had clients that their company will actually purchase the laptop or sometimes a cell phone and they purchase the software they need. And they provide that right? Knowing that that is a company provided tool that they have to give back if, and when they separate from the company. However, in a lot of cases, it's just expected that you have a laptop and a cell phone to do your job, but you want to be really clear as well as internet and reliable internet at that. So I think we saw a lot of stuff happened during COVID that it was like, Oh, even if we're just small itty bitty baby businesses, we need to make sure that that's clear.
Terra Bohlmann (21:17): So jobs can keep getting completed, even if they're working from home and maybe someone chooses not to have internet. And they say, well, I can't do my job. You know? And then it gets real, like, you know, muddy and we want to eliminate muddiness and your business operations. And then the last thing that comes up during the remote working stuff is the working space. So you can have a policy on whether they, your people on your team, you have more flexibility if it's there, they're actually full time employees, right. To be able to define these policies out. But well, and so in that case, it could be like, you're welcome to work from home or use a coworking space and let them know, can they work in a, you know, as a coffee shop, okay. Or remote location outside of your home as Suming that they can produce the same level of productivity as they could in a home office, right.
Terra Bohlmann (22:15): That it's quiet, it's not distracting, you know, it's whatever environment you're trying to create, that you would be mimicking if they were coming into an office that you provided. So as far as working spaces go, I've seen where companies have defined out and they want to see photos. And then there's some special software that's installed that, you know, they can really watch and see what's going on and whatnot, you know, that's the very high level of, I would call it just, you know, watching over to make sure you are actually working from home. So I dealt with this quite a bit in the corporate world. And luckily I'd worked with companies and consulting firms that were really progressive and they knew that, and 99% of the cases, most of the consultants are working above and beyond what they're supposed to. And I had this really cool thing happened once that I'll never forget.
Terra Bohlmann (23:07): So I was leading up a team and they were in Eastern Europe. And then I had a project manager here in the States that I was responsible for. And, and he would say, Oh, I'm sorry. I just woke up from my nap. And it was around noon. And I would be like, what? Like, it just felt so foreign to me because I had never, I couldn't imagine like napping during the day a corporate job. Like that's crazy, but what, once I got past that, I just kind of laughed about it because what I knew about him is that he was up from midnight to two in the morning, communicating with our team in Eastern Europe. And so if you want to take an hour nap during the day, so be it, I knew he was working his butt off at night to make sure that our project was great.
Terra Bohlmann (23:51): And so that really opened my mind up with, Hey, I'm very much a flexible type of leader. You know, what needs to be done? Here's the dates. I trust that you're going to do it right. But in some cases we need to have a very tight boundaries around some things. And I still have the boundaries. I have my core working hours, but it's also very much, Hey, like I trust that you're gonna get the job done. And if we're not, then we'll have a conversation, but it doesn't for what I do. It doesn't necessarily matter unless I'm doing customer service type of activities or events or something like that, which have very clear dates. So it's totally up to you on how you want to handle your remote work policy. But I just say, while you're doing this, you might as well take some time to think about what that would look like.
Terra Bohlmann (24:40): Even if all your people work from home, even if you're all independent contractors, what do you want people to know? Right. Don't make them decide. That's not what we want to do as leaders. And as CEOs, we want to step up and create the boundaries. And of course, be open to a conversation about what that looks and feels like for your team members. But in most cases, they are going to be just happy that they don't have to second guess. And wonder if it's okay, is it okay? I wonder if she'd be mad if she knew that my baby was working next to me all the time, and I had to take a break every few hours to go do something, right. Just like instead, let's just make that decision easy for our team and for ourselves. Because if I have figured out anything is there's a lot of guilt that comes around running a business.
Terra Bohlmann (25:32): I always often say, as you know, my business feels like my fourth child that gets sometimes gets more attention. I gotta be honest. So for me, it was very important that I had these very clear boundaries around when I work. And when I'm mom, when I'm wife, when I'm, you know, friend, when I can like shut it off. And, you know, I know to this day I would be like an amazing employee if I ever back to the corporate world. But the main thing that keeps me from not doing that. And it's not that I'm anti-corporate, I know some people are like, Oh, I would never go back. No, I mean, I believe in business period, whether you're running your own or you're working for a company like, that's cool. Like it's, there's a space for everybody, but what really stops me is the idea of having to commute.
Terra Bohlmann (26:20): And so, you know, that's just me personally, but you know, I don't like to, I live in a big congested city and I would spend probably two hours a day on the road. And that's just time to me that I have with my family and animals, my dog and my cat and all that fun stuff. So, so no matter what your reasoning is, it doesn't matter. Honestly, it is what matters is what feels good to you and what you communicate to your team, your customers, and ultimately to yourself, because we don't need you to have any guilt about running your business and leading with your purpose. A lot of us women entrepreneurs are purpose driven. And I definitely am too, which is, you know, it's that thing that gets you out of bed every day. I know for a hundred percent certainty, I wasn't meant to be in this space and lead women.
Terra Bohlmann (27:08): And whether I was doing it in the corporate world, or I'm choosing to do it in my business, like I have the last 10 years and one of these things that we can't, we don't want to make space for the guilt. We want to make that space. And I call it white space. We want to have that white space in our lives so that we can actually experience the peace, love, and joy that we truly want in life. And how we do that is by putting boundaries in place so that an awesome business operations. So we don't have to feel guilty about anything because there's always going to be an email you need to send. There's always going to be texts reply to, there's always going to be the next strategy you need to create. There's always the next launch. There's all, there's always, always, always, but we can't run at a rapid pace all the time because it gets exhausting.
Terra Bohlmann (27:57): You can do it for a little bit in the corporate world, we called these sprints. You would work really hard and then take a breather and then you'd get back to it. So let's put some of that type of mindset in your own business. So you don't have the guilt. You don't have to feel guilty like I do sometimes. And then I have to course correct myself that, you know, my business is sometimes that fourth child that gets more attention. Cause it doesn't have to be that way. It doesn't, it just doesn't. So business operations is one of the ways that we can mitigate that from happening and just by setting your core business hours, your days of the week, your open your times of the day, what time zone that applies to when you're closed, as well as the holidays that your, your company's closed and your vacation policy, as well as your remote work policy, that's an easy, simple way to get started. And that's not going to take you a ton of time to do. I bet you could have that all drafted out in about an hour. And then you're going to save so much time, energy, and stress, especially as you grow and scale your business. So I hope this was beneficial to you. This was one of those things I wish I would have known when I first started my business. Cause I didn't think of things the way that I do now. And I hope this has served. You take care. Bye.
Speaker 1 (29:17): There, you have it. Another episode pack full of strategies and motivation that you can use every day to put your business on the fast track for a podcast, recap and more resources, visit TerraBohlmann.com. Don't forget. Subscribe to the podcast and get what you need to help fast track your five year business plan.
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