3 Ways to Find New Clients Today Without a Portfolio

You can build your client base, build your portfolio and experience today.

All you really need to know is a set of principles that are true no matter what type of copywriting you are interested in doing. This post will explain how.

The one principle that you need to know will help you to take action right now, instead of sometime in the future. “Tomorrow” turns into never.

That principle is called, “Just-in-time Learning.”

How does this work in practice? You reach out to companies. You explain that you’re a copywriter and that you want to help them.

The company will say, “great, we need someone who can write emails.”

Then, you say, “Ok!” and in the meantime you go and figure out how to write emails.

Just-in-time Learning prevents from learning how to write compelling copy before you start getting experience. You can learn how to write compelling copy while you get experience.

This is a much smarter way to become a copywriter.

So, you’re probably thinking, “how do I get clients if I don’t have a portfolio or experience?”

That’s what this article is all about.

Follow the 3 tips below to start getting clients today!

1. Ask Local Businesses

Make a list of local businesses that you like and want to work for.

For each of those businesses, look up the website and look at each of the components they are using:

  • Email Copy
  • Website Copy
  • Blog Copy
  • Sales Copy
  • and more…

Take some time today to look at the copy of each of these components. Is there room of improvement?

Then, find the person in charge of marketing on LinkedIn.

  1. Search for the Company Name + “marketing” or Company Name + “owner”
  2. Try “Connecting” with that person.
  3. If there is a connection, you’ll be able to “message” them.
  4. You can also start a trial period of Premium LinkedIn and message people before you connect.

Read the profile of that person, and look for some kind of “in”.

  • Did you go to the same school?
  • Do you have a similar connection?

Message them. Start a connection with them. Use your “in” to start a conversation.

Here is an example:

Hey, you don’t know me, but we both know (connection’s name) and I would love to connect with you. I’m available to help if you ever need (thing that I noticed about your website: blog posts, email copy, etc.) who knows how to (benefit for them. e.g.write compelling copy that engages your prospective customers)

This gets the conversation going.

Once they agree for you to help them with something, you can go find a resource online that teaches you how to do that thing.

For example if they say:

Hey, no. I’m sorry, we have somebody doing our emails for us, but we could really use someone to help write Facebook Ads for us. Can you do that?

The best thing for you to get practice is to say, “Yes” and go and search out for the best Facebook Ad resources you can find before actually doing the work for them.

Pretty soon, you’ll become the go-to person for Facebook Ads and you could get your career underway.

2. Job Boards, Reddit, Facebook Groups

Go to https://reddit.com/r/forhire and searching for “copywriting”. You’ll find jobs that you can apply for.

Go to https://craigslist.com. Go to the gigs part of Craigslist and see if there is anybody posting Copywriting jobs.

Next, go to Facebook and search for “Writing Job Board” where people are interested in hiring people for various copywriting or Freelance writing jobs.

Get your name out there. Use the fact that you don’t have a lot experience to make it a win-win for your future client.

Hey, I noticed you were looking for (type of copywriter job) but because I don’t have a ton of experience with (type of copywriter job), I can help you with that at a very competitive price. Here is a couple samples of my work.

Find some free resources about the type of copywriter work you’re interested in doing and write a few sample projects. You can write for products that already have copy written (see if you can do better than the copy already out there) or write copy for fictional products just so you can show off how you would write copy for them.

It might take awhile to get hits this way. But if you learn to adapt your messaging based on the feedback you get, you’ll be able to get experience and add projects to your portfolio.

3. Ask Your Friends and Family

Check to see if your family and friends know people that might need a copywriter. If they know anybody who has a private practice (lawyer, doctor, therapist, etc.) you might be able to help them bring in more clients.

You can start helping them for free as you start building your portfolio and experience. Then, you can take the leap into paid jobs with other people that need your services.

If you have a doctor, dentist or therapist that has their private practice, don’t discount having a conversation with them about writing their copy for them for free or even discounts for sessions with them.

You Don’t Need a Portfolio

You don’t need a portfolio if you’re willing to help people for free. You can build a portfolio very quickly (along with getting results for others) by simply helping people in exchange for experience or the promise of a referral.

If you can help people and show them that you can provide measureable value to them, you can start getting others to pay you.

You can start a lucrative freelance copywriting career just by taking smart action.

Once you start getting clients, you can then use “Just-in-time Learning” principles to figure out how to best proceed with what your clients need help with.


If you’re looking for other ways to get clients, including how exactly “just-in-time learning” works, including additional scripts and case studies throw your best email address in the box below to get new posts delivered to your inbox. Also, you’ll receive email list exclusive articles and tutorials for all your copywriting needs.