Your portfolio is one of your most important assets as a freelancer. It’s the first thing many potential clients see from you, which will play a role in their opinion of you throughout the interview and proposal process. You just can’t skimp on your portfolio if you plan on getting a lot of freelance jobs. Here are five tips for building your freelance portfolio.
If you work in design or website building, it’s absolutely necessary that your own portfolio site showcases some of your skills. Otherwise, potential clients may be immediately turned off and move on to another candidate. Use your skills to make something creative and novel that will make your portfolio website stand out from the crowd. However, not everyone has the skills to build an attractive website. If you’re a writer, try to make a simpler site that allows you to showcase your writing abilities. Photographers can highlight their work by just choosing a visual website structure. There are several site builders that offer free hosting and templates. It’s a good idea, however, to purchase your domain name to give your portfolio that added bit of credibility.
If you’re building a portfolio to get freelancing gigs, you might not have a ton of real-world experience. That doesn’t mean you can’t start putting together a portfolio with some applicable clips or projects. One of the best ways to build a portfolio before you get freelancing jobs is to make your own theoretical assignments. Show potential clients what you can and want to do by creating dream projects. This is a great way to help gain experience while also filling out your portfolio.
Once you start getting jobs, it’s important that you get paid a fair rate for your work. There are a few ways to make sure you’re receiving the right amount of compensation. Search through forums to see what other people with similar levels of experience in your field charge for their services. After establishing your rates, it’s a good idea to use an online invoicing and payment program to make sure you get paid in a timely manner.
Typically, it’s best to let your work speak for itself. However, with a portfolio, it can be helpful to provide a bit of explanation. This can either be done in an “About Me” tab, or just on your portfolio’s homepage. Giving a bit of info about yourself, your dreams and your work ambitions will provide potential clients a better perspective of you. When your portfolio is speaking for you, it should tell people things that your work alone can’t translate for them.
Of course, you’re going to give the best possible rendering of yourself. Clients know this. And they also know to be skeptical of anyone who seems too good to be true. This is why recommendations from other people can be an invaluable addition to your portfolio.
Praise—either from professors, former bosses, or even blogs—shows your potential client that you’re someone who has delivered results in the past. They will then think that you’ll be a reliable freelancer to use for future projects. Past awards are also a great thing to post on your portfolio because they show a level of competence. If you’re not super experienced, you might not have any awards or client recommendations. Try Googling your name anyway. You might be surprised by what’s out there.
Building a portfolio is one of the most important aspects to becoming a freelancer. While it’s crucial that your portfolio embodies your own personal touches, incorporating a few of these ideas will help it stand out from the rest.