Even when starting out as a freelancer, you need to have a freelance portfolio to get clients. Freelancers who have been around for a long time have these flash websites with there portfolio’s built into it.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are ‘affiliate links’. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.
Creating A Freelance Portfolio
Looking at your competitors portfolio, you may get the sudden attack of imposter syndrome.
Forget that and start creating your own freelance portfolio.
Everybody has to start somewhere. And you’re starting here today!
So lets go through how you’re going to create one and what not to never ever include.
What Not To Include In A Freelance Portfolio
As you know you’re not the only freelance writer, graphic designer or virtual assistant out there. So, you need to make a good impression!
But unfortunately, freelancers are making these costly mistakes in their freelance portfolio.
Portfolio Mistake #1 | Not Fit For Your Audience
When creating your portfolio, you need to consider what potential clients are wanting to see when deciding if they want to work for you.
For example, let’s say you’re a Pinterest graphic designer for clients who work in the women’s fashion industry. They want to see a portfolio that will leave them with the wow factor.
These clients are not looking for examples of Pinterest boards of different industries or post examples for other social media platforms.
Portfolio Mistake #2 | Too Much In Your Portfolio
Yes! You can actually show off too much.
Keep your portfolio down to a handful of samples for each specific client type.
For example, if you’re a copywriter. You can have a handful of samples for each of these areas
- Social Media Ads
- Email Marketing
- Website Copy
- Blog Posts
Make it easier for clients to get the right samples they want to look at faster.
Do this easily, by adding easy to use the navigation on your website.
Portfolio Mistake #3 | Not Showing Your Work
Hang on! Haven’t you just explained that you need to show a few samples of your work?
I hear you screaming.
Do you remember your school Maths lessons? You were always told to show your working out. Well, the same rule applies to your freelance portfolio.
Clients want to know the story behind the sample. This is what is included in a good story
- Who the client was
- What the client wanted
- Any struggles the client was having
- How you helped the client
- End results the client helped
Write the story in the form of a case study that potential clients can click on a link too.
Plus, repurpose the case study for
- Social Media posts
- Email newsletters
Portfolio Mistake #4 | Being Vague
Another problem that freelancers miss, is not telling the clients about who they are.
Potential clients need to know who they are buying from. Therefore, start introducing yourself.
Introduce yourself on the About me page. Saying just find me on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter is not enough. You need to include an About me page and then redirect them to your social media.
Another mistake with being too vague, is not even giving away your contact details.
Why do you think there is even a contact page?
Just by having a contact page with your phone number and, or email address is enough. Enough for the potential client to contact you over any future projects.
Portfolio Mistake #5 | No Lead Generation Form
Your contact page is not the only way to start conversations with clients.
You’ve seen the contact forms sprinkled on websites such as when you go to buy your home insurance. You can also place contact forms on your website.
These contact forms are quick and easy ways for potential clients to leave their email address or phone number securely.
With a WordPress site, you can get a free template that allows you to add lead generation forms in the header, sidebar, and footer.
Argh, a WordPress site. Doesn’t that cost tons to have designed?
Cost of website design
Freelancers are paying website designers hundreds or even thousands of GBP. As a newbie freelancer you do not have the money to pay this humongous amount of dosh. Especially if you are in the position where you are counting every penny that comes in and goes out.
Is there an alternative?
If you are thinking to yourself, I just can’t afford that!
Don’t give up and throw in the towel just yet.
You still have hope with these 2 options. Option 1 will require very minimal costs and option 2 is completely free. Yes, that’s right. I said free. So let’s look further at your 2 options in a tad bit more detail.
Option 1 | Build Your Own Website
You may be looking at that heading in absolute horror thinking
“I can’t build a website, I have zero design and technical abilities, especially when it comes to a website”
I feel you, I was the same when I started. In fact I was so overwhelmed by the whole thought of it. I paid a web designer (what I thought was a great deal) money which I didn’t really have. What I got in return was a website that was no where near what I wanted and didn’t have the functionality I wanted.
I got my money back, thankfully.
But then I came across the whole WordPress thing. Reading you can build and design the website to however you want. Plus you can have the functionality. I thought that is great, but what support will I get when I do something wrong as I am not technically minded at all.
With zero understanding of coding or any other computer technical jargon, I still need that support.
Getting the support
After hours of looking for companies that offer the support I need and reading reviews, I finally chose.
Bluehost was the clear winner by far.
Why I chose BlueHost
Bluehost has been an amazing company to be with from day 1.
– BlueHost has a support system where you can just pick up the phone or use the online chat support to get instant advice.
– Bluehost offers a free domain for the first year. This has saved a little bit of extra money.
– Bluehost gives you a WordPress site that you can customize, design and give the functionality you need.
All of this for only a fraction of the cost of a website designer, just a
Option 2 An offline portfolio
Create a portfolio on Google docs. Use Google Word, SpreadSheet or Slideshow to create your portfolio.
Next, download the files as a word doc, PDF, video or web page.
Use these files to present your clients with your work.
Worried you won’t look professional?
All freelancers have to start somewhere and what clients just care about is your capabilities to do the task you say you can do.
In a nutshell,
Having a portfolio for your freelance business is essential to get you off the ground running. But you don’t need a fancy pants website to do it. You can build a website yourself which will do the job. Or if you have no money at all you can just send free samples of your work using Google Docs.