There is one thing that has never steered me wrong. My gut feeling. If after talking with someone and I get a ok vibe, I give the prospect a chance.
If you have had disagreements with prospects in the past because they do not care for your methods that is often a waring sign that things will not work out. (This tip is good for any type of relationship, but we are going OT here.) If they can’t understand why you will not touch their questionable website(s), that’s also a warning sign. I got a tirade via e-mail because I refused to do web marketing work for someone with questionable material. Its not often that I bring up my beliefs in my work, but I want to be associated with work I can be proud of and show my folks.
There are also some prospects and clients that show no sympathy for the grieving process. I was griveing for my Mother and clients were not patient with me, despite the fact that I told them I would be out of commission for a while. I lost 5 prospects and 2 clients, but it was more important to me to be totally in the work zone and do a good job, then doing bad job and feeling rushed.
I had a volunteer client I had to give up because of the added responsibility I had after the lost of my mother.
I also had no computer at all. Both my computers crashed over the summer and I felt that all hope was lost.
There was also a client who wasn’t happy with anything that I did. Yet another reason to leave.
Another one expected me to be more of a personal assistant, contacting people for them because they had politcal aspirations.
I can go on and on, but the point is be comfortable and confident that you will do a good job. If not, its easier to walk away sooner than later.