World_Time_Zones_Map

Tales from the field: Timezones

I knew I was going to be traveling a lot over the last part of the year and normally this is a quiet time anyway as lots of businesses slow down for the holidays. I thought I had timed things perfectly as one of my clients was pausing hiring and I was trying to wrap up other projects as quickly as possible. I was all ready for some quality me time involving books, cooking and massages when bam I get two new clients. One just before I leave and the other after I arrived in Hong Kong.
Now I know a sales pipeline takes time and the client I got before I left had taken their time to get back to me. The work was interesting and I was clear up front that I was going to be on the road for about 48 hours and only then would I be able to start working on their project. They were fine with this.
The other client was one of those quick responders. I had sent a proposal thinking they would get back to me in the new year. Only to have them message me within the hour and not only that they wanted to have a video call! I had just gotten up from my first real sleep in 30 odd hours. I realized that the room was dark and I needed to add light and put on a t-shirt that was not torn. Within minutes I had changed my look and my room to something more pleasing to the eye.
This client was looking for someone based in North America, which I was not. And at this time even less so. Whenever I get asked to explain about myself and what I do. I am very upfront about my travel plans and availability. If a prospective client is not open minded enough to know that most of the time, time difference is not an issue or that people are allowed to take time off and not be on call the whole time. Then they will not be a good fit to work with and will only bring me headaches further down the line.
My call with this client ended up being over 2 hours and with them being very excited and wanting to get straight into work. Which was fine but I did have to remind them of other obligations I had that evening.
One tip when working in clients in a different time zone always get them to tell you when they want to meet in their time zone. It is up to you to do the math and work out if it is a good time for you. If you let them worry about it, they will see it as an issue when they work with you. One tool I use is http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/meeting.html It is a great way to see what the time and date is where both you and your client is.

What tools do you use?

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