If you're having trouble attracting clients, and you really need a couple of copywriting jobs to start building your portfolio, you might want to consider joint ventures. They're easy to set up, and could be worth a substantial amount of money to you.
For instance, partner with somebody on a project where you write the sales copy for a discounted rate plus 5% ongoing commission on gross revenue. There are all kinds of entrepreneurs and business owners with great ideas who just need a talented copywriter to come alongside them to help launch whatever product or service they've developed.
Granted, this strategy can be risky. So another approach to take is this... Come up with your own business idea. You write the sales copy for your product or service and find someone to joint venture with you on the development of the product.
I'm involved in an agreement like this right now. I've partnered with a programmer who is developing a piece of software I envisioned. I wrote down all the specs for him. Now he's developing the software for a piece of the action. I'll write all the sales copy and will retain ownership of everything: the domain, the software, the revenue, etc.
The split my programmer and I have agreed to is this: 35/35/30. That means 35% of gross revenue will go to my programmer; 35% will go to me; and the remaining 30% will go toward operational and promotional costs. My programmer is entitled to his cut for 2 years after he ceases to have any active role in the project.
This might sound crazy, but I know my programmer well. And he's launching a product that we're also going to joint venture on. Except this time I'll be the one getting a piece of the action. The splits will be the same and I, too, will get my cut for two years beyond the time I have an active role in his project.
You can get creative with joint ventures and strategic alliances. They often won't provide you with instant cash (like the kind you receive for a big copywriting fee), but it's a good plan to work one or two solid joint ventures into your schedule.
If you don't know of anyone off-hand whom you could partner with, then you might consider finding your joint venture partner through an online joint venture network. One I highly recommend is JV Gold. Some of the top marketers belong to this network, so if you have a particularly strong idea or offer to make, you may catch the attention of some very influential people. And, for the next 117 people, you can get 30 days of access to the network for just $1. That means you can submit or respond to as many proposals as you like. And you even get access to all the bonuses (over $600 worth) for just a buck. Check out the joint venture network here.