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Finding freelance work online?
I am at my wits end as far as building a portfolio is concerned. All of the businesses I have asked are just fine with using Facebook as their website. I live in a town with only 8000 people and the nearest major city is a little over 500 miles away. There are no meetups and zero tech jobs in the area.
I am at the level of a junior developer and would like to find freelance work. I have no portfolio because I cannot find any work to put in it.
People usually do need and want to see a portfolio before hiring - so if I were you, I would try a few different ways to create one - you might approach a local restaurant, for example, and see if you could build them a menu site, or a local nonprofit which needs a website, or even a local politician. Real estate is another area which seems to have a lot of needs. Or ask your friends and family if they could use a website for their business or hobby. The first site or two might not be paid well or at all but at least they'd help you build your portfolio.
If nothing else, you could invent a restaurant and create a site for it.
After that, you could advertise on Craigslist or other directory listings in the nearest metropolis to try to get telecommuting gigs.
Can my portfolio be comprised entirely of self directed projects? Because that is where it looks like it is heading.
I think it's fine to start that way, but maybe good to have testimonials from people who have worked with you in other circumstances on your site as well as a temporary measure until you can get client testimonials. So future clients have a reference.