Freelance Marketer and Podcast Host. See what I’m up to, learn more about my work, or contact me below.

    How I’m building a content portfolio, ‘without experience’

    I started my marketing career in 2012 when I made greeting cards together with my brother and sold them online.

    Back then, my brother had co-opted me to help him. He was the artist who came up with the great designs, and I was supposed to be the business head to help him in that mission.

    His logic was that because I had read all these marketing and business books, played around with a few blogs, so I was qualified to help him out.

    He gave me about 50% of the shares in the company and I moved to London to work with him on it.

    We argued constantly. I couldn’t find a way to add much value to his business and in 8 months I gave him back his shares in the company.

    I was so frustrated. I blamed him for it, but largely because I was embarrassed in myself. I thought I knew what I was doing because I had read about it. Not because I had experienced it.

    I then moved through a series of marketing positions in-house until I started working for myself as a freelancer in 2017.

    Along the way, I never really bothered creating a portfolio. I figured I’d wait until I had some bigger results to show for my work.

    I had wins, sure, but nothing that really stood out to me is groundbreaking to turn into a case study for example.

    Improvements were too incremental to turn into a formal case study.

    But this year, I decided to change this and finally build a portfolio of work to attract better clients.

    Thankfully, I re-read a book by Austin Kleon called Show Your Work which teaches that you should show the work that you were doing in progress.

    It sunk in this time: I should’ve started with what I didn’t know and journaled my progress to learning how to do it, all along.

    I didn’t need to work until I had completed a massive campaign successfully in order to build my portfolio.

    Every question or issue in marketing that I needed to solve could have been turned into a blog post that was updated over time.

    I could’ve shared references on books that I read to try and work out the problem. I could’ve charted my progress over time.

    And by showing the numbers, naturally create case studies and other content from my progress.

    Better yet, journaling my progress helps capture the incremental wins and learnings along the way. I don’t have to wait for the windfall result.

    Looking back, I spent too much time following the motions. I could have been journaling: documenting my assumptions, testing techniques, and charting my results.

    Now I document my process on my blog, starting from what I don’t know how to do well.

    If anything, it’s given me more freedom to write and talk about things, because I don’t need to be an expert already.

    And I find the responses have been quite positive.

    People seem to find the work to be far more authentic when you chart your progress and what you learned about the topic at hand.

    Maybe it’s something to do with seeing how much work has gone into learning a particular skill. People can see all the videos watched, blogs and books read, and tests, wins, and losses along the way.

    Thankfully, now I have almost too much work to share.