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Time Waster: A Client Can’t or Won’t Make Up Their Mind!

time wasterIs there a bigger time waster than the potential client or an actual client can’t or won’t make up their mind? Of course there is, but not many that can make you feel absolutely crazy.

You know what I mean. I’m talking about the potential client who keeps you on the string and/or the client you have under contract who can’t decide exactly what they want.

Either way they are time sinks. In fact, the time waster actually costs you money because you could be using the time you’re wasting chasing or negotiating or explaining again again could be used for paying work. You deserve better.

Your goal is to ether help that time waster get off the dime and make a decision or you should decide they aren’t worth the effort.

Time waster examples

Time waster clients come in two types – those who waste your time before they hire you and those who waste  your time after they hire you.

Before you’re hired you may find yourself spending hours on the phone listening to the client describe a series of vague projects they may want you to write for. Often some of it at least sounds like a lot of the pie in the sky deal that will never get done.

There’s nothing wrong with insisting they decide what, exactly or specifically this time waster wants you to work on. If they can’t tell you, it’s best to  suggest they get in touch with you when they’ve made up their mind. If they balk, suggest a retainer that will pay you for the time you’re spending with them.

Roughly the same thing can happen with someone you think has hired you. This is one of the reasons I insist on fifty percent up front. It’s really my position they haven’t hired me until they’ve paid for my time. Usually the client will signal in advance they dilly dally around a lot. That’s the time to think seriously of letting them go and finding someone else

But if you feel you’re on the hook, try setting some deadlines. You could, for example, estimate the time you’ve spent trying to help you sort things out and state that if it continues you’ll have to bill them at your normal hourly rate. You may very well loose them at that point, which may be the very best thing that could happen for you.

Write well and often,
Anne Wayman, freelance writer


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