Definately, you need to be honest and upfront with your clients.
Now, regarding doing most of the work without research... the more you know the better but even with things I already know I try to do my research.
The difference is that I do it if I have the time. Just in case that there's a new technique that it is interesting to learn.
Regarding the customers, this is a question that have been asked many times and there are plenty of threads about the subject. Try to search the forum first.
Still, just as a tip, people that can interview you and are close to where you live/work are more likely to hire you. Now, if you've never worked in this field before, you would need a porfolio. One option is to help a charity for a very low price and do an effort to create a good website that you can then show to your next contact (of course, if you follow this path, don't overdo it. You don't have to build the very best web in the whole wide word, just something that really fulfill their needs. And don't give them enough ideas... My experience with charities is that you give them a hand and they take the whole boday if you let them :lol: They always ask for more! :D)
Charities are a good starting point if you know how to handle them.