I'm Christina Lyon, a coffee sipping, piano playing, beach loving, word-obsessed freelance writer and musician. I'm on fire for helping freelance writers get paid and small biz owners succeed online. When I'm not reading or writing, I play music and explore the beaches and wild trails along the California coast.

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5 Steps To Build A Freelance Writing Portfolio From Scratch

Christina Lyon

Does the luxury of working from the comfort of home, or perhaps a cabana in the South Pacific appeal to you? Great, you’ve come to the right place! While working from home as a freelance writer sounds glamorous at a glance, you first have to build a freelance writing portfolio in order to get clients. This is generally where I lose people… easier said than done, right? Wrong.

If you really want to start freelancing, all the tools you need are not only right at your fingertips, but they are FREE. You read that right. Without further ado, here are 5 steps to help you build a freelance writing portfolio from scratch.

1. Create a blog or website

If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll want to build a freelance writing portfolio for potential clients to view samples of your work. Initially, this was the task that delayed my jumping immediately onto the freelancing bandwagon. Why? Quite simply, I didn’t know where to start. In hindsight, I realize that I had ample resources right in front of me waiting to be utilized. So, how can you get your words on the screen to show people?

Get online. Start a free WordPress, or purchase a basic plan with Wix, or Squarespace. Think about freelance writing niches that you ultimately would like to write about and start writing. Of course, it pays to upgrade to a premium plan so that your domain isn’t anchored down by a lengthy .wordpress.com after it. This is a great way to get your thoughts out, conceptualize ideas and route a freelancing strategy that’ll get you clients. If you need inspiration, research examples of freelance writing to help you brainstorm.

Keep in mind, your desired niche may not be where you end up. Initially, I wanted to write exclusively about travel, now the bulk of my clients are within the health and wellness industry. Am I complaining? Not one bit; I absolutely love it! The point is to be open-minded, because you really never know where your writing will take you, so roll with it. Since I started freelancing I’ve written about travel, lifestyle, beauty, alternative medicine, holistic healing, health and wellness, organization, even finance (not a subject I’m particularly passionate about).

Psst… here’s a secret: When I first started writing as a college student, I started with a free WordPress, then the more clips I got, I upgraded to have a website reflective of my brand. Gotta start somewhere!

2. Write content with clients in mind

Ok, now that you’ve found yourself a platform to share your writing on, let’s talk about content. Blogging initially started as a digital diary, a place to share your thoughts, musings, and art with the public. That’s great for personal expression, and I definitely recommend having a place on your blog for that. However, if you’re serious about freelancing, write content that resonates with target clients and helps you build a freelance writing portfolio.

Browse Upwork listings or freelancer sites for what type of content clients are in need of, and start writing it. They have a need you can easily fill this way. Shift the focus from chronicling your personal experiences to articulating information that’s informative, easy-to-read, and fun! Ultimately, freelance writers are hired to create content that serves the client’s readership or target audience. 

3. Write flawless content, PERIOD

Here’s the truth: If you want to get hired, your content must be perfect, period. It’s not enough to spellcheck alone. Your grammar, facts, structure, and voice need to be flawless. This doesn’t mean you’ll never have a typo (it happens), but do your best to avoid recurring errors that immediately undercut your chances of getting hired.

How do you ensure you have flawless content? Quadruple check your work, use Grammarly to edit your writing, have your wordsmith grandmother check your work. Lastly, never, and I mean NEVER lie or mix up your facts. Your clients need to know that from day one they can trust you to write honest, thoroughly researched content. As you build a freelance writing portfolio, you’ll land more high-quality clients that align with your high-standard of writing.

4. Expand Your Network

Now that you’ve fleshed out your blog or website with some killer content, let’s talk about how to make a writing portfolio! Are your articles good enough to get published by other sites? Try it. Do you have blogger or writer friends who might be interested in letting you write a guest post on their site? Do it. Have a favorite website that you’d love to contribute to? Use your blog posts as clips to submit to their publication. When you’re starting out, don’t focus on the monetary aspect, build a freelance writing portfolio by honing your voice and expanding your writing network. Get your byline (name) out there as often as possible, and the second you do, put it in your portfolio.

Use Clippings.me to build a freelance writing portfolio
Here’s a snippet of my portfolio on Cippings.me, the layout is simple, I can easily insert a URL and point clients to my work, all in one spot.

5. Now, let’s build a freelance writing portfolio

So, where do you want to put all of your work to show potential clients? It’s smart to have a content portfolio to display your work professionally. If you’ve got an Upwork or freelancer profile, put your work there. Additionally, utilize a free writing portfolio like clippings.me to showcase your best work. Add a freelance writing portfolio to your blog to showcase your work.

Now, was that so hard? I know it takes time to build a freelance writing portfolio, but essentially you’re also building a business. Good things come to those who wait work their asses off to do what they love. 🙂

There you have it! Get to work building your writing portfolio and you’ll be ready to start applying to freelance writing jobs in no time! Honestly, with so many free resources online, it’s never been easier to build a portfolio. Already have a blog? Grab more writing tips to polish your services and land high-paying clients. You’re only steps away from landing your first client!

If you’ve got questions, drop me a line in the comments, I’m here to help. Also, if you have a free writing portfolio resource, share the love below.



December 20, 2018

Freelancing Tips

*This post may contain affiliate links, and I may receive a commission on purchases made through provided links (at no extra cost to you).

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  1. Mary Lou Milstead says:

    Hi Christina,
    I like what you have here on your freelancing from scratch site. I am a published mystery writer with children’s book in the wings also. Would any of that be helpful?

  2. Mary Lou Milstead says:

    Hi Christina,

    Thank you for the info.

    I am a published mystery writer with some kid’s books waiting in the wings.

    Would that type of writing be helpful in the freelance portfolio?

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