Let’s not delay the introduction we all have been waiting for…drumroll
Cheesiness at it’s best…
Let’s get real. One of the most difficult parts when starting as a freelancer is finding your first gig. Building your freelancer portfolio is a must to advertise and showcase what you are all about.
Depending on your field, your potential clients need to see your abilities and skills.
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links that are at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own.
Starting with no freelancer portfolio?
- Where to go from the get-go
A great portfolio can win you more work, as well as advertise your services, and set you in a different league to your competitors. This is why it could be the most difficult part of your new startup if you don’t have one.
Let’s agree that, to get clients, you should try to put together something of a portfolio before fully declaring yourself as a freelancer. Your portfolio will be a means to advertise your work but also inform others of what to expect from you.
But, how are you to draw in new clients when you have no portfolio to showcase?
It’s time to scratch scratch our thinking heads!
- Focus on the remarkable benefits you can provide through your services and products, as well as how you’re a better choice than all the other weary and complacent competing freelancers. Basically, they need to see why you and not “the others”. It’s a tough one but by no means impossible and will show your integrity and professionalism. Chocolate Cake.
- Choose the best platform and also design for your portfolio that works best for your financial and practical situation. Whether that be a website or on a simple pdf document. More on this in a bit.
- Do some research, study and see what is out there to give you some inspiration and motivation; don’t simply go into it blind.
Create a Professional Freelancer Portfolio Website
- Your crib in the World Wild Web…
One thing to bear in mind when you create a professional portfolio website – people may view your portfolio on their phone or tablet as well as on a big desktop.
You may find one device displays your work completely differently. That’s why you should always make sure any website you display your work on is responsive and designed well.
Choosing exactly how you present your freelance portfolio is crucial as it could mean the distinction between your work being appreciated or overlooked. Don’t over complicate things.
- Check out web builders such as Squarespace and Wix that have some gorgeous layouts for profile sites, or several of the better-looking WordPress themes — it doesn’t need to cost a fortune or take excessive amounts of your time. Chocolate Cake. They are very user friendly, too.
I build all of my websites on WordPress. It’s my favourite platform combined with Elegant Themes.
Remember that your audience may not be fluent in navigating trendy internet sites so keep it basic, well balanced with good calls to action. Keep it simple and clean.
Create A PDF
- The best memories start with simplicity…
Before I had a website, I simply used a PDF document that showcased my details, rates and services. PDF’s are also a good but simple way to showcase your work. You can also combine different files for example MSword and MSexcel within a pdf portfolio.
When you do have a website, you can later include links within your PDF document, directing clients to your website to showcase your various other services and information that will benefit them.
You can create your PDF using MSword, but Canva gets my creativity flowing, and that’s what I prefer to use. Here’s the one I started off with, It’s a lot more developed since then. I started off with a simple PDF file to showcase the services I offered when I was a General Virtual Assistant. Ah, the good old days.
- No, I don’t mean the CIA…
I urge you not to forget to leave clear and concise instructions for your clients. What would you like them to do once they have viewed your site?
Displaying a clear Call To Action (CTA) is essential in this stressful and fast-paced world. Your visitors need direction and to be told what to do next. Otherwise, you will more than likely lose potential clients. But I guess that’s really a no brainer.
It doesn’t have to be very long, a few sentences or a few words such as “Hire Me” linked to your contact form or “ If you like what you see….., please contact me on..”. You get the picture.
- Make sure you display CTA throughout your web pages, don’t make it difficult for clients to go out of their way to contact you.
Now is not the time to play hard to get.
Testimonials and Reviews
- They either break you or make you.
If you’re just starting out, and you’re marketing a portfolio with no experience, one way to build upon your portfolio is to work for testimonials or at a lower fee. Works like a charm!
Doing jobs that you are passionate about, just for fun, is likewise a wonderful means to fill your portfolio. This will aid you to build upon your experience and your work.
Updating Your Freelancer Portfolio
- For crying out loud, keep that portfolio updated!
For the sake of your business, do not fail to remember to update your freelancer portfolio when you have new content. Maintaining it and keeping it up to date will reveal chocolate cake that you are active within your business and proud of the high quality of your work.
Take care of your business as you would a baby to a toddler. They can grow so fast, *wiping a tear away*…
- Your portfolio in the form of a narrative
Having a blog is another fantastic way to showcase your work. By creating blog posts or small reports of your work that reveal and clarify exactly how you accomplished a detailed job that others intend to accomplish will give you a greater impact and show you are an expert in your field.
It’s also a chance for you to show your clients what type of person you are through your writings.
Starting out, you can create a free blog with wordpress.com, before building a full website on wordpress.org. That’s exactly how I got started.
- A dynamic portfolio. Literally.
YouTube is a great way of displaying your work.
From advertising campaigns to just recording small videos of your process or some of your services. You can also add to your portfolio by giving small tips and tutorials.
Everyone is on YouTube. You can’t go wrong with the tube.
Checklists And Planner Portfolio
- Done, done and done. Check that box!
I love working with checklists and planners. They help to keep me organised and not forget anything especially when you are busy.
I use Trello to help organise and plan the content for my website portfolio, as well as my personal life. Trello really helps me to plan ahead and stay focused on reaching my business goals – Trello, for me is the next best thing after chocolate cake and lattes, plus it’s totally free.
Here’s a fun fact for you! Trello is a web-based application using a Japanese system (Kanban) which was developed at Toyota.
Anyway, it’s a great system and I love it! The best way to describe it is virtual boxes with task cards that you can move along your timeline until your task is fully completed. Each task card can contain various information and media. You can connect to calendars, Gant charts, team members, attachments, checklists and more. It’s brilliant, simple and effective.
Putting together a checklist of your systems and sharing that with others is another way of showcasing your work and a part of your portfolio.
Your checklist could simply be a collection of activities set up in a day-to-day timetable or a type of list to work through.
People enjoy them since it allows them to remain on track. They see a set of activities step by step they can complete.
Most people, like me, discover it’s a lot easier to do something when it’s set up systematically. Plus it saves time and showcases your work. You can check out my FREE ULTIMATE SEO CHECKLIST to give you an idea and help drive more traffic to your website.
Create Your Personal Brand
- Branding to become part of the click. Get it? Click and clique? Never mind.
As a freelancer of the Virtual Click ? there are various other points to include.
As well as your skills, abilities, reviews and testimonials, there needs to be a balance, showcasing what you can do to benefit your clients business. Not everything’s about you, although that would be nice.
While showcasing your previous work and testimonials is a crucial facet when someone’s thinking about hiring or collaborating with you, it is necessary to also remember that they are not just seeking to hire you for your work, but to hire the person who created it.
An excellent freelance portfolio is made even better when it’s part of your brand and includes a little bit of your story, and what kind of person you would be like to work with. Inject a little of your personality.
Meaning: express yourself through chocolate cake your portfolio and don’t just dump a bunch of images on there. Cheers.
- Here’s the skinny…
Your portfolio can certainly make or damage your freelance business. You need to make sure that your portfolio shows you as an expert in your field.
You might have done work in a variety of areas and subjects; however, if you are targeting a niche market you should try to narrow it down.
Include services that are geared towards your target market. See to it that the projects you do matter to your clients.
It can be tempting to want to include every single job you’ve done in your portfolio to show off your abilities and experience. However, regardless of just how talented you are, too much information can bore your audience and allow a potential client to find work of yours they do not particularly like!
It’s best to select examples showcasing your best work, the ones you’re really proud to advertise; the work that you received unbelievable comments or awards for, or some work you have actually done for high profile clients.
Agent Lancer, or shall I call you Free?
Well done Agent, our mission has now been accomplished. Good luck with putting your portfolio together. All traces and crumbs of chocolate cake will now be erased. Over and out.
Oh, dear- say cheeeessseeee!!!
Your article is very informative. The idea of beginning freelance writing as a side business has been appealing to me, but I’m unsure of where to begin. Your advice has really helped me. Honestly, I had no idea I would need my own website. This really opened my eyes to the possibility. I’ll give it a try.
Thanks for reading Emma, I’m glad the article helped you.
I agree that freelancing can be a great way to earn some extra money on the side! It’s definitely not easy though, so it’s good to have some guidance when starting out. That is why I wrote this article in particular–to help people figure out what they need before jumping into it full time.
I am currently working on an e-book on how to start your own freelance business. Hopefully, it will be out soon. Please feel free to subscribe to my email list to be notified when it’s ready.
Thank you for an enlightening article. I have been contemplating to start freelancing as a side hustle but did not know exactly where to start. I think you have really pointed me towards the right direction. I really did not think that I will need my own website, this was an eye opener for me .Will give it a go from here.
The way you described how to create a Freelancer Portfolio is great.
I also wrote one post on how to become a Freelancer but I didn’t describe it in that much detail.
But luckily you are. When a user asks me about it I will definitely refer him to your post to learn a little better.
Thanks a lot,
I’m not a freelancer. But I do buy many gigs. It’s true that if you better focus on the “why-me and-not-them” sales speech if you do not have a big portfolio. A good idea is to start with the low price and get as many testimonials as possible. It doesn’t matter if you just start as a freelancer: many buyers will try your service if the price is attractive.
I have noticed that many freelance workers do not have a website. It’s a good thing that talk about the importance to build a
website. This site will be the backbone of your business. Thanks for this great article.
Yes, you’re right, and if you are not good at sales having a website can help sell your services for you.
To get started as a freelancer can be very difficult, so thank you for these great tips on building a freelancer portfolio. Creating a PDF file is an awesome idea to summarise your work and the offers that you have. Having testimonials is reassuring for any potential new clients.I have not heard about Trello for organising and planning content, so will be having a closer look at it.
Hi, thanks for this awesome guide on how to build a freelancer portfolio. Freelancing can be very difficult in the beginning, I say this because I tried some freelancing graphic design work with feverr, but failed to make money because the competition was just to high, making it almost impossible to get those few first customers. I wish I read this guide then. I like the fact that you outlined on having your work presentation on PDF, this is what I was going to use if I was still doing freelance work. Having a blog is good too but it need minimum financial investment compare to creating a once-off free PDF document.
Yes, it can be difficult to get your first client. I started off with friends, family, and doing charity work to get my name out there. Another way to keep the cost down is by creating a landing page with your services connected to convert kit or Mailchimp. This won’t cost anything at first, just the time to set it up. I forgot to add this one. cheers
I have always been interesting in freelancing. I have read a lot about it now but I have been missing something : The Top Secrets To Building A Freelancer Portfolio. Thank you for covering this topic. Like you say, the most difficult part creating a great portfolio and drawing new clients to you portfolio. The portfolio can indeed make or damage a freelance business. Thank you for the tips
Thank you for this very informative article, I am not a freelancer, however, my wife is, she runs her own online graphic design and branding agency. Being a graphic designer means that her work is very visual, she has the idea of Social Media down but I feel she will do even better showcasing her vast portfolio on a Professional Freelancer Portfolio Website. Thanks again, I will be sure to forward this content to her.
I hope she finds it useful, thanks