5 Signs Someone Will Waste Your Time
There are 5 signs you need to look for when interviewing potential clients. The old adage is true, if you look for something you’ll find it. In this article I’ll share with you ways to protect yourself from those who will waste your time.
Your time is the most important resource you have. If you’re not 100% careful with where you spend it or whom you allow to spend it for you, you open the door to feelings of anger, regret and resentment.
Here’s a story that happened to me recently. Not long ago I was in the middle of a major project for a client when I received a call from an acquaintance. I typically wouldn’t interrupt my important work during the middle of the afternoon yet I didn’t want to ignore the call.
SIGN ONE: Feeling obligated to speak with someone because of a past work relationship.
Once I picked up the phone he asked me if I could help him with website project. He simply needed me to “build the framework” so that he could get things approved on his end to start promoting his product.
SIGN TWO: For people who waste your time everything’s “right away”. They need “help” with something and don’t mind inconveniencing you (if you let them). It’s clear that people who ended up sucking your time either (a) don’t realize they’re burdening you with their problems or (b) don’t care.
Can you think of a recent incident of your own where someone asked for a “favor” that ended horribly? Allow me to continue with this story, I’m afraid it doesn’t get better…
SIGN THREE: Once I agreed (which I shouldn’t have!), he wanted to negotiate the price, he quoted me half of the original price. See, I know what you’re probably thinking, Zane, why didn’t you end the conversation right there or just say “no”?
The thing is, I genuinely care and try to help people them out. I’ve had to stop, however since it’s true what my mentor Dan Pena says “You don’t want to be nice”. Sure you can be friendly, but when it comes to business there’s only one way to be.
“If there’s a back and forth with price, politely turn down the assignment. It will not be worth hassle.”
If you find that you’re a “push over”, heed my advice: You’re only hurting yourself and your destroying them in the process. You can guide others and create experiences for them that temporarily ease their stress or pain.
Be aware when someone isn’t prepared to pay your rates or haggle for a discount. They will not be satisfied with your performance and will want you to do more than what you’ve agreed upon.
SIGN FOUR: Subservient Attitude
People who are prone to wasting the time of others will want you to be at their beckon call. You can recognize this sign immediately when someone asks you “So, if I have a problem can I call you anytime?” Don’t get me wrong people not everyone of these signs is inherently bad… just recognize when someone isn’t going to ‘play fair’ with your time.
As I started the project I noticed that within a about two hour time span he either called or messaged me 3-4 times requesting a status update. I couldn’t believe it! Red flags were flying all over the place.
SIGN FIVE: Poverty Consciousness
This isn’t an exact science however there is a pattern I’ve noticed. If you deal with clients or you sell products on your site or in a store. Those with a limited mindset will typically ask for refunds and or have you speak with them at length on various features of your item or project. This is very time consuming and from my experience doesn’t end well for either party.
A few days in, it became clear to me that I wasn’t “happy” doing this particular project. In fact I offered to give him a full refund so that he could hire someone else. I’ve never been asked nor volunteered to return anyone’s money. The entire experience was a learning lesson.
We spoke for a few minutes and I decided to continue because (1) I’d already put in a few days worth of work, and (2) once you put in time, you never get it back so it seemed like a waste to refund the project after that much effort.
LESSON: Always offer a refund to these types, in fact I should have just given him a full refund instead of partial because at the end of the day I should have said no from the beginning. No one wins when either’s unsatisfied.
So, don’t agree to do something you REALLY don’t want to do and always stop a project if you’re not being treated fairly.
If you want to free yourself from time wasters for good, pay attention to these 5 signs and when you recognize any one of them from a customer or client, do both of you a favor and inform him or her that you’re unable to help them. If possible, refer them to someone else.
Here are 8 additional tips to help avoid time wasters:
- Tell your clients from the beginning:
- Best times to communicate with you
- How you prefer to communicate with them
- When you’re typically unavailable (between 9:00a-noon)
- Your rates (or commission)
- How long projects take (always over estimate)
- Manage their expectations
- Inform them of your refund policy (if applicable)
- Ask the clients to provide the contact information of the last 3 people they’ve hired. (Advanced move)
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Finally, surround yourself with high-quality people. People who value you and your time and also lift you up. There are plenty of us around, just be mindful of our time.
That said, I’d like to hear from you. Have you told anyone recently that you’re unable to work with them because you “saw the sign?” Leave a comment below, once it’s approved (within 24 hours) you’ll see your message displayed below.