Land your first client with no portfolio and no experience

Easily one of the questions I get asked most often:

“John… everything you’re saying about freelancing sounds awesome. I want to start, but I don’t have any experience or anything to put in a portfolio… how can I get hired when I don’t have anything to show clients?”

My usual answer is…

“Get stuff.”

Meaning, you don’t have to do projects for clients to put them in your portfolio. In fact, one of the most famous painters of all time, Leonardo Da Vinci, did this all the time. One of his most famous “works”, the Vitruvian man (Google it)…

Wasn’t a commissioned work.

He sketched it in a notebook to show would-be patrons that he’d mastered the proper proportions of the human body — since realism was big at that time. A simple “doodle” in his notebook now sits in a prestigious museum in Venice.

Portfolios are simply about demonstrating what you’re capable of.

So, you can put anything that does that in there.

It’s good advice.

However, it’s not the only way to get hired when you don’t have any experience. In fact, there’s a method I teach to get clients that, strangely, seems to bypass all the vetting and “feeling out” that normally happens before a client hires you.

Every time I’ve done this, I was handed leads on the spot.

Never showed them my portfolio.

They barely even knew my name.

Yet, they’d want to hire me.

It was odd to say the least. Of course, I obviously can’t guarantee you’ll have the same results, but that was my experience with it (and several other family and friends of mine who I showed this to).

If you’re new and don’t have a portfolio or experience…

This could help you bypass all that and land your first client.

And, if you do a good job, one client can be all you need to get rolling — referrals, testimonials, now you have something in your portfolio, confidence, etc.

Anyway, up to you to figure out if that’s something you want.

But, I teach you this method in my Freelance Feast course.

I’m currently running an “Off-Site Launch Sale”… for those of you who like to own your training outright. The course is currently $134 off the regular price — but only until June 4th at midnight. After that, the price gets jacked back up where it belongs.

So, if you want it, time is short.

Link to learn more about the course and the sale is here:



P.S. If you’re a patron of mine on Patreon, you already have access to this course (and all my courses) on Patreon here:

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John Morris


I’m a 15-year veteran of freelance web development. I’ve worked with bestselling authors and average Joe’s next door. These days, I focus on helping other freelancers build their freelance business and their lifestyles.

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Thabo Motsoahae

John is one of the best instructors I have come across, I learned a lot from his online tutorials.

Andrew Malone

Andrew Malone

John Morris is exceptional in his ability to give focused insight into Freelancing and starting one’s business. His direct methods inspire confidence in his honesty.

Oliver Wainwright

Oliver Wainwright

I’m a fan. I have completed several of John’s courses. I find him very knowledgeable and he has a great delivery.

Bob Patterson

Not only is John a very talented programmer and developer, he is also an excellent communicator. He has a talent for taking complex subjects and communicating them in terms that anyone can understand. This is a rare combination. This ability has enabled me to take my skills and knowledge to the next level. Thank you John for for all that you do.

Bradley Smith

John and I have worked together on numerous projects. John is very quick and efficient and was a pleasure to work with.

Jim DeJonge

Jim DeJonge

John has a relaxed and engaging manner. His advice is solid and the explanations are well thought out.

Daniel Mohlendick

On the Freelancing on Upwork course: “This is by far the best course i have watched on Skillshare!! Thank you so much.”

Ray Edwards

I recommend John every chance I get. If every person I worked with were as committed to excellence, punctuality, value, and unquestionable integrity… the world would be a better place. Highest recommendation.

Xan Barksdale

Xan Barksdale

Very professional worker who is extremely knowledgable in WordPress and Wishlist Member. I would definitely hire again.

Steve Dimmick

Steve Dimmick

John has provided expert knowledge and advice on multiple occasions that have helped me better serve my clients. John is a Rockstar!

Sukh Plaha

John is a fantastic and patient tutor, who is not just able to share knowledge and communicate it very effectively – but able to support one in applying it. However, I believe that John has a very rare ability to go further than just imparting knowledge and showing one how to apply it. He is able to innately provoke one’s curiosity when explaining and demonstrating concepts, to the extent that one can explore and unravel their own learning journey. Thanks very much John!

Chris Aitken

He significantly improved my site through his expert knowledge of PHP, CSS and Javascript. Would definitely recommend John to others.

Lori Grant

John did an outstanding job on my project. I highly recommend him and look forward to working with him on future projects.