Every entrepreneur and corporate employee has suffered from burnout one way or another. The only way to escape such a challenging state is by setting boundaries the proper way. In this episode, Kim Sutton sits down with Jennifer Bassman to explain the right time to say no, the dangers of becoming over-achievers, and the best way to delegate work to the appropriate people. Listen to this meaningful discussion that wraps up one month of conversation about confidence and boundaries. Make your working life better today by realizing your strengths, embracing your weaknesses, and harnessing the power of self-care and respect.
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Jennifer Bassman On Eliminating Burnout By Setting Boundaries
I am happy to have you here for the episode that is going to wrap up nicely with a bow to our conversation about confidence and boundaries. Our guest is Jennifer Bassman. She and I met at Clubhouse. I have met many amazing people. I knew right away that she would be awesome for this conversation. Jen, it’s awesome having you here. Do you want to share who you are, what you do and how you’ve got to be who you are?
Thank you for having me. I am excited to be here and reach out to your readers. I am a burnout and boundaries strategist. I don’t want to say, coach. I want to say, strategist. It takes strategy to work through burnout and build out your boundaries. I have been a business owner myself for a long time. I started strategizing and coaching. It has been over a decade because I started doing it before I was doing it. I got into it full-time right after I burned out myself. I was going through burnout around 2013 and spent nearly two years going through burnout myself. It was a difficult period. I don’t necessarily want to call it dark. It can be for some people. For me, it was difficult. I found it difficult to do absolutely everything. Part of it was that I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know what I wanted. I owned a business at the time that was controlling me, not me running it. It also added to the chaos around me.
Once I’ve got through the burnout, I realized there wasn’t much on the market to help people. I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t the only person that was going through it. As I have recovered from burnout, I began creating materials and resources for other people going through burnout aside from my everyday coaching. One of the resources that I ended up creating is a book called Stop Being A Doormat. The book is all about how to create boundaries.
One of the things that I have discovered, as I have coached more and more people, I was not alone in not having any boundaries. It’s something that people see as being difficult, but it’s not. I have simplified it for people. I have even simplified it further from the book. It will be an online course soon that people can go through. By the time you finish the book or the course, you will have a set of enforceable boundaries instead of boundaries that you will feel comfortable enforcing. It’s something that I have watched a lot of my clients go through and have major transformations. They were, admittedly just like me, uncomfortable at saying no to people.
Boundaries are not just about saying no. They encompass a lot of different things. The discomfort and guilt around saying no are common emotions. It’s okay that you experience them. Anybody that tells you that they can remove your guilt or remove the emotions around saying no, they are going to be lying. You are always going to feel a little bit guilty. You are human. You are always going to feel a little bit bad about not being able to help someone or turning somebody down. That is normal. What is more helpful is being able to manage those emotions. That is what is more important.
With establishing boundaries and holding to them, I have not done it yet. While you were talking, I was thinking about positive reinforcement for myself. How to positively reinforce when I hold? I have a client who, for some time texting me while they were on their way to the gym at 4:00 AM. Until that point, I didn’t have an issue with leaving my ringer on all the time. I wanted to hear calls when they came in or text messages. When they start coming in at 4:00 AM, that’s a problem for me. That’s waking me up in the middle of the night.
Finally, after being resentful for 1 or 2 months about it, I said, “I know you are excited about this new idea. However, I’m not awake yet. You are waking me up. You have email on your phone like you do text messages. Email it to me and I will get it when I get up. I will respond then.” That worked amazingly. However, the client has shifted to texting after hours on weekdays and weekends. At first, I felt that I had to respond right away. I have gotten good at not responding right away or even not at all. This is my time. Just because you are working on something on the weekend, it doesn’t mean I have to.
At first, there was a lot of guilt, but I don’t feel guilty about it anymore. Even saying, “I’m spending time with my family. Send me an email and I will read it when I can.” The client sends audio messages. If I’m in the midst of all my kids or even out driving and I hear an audio message, I might not hear it well, “Send it to me in writing.” For the longest time, it would have been hard for me to say, “This is what I need. This is what I expect. If you are going to work with me, this is what you’ve got to do.” I’m still working through it. It’s not a snapping finger or Mary Poppins process and it’s done.
Boundaries are a process. They are a continuous process. Your boundary should be flexible in that regard as well. There were many great things that you pointed out in what you said. The first thing I will start with is your boundaries should be flexible. Life changes so should your boundaries. Your expectations change so should your boundaries. The boundaries that you create now may not work weeks from now. Every situation is not the same. That same client that’s texting you at 4:00 AM or 10:00 PM may have an emergency. They may physically need you for something. At some point, you are going to have to flex your boundaries and say, “I need to answer this. I know this is typically my family time or my time but I do have the bandwidth to answer this and to be there for this person.”
That’s how I would have done it years ago. However, I realized there was no scope creep. I love your book title. I was allowing people to walk all over me like a doormat. There was no scope creep because I had never defined what the contract entailed and what they could expect from me and when. Many of us forget to do that. Especially in the early days of our business, I will work with anyone and everyone. I work 24/7. I want to make you happy. I’m going to say don’t set your business up like that unless you are an insurance agent or a midwife and maybe a couple of other exceptions.
It’s easy to do that. You get into a flow. You get positive reinforcement from making other people happy that it becomes a habit. It becomes something that you seek out. It’s like, “How can I make other people happy? I can take on this client that the other client referred to me even though they are incredibly difficult. They are not exactly right for me but I want to keep my other long-term client happy.” It’s easy to fall into those habits and patterns. You are making an excellent point that it’s not great for us.
We need to be careful of the people that we take on as clients. I want to say that we are going to make some mistakes until we know what we want. We are going to take on clients or work. We are going to be around people that don’t necessarily fit our agenda. Sometimes it takes making those mistakes and being in those awkward or uncomfortable situations to know, “This is not the right fit for me. This is where a boundary needs to come in.”
If I could go back to 2012, my business wouldn’t be like it is now. Even my specialty that I have been morphing into wouldn’t be here because I wouldn’t recognize it. I would tell myself, “Set up boundaries and stick to them because it’s harder to establish them after you start working with someone than if you establish them right from the start.” In 2017, there was somebody who I started working with who, right from the get-go, was like, “I’m here to serve you 24/7.” For the longest time, I resisted the word serve because it felt like slavery to me. I know that’s strong. I’m beginning to appreciate the word serve again because I am serving my clients with a service. That doesn’t mean that I’m a waitress at a 24-hour diner. Not that there is anything wrong if you are a waitress in a 24-hour diner. I appreciate you. However, that’s not my role.
Two years into working with the client, I realized that I was undercharging and they knew it. I went back. That was part two. Part one is I realized I could not be answering text messages at 1:00. I was still working for that client at midnight, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 AM because they were on the West Coast and it doesn’t mean that I, on the East Coast, still need to work with those hours. There is some exception. I can work until 7:00 or 8:00 but I don’t want to anymore. I’m not at that place.
Starting not to answer the text messages at 12:00 and 1:00 AM was difficult because I started getting follow-up text messages, “Kim, did you get this?” It’s like, “Mom, did you hear me? Mom, I’m going to keep on repeating.” I had to go back and say, “I’m taking my nights and weekends back.” They taught me the lesson, “It would be nice if you told us that.” I should have told them that. When you started establishing those boundaries, you can’t do it on your own. You have to be known.
You are making an important point. I’m glad you are putting yourself out there instead of me having to. One of the things that people forget is that we do need to communicate our boundaries. People can’t read our minds. They don’t know what we want until we tell them what we want or what we need. You must figure out a way to communicate your boundaries in a way that’s comfortable for you. The other end of that is, “What if people don’t like my boundaries?” That is a whole different conversation, too. We can talk about that. You have got to take the time to communicate with people so that they understand what it is that they could be doing that is hurting a situation. For most people, if you say, “These are my hours of operation. These are times that I answer texts, or this is when I don’t.” They are understanding. They are on the appreciative side if you spoke up and you said, “This is when you can reach me. This is when you can’t.”
I love that you are saying that because clients I have gotten since that time and I have let them know straight from the get-go, “These are my hours. These are the days I work” and will send me emails off-hours. Ninety-nine percent of the time, they will even say, “I know it’s after hours. Tomorrow’s fine. You don’t need to respond to it.”
Think about every brick-and-mortar business that you physically walk in. A vast majority of them have hours of operation on the door. They have set expectations for you and that is what you are doing for your clients. That is what we are doing for other people. We are setting expectations of, “This is how I want to be treated. This is the respect that I would like to be shown.” It would even behoove you as well to turn around and say, “What works best for you? Where are your boundaries? What hours do you work? What type of workflow are you expecting from me so that I can make sure that I’m not keeping things going on your end? I’m not keeping things from happening on your end?” Communication on boundaries is a two-way street. When you bring it up, more than likely, that person is going to turn around and say, “I’m glad we are having this conversation.”
Let’s make a pact for this conversation. We don’t consider it an interruption. We call it enthusiastic interjecting. I realized I was enabling my lack of boundaries and my dormant-ism by having all notifications on all the time. In Skype, I don’t even know my login anymore. Zoom is awesome. I took Skype off my computer. I had my email notifications popping up. I had text messages popping up on my computer and my phone. I had social media notifications popping up all the time. Everything was popping up all the time so I felt the need to respond all the time. Every week, I have to go into Clubhouse now and say, “Turn off notifications.” Have you noticed that if you host your room and you go to ping people, how many people have their notifications off? It makes me happy to see. At the same time, wishing that I could bring them back to the room. Good for you. I wish I could turn them off all the time and not have to go in every week but it’s okay for now.
There is not a rule saying that you have to. We feel a lot of FOMO. That is why a lot of us tend to keep our notifications on. The other part of it, too, is every time one of those notifications comes on, we get a dopamine hit, particularly if it’s a text. Even though we are outwardly annoyed, we may even verbally cuss. We are still not turning those notifications off. We are getting some gratification, something that is making us happy and makes us keep those notifications on regardless of where they are coming from. Whether it’s coming from Facebook, a text message, from Clubhouse, if you are not turning those notifications off, there is something that’s keeping you there. There is something you need from that situation that keeps those notifications on.
I couldn’t understand why I was getting Facebook notifications in my inbox. I don’t have them on my phone. Why would I be getting them in my inbox? I didn’t even realize that was a separate thing. It was always the same friend that I was getting notifications for. I couldn’t understand why it was that person either. That was the only person that was letting me know. She was the kickoff, “It’s so and so posted a new post. You should check it out.” I would rarely go check it out. I have to be careful about going into Facebook. Facebook is like a deep dark hole that I will end up scrolling in for hours when I brave it.
I want to jump back to the beginning when you were sharing your story. What was the word that you used? You said it wasn’t dark but it was difficult. The deepest and most serious part of my burnout was dark and trigger-warning. I was anxious, depressed and at the darkest part, suicidal. I never want to see anybody get there. I was up “working” 18, 20 hours a day, maybe more and sleeping only a couple of hours a day. I can’t even say I was seriously working because everything took five times longer, if not more. I was making many mistakes and then I would have to redo the work. It didn’t make sense. I had to get to the darkest of dark to get out of that.
A dear friend that I told what I had gone through told me to read one book and that book led into another. I found Brendon Burchard and I heard about High Performance Habits. I always thought that high-performance and peak performance meant to push, hustle and grind. Hustle and grind had been my work mottos for the first four years of the business. I cannot stand the words hustle and grind. I feel like there are way too many entrepreneurs and people in general who think that it’s a great thing. Still, they are wearing themselves out emotionally, physically and all of the above. They think that they had to keep on pushing but the body needs a break. I still forget to give it to myself a lot.
Everybody has different experiences with burnout. The experiences with burnout are going to be different for each person. The solution to getting you out of burnout is going to be as unique. Not everything works for everybody. I need to point out that stress operates differently inside everybody. The primary cause of burnout is chronic stress. Some things might stress me out that wouldn’t stress you out or some things would stress you out that wouldn’t stress me out. Both of our bodies can handle different amounts of stress for different periods. You may be able to handle more stress for a longer time. We are the only ones that can get us out of it. Nobody can get us out of it but ourselves. The longer it’s allowed to go on, the more likely it is going to turn into depression. That is something always to be careful and cautious of.
We live in is a busy culture. We wear busy like a badge of honor. If there is one thing that I would love to eradicate from our culture is this need to be busy all the time. We think we have to be doing something all of the time. It’s not true. Busy work doesn’t lead to success. Busy work is an indicator that you will not be successful because you are doing stuff that isn’t often busy. It’s stuff that’s not aligned with our purpose. It’s not aligned with our goals. It’s things that take us away from our mission. You have to be careful about what you are keeping yourself busy with.
I will give you a big hug for saying that. I signed up for Todd Herman’s 90 Day Year back in 2015. I’ve got a couple of the planners that went along with the 90 Day Year. I don’t know if he created them or if somebody else created them. I have the planners still for reminiscing sake. I look at any of them. On my to-do list for the day are 20 to 30 items, including insignificant things that didn’t need to be done. I would never feel like I’ve got anything done because out of that list of 20 to 30, maybe 1 to 3 would get done. A lot of it was the little tiny rocks that should have been filler tasks instead of the important things. No significant progress was ever made.
I did a lot of work that if I had simply hired a VA to do, I could have worked on the important stuff. Why was it my priority to clean out my inbox? With that said, my inbox only has nine items in it. I’m managing it. I do a clean sweep every morning. I don’t even look at most of the stuff. My to-do list is also significantly different. My to-do list on a day-to-day basis only has five items on it. It’s not called a to-do list anymore. It’s called my Nia Initiatives.
Thanks to Clubhouse, I had entered a room and it was a coaching room. I brought up procrastination because I found that I was procrastinating on some tasks that I knew I needed to get done. They asked me a simple question. They said, “Who are you not serving if you procrastinate on this task longer?” They pushed a little bit further and said, “Who’s your ideal client? Do they have a name?” I realized, “Let’s rename.” I didn’t even have a name. I am over nine years into my business and I didn’t have a name for my ideal client. I thought about it. Nia means purpose. My Nia Initiatives are those five things that served my purpose in a day.
That’s a great idea.
That’s a constant reminder.
It’s always interesting what resonates with us. I’m going to tell you a secret. You mentioned being a high achiever. One of the things that high achievers struggle with the most is to-do lists. They put way too many things on them. The deal with achievers is they will not stop until everything on that list is done. It would frustrate them more to go to bed, get some sleep, get some rest and come back at that list fresh the next day than it would for them to stay up and finish that task list. What achievers need to control is not their work ethic. That’s where we get things wrong. We think that we need to control their work ethic.
We need to keep achievers from working hard. What they need to control is the amount of work that they put on their to-do list, the expectations that they have on themselves for that day, that week, that month, that year, that to-do list deadline is. Achievers need to watch what they put on there and make sure that those tasks are the most important tasks that need to be done to accomplish their goals. Otherwise, if that list is long, they are going to stay awake, stay on it and stress out about it until it’s done.
That made me think of something else, too. Much of that list could be outsourced and that’s where a few of my boundaries, burnout and dormant-ism came in. I feel like even team members have dormant-ed me because they wouldn’t have the stuff. I had to pick up the slack. I don’t want to say this and it’s not going to come out in the context that I necessarily meant it to be but they bullied me into staying on. The bully is way too strong but I felt guilty letting them go even when I knew it wasn’t right.
You felt your responsibility for that.
As a business owner, if we want to build that bigger business, that thriving business, we have to get over the guilt of letting people go that aren’t working in the business any longer. We can’t be doing the $1,000, $10,000, $100,000 activities if we are stuck in the weeds doing the $5 to $10 activities or the $100 activities. There have been some issues. I realize that it might be time to look for a new solution. That’s something that I have to be aware of because if I’m going to have the visibility that I want. If I’m going to get the podcast out there as I want, if I wanted to generate the clients that I want it to, there is going to be some change either in my team now or a new team. It’s hard to market a podcast and be visible with it if it’s never going out.
Something I discovered about myself through my first business is that I am not an employee person. I don’t enjoy managing employees. That was a difficult realization for me because having a successful business meant that I needed to have lots of employees, be the perfect boss ever, be all things to everybody, my employees. Not necessarily a friend but a counselor or therapist sometimes. Their mom cleans up their messes when they make mistakes.
I had a confused perspective on what employees meant to me and mean to the productivity of the business. I had a tunnel vision of what a successful business looks like. In our economy, in particular, we always think bigger is better or more is better. We are shooting for the stars with our businesses, which there is no reason that we shouldn’t. A business with employees is not always the best thing for everybody. I want to point that out.
I’m making them sound like children. They were not children. There were moments where we disagreed on stuff. I know I didn’t handle things wonderfully. I needed more education as a manager in terms of managing those situations. What was making me uncomfortable is that they had bought this problem to me that was easily solvable on their own. There was no reason for me to get involved or It was something that we already had a protocol for within the business. It was driving me crazy that a lot of my employees weren’t self-sufficient in terms of solving their problems.
It’s not that I didn’t want to help solve problems but what was grading on my nerves was solving the same stinking problem over and over again. Depending on how long that employee had been with me, they generally make the same mistakes. They make similar mistakes, particularly when they come on board. I didn’t have the patience to work through that every single time. There should have been a buffer between myself and that new employee. That is somebody’s jam. They like developing employees. They like developing people. They don’t mind that people are going to consistently make mistakes.
Not that I mind that people make mistakes. I make them all the time. It turned out to be a situation where every crisis was my emergency. No matter how hard I tried to train these employees to do some stuff on their own, enable them, empower them to be their problem-solvers, that wasn’t their personality either. There needed to be somebody else that had the bandwidth, the patience, the desire to fix these situations or be that person that they could come running to when something doesn’t work out correctly. As business owners, we do a terrible job most of the time of recognizing what our strengths are.
I didn’t mention this at the top of the podcast. I’m a certified CliftonStrengths coach. One of the things that drew me out of burnout was learning what my strengths are and learning that I wasn’t working in my zone of genius in any of my businesses at that time. I was spending most of my day doing things that were making me miserable and unhappy. When you spend most of your day doing things that are not your jam, it’s a perfect recipe to become burned out, resentful and frustrated.
We need to take a look as business owners at the businesses that we are starting and get clear on what it is that we expect to be doing with them. Is it that we expect to be doing all the things all the time? Is that even a healthy perspective to have? I want a balanced business in which I focus my time on the things that I am great at and I will delegate the rest of that stuff to somebody else. I discovered an online business manager and what online business manager is and what they do. That was an incredibly eye-opening situation for me.
Up until my coaching business, I had run brick-and-mortar businesses. Running a brick-and-mortar business is incredibly different from running an online business. I was struggling to figure out, “Who’s going to be that person, that intermediary that makes sure that the social media person is getting their stuff done and the website person is keeping up with the website?” To discover that there are other solutions out there was mind-blowing for me. There may be some people reading going, “Duh, Jennifer.” It was a game-changer for me. It went to my whole boundaries and delegating thing. I know that I’m the type of person that wants to do all the things all the time. I tend to lean towards being everything to everyone. I struggled to find the solution in my online business that was going to keep me from resorting to my old ways.
I love that you are a CliftonStrengths coach.
It’s also known as StrengthFinders.
I have had three OBMs, maybe and one of them was amazing. It understood how I worked and how to best work with me. I couldn’t work with the other two after a month or two because they didn’t understand how I work and how my brain works. Admittedly, I realize that I should have probably done StrengthFinders or some other type of quiz, test, assessment. I should do this with any employees so that we understand their strengths and weaknesses as compared to mine. The two that did not work well with me didn’t understand that I’m multi-passionate. It’s difficult for me sometimes to stay focused on one thing.
I must also say that this was back in the day when my list was 30 items long. My to-do list was called to get crap done list. It was getting crap done instead of getting the important stuff done. I was going all over the place. Rather than having a mature conversation with me about it, they were confrontational, rude and insulting with the way that they handled conversations with me. One of them told me I was going to kill my business and bury it deep into the ground. The other one wasn’t much better than that. That’s not how you work with me. The second that you insult me, I’m done with you. I know that’s rough to say. Especially when I’m paying you to work with me, you can say things gently. We can work through a solution.
A lot of that was not having looked at how they work and even knowing how I worked at that time. I didn’t understand that it’s how I work. I needed to find somebody and be upfront about that with them. When we don’t have that plan and we don’t convey the plan, like boundaries, then how is anybody else to know what the plan is? Multi-passionate people like me might see a subway system map of ideas in their heads and understand the route that each one is going to. If we don’t convey that to anybody, then they were not going to understand. It’s going to look like we are crazy squirrels in the park all day long. That’s going to frustrate other people as much as that frustrates us when they get all combative.
This is where my tough love comes in. I had a tough-love conversation with myself. There were some hard truths that I needed to own up to myself. When I first began working with clients, I wonder if that’s going to come up. We are going to have some tough discussions. We are going to discover some hard truths that we need to own up to. We have to recognize in situations like that, that we play a role in their anger or frustration to a certain extent. We can’t control other people’s behaviors, their reactions and what they are going to think.
When I look back at a lot of the tough discussions that I had with employees when I was first managing them, I did a terrible job communicating with them. It’s no wonder that they reacted the way that they did. Looking back at those discussions, I wish I had learned quicker but I didn’t. I know better now, so I do better now. Part of what you ended up describing is that I’ve got to do a little bit of planning. I’ve got to look at what my needs and wants are so that I end up hiring the right person for the job. The excellent example that you are giving is that often, we don’t know what we want and where we are going. We end up hiring somebody out of desperation sometimes or because we think we have to fill a spot. We think it’s going to tame the chaos.
What we didn’t do before hiring that employee is figure out who that employee needs to be. The cool thing about the CliftonStrengths or the StrengthsFinders is that when you know what your strengths are, then you know where your weaknesses are as well. Something that’s a hard thing for a lot of people to admit when they go through StrengthsFinders is that your weaknesses are never going to be strengths. We shouldn’t even try to make them strengths.
When I coach people through their StrengthsFinders assessment results, I look at the bottom of the 34 strengths. The first thing I say is, “I want you to take a look at them. I want you to know what’s down there. I want you to realize those are never going to be strengths for you and that’s okay. What’s important to get out of this is your awareness of what’s down there.” When you work on a project, hire an employee, you are in a group of people, you know who you should surround yourself with to balance things out.
I was laughing when I initially took my StrengthsFinders assessment. At the bottom is a strength called restorative. People that are high restorative love problem-solving. It is their jam. It is what gets them out of bed in the morning. It’s what they are best at. They are good at figuring out what’s wrong and then figuring out a solution. They can also be good at creating solutions for problems that don’t exist but that’s a whole other story. It’s not that I can’t solve problems. It’s that I don’t enjoy it being my full-time job.
Had I known that when I had started my first business, I would have hired so much differently and might have had a different experience with employees? I might have had a different experience as a business owner at that time. It’s always easy to look back years after the fact and say would have been and should have. It’s not that effective of an exercise to do, quite frankly. What’s important is that I know that about myself now. As I begin to hire help for my online business, who do you think the first person I should hire? It’s going to be the problem solver.
I have done this now with all my businesses. I hire out the thing that I hate doing the most. Usually, it’s math, bookkeeping, somewhere along those lines. With my online business, the first thing I hired out was my website. It’s overwhelming and stressful for me to take care of that. There are so many technical problems that arise with a website that I don’t have the patience or the bandwidth to deal with. Knowing that about myself, I did hire somebody to take care of that end and it is money well spent. It allows me to sleep at night. The first true full-time employee that I will hire is the problem solver.
It’s fascinating that you say that because up until 2021, my main focus has been marketing automation and marketing strategies for clients. A lot of that work also included building out funnels and then troubleshooting funnels when an app is updated or a client goes into “edit” or “fix” and then they break everything. All of a sudden, all my time for a week goes into problem-solving and fixing. What I especially love is the strategy. I can visualize but that doesn’t mean I need to be building. That doesn’t mean I need to be problem-solving after the fact. Much of the burnout would go away if I outsource to the right person, people who could build and troubleshoot.
When you transitioned into this business, I’m curious about how I’m transitioning into working with multi-passionate entrepreneurs. Did you have any inner resistance? It’s such a fine niche. I have had friends say, “Is this a great niche to go into? You want to be working with high-dollar clients. Multi-passionate entrepreneurs have trouble finishing anything. How are they going to make money?” I said, “Good point. However, there’s going to be criteria that they have to go through.” The same could be said for burnt-out entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs without boundaries. I’m wondering, did you have any inner resistance or outer resistance when you were transitioning?
I had a ton. My resistance was coming from not knowing. I had been a brick-and-mortar business owner for so long that I knew what to expect. There weren’t a ton of surprises. With the online business, there was a surprise every day. It was constant things I didn’t know. Every day I was learning, “There’s another skill I’ve got to acquire or another knowledge base that I need to become familiar with.” I hesitate to say that I wanted to feel like I knew it all. That’s not what I wanted to feel like. I wanted to feel like, at some point, I knew enough that everything was going to start flowing a lot smoother to the point where things weren’t surprising every day. I don’t know if that makes a ton of sense to a lot of people. I’m not risk-averse either. I understand that when you are a business owner, particularly you are self-employed, that’s a huge risk. You take a lot of risks. It’s not that I’m not used to that part. It’s that I wasn’t used to not knowing what I didn’t know. There was this vast amount of knowledge that I needed to acquire at some point.
One of the things about myself is that I am high input. I want to know all the things. I will read and take in information. Drink it from a firehose. I want that knowledge. I want to have that information. That gets overwhelming if I don’t manage it correctly. One of the places that I felt the most resistant to is managing my intake of information. I needed to manage it in a way that I knew I was getting enough knowledge and enough time but I wasn’t overwhelming myself with all the things I still needed to learn.
The information part is all yours. The completion part is mine, though. I have felt like I needed to get to 100% on everything that I thought before I could go. Even courses fully built out, only then could I go forward. I have had to get over that.
The perfectionist. That is a tough thing. We want to serve our audience and we want to serve them well. We also don’t want to be embarrassed by putting a product out there that’s less than. What we have to get comfortable with is that. It’s okay to put B-minus or C-minus work out there and then improve that product over time. For anybody to expect, the product that you put out right away is amazing, perfect, and cannot be improved upon. They are crazy. That’s an unrealistic expectation. If you think about some of the oldest products on the market, like Coca-Cola or think about Nike shoes, think about the product that they initially put in front of people, it was their base product. It’s what got people in the door.
What earned them more money and more recognition overtime was the vast amount of resources they put into improving their products and expanding their products to meet more needs. That’s what’s going to with our businesses. The initial course that I put out on boundaries is going to get better as I learn more and as I’m around more people. Even though I have coached hundreds of burned-out people, as I get into the thousands, I’m going to learn more. Some of my opinions might change and some of the needs of my students might change. My product needs to evolve.
I’m going to piece together something that you said at the beginning along with that, too. The first thing that you outsource this time was your website. I started on the website but I have let go of it. My website is on Rendition-1052 and it’s not ever going to be finalized. My friend, Richie, you have been in rooms with him. He said, “How do you convert most of your clients? Is it through your website?” I’m like, “No. It’s your conversation.” He’s like, “A reminder, you don’t need to be focusing energy there.” It’s not about what your website looks like. He has been an entrepreneur longer than I. To this day, he doesn’t have a website. He’s not getting hung up on being perfect. He wants one now just so he can say he has one.
It might finally be time for him. We don’t do enough of this, Kim. We don’t do enough of questioning a premise. We see other people doing things and think that those are the things that we have to do. We don’t question whether they are the right things for us at the right time. I think about some of the coaches I have met over the years. They have had these awful websites. I’m like, “How are they getting business? Their website is terrible.”
As you are pointing out, the website wasn’t what was drawing clients in. Nobody cared. It was possibly the messaging that was on the website. Maybe it was the YouTube videos that they were putting out. Perhaps it was the speaking they did at the conference. It was the message and the offer that people were making that was much more important rather than the vanity website that wasn’t necessary. As some of these coaches have grown, their websites have changed in quality. They are different and they should be. Things need to reflect the level of professionalism that you are at, at different points in your career.
Better branding, hosting, the speed that will come. My first website was on the weekend through GoDaddy.
It was probably a perfect time.
I want to refer readers back to Episode 698. That episode compared the stages of entrepreneurship with puberty. I have two teenagers. Think about peer pressure with teenagers or with entrepreneurs. There are many gurus out there who will say that we need stuff but we need to get over what everybody tells us that we need.
That’s a great comparison. I might steal that.
Go ahead, please. While I’m on the topic of episode numbers, if you have enjoyed this episode, which I certainly hope you have, I want you to head on over to TheKimSutton.com/pp700 and leave a comment down below. I remember when I celebrated 100. I can’t believe this is 700.
Thank you in multiple ways. Thank you for the congratulations. This is such an important and awesome conversation. Go over to TheKimSutton.com/pp700 and leave your comments down below. Share this episode with your entrepreneurial or non-entrepreneurial friends who need it. Get Jennifer’s book if you think it will help you, which I’m sure it will. With that said, share the name of your book again. Share where readers can find you, connect with you, get to know more about you and all that awesome stuff.
The name of my book is Stop Being A Doormat. It’s on Amazon in both the digital form and you can also order a paperback copy. I will say ahead of time. It is in a workbook format. You are expected to complete some exercises to truly feel some improvement along the way and make progress so that you come out of it with boundaries. I have a website, JenniferBassman.com. I have a YouTube channel, Jennifer Bassman – The Witty Entrepreneur, where I post videos about burnout. I’m trying to expand that repertoire out.
If there’s a particular video that you would like to see, particular questions that you have, by all means, shoot me an email, this is another way to get ahold of me at Jennifer@JenniferBassman.com. I would love to hear from you. Give me a follow-on YouTube and subscribe to my channel. Buy my book if you feel it to be helpful. I would love to connect with more folks that think that their experiencing burnout or people that need a boundary strategy, that need boundaries. Whether you are a business owner or not, boundaries are for everybody. We should all have them.
There should be a T-shirt that says that. I will wear it.
I will see if I can get on that.
Don’t put it on your to-do list. I’m sure you have a lot of other things. Thank you for sharing all of that. Jennifer, I want to thank you. I know this took a couple of attempts due to crazy schedules, mostly on my part. Thank you. It’s always awesome to chat with you. I want to ask for one last thing, what is a parting piece of advice or a golden nugget that you can leave with our readers?
The parting piece of wisdom that I would leave is that you deserve respect. Boundaries are all about having self-respect, you respecting your own time and your energy enough to protect them. When you have respect for yourself, it shows and people around you notice. You are going to start aligning and surrounding yourself with people who respect you. The golden word is respect.
- Jennifer Bassman
- Stop Being A Doormat
- High Performance Habits
- Jennifer Bassman – The Witty Entrepreneur – YouTube
- Nia Initiatives
- 90 Day Year
About Jennifer Bassman
Jennifer Bassman is a burnout and boundary strategist that helps business owners find their zone of genius so they can focus their time and energy successfully. She is a certified CliftonStrengths coach that believes when we know our strengths, what we do best, our path to happiness and success becomes a lot clearer.
Jennifer’s book, Stop Being A Doormat, gives people an easy method for creating boundaries – without feeling guilty. When we have boundaries, we protect our time and energy so it is available to the people and work most important to us.
She has been a small business owner for nearly 20 years and is the daughter/granddaughter/great-granddaughter/sister/niece of entrepreneurs.
Animal advocacy is a passion for Jennifer and she serves on the board of the Texas Humane Legislation Network. THLN lobbies and fights for better laws in Texas to protect animals. (THLN.org)
Currently, Jennifer lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband and their three incredibly spoiled rescue dogs.