Do I need a portfolio of past projects to start marketing my consulting business?
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.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!
Best of luck!