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Freelance Writers: Starting Out Without a Portfolio | Freelance Sprout | Find, Start, and Grow Your Dream Freelance Business
Read the six part series on creating a freelance business plan
 

Freelance Writers: Starting Out Without a Portfolio

Date February 16, 2009


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As the founder of MakeMoneyFromWriting.com, I get asked a number of questions about how to make a living from writing online.  The most frequently asked question by far has to do with how to get started as a freelance writer when you don’t have a portfolio.  It might seem that you can’t break into the professional writing world without a “professional portfolio” but the reality is, everyone has to start somewhere!

Even if you’ve never written anything for a client before, you can quickly set up a portfolio of writing samples to use when applying for writing jobs.   It will cost you nothing but your time, but will pay you back in the form of writing clients!

Use Article Directories

One of the easiest ways to establish yourself as an online writer is to start submitting articles to article directories, like Ezinearticles.com and iSnare.com.  You can create accounts with both sites for free, and submit your articles for free, as well.

When you set up your account, you’ll want to create your author byline or profile box to include a little information about you.  If you have a blog or website, be sure to link to it, but if you don’t, include your email address so that people can contact you if they should find your articles on their own and want to ask you to write for them.

When you publish articles on directories, you’ll get a URL to your article that you can then use when applying for writing work.  You’ll also get an author page within the article directory site, so you can refer prospective clients to one page to view multiple writing samples, for example: Debbie Dragon Author Page.

Article directories are more effective for you if you already have a website or blog, because you can link from the articles to your own site.  Be sure to include a very concise professional byline that describes your freelance work.

Use a Blog

Even if you don’t have experience creating websites, you can set up a blog without too much trouble.  There are free services like blogger.com and wordpress.com that make it possible for anyone to get a blog up and running in no time at all.

Once you set up a blog, you can write a few articles (about anything you want) and include a section about you so prospective clients can learn about your freelance writing services.  Don’t forget to include a way for people to contact you.

When applying for writing jobs, you can link to your blog as additional examples of your writing.

Start Applying for Work

Once you have a handful of articles online with your name on them, you suddenly have a “writer’s portfolio” that you can use when applying for work.  When a job asks for examples of writing you’ve done, you can simply provide your article directory author URL and/or your blog URL to show samples of your work.

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