True story time.
I started in copywriting back in 2015/2016, first with lots of studying and practicing on my own. But then I needed to actually do some real work.
So, with no portfolio to speak of I headed to Upwork.
If you’re not familiar, it’s a really good platform to find freelance talent without breaking the bank and from all over the world.
I started applying to jobs, but nothing really worked at the beginning.
My proposals (job applications you have to submit) ended up into the void.
I had to change my approach. But most of all, it would require a mindset shift.
A shift from trying to systematize and playing a numbers game, to doing things that don’t scale so I could stand out.
I’m talking about personalizing the pitches, offering to get on a quick call before even talking about porftolios or skills etc. And sometimes, yes, doing some work for free.
Here’s what happened.
The client: a Colorado concrete flooring company.
The project: rewriting their brick and mortar company website, starting from their homepage.
My experience: just course exercises I did for myself.
My portfolio: non-existent.
How it went? I offered to get on a call. They obviously asked for my portfolio or examples. So I decided to do things that don’t scale. I offered to re-write a section of their homepage for free.
It took me 30 minutes and I got the job. For a whopping $15 per hour too (a dream when I started).
Just like that, after the project I had my first portfolio piece.
The point here is, at the beginning of anything new, doing things that don’t scale is almost the only solution.
And you have to suck it up.
It’s probably one of the main obstacles stopping my clients from getting started with customer research. It’s time consuming and mentally draining if you’ve never done it.
That’s why they come to me.