How to Set Boundaries with Clients

by Michael Keeler

Video Cliffs Notes

The Core Issue

In a high-touch, customer-centric business it is essential to cultivate intimate relationships with your customers.

When you have a strong personal connection with your clients you:

  • Have a deeper understanding of their needs and preferences
  • Develop mutual trust
  • Create long-term relationships

The challenge is that:

  • It is hard to balance the professional aspects of your relationship with your personal caring and empathy.
  • Without clear boundaries, there are bound to be missed expectations.
  • One or both parties will often grow resentful when the relationship doesn’t honor the needs of both.


3 Steps to Setting Boundaries with Clients

1. First, get clear about your needs and boundaries.

  • Make a list of what you are willing to do and not willing to do.
  • Consider all aspects of your relationship: services you offer, how you’ll communicate, how you’ll get paid, what happens when there is a conflict.
  • Communication is the most common area where boundaries are needed.

2. Set expectations early in the relationship

  • Define expectations at the start of each new relationship
  • Consider having a client/member handbook or written contract
  • Be ready to negotiate (or not)

3. When a line is crossed, address it immediately.

  • Use skills from Crucial Conversations
  • Lean into these issues with curiosity and empathy
  • The longer you wait to address the issue the stickier it becomes




  1. Dustin Schlichting

    LOVE this format. The video w/ notes is like the best combo ever for me personally! I get to hear those silky tones and make sure I don’t overlook any key points!

    Thank you!

    • Michael Keeler

      Yay! This was an experiment, so I’m glad you like it. A few others messaged me that they enjoy this format too, so I think I’ll keep it going. 🙂

  2. Dawn B

    This is great Michael! Love the way it’s broken down with the video and notes. What an important topic too. This has been a real issue with clients in the past, boundaries. YES! YES!

  3. Michael Keeler

    Thanks, Dawn! So glad you found it relevant. Any specific issues on this topic I can help you with? Email me, [email protected] 🙂

  4. Fatima

    Thank you for writing this fantastic article. I’ve been reading for a while however I’ve never posted a comment.
    I’ve bookmarked your site and shared this on Twitter.
    Thanks again for a quality article!

    • Michael Keeler

      Hey Fatima! Thanks so much for sharing. Please let me know if there are any other topics I can address for you. High fives!


    Thanks for posting this informative article.
    I’ve been reading for a while however I’ve never posted a comment.
    I’ve bookmarked your website and shared this on Twitter.
    Thanks again for a quality post!


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