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A Guide to Freelancing Part 3: Using A Portfolio To Protect Yourself

As we move further into these tutorials, you'll notice I'm putting a lot of emphasis on planning. This is for when we move into finding, pitching for, and acquiring work, so you won't scramble to get yourself together when a client offers you a job.

Assembling a portfolio is akin to preparing a resume; it showcases your best work and serves as something that can be presented to potential clients when they ask about your writing skills, because a lot of them will.

Additionally, it protects you from being scammed.
This happens more often than it should; you may run into a client who will ask you to write a "sample" of their project to "prove you can do the job" or some such (a client asking for a five hundred word article may ask you for a two hundred and fifty word summary).

This is a scam. What happens is that this "summary" you provided was the actual assignment. You provide this, never hear from them again, and shortly thereafter, the job posting is removed. I confess I've fallen for this more than once.

A ready portfolio gives you the ability to respond to such requests by saying; "I don't feel comfortable doing that, but I do have work samples available for your immediate perusal if you'd like to see them."

Wise words for the successful freelancer.

Assembling Your Portfolio

Your portfolio is your snapshot of your skills as a writer, showcasing your best work. If you have anything that has been well-received, this would be the place to put it.

If you haven't created anything, this would be a good time to start. If you specialize in fiction, create three short stories in different genres. Now is not the time to improve your weaknesses. If you specialize in dialogue, write a compelling scene between two characters. If you specialize in description, write a tale of a beautiful (or apocalyptic, your call) world.

Create between three and five pieces of work. Put them in a place on your computer where you can readily access them.

Having work you can show upon request makes the difference between getting the job and being passed over. When someone asks for your work, you want to be able to hand them something immediately, rather than throw something together while your client strikes a deal with another freelancer.

Thanks for reading. Best of luck to you


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