As a work at home mom in most niches or industries, you’ll need to create samples for clients. This is especially the case for writers, photographers, crafters, and much more. Many customers or clients want to see samples that match what they’re looking for, whether it’s in the style of writing or the type of photography they’re thinking about.
So, where do you get those samples? Do you create something specifically for the client? Maybe you should have a portfolio on your site. What is the right etiquette for this?
Part of this is going to depend on the client. I can share from the view of a writer that clients will ask for “test articles.” Others are happy to see content I’ve previously written. Here’s what I do as a writer, and it may be able to fit your own industry.
Have a sample page on your site
You have a website, right? No matter what you offer, it’s always important to have a site, and on there, you can have a sample page. This is the perfect way to offer samples for clients because you just send them to the page on your website.
There are going to be different ways of doing this. You may have links to previously published content. You may have images of the work you’ve done. Some writers have opted for PDF files that can be downloaded.
Whatever you do, this page needs to look appealing. It also needs to showcase the different types of work you can do.
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Get posted on a high-authority site
Once upon a time, people told writers to get published on HuffPost. I’m not quite sure that’s a high-authority site anymore, but there are others. As a writer, you want to seek out the sites and gain “social proof.” Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Inc.com are other types of sites.
In the majority of these cases, you’re not going to get paid for your content. Just write one great piece, get your byline, and you have your social proof.
As a writer, I recommend focusing your content on the type of niche you want to break into. If you want to write about technology, find a site that focuses on that and come up with a sample that will wow. When you’re searching for tech clients, you can use that link as your sample.
As a photographer, you’ll want to get your images published on an authorities site. As a crafter, you’ll want to seek out sites where you could do something like a tutorial.
You can also do this with print publications. They’re not as popular anymore, but there’s often something out there.
Guest post or use revenue share sites
You could also get your content on other people’s blogs or use revenue share sites. There are pros and cons to both.
Guest posting gives you byline on an established blog. You can write an article and include your own photos, offering help for photographers and crafters to share their samples. This does need to be a two-way street. What will the blogger get from allowing you to guest post?
On revenue share sites, at least you can make a little money with your content. However, some of these sites are considered negative, so make sure you seek out the reputable places.
Make sure you have a range of samples
No matter where you’re going to put your samples, you need to make sure you have a range. If you’re choosing three places to get your social proof, have three different types of content in mind. As a writer, I’d recommend one that is an op-ed, one that is a long-form article, and one that is more of a how-to or guide article.
It’s hard for me to recommend types of samples for other areas of work, as I’m not in them. However, I’m hoping you get the idea on samples for clients with the writing ideas.
You want to cover all types of basis. Think about the types of work you want to do for clients. From there, you can make sure there’s at least one sample that shows you can do it.
If a client comes to you with another type of sample needed, you can seek out another place to create that. Or you can take the next step.
Get paid for your samples for clients
There are chances that you will create content specifically for a client. There’s nothing wrong with doing this. After all, you can then use it in your list of samples.
One thing I want to make sure you do is get paid for that sample. You shouldn’t do work for free. It doesn’t matter if you have no experience. If a client isn’t willing to pay for your time to do the sample, then there’s a chance that this client could turn into a PITA client.
The only “work for free” you’re doing is that one piece of social proof per high-authority website or for the guest post.
My issue with doing free work for clients is that this is the way some unscrupulous people get free work. They get in touch with multiple writers and ask for a free sample on a topic of their choice. Then they end up with all their content written without paying a penny. Yes, I’ve had it happen.
Also make it clear that you’ll be using that sample as a sample in the future. A client who has a problem with that is worrisome.
Watch out for working for free. You do need samples for clients, but you shouldn’t be writing them specifically for clients.