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Hi John,
It is really essential that you have a body of commercial work that you can show potential clients. I know that it is a chicken and egg situation (how do you get experience when no one gives you work) but a good way around this is to do some voluntary work – not freebies for commercial organisations, but rather for some charities.

I have also found that it’s a good idea to develop niche markets, as owners of steel fabrication businesses (for example) would be much more interested to see sites that you made for their competitors than anything you might have done for wedding photographers.

At the end of the day the only reason anyone wants a website is to sell product or service. If you can show that you know how to do this (and have the tenacity to stick with it) ultimately you must succeed.

Good luck