When a potential new Client says “my last web designer won’t return my calls” that should perk up your ears a little bit.

Today’s show is going to be a little different. I’m always asked what I look for when it comes to red flags when talking with leads and clients.

Like you, I always try to learn from what other folks do in their business so that I hope not to fall into those same pitfalls.

And so when I get asked this question I try to put myself in their shoes. Maybe there is something they are experiencing at that moment where they are looking to get insight into something they are missing.

So what I’m going to do is list off 26 red flags for you. These are a mix of my own and other business owners that I’ve spoken to both inside and outside of the Feast community.

Some may be obvious, some may not. But I’ll leave that to you.

26 Client Red Flags to Watch For

  1. Had issues with the other developer / designer
  2. Their values, what they represent don’t align with your own
  3. “I’ll know it when I see it”
  4. “Maybe we can work out something if this project turns out good”
  5. Everything is quick & easy
  6. Step on each other while talking during the sales call
  7. Don’t understand their own limits
  8. Seem desperate
  9. Seem to be a hard sell
  10. Disorganized
  11. Vague goals / Can’t nail down why they don’t like the results, but instead just “feel it”
  12. Unrealistic expectations
  13. “Let’s just start the project, I’ll get accounting to send out the payment”
  14. Want to always go against your processes
  15. Haven’t thought through on the project / “don’t know the budget, but maybe you can help”
  16. Late payment
  17. Don’t follow directions / boundaries
  18. Changing things last minute
  19. Think that you’ll run their business for them / non-responsive
  20. Micromanage
  21. Pick their own set of tools and expect you to conform
  22. Don’t respect the collaboration part and then wonder why “its not working”
  23. Constantly miss scheduled calls then want to make them up by saying “let’s hop on a call right now”
  24. Want to re-structure your process or payment terms
  25. Email you and then call about that email shortly after
  26. Cut corners / modify core functionality

Now that you have the list, which ones had you not thought about before. Any stand out? Shoot me a tweet.

When it comes down to red flags, you really need to take care of 2 things:

  • Trust your gut if something feels off, that’s a red flag.
  • Make your own from your experience - Just because it’s someone else’s red flag, doesn’t mean it’s yours too. And vice versa, just because you make it a red flag and I didn’t list it, doesn’t mean it’s not a red flag.

As a business owner you need to protect your time and profits. As a person you need to protect you sanity levels. Take this list and adapt it to your business and add in your own.

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Start a Freelance Business

Looking to start freelancing? Wonder what you need to think about, put in place, or even what freelancing is all about? Here is where you’ll find the latest answers to those questions.
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More episodes in this topic:


What are the costs involved in becoming a freelancer?


Is the income from freelancing reliable?


What payment structure should I do?


How do you build a good freelancing profile in the field of web development considering the competition?


What are skills you can learn fast and have high freelancer value?


How to start freelancing?


Should you do free work to build a portfolio?


What is freelance?


How can I start freelancing without experience?


What does it take to be a freelancer?


Why did you start freelancing?


What is the very first step to work as a freelancer?


How do you set the boundary of work you do and work you don't do?


What are your client red flags?


What should you be able to create as a web developer before starting in your freelance career?


When starting out freelance, should I just be a generalist to get my feet wet, or should I go for that niche?


As a developer, should I throw my projects on Github or build a site from scratch to grab attention?


What can I use for social proof when starting as a freelancer?


How can I start freelancing as a web developer?


Should I use my name or create a business name when starting?


Should I call myself a “freelancer” (definitive answer)?


Why should you not be a freelancer?


How do you collect online payments as a freelancer


How much money do I need to make?


Why is hourly billing bad?


Why is hourly billing good?


What are the biggest mistakes a freelancer can make?


How to adapt and change to the WordPress climate?


How to budget as a freelancer?


What is your marketing plan?


What is your sales process?


What do you do to position yourself as an expert to leads?


How do you balance your time for sales and marketing?


How do you get high-quality clients?


Should I offer my services as a web designer/developer or specialize first?


What do you do again?


What is the best freelancing website?


What do you do for a follow-up sequence for leads?


How to attract clients with big budgets?


How not to be annoying in sales?


How do you convince someone to sign a contract?


What to say when a client is late on a payment?

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