5 Mistakes To Avoid In Your Freelance Portfolio

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Even when starting out as a freelancer, you need to have a freelance portfolio to get clients. Unfortunately, many are making these freelancing mistakes. Don’t make any of these costly portfolio mistakes.

  1. Not fit for your audience
  2. Too much in your portfolio
  3. Not Adding navigation
  4. Being vague
  5. No lead generation form

A portfolio is your client’s first impression of you. So would you want to show the client a sloppy portfolio?

If you had a job interview, you would dress up.

Put on your make-up, perfect your hair, and prepare talking points. So why would you not give your portfolio as much attention in getting clients?

Neglecting your portfolio doesn’t represent you and what you can offer the prospective client.

Looking good and having great talking points is all good.

Though, if you don’t have a portfolio that truly represents the work you’re capable of, you won’t get the client.

So don’t make the portfolio mistakes many freelancers are making.

Here’s the top 5 mistakes freelancers are making and how you can avoid making the same mistakes.

Not Fit For Your Audience


If your freelance portfolio is not fit for your audience then you’ll never be able to get work from that client.

When creating your portfolio, you need to consider what potential clients are wanting to see. That’ll help you avoid this costly portfolio mistake from the start of any conversation with a freelancing client.

Avoid this mistake and it’ll help them when deciding if they want to do work with 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.

Clients want to see what you can do for them on Pinterest. What pins and boards you’ve created that’s gotten great conversion rates ie pin clicks and engagements.

To fix this number one freelancing mistake, you need to learn to speak to your clients throughout your portfolio.

Speak to your potential clients in your portfolio and win that freelancing gig

Speaking to your potential clients throughout your freelancing portfolio requires

  • Storytelling
  • Clarity on who your ideal client is

Complete these, avoid the top porfolio mistake, and you’ll be nailing clients easily like a freelancing pro.

Get clarity and attract your ideal client to you

Before you ever start creating a freelance portfolio (or even if you’ve got one already) stop and get clear on who this is for.

Are you clear on who your ideal client is? When you don’t get clear you en up falling into the marketing trap of speaking to everybody and attracting nobody.

When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.

Meredith Hill

This is a brilliant marketing quote that I learned early on in my freelancing career and I always think about it whenever I’m creating any marketing material and adding pieces of work to my portfolio.

Start implementing this quote into your freelance business firstly by getting clarity on who your audience is.

Start getting clarity and attract them to you

To get clarity you don’t need to start doing Yoga or changing your diet. That’s not we mean. What you do need clarity on is who your ideal client is.

If you know who your ideal client is, carve out a couple of hours and really dedicate yourself to this task. You’ll be thanking yourself you did it when you’re effortlessly landing those exact clients later on.

Follow these steps to start identifying your ideal client.

  • Visualize that client you worked with. Who are they? Really dig deep into this.

Dig deep into their pain points and hopes. Really be able to paint a picture of what their vision of heaven and hell is. Nail it down so that you’re talking directly to them.

  • Research what they’re typing into Google or saying in Facebook groups

There are no sneaky tricks here or mind reading.

Instead what you need to do here is use the tool Answer The Public and Facebook groups.

Use Answer The Public and find out what your ideal clients are typing into Google

Answer The Public is essentially a keyword research tool. You use it by typing in the core keyword that they would use in solving a problem they’re having in their business.

From there the tool gives you a list of all the keywords being typed into Google.

Learn more about Answer The Public right here to use it efficiently and discover what keywords your ideal client is using.

Learn more about your ideal clients using Facebook groups and pin point their problem and hopes.

How to find Facebook groups you’re ideal clients are on and what you should be doing when there

Currently there are 2.89 billion monthly active users on Facebook right now according to recent data from Statista. What this tells you is that your ideal clients are on there.

Even if they’re not on Facebook to actively promote their business. They’re instead talking to friends, family, and hanging out with like-minded people.

These like-minded people are in the groups. You know those groups are are speaking to a specific tribe such as small business owners or even boss babes.

Join 5 – 10 groups your ideal clients are in and then start to engage with them.

Once you’ve joined those groups, change the setting so you’re notified for all new posts inside the groups. Doing this will help you to improve your engagement inside the group.

Whenever you get a notification from the group, you’re alerted to a new post. A post of someone expressing a wish or problem.

Use this information, respond to the post, and use it in your freelance business.

You can use this information in 2 ways. Firstly it helps you put together a portfolio (which avoids those mistakes) that’s a fit for your audience.

But secondly, it helps you to write a story that pin points those hopes and fears.

Use storytelling in your portfolio and get clients faster

Storytelling is done since time began. People have been telling stories by talking to friends aned family about their stories or stories of other people they’ve known.

We’re brought up with stories from birth. Been read books by our family telling fairystories. As we grow we get fed more stories with theatre, movies, and television.

Have you ever watched an episode of The Voice and not listened to th story behind the contestents. These stories are fed to the viewers at home so they emotionally connect with the participant on the show.

Storytelling is a very powerful marketing hack. A marketing hack that you can start putting into your freelance portfolio and helps you to avoid the number 1 portfolio mistake.

How to use storytelling in your freelance portfolio

Your freelance portfolio is a place where you put together pieces of work you’ve done for past clients.

However you managed to get that piece of work, there’s a story behind it.

A story of the client and their

  • Hopes
  • Struggles
  • Obstacles in completing the work
  • End result

Take a look at the pieces of work you can put in your freelance portfolio and think what’s the story behind it all.

When you can put together that story, it’s time to sit down and write it. Don’t do this and you’re potentially still making the portfolio mistake.

Simply avoid the pportfolio mistake and start embracing your inner copywriter.

Now you don’t need to be the most talented copywriter to do this, you just need to put across the feelings and evoke an emotional response from the potential client.

After all, you’re writing these stories so you’re potential client resonates with your past clients and see’s how you can help them.

3 point framework to write stories that resonate with potential clients

All stories that are written have a framework to them. Without a framework, you’re writing looks sloppy and has no clear structure that people can follow easily.

Use this 3 point framwework and potential clients will follow the story with ease.

  • Where the client was when you met them
  • What they wanted to achieve
  • End result they got from working with you

Using the example of a Pinterest assistant, their end result is beautiful Pinterest boards, engagement, and high click-through rates.

Prospective clients want to read these case studies as it visualizes for them what you can do for them.

Take it up another notch by adding a quote or video testimonial from the client you worked with before. Adding this social proof builds trust in your prospective clients that you’re the real deal.

Too Much In Your Portfolio

Yes! You can actually show off too much in your portfolio.

This may sound strange, but it’s actually true. So you really do have another reason to get super clear on who it is you want to serve and how.

Keep your portfolio down to a handful of samples for your specific client. Specific to the problem they want to solve or results they’re aiming for.

Make your samples easy for potential clients to find. A potential client has gone onto your website to find out what you can do for them.

What clients don’t want is to try and work out where they have to go to find your samples.

People by nature want things to come to them straight away. If your samples aren’t easy to find then the potential clients will just click off your website and forget about you.

An easy quick fix for this problem is to add a navigation to your portfolio.

Not Adding Navigation

Not adding navigation to your portfolio results in potential clients just exiting your website and not wanting to work with you.

By adding navigation to your website you make it easier for potential clients to find your work and you organise your samples in a more clear way.

For example, if you’re a freelance 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.

For example, a potential client that wants to work with a freelancer copywriter to write their Facebook Ad. They’re not wanting to see samples of blog posts the copywriter has written.

Potential clients wanting copy for their Facebook Ads want to see Facebook Ads you’ve written and the engagement on the posts. Plus, a testimonial or case study from the client you worked with.

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.

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.

How you can design your WordPress site easily

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 building your own website.

Build Your Own

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 nowhere near what I wanted and didn’t have the functionality I wanted.

I got my money back, thankfully.

Next steps

But then I came across the whole WordPress thing. Reading you can build and design the website however you want. Plus, you can have the functionality without spending a fortune.

Thinking that’s great, but what support will I get when I do something wrong. I’m not technically minded at all and never understood anything about website design.

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 choose BlueHost

Bluehost has been an amazing company to be with from day 1. With a support system where you can just pick up the phone or use the online chat support to get instant advice.

Additionally Bluehost offers

Ultimately you get a WordPress site that you can customize, design, and gives the functionality you need. All of this for only a fraction of the cost of a website designer, just a minuscule £3.25 a month.

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 that will do the job easily without spending a fortune.

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