I think when you are a newbee you just don’t have a portfolio and some client are going to want to see something functional in the first instance. So the below maybe an approach you may consider and it aligns with Bruce’s 4th point.
Pick a topic where there is lots of content freely available and already written. You don’t want to blogged down actually writing prose for a project. If you pick a larger organisation this means the content probable lives within a powerpoint slide show somewhere in HR or the training department. You biggest challenge will be cutting the content down the 50 slides ie: instruction design job.
Try to select a topic that everyone within an organisation MUST complete. I’d steer away from a ‘niche areas’ as a newbee unless you are (or know) a Subject Matter Expert (SME). This offers you the broadest exposure to you skills and helps get buy in from the organisation from a holistic perspective.
Don’t pick a topic that is too big – select something that is manageable and that depends on how much time (and money) you have to burn.
So what the best topic to pick? What to do? Drum roll….
“walk into an organisation that you have a contact with and ask if you can revamp their “Corporate Induction” and put it online. As a Freelancer you’ll need to talk to clients, get briefs, offer advice to IT departments, control scope creep, costing (even if you don’t charge them at cost), and back cost your project and double check you costing assumption (that will help you accurately cost future projects). Why this topic? Simply because EVERY organisation must have one as part of their ‘onboarding’ and ‘compliance regime’. Sothat mean every large organisation represents a potential client.
You can show other large organisations something functional and it does not mean you can’t do concept work also. Bruce is right, after you have a critical mass of content in your portfolio, clients won’t want to see ever click of the button but you need to build your bona fides.
Attached is a checklist I built a while ago. It may help you decide what Corporate Induction topics and content needs to be included within your project. If that is too big a task, choose a cut down version to gain interest from your organisational champion (contact).
Hope it helps
Induction_FAY A Checklist.doc