There’s an important lesson I’ve learned. Read this post well. I promise that it will save you something incredibly valuable in the future. The most valuable thing:
In online business, you never follow a restaurant business plan; giving the meal and then settling the check.
In online business, you make people pay you up front, never ever after. They don’t even get their greedy little paws on the appetizer or their craft beer before you have the cash in hand.
Case in point:
Last summer, so a good long time ago, I received this email from a reader:
My name is [X] and I live in [Western European city]. I’m from the US originally. I’m planning to come out to Ukraine in the summer and wanted to ask if you’d like to meet up and do some coaching. Send me a whatsapp at [removed] as it’s easier to reach me than email.
Those of you who have ever done any private consulting or freelancing likely know exactly where this is headed…
Well, I sent him a text, and I got completely duped. He asked if I had a quick minute to discuss coaching options with an “introductory call”, so I called him.
And I’ll never get those next 40 or so minutes of my life back.
I got to listen to girl problems, feminist problems, etc, etc. I remember not being able to get off the phone fast enough. I could tell within 5 minutes he had no intention of actually paying me on any level for my time.
I should have hung up the phone.
Or, better, I should have required a paid invoice for my normal hourly rate that could be applied to any in-person coaching session should he go through with actually hiring me. It means that no matter what I wouldn’t have wasted my time, and he could still have his “introductory” call before he committed to an extending coaching service.
But you know what, I actually was grateful to this guy.
His conversation was so painful to listen to, I instantly made it my policy to never get duped into that situation again. And since then, I have required every client to pay me up front, whether it be for my business or game coaching.
And, even better:
None of them have balked at it, and I think I’ve attracted and maintained better customers because of this new policy — not in spite of it.
I had forgotten about this guy completely, until this morning when I got this text…
Him: Hey Kyle
Been a while, would be good to chat with you about a girl situation I have
Me: Can you refresh my memory? If I recall we chatted for a half hour or so last year and you were considering doing some coaching.
Now, take this advice and heed it well:
That kind of very vague text of “Hey it would good to chat with you…” screams “I AM GOING TO WASTE YOUR TIME.”
Do not engage with people like this, whether it be business or personal.
They’re “that guy” — the one who always wants to “pick your brain” about a business idea he has, or “get your feedback” about a girl problem. Then he offers to take you to drinks or lunch, and ends up asking you to split the bill after he drills you with questions for two hours.
You cannot get that time back.
Had he said, “Hey Kyle, it’s been a while. I’d like to talk to you about a girl situation I have. I’ll pay you for your time”, or anything along those lines…
Then it would have been a different story.
As I said, I didn’t remember him. Then I looked through my email history and figured it out.
A few hours later, once I’d finished playing private detective, I sent this:
Me: Ahh….came back to me now. You were interested in coaching and duped me into an “intro” call for 40 minutes where you dumped all your shit on me. You certainly never offered to pay and never tried to book any actual coaching.
Does this sound right?
Now, someone might argue that I just burnt the bridge with a potential client, and you have a point.
But, here’s why I did it:
I don’t want customers like that, and I work hard now to actively repel them away like the blood-sucking insects they are.
I’d prefer to burn the bridge and then drive a gasoline tanker over it for good measure.
PS: If you want top-notch advice about dating and mating abroad without the hefty price tag, check out DAnet.
“I could tell within 5 minutes he had no intention of actually paying me on any level for my time.”
Oh, I don’t doubt it at all! When I worked in part-time jobs in retail when I was young I learned so much about these types.
I don’t think there’s any substitute for dealing with the public and seeing how some people attempt to get your time, effort, and more for little to nothing in return. And occasionally they have the nerve to get annoyed when you cut them off!
My former boss taught me a lot about these types. We used to call them “tire kickers”, as they were much like people who would wander car lots just looking.
These “customers” would waste inordinate amounts of time browsing merchandise, asking technical questions, and much more with no intention of spending any money.
He also showed me that the customer is NOT always right, and there are many people you simply shouldn’t do business with. They’ll drain your time and energy, and won’t even appreciate it later.
Better to drop them and spend the time with real people who appreciate what you can do for them.
Thanks! Your boss was a wise man, although there are certainly limits if you work for a corporation; i.e. you have to be nice to everybody.