A little while back I was approached by a property company who wanted me to do all of their marketing. The owner of the business was telling me a big story about where they were going, how they were going to go international, how much money they were going to make and how big an opportunity this was for me. Then came the clincher, he explained why I should do all of their work for free for the first 6 months to help them get off the ground.

My spider senses were going off early in the conversation simply because he was trying too hard to convince me of how smart it would be for me to do business with them.

Fortunately I had been in that exact same spot many times before, and I have done work for clients based on the "potential opportunity" which ninety percent of the time never materializes. And what's worse is that I don't get paid for all of my hard work.

It's easy to get caught up in someone else's dream, I've certainly done it many times. Does it pay off? Rarely. Why not get caught up in your own dream and make your business the success it should be by getting paid for the work you do.

In my opinion taking on a client and working for free based on "what may be" is a very risky thing to do.

Now there are exceptions. If the potential client has great credibility, if they come highly recommended and they have a proven track record of successful outcomes, it might be worth taking a risk. And of course if you've worked together successfully in the past, it might we worth doing a joint venture of some sort. But go into every situation with your eyes wide open.

The bottom line is simple - get very nervous when someone tries too hard to sell you about how great their business will be tomorrow. If they are not prepared to pay you for the work you do today, it's unlikely they will value the work you do tomorrow.