Starting out so I don't have examples for clients - should I create samples?

25 replies
It's hard when you're starting out as when client's seem interested they ask for examples but I don't really have much I can share at this point.

While I have a range of online marketing skills, I really want to start offering eMarketing services and possibly social media management services plus some general marketing/promotions ... my offering I am not yet 100% certain of right now.

Should I create some marketing samples for mock clients and show them - it's not really ideal as they don't show 'real' results.

Or should I work for free for someone and get some examples together that way.

I seems like a little bit of a roadblock and I completely understand that they want some proof of my work before they start with me, but it's like I am in a catch 22 situation really.

Should I use some examples of my work from previous jobs, it's not really the same but I guess it will show them my style and professionalism.
#clients #create #examples #samples #starting
  • Profile picture of the author SWIG
    Yes, of course you need to show examples of customers that you already have. But it is also necessary to fill up the database with new examples due to the implementation of free work, I would recommend to take with these customers and more video review of your work. It is better to begin your journey with honest practices.
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  • Profile picture of the author zdebx
    There's nothing wrong with doing a few projects free of charge just to get some reviews and customer feedback. It will be a good learning curve for you as well, which will help to build up your confidence.
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    • Profile picture of the author BlossMart
      Originally Posted by zdebx View Post

      There's nothing wrong with doing a few projects free of charge just to get some reviews and customer feedback. It will be a good learning curve for you as well, which will help to build up your confidence.
      Yes, I think this could be something I could do for some colleagues and then they can also give me some honest feedback too. I second guess myself all the time, so that's probably a good way to get the examples and learn without the fear of being a disappointment to paying customers.
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  • Profile picture of the author BradVert2013
    Yes! No one said an example of your work has to be from a paying client. When I started out as a freelance writer I wrote some content on topics I had an interest in, then I also volunteered to write stuff for some non-profits.
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    • Profile picture of the author BlossMart
      Originally Posted by BradVert2013 View Post

      Yes! No one said an example of your work has to be from a paying client. When I started out as a freelance writer I wrote some content on topics I had an interest in, then I also volunteered to write stuff for some non-profits.
      Yes, I think I might spend some time working on a few things as examples and showcase them, similar to a portfolio. It's hard to get a start and it is really important to have these tools ready when people request them but at the same time I don't have much to show as I am just so new to the industry.

      Thanks for your advice.
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  • Profile picture of the author CenTex Hosting
    The hard part will be to get that first customer without showing that you can do what you are selling them. The first customer you may have to give a big discount or even free too so you can start building a rep for yourself.
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  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    I don't mean to be blunt but writing your own reviews is DECEPTIVE

    Would you want the same done to you?

    Instead, offer FREE review copies or discounted copies or just wait for your first few customers.

    If what you're offering is any good, people would GLADLY post positive reviews.
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    • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
      Originally Posted by writeaway View Post

      I don't mean to be blunt but writing your own reviews is DECEPTIVE
      Unless some posts have been deleted, I don't see where the OP has suggested he'd be writing his own reviews. It doesn't seem like he's looking to deceive anyone.

      @BlossMart - It's always difficult to get a new service off the ground when starting from scratch. I would concentrate on creating a killer "about me" page on your professional site, and also consider using your situation to your advantage by positioning yourself as the new kid on the block with a point to prove. Explain that although you've accrued plenty of corporate experience, you've now decided to bring your marketing talents to the freelance sector. Maybe you could come up with a way of getting paid for specific results or agreed targets at the beginning to minimise the reservations of potential clients.

      And yes, there's no harm in demonstrating the sort of work you'd be providing by mocking up a few sample campaigns, as long as you're upfront about it.

      Good luck!
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      • Profile picture of the author BlossMart
        Originally Posted by Frank Donovan View Post

        Unless some posts have been deleted, I don't see where the OP has suggested he'd be writing his own reviews. It doesn't seem like he's looking to deceive anyone.

        @BlossMart - It's always difficult to get a new service off the ground when starting from scratch. I would concentrate on creating a killer "about me" page on your professional site, and also consider using your situation to your advantage by positioning yourself as the new kid on the block with a point to prove. Explain that although you've accrued plenty of corporate experience, you've now decided to bring your marketing talents to the freelance sector. Maybe you could come up with a way of getting paid for specific results or agreed targets at the beginning to minimise the reservations of potential clients.

        And yes, there's no harm in demonstrating the sort of work you'd be providing by mocking up a few sample campaigns, as long as you're upfront about it.

        Good luck!
        Thanks Frank,

        Nothing has been removed, I think there was a misunderstanding - I never intend to write fake reviews or testimonials, I am not sure where that came from.

        Yes, I have good About Me info on my social pages (website still to be done) but I agree a killer one that knocks potential clients socks off is the way to go, I think I have been a little predictable and timid in the current info so I will ramp it up a little.

        I have some campaigns I can show but yes I will be taking the time to create more examples showing off what I can do.
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    • Profile picture of the author BlossMart
      Originally Posted by writeaway View Post

      I don't mean to be blunt but writing your own reviews is DECEPTIVE

      Would you want the same done to you?

      Instead, offer FREE review copies or discounted copies or just wait for your first few customers.

      If what you're offering is any good, people would GLADLY post positive reviews.
      Hi, I wouldn't write my own reviews, I would create examples of my work as samples. I am not keen to be deceptive. I do quite a bit of eMarketing and writing of EDM's so I can do this without too much resources so I can offer very cheap or free work for a few people to build up a reputation.

      I am not keen to do anything that isn't above board.

      Thanks for your comment.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fluffyxx
    A good portfolio is essential if you are starting to work as a Freelancer or something like that, is extremely important, because when you are starting, the portfolio will be the only thing you can use to pitch your clients, after you have get your firsts jobs, your reputation will start growing, and your new reviews will do all the work, but until then, you have to rely on your portfolio, you dont have a choice.

    If you really dont have any past jobs to showcase, then invent a few, create some examples and stories about them, dont ever say to a client that you are doing your first jobs, the words "this will be my first job" will surely make sure you wont get your first job, keep that in mind.
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    • Profile picture of the author BlossMart
      Originally Posted by Fluffyxx View Post

      If you really dont have any past jobs to showcase, then invent a few, create some examples and stories about them, dont ever say to a client that you are doing your first jobs, the words "this will be my first job" will surely make sure you wont get your first job, keep that in mind.
      Yes, thanks for this feedback. I doubt anyone really wants to run the risk of hiring someone completely green so I will certainly put together some of my experience so showcase it.

      I have worked in the corporate sector and have experience however it's not really exactly the same and I can't really say they are my client's as I was working for another business at the time.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nic Anderton
    Positioning yourself as an expert is a great way to build trust with prospective clients. I personally would start a blog and publish content on it related to the expertise I would be providing to my clients. Also, I would create a special contact form individuals could use to reach out to me for my services. Branding yourself on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin, and getting your knowledge out there by posting information consistently on these sites would be very effective as well.
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    • Profile picture of the author BlossMart
      Originally Posted by Nick Anderton View Post

      Positioning yourself as an expert is a great way to build trust with prospective clients. I personally would start a blog and publish content on it related to the expertise I would be providing to my clients. Also, I would create a special contact form individuals could use to reach out to me for my services. Branding yourself on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin, and getting your knowledge out there by posting information consistently on these sites would be very effective as well.
      Thanks Nick - yes I am starting to get all my online social media profiles set up and looking great so that when people do a search to check I am there and everything is uniform. While I can't afford to set up a website just yet, I will do this just as soon as I can.
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  • Profile picture of the author andyfyou
    Would definitely look into starting a blog to position yourself as someone who knows what they're talking about - as well as offering 4-5 free consults as a way to generate testimonials and feedback. Do your family or friends need this service at all? They could be a good source first
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  • Profile picture of the author cd banzkz
    Create a LinkedIn profile if you don't have one already and take advantage of their publisher platform to show case your talents. It's one way for business owners and even digital marketing agencies to notice you and hire your freelance writing services.
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  • Profile picture of the author norahwhitlow
    Startfrom the small projects which dont quite require examples, lead your way up high gradually. Dont cheat!
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    While I have a range of online marketing skills, I really want to start offering eMarketing services and possibly social media management services plus some general marketing/promotions ...
    Do them for your own projects and document everything.
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  • Profile picture of the author vpn port
    Even when I was new, I never gave my services for free because I can't afford to. Check out freelance sites and check out jobs that require entry level skills and those looking for the lowest rates. It's better than giving away your work.

    By the way in case you offer graphic design or social media graphics services, you can show those past work to your prospective client...just add a watermark or text "not for re-use. Copyright belongs to client."
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  • Profile picture of the author Nico Puegher
    Show some kind of sample, working for free? I used to think like that, never EVER think about working for free again, your time is valuable.

    Just let them know your knowledge, skills and what you can do.
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  • Profile picture of the author JeffSherwood
    When I was first starting my online consulting business I was in the same position as you...I didn't know how I was going to prove to a business that I could do what I said I was going to do without them questioning whether I would be able to deliver, so this is what I did...

    I contacted a few local businesses in my area and offered to provide them with a free service. This was always something small such as create a short 1 or 2 minute YouTube video around a particular product or service that they provide.

    I did this for 5 small businesses and service providers in my area in exchange for testimonials and from there I used those testimonials on the sales page where I was providing my services.

    Not only did I start being able to land clients easily after that but working with those initial 5 businesses taught me a lot about my process and allowed me to tweak it before I started reaching out to paying clients.

    I hope this helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    OP, one more thing: If I were you, I'd CULTIVATE one client and ask that person to be a CASE STUDY.

    Achieve awesome results and that one case study will be your meal ticket.

    How?

    It leads to other clients which you can then turn to case studies.

    The secret is to treat every project you get as a SHOWCASE project that you'll be proud of

    If you can do this, you'll never have to worry about CHASING another project again.
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    • Profile picture of the author BlossMart
      Originally Posted by writeaway View Post

      OP, one more thing: If I were you, I'd CULTIVATE one client and ask that person to be a CASE STUDY.
      Great idea. I think this could be a great way to showcase the problem my client had, the solution I provided and the process. I really like this idea. I could probably do a couple of these actually.

      Thanks so much!
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  • Profile picture of the author UMESH12
    If I were a new freelancer and just starting out, I would do guest post submissions to get my name out there and to attract clients. There are a lot of good websites out there asking for guest posts, just write one per week and before you know it, you'd have a long list of post that have been published in quality blogs. Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author James Clifton
    Well, it’s quite reasonable and fair for clients to ask for samples since they are going to pay you for your services. With this in mind, it is best that you create samples so you can eliminate doubts and hesitations.
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