Great question, Andrea!
Everyone has their own red flags.
As an empath, I generally go with my gut on whether or not it will be a waste of time.
It took years for me to stop giving away free coaching on “strategy calls”.
You may have to do a few calls to figure out the legit people from the not so legit.
Sometimes I still get it wrong.
That said, you can always offer PAID consultations.
Have them pay $100 for a 45 minute strategy session.
If they flake on you, at least you were paid for your time.
If they decide to work with you, then you can credit them that $100 as a goodwill gesture.
Another thing you can do is have a lengthy application they have to fill out before you will get on a call. This lets you know whether they’re serious or not. It also gives you some crucial insight into how you may (or may not) be able to help them.
You can see my intake form here: https://apply.thanethousebooks.com/apply
It’s set up in Jotform.