…building a business: boundaries

Life is so interesting when one is paying attention, isn’t it? Sometimes the same lessons in one’s personal life is parallel to what is happening in one’s business. Maybe Someone is taping us on the shoulder asking us to flex a certain muscle in order to be, well, happier & more productive.


My therapist tells me that this is a developmental lesson and something that children must go through in order to be effective adults and create their own lives and perspectives. It is important for us all to learn to set boundaries and to learn to respect other’s boundaries.


If you work from home or have a business where you ship from home, you need to set healthy boundaries for clients & potential clients. This lesson is usually learned the hard way. When I first started out and got my first bit of press, I decided to do Open Houses 2xs a week! What was I thinking? I was thinking I could do it all and then some. Guess what, I couldn’t. I needed time to finish my coffee, write on my site, chat with my kids, cook, read….shower.


I had to keep the toys picked up and everything spotless – not to mention bringing in loads of furniture to display & sell in my own, personal space. Things went wrong quickly. I love meeting new people, talking design & painting, but the lines between my work & my home life were becoming too intertwined. Worlds were colliding and that was not good for anyone!

I became tired & cranky. I needed to set boundaries and feel good about them. It took me a while to realize that I could see be seen & have my business while keeping a piece of my life separate. I could set drop off hours and make set appointments. I could say no to jobs with visions that did not align with mine. I didn’t have to have my door open to the world at all times. Wow!

Peace comes with boundaries because you are parenting yourself and making room for your needs.

Why are we not good at setting boundaries? Maybe we are not good at paying attention to our own needs before it’s too late. As I parent my own child I can see their needs – when it’s nap time, when they’ve had enough at the park, when they are hungry. It’s easy to see a child’s needs, but to see our own can be difficult. Maybe it feels selfish or we can push through it or we think we are tough as nails and people/things cannot push us down. We are human – not people of steal.

This lesson also goes for those of us that have a business where we are the only ones on the payroll. When we are overworked and just feel plain tired. Guess what – that is OK! It’s normal and we all need to take a break, especially creative people. We need to recharge to make space in our brains for ideas.

Boundaries keep us safe and sane. It is not meanness, it’s knowing our own limits. Feeling pushed? Pulled? Take a pause, take a breath and set some appropriate boundaries that you can live with. Take a lesson from a cat – they are pretty good at doing what they need to do at all times.



  1. Boundaries and particularly hard for creative people, just an FYI

  2. Hi Christen, I appreciate you and your wisdom so much! I have to thank you for motivating me to try something new. I have been battling depression for some time…..what a drag. Anyway, a few weeks ago I was looking on etsy and saw chalk painted furniture so I googled chalk paint. I found you! I watched all your videos along with Annie Sloan’s. I bought my Annie Sloan paint Sunday and I am working on furniture in my kitchen!! So thank you for being you! I have a fun thing to do now that will allow my to use my creativity. When you are having a moment of “weirdness” please remember not only are you making things beautiful for people but you are an inspiration and motivation. I believe boundaries come with age too. We all realize at some point we are only at human and then life gets better because we start being nicer to ourselves. You are great…always know that! I am grateful for you…….and chalk paint! Peace& Love, Kathy

  3. Michelle Lepak says:

    Ahhh, thank you for this post. Thank you.

  4. Hi Christen,

    For anyone that has ever flown, they have heard the expression, ” Put your own oxygen mask on first!” If you do not than you cannot help those around you. Same applies here. Take care of yourself or everyone else suffers, too, so boundaries are great. Everyone can learn from this post!


  5. Rebecca says:

    Great post Christen ! You are an inspiration to so many of us that follow your blog. I have heard that you can do it all……just not at the same time. I really do believe that! Stay grounded and you’ll be just fine:)


  6. more importantly, when you over do something, anything- it doesnt become fun anymore. And we could lose that special touch which can make what we do unique and expressive. A fun hobby can quickly turn into a high pressure JOB. The thrill of creating becomes forced and daunting and resentment sets in and the excitement we had dies. We all need to slow down a little bit and not feel the competitive nature that the world has become. Like you said, breathe. easier said than done, i know.

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