This week I had to make a last minute trip and cancel 2 days of meetings. Sure that sounds like a big inconvenience, but as I was rescheduling and contacting my scheduled appointments I realized only ONE was actual paid client work of the seven appointments I had scheduled. What am I doing?
I haven’t figured out the solution to this problem still. I tend to say yes (and if you’ve known me a long time, you’ll find that surprising) to meeting with people. None of the appointments were bad things. Meeting up with some friends for drinks, helping a friend who’s job hunting, meeting with someone who just moved to town and is looking for a job, starting work on a new client, lunch with a friend, drinks with some friends who we do work for the same client. Great folks, and I’ve rescheduled most of the appointments already. And will get them all rescheduled.
So far what I have figured out is this:
More phone appointments. If I don’t know the people and am not 100% sure they’re going to be worth my time, let’s start with 15-30 minutes on the phone. This can work with some people (especially email introductions for someone I don’t know who could be a good “referral source” but might not be), but sometimes you need to meet in person.
And for that I try to make sure that I schedule meetings on the same day, so that I’m not leaving my house every day for one appointment. So of the 3 days I’m away from my office (and obviously mobile) I only had a day and a half of appointments to reschedule. It could be worse.
How do you manage your time to work with clients and not get it filled up because you said yes and are just “helping out”?