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

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