In dealing with customers and potential customers you have to be clear and precise with them. You have to make clear your requirements from up front. As a full time employee of a company, I would suggest you read My Bill of rights as a Programmer, on the other hand if your a freelancer or contractor you must tell your customers up front what you expect. If you do not, then you will be stuck in an endless grind working for low income while doing mountain loads of work. A customer once came to me and asked if I can show them a mock up.
They said that we have a few potentials and need to choose between them. They asked if they can see a mock up or an example of what I would create for them. Now in my early days as a contractor/freelancer, I would have given it some thought, but in today's world where everyone and their mother and daughter need a website, well I respectfully decline. For those new programmers out there reading this, move on to another job. For those experienced programmers, show them some of your passed work. If they aren't happy with what they see, then say thank you, but we can't do business together at this moment. Now, you will get one of these two replies. Alright, lets talk about what you can do for me OR okay and thank you very much for your time. You have to be able to walk away as a person in order for them to want you back. This doesn't happen with big companies very well, because you have to draw up a "free" proposal and be picked among many. When you have a small business that is in need and talks to you personally, well it works better for everyone when you can walk away.
The point is you need to be able to say NO when they ask for a mock up or an example of what you can create for them. Don't do work for free. Most likely, you will just be wasting your time anyway.
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