Do I need a portfolio of past projects to start marketing my consulting business?
My resume shows work experience in key account management where I presented sales presentations to retailers and buyers. My resume also shows work in the marketing agency setting where I was an account executive working on marketing programs like promotions, events, and sponsorships. I also did creative work for in-store POS. I don't have a portfolio that shows proof of these projects and I am wondering if I need this to start a consulting business or if I can just show clients the services that I offer now and appeal to current needs vs. previous work done as proof.
If you have done all the work, but cannot get access to actual samples, don't worry. You can easily get a promotional piece made up that covers everything. With sparkling copy writing, describe (preferably using a combo of pithy descriptive sentences and bulleted points) your specific areas of expertise. A good graphic designer can include several royalty-free photos that provide visual examples of the kinds of projects you worked on (POS displays, events, etc.).
It's a good idea to think strategically about exactly how you envision your consulting business to roll out, so that your elevator pitch and collaterals (including your website) highlight the work you want to get hired for now.
I'd also suggest contacting some of the folks you did projects for to see if you can get one or two testimonials (which can be anonymous, just stating company industry and type of project if that's their preference). Include those in the promo card or brochure and your website. With a professionally designed tool kit (a website, business card, brochure, promo card and oversized postcards that you can get a PDF of to send out online) featuring a smart, professionally designed logo and tag line, you should be ready to rock!