Are You Dealing with an Ask-hole? 4 Ways to Know Before They Waste Your Time

They will ask for something you sell or service you provide, the catch is: they want it for free.

Our hyper connected universe has paved the way to easy interaction with potential customers and possible business partners. While all of this has been a blessing for businesses, it also created massive challenges (and my own personal/internal conflicts).

This easy-access comes with a mob of people who could and will waste our time if we let them. As an entrepreneur, I have to recognise that time is one of our most valuable resources. I can’t afford to waste it on what seems important but isn’t. My daily struggle is proper discernment. While I know, I can’t let anyone else control my schedule and invade my boundaries, I still get suckered into situations where I operate on watered down promises and not on an actual contractual obligation. So, it is important to recognise the red flags:

1. It’s all about them, and what they want. Pronto.

Simply put: They will ask for something you sell but they want it for free.

When someone’s first interaction with you is about him or her and something they want from you that you need to give right now, run! This is a glaring sign that your whole relationship will be based on that self-centered opportunist. Even if you did something for them, it wouldn’t be enough.

Strong business relationships are formed when there’s validated reciprocity.

2. They tell you there’s something in it for you “in the near future”

This is designed to make you think the person will be a future customer. They lead with a statement saying they want to hire you months from now but need advice or something from you first.

This person has probably done the same thing with many others before you. If a legit client doesn’t have the funds to hire you right now, they will let you know, and when they are ready, they will definitely jump the gun.

Don’t put yourself into a situation where you waste your time and energy on a false promise of future business.

Protip: If clients have questions as to the value you provide, they can follow up with your past/current clients or consume your content and assess the value that way.

3. They persuade you with the sweet let’s collaborate talk before you even know (or like) each other.

This goes along with the first warning sign. A stranger you casually know approaches you about ways to get your time and knowledge without any hint of compensation being exchanged. They offer to trade or collaborate way before you like or trust them. What they offer might not be valuable to you. In each of these types of situations, you have to use your best judgment. These offers just don’t make sense anymore after you reach a certain level in your entrepreneurial journey.

4. They try to get the advice your clients pay for.

This is very common. We get social media messages, emails, even calls from people who want the kind of advice your clients pay for. They may ask nicely or they may come at you hard, but they want access to the good stuff just because you’re on the right industry or skill set.

These types of requests seldom lead to new business, or the right kind of business. Our clients pay us for a reason. Don’t let the freebie chasers waste your time. Connection doesn’t mean unlimited access. No one should have that kind of access except for the most important people in your life.

If someone is ready to buy from you, they won’t make you walk on a tightrope set on fire while on stilts through hoops or waste your time.

They will have already made a decision based on other factors.

I know, it’s easy to get drawn into a time wasting situation when you think it could lead to future business — don’t. Treat your time with the value and importance that it deserves.

*Inspired by Kimanzi Constable’s: 4 Reliable Signs Someone Is About to Waste Your Time