Your web site is one of the most important selling tools you have at your command to help you increase your business and become a successful freelancer.
Just starting out and don't have much to show? Here's what you can do:
Take an ad that you hate and show how you would do it better.
Take a logo that is bad and show how you would redesign it.
Love an ad campaign? How would you design the next ad in the series?
Show your samples side by side.
BUT DON'T WORK WITHOUT GETTING PAID.
There are many people out there that are looking for designers just starting out. "Your work for me will look great in your portfolio." I'll tell everyone how great you are." "I'm just starting out too.. help me and I'll give you more work and some money in the future."
Wrong. These people will not respect what you do for them and since you are giving it away, they are not "invested" in it.
Believe me.. it's better to spend your time creating high end creative as an exercise that shows what you can do compared to established professionals.
Bottom line... build a web site to showcase your work then list your site with as many free sites that you can. The more links to you the better your chances are of being contacted. Always carry your business cards with you. You never know who you will meet. Direct them to your site and always get a fee for your services.