How I’m Solving the Problem of the Portfolio (Part 1)

How you do you land paid clients without a portfolio? How do you build a diverse portfolio without having paid clients?

Stacks of papers and folders bounded by portfolios fill the image.

The classic beginner freelance writer’s problem: You want to start landing clients. To do so, you need a portfolio. But how do you assemble a portfolio without having clients?

Additionally, if you want to sell on Fiverr, how do you get customers without any reviews?

Last month, I figured out a solution both to add diverse topics to my portfolio while building up my Fiverr profile.

Here’s how I’m doing it.

Why I found a new solution

Many freelance gigs specify a niche: health writer, SaaS writer, fintech writer, etc. Of course, the riches are in the niches, and having a specialty both improves your content and saves you time.

But what if you have interests across several niches? Or what if you have prior expertise in a field but never wrote about it?

Personally, I would like to write about mental health, alternative health, non-profit and small business management, and even movies or TV in the future. I have some experience or knowledge in each of those, but I don’t have a way to easily prove it.

At some point, I just have to start writing.

But I am not very motivated without some sort of accountability or financial incentive, even if I know I will benefit me later, so to solve this problem, I turned to some outside help.

How the solution works

To start off, I created a Fiverr profile and then a gig for SEO-friendly blog posts. I’m new to Fiverr, so I’m still tinkering with gig and profile optimization, but I reviewed a number of top-performing “I will write your blog post” gigs and applied what I saw those writers doing as best I could.

I tailored the gig to something that I would want to keep offering in the future, not just for this project.

I set the basic 500-word package to $10, but I chose higher prices for the standard and premium packages — about what I would want to be paid later for higher word counts.

The gig says I will write any topic, but that’s not necessarily true. Some topics simply wouldn’t fit in a 500-word blog post, and some topics I am genuinely not qualified to write on, so I have a disclaimer to message me first.

Then, I sent the gig to a bunch of my friends. My message went something like this:

“Hey there, I’m working on growing my portfolio right now. I know there’s always something that we all plan on googling at some point but never get around to it. If you would like, I will do the research and write something up for you in exchange for $10.”

How it’s going so far

So far, three of my friends have graciously signed up. One has requested an article on sleep apnea, one on why bubbles are associated with cleaning agents, and the third is still undecided. Eventually, I’ll post them all here.

I am still looking for a suggested topic for a mental health article and a not-too-technical fintech topic because I’d like to have one of those under my belt also.

If you have a burning question that would fit this type of project and would like me to write it up for you, shoot me a message!

I am also using this project as a way to improve my SEO skills, so each blog post will take me a bit longer than it will as I improve.

As for my Fiverr profile, it will probably take some time for my profile to rank higher. I have to finish the articles and also beg my friends for their review.

Be on the lookout for updates.

Freelancer’s Corner is a place to share my experiences on the journey of self-employment. Follow, clap, or consider subscribing on Medium if you enjoyed this content.

Photo by Sear Greyson on Unsplash.