Freelance copywriter? Clients to avoid. #4 The Hunter Gatherer.

The Hunter Gatherer is a bit like the Dirty Tricks Co except that I’m not entirely convinced he or she is gathering free advice deliberately. As a freelance copywriter I am more than willing to share my knowledge and offer advice… up to a limit. However hours and hours on the phone over a period of weeks, months or even years (as has been the case with some Hunter Gatherers!) is probably a tad over and above this limit. Especially if they never give you any paid work.

But, several hours into the relationship, the Hunter Gatherer regards you as a good friend – almost part of his organisation or even a business partner. He loves nothing better than having a pleasant extended chat about his latest business or marketing ideas. What do you think? Can you think of a better way of doing it? Does the new product or service have any mileage? What about the rough marketing plans? Etc etc etc.

During these lengthy conversations, the Hunter Gatherer may hint or even promise that some concrete work will come out of this. Vaguely he’ll talk about getting in touch to commission a sales letter, a new web page or whatever. He may even ask you to quote.

But you can bet your back teeth that the next time you hear from him it’ll be over the phone, for another extended chat about where he’s planning to take his business next.

Much as I love chatting with pleasant people and much as I get a buzz out of offering advice, I have to draw the line somewhere. After all, I am a business. I have bills to pay. And, for whatever reason, the Hunter Gatherer is simply gathering free advice. Month after month, year upon year…

This is why serial Hunter Gatherers are programmed into my phone so that, if they call, they get my voicemail.


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