If you have 'spare' connects (usually I don't use all of mine) then it might be worth sending a proposal if you think you can do the job using your own methods. For instance, people sometimes ask for a DXF file to be drawn using AutoCAD. You can produce the exact-same result using Solidworks, just the process of getting there will be different. For the portfolio -I basically have a selection of about 10 -20 previous projects, explaining the project, the process of creating it and the final outcomes. It doesn't have to be complex - maybe only a page, or three or four images for each project. Clients can then see your range of skills and experience and you can also highlight specific pages (or add extra pages) if you have something that's particularly relevant to their job. For the 5% fees - I'm afraid it's on a per-client basis, not your total earnings. Up to $500 per client you get charged 20%, then $501-10,000 you get charged 10%, then everything over that is 5%. So you need to do a lot of work for one person!