I use Elance to find projects when I am between private clients. On Elance, I maintain a complete profile. It includes my experience, my standards, and more. The one thing it does NOT include is a portfolio of my work.

Plagiarism runs rampant in the freelance community. This is a sad, but true, fact. I have seen complete profiles copied. On a related note, I have also seen jobs listed on oDesk for contractors to take the Elance entrance exam for someone. I don’t know how to solve the problem, but that is just plain wrong.

What do I do to attract clients without a portfolio attached to my profile? I have one item in my portfolio. It explains the plagiarism issue and states that I will gladly provide samples of my writing with any proposal. Sure, there is still risk involved, but it is minimized exponentially.

If you can’t do something without copying someone else’s hard work, find something else to do.