Lately, I’ve been thinking about how to choose the best clients. I want to have a systematic approach that can be repeated for everyone with whom I might work.

I started by putting together a list of questions I might use. Here it is:

  1. Do the client’s values align with mine?
  2. What is their ability to pay?
  3. Will I be able to publicize the work afterwards?
  4. What’s the likelihood that the work will go live?
  5. Is there proper executive support in place for the project?
  6. What “good” will this work do in the world?
  7. Does this work have strategic value for the client?
  8. Does this work have strategic value for me?
  9. Are they assholes?
  10. Will I be able to measure the impact of my work?
  11. Will I be able to use interesting metrics (such as stress created, confidence created, other perception-based metrics)?

Obviously, this is incomplete and brings up a bunch of things I’d need to decide upon before I could complete such an evaluation, but it’s a start.

My question for you: how do you evaluate potential clients? What questions do you ask? What red flags do you look for?

Evaluating potential clients