Building Your Portfolio As A Freelancer

September 29, 2021

Succeeding as a freelancer is dependent on many variables. What you've probably heard is the convenience and flexibility that come with being a freelancer. The ability to choose your clients, determine your working hours, and, of course, the very lucrative aspect of it is all that's very open to people. But in the real sense, there is more to it. Many factors, such as possessing the right skill, getting a website, setting up a professional profile, portfolio, amongst many others, are very crucial to the success of any freelancer. 


Speaking of a portfolio, while word of mouth is an excellent tool for getting your name out there, building a freelance portfolio website will not only make you stand out in a potential client or employer's mind, but it will continue to speak for you even if you're not available. 


The advantages of a solid and professional portfolio include higher profile views and better-quality job invites from prospective clients, as well as increased confidence in your abilities and professionalism even if you're relatively new to any freelance platforms. 


Your portfolio shows your prospects what you can do through projects you've worked on. It gives them some level of assurance in your expertise. However, if you're new to your freelancing niche,  building a collection of work you're proud of might seem almost far-reaching. Interestingly, even with only a few projects under your belt, YOU can create one of those envy-inducing, client-bating portfolios.


Below are four ways to do it! 


Create Your Own Freelance Portfolio


Yes, you read that right. Create your own portfolio. After all, how do you convince your prospects of your expertise if you can't convince yourself?

Hence, if you're a web designer, developer, graphic designer, illustrator, or content marketer, creating your own portfolio is a great way to start.

As a web developer, code up your site from scratch. If you are a copywriter, write killer copies for your brand. If you're a graphic designer, brand your website in your signature style.


More so, if you have more than one area of expertise, your portfolio should reflect your range of skills. For example, let's say you're a web developer and also a graphics designer. To show potential clients how multi-talented you are, you can upload about two or more portfolios showing your latest graphics and website design. 


Each one will be categorized separately with its own unique project description. This allows you to demonstrate to potential clients the kind of work you can do, and your portfolio itself is a project you can use to showcase your skills. 


Include The Most Important Elements


It's imperative you know that your portfolio isn't just a collection of all your past gigs or projects. Although a collection of all your past projects might impress someone in your industry, a client who isn't well familiar with the details of your niche might get turned off easily. In simple terms, your portfolio should bridge that gap. How? 


Ensure you add explanations to your portfolio to preempt questions your prospects might have, such as your pricing, working style, or niche expertise. 


Another way is saying what you can do for them instead of what you can do. As a content marketer, rather than saying that you write epic sales copy, say that you can triple their email open rates and double their conversions, for example.


Explain the exact type of work you can do for them and make it very easy for them to contact you. 


Leverage Your Portfolio Creatively


Nobody wants to read a boring portfolio. In fact, you lose your potential clients if you're not creative with your portfolio. Remember, the goal is to make your portfolio captivating, not just a copy of your "Employment history" information. 


Think of each item in your portfolio as its own story. Use images, animations, short stories about a challenge you have solved, screenshots of your work— spreadsheets, research documents, apps, social media posts, visual representation of your successes using diagrams, charts, or graphs, and lots more to keep your potential clients interested in hiring you. 


More so, testimonials can greatly increase your chances of getting hired. Reviews from former colleagues or clients are great add-ons to your portfolio. Make sure to make any quotes or testimonials you're using visually appealing.


Your Portfolio Regularly To Reflect Your Skills


Your portfolio is an ongoing project. You ensure to update it regularly. The good thing about updating your portfolio is that you get to add your most recent jobs, which definitely kick out obsolete projects. As you hone and improve your skills, let your prospects know how good you've become by updating your portfolio. 


You can either revamp old project descriptions to call out the skills and expertise currently in demand or delete them altogether.


Also, your portfolio doesn't have to contain only paid gigs. It can also include your practice projects if you feel they are relevant and good enough. 


Every project improves your skill; adding it to your portfolio will help make you a more valuable professional in the market.


However, be sure you get the permission of your clients before adding their projects to your portfolio. Once you have the go-ahead, upload the screenshot, paste the link, and point it out to the next client to come your way. 


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