Build Your Portfolio & Prove Your Worth

I’ve heard a common refrain of “don’t work on your freelance career while at your job.” I’m going to spin that and say “be smart about how you work on your freelance career while at your job.”

Let me be clear … I’m not talking about stealing company time or using company resources. I am talking about skillfully leveraging your business contacts to help grow your portfolio and your client base.

Your first crossover opportunity is with your boss and/or co-workers — do they need good copy? If you work in a service business, your fellow employees are potential portfolio-building gold mines. Take a real estate firm, for example. All agents have websites. Most could use an audit and some rewrites. Mock up a page or present one you’ve already written. Ask if they would be interested in working with you to create something similar. You might end up with multiple new samples and word-of-mouth promotion.

Around the same time I began the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, my boss opened a fitness studio on the side. She needed a website and a blog. She wasn’t sure how to write all the content and the thought of doing it made her nervous. I volunteered my services and got real-world experience and multiple portfolio samples.

If you work for a larger company, check with the marketing department. Let them know you’d like to help them with any copywriting or internal pieces. Mention your AWAI training. Even if they’ve never outsourced before, you’ll get on their radar. If something comes up, they may call you.

If your company has an internal newsletter, consider pitching original ideas. That way, you can choose something of interest to the target audience and a piece that will shine in your portfolio.

Does your company need a blog? If you work for a business that could benefit from blogging, offer to create one. You’ll get great practice developing marketing strategy, creating a posting schedule, and utilizing SEO. After it’s up and running, you’ve got a success story you can add to your own website.

Aside from portfolio building, think of other possibilities these moves could open up for you. First, they increase your perceived value in the workplace. Second, having proven your worth, they could lead to a future pay increase. You may end up impressing the marketing department so much that they offer you a staff copywriter position.

Remember, the next time you feel like your job is standing in the way of writing, create opportunities for your freelance business and your co-workers and employers.

Have you crossed over before or are you planning on using your copywriting training at your day job? If so, share your experience in the comments.

And be sure to tune in tomorrow. We’re going to get real about the possibility of freelancing loneliness and give you a solution for overcoming it.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

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Published: July 31, 2013

2 Responses to “Build Your Portfolio & Prove Your Worth”

  1. Very valid points you make. I currently own and run a small catering and food service company. I am taking the opportunity to hone my writing craft and create my portfolio by: creating and testing e-mail, blogging, updating the web site, post card mailings, menu design, and other related marketing tasks. Take a look around at what you currently do for work. There are lots of opportunities available to get you closer to the writer's life dream.


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