There can be a thousand reasons why you would want to make an impressive portfolio. You might be looking for a job, an internship or simply you want to update it to include all of your latest projects. No matter what your purpose is, it is too important to build your freelancer portfolio to land high-paying clients.
As indicated by UpWork/FreelancersUnion, More freelancers accept their profession is more steady than a normal everyday job by having an expanded portfolio of clients than a job with one employer.
As per the annual report of freelancer.com in the year 2016, they received a total of 10.6 million job postings from clients with a total of $3 billion in paid transactions. India has about 15 million freelancers and they have been significantly boosting the growth of startups. The survey highlighted that 23% earned in the range of Rs 40-Rs 45 lakh annually.
So, what's next? To get the job you want, you need a strong portfolio. To make your life easier we've discussed everything you need to know about building a freelance portfolio for your freelance work.
What Is Portfolio in Freelancing?
A freelance portfolio is like a professional introduction letter that contains all the relevant information about a person like his/her work experience, projects, skills, his all-around personality, and his contact information. It is also an important tool to show why you as a freelancer might be different and also better than others.
Even students with practically zero work experience can build their portfolios. That can include their academic work, school or college projects, workshops attended, participation in competitions, photos or publications in magazines and newspapers. Here we give you 10 tips to build a good and efficient freelancer portfolio to showcase your talent and abilities.
How to Create a Portfolio as a Freelancer? (15 Tips)
1. Choose Your Audience First
Your freelancer portfolio should be specific to the professional you aim to cater to. Take time to research what kind of services your clients need, which services are the most sought after and which ones are the highest-paid. See how much of those can you include in your portfolio.
With so many fellow freelancers to compete with, India can prove to be a rather challenging market. Consequently, it’s smarter to seek clients with a portfolio that is tailored to their exact needs.
2. Create A Website To Showcase Your Work
As a freelancer in India, you are always looking for ways to stand apart from your peers, nothing will do the job better than by being just you. But how do you create your own brand identity? You don’t want to end up as yet another freelancer profile, your customer flips through.
Consider building a website that not only showcases all of your work but also lets your client know a bit about yourself and your work ethic. It doesn't have to be a fancy one with lines and lines of complicated coding. You can use no-code website building platforms like Pixpa, Squarespace, etc.
Pixpa is an easy to use, all-in-one website builder platform specially designed keeping in mind the needs of creative professionals and small businesses. With a host of built-in tools such as SEO Manager, Marketing Pop-Ups, Announcement Bar, and much more, you don't need any extra plugins to start growing your traffic and converting more leads. It has a beautiful range of professional, mobile-friendly and responsive templates and an easy to use, and intuitive visual editor.
3. Put Your Best Foot Forward
If you are a freelancer, the main objective is to impress the person who is reading your portfolio. First impressions do matter because they help you get a good head-start. Make sure you show the best amongst your work. Create a portfolio of your personal works.
Include photos and infographics that best illustrate your skill and style. Get good designer tools to make the pictures high-end and impressive. Add the elements that are most important, Make sure you choose a good presentation format that is comfortable to the reader, highlights your skills and best work and also gives an all-round idea about you. The digital format is one of the most widely used as it can be immediately sent and can also be easily edited and updated.
4. Include Your Pricing
You must include your charges and pricing procedure. Make sure that you let know your clients that you will take help of contracts so that no unfair means are practised on either side. Try to maintain a professional tone while you present this information.
There are many freelancers who have to deal with clients that are unwilling to pay on time and at the correct time. Try to find a solution so that there are minimum chances of that happening.
There are millions of online platforms that help you make an impressive online portfolio/website. One such platform is Jimdo. It offers services to a wide range of professions like bloggers, writers, designers, developers and more. It’s really easy to make a portfolio on this website.
5. Use White Space
Yes, white space also plays a very important role in your freelance portfolio. Don't fill the portfolio with too much content because it will become difficult for the client to read or see your portfolio properly.
If you are a graphic designer then you should use white space not only in your portfolio but also in your designs. Use this tip to make your portfolio two times better and more eye-catching.
6. Rearrange and Tell a Good Story
It's always a wise decision to constantly change and update your portfolio. Rearrange what's already there and tell it in a better way. This works particularly well with physical portfolios but you can also do this with online portfolios. Focus on the type of work you want and the people you’d like to work with.
Always remember, the career-defining and your best projects go first. And it's never a bad idea to also include a few of your independent side-projects. On the whole, the person who is reading your portfolio should be convinced that you have skills and you are sincere.
7. A Bit of Show Off to Prove That You are Good
Let's start with a fair warning, don't overdo this. You don't want others to think that you are like the conceited man in "The Little Prince". Your main aim here is to show that you are capable in your field of work.
If you have some really happy past clients, a favourite professor then you can always ask them to write a brief but good recommendation for you. This is important. If you have done some good work then you deserve some appreciation for it.
Keep a simple and sophisticated cover to present the portfolio. In the first few pages, you can include a brief and relevant description of yourself. Give contact information. Include an about section and make it engaging and conversational. Avoid adjectives and it's best to stick to the conventional series of content: Home, About, Latest work, Blogs, Contact.
8. Easy Navigation
You may have some really good things to add to your portfolio but it might all go to waste if you cannot arrange your portfolio in a way that the reader finds it easy to navigate through. Make it as systematic as possible. If it's a physical portfolio then make sure to include page numbers, chapter headings, colour coordination.
Arrange the content in chronological order. And then comes the background. You don't want the artist inside you to let loose while you are writing your portfolio. Make sure that the background doesn't distract the reader from the actual content. Use neutral colours to highlight the graphic elements. Order and simplicity are very important.
9. Include Testimonials and Feedbacks
Including testimonials and feedback will add more to your portfolio. It will also help to build trust because nowadays clients are looking for results. So, testimonials received from other clients will add more value.
Don't hesitate to include your short-term projects or the work you have done for free just as a project task. Everything that you have done in the past just to improve your career will add some value to your portfolio.
10. Include a Photo of Yourself
Just because we are talking about photos doesn't mean that you go and take an artsy monochrome shot of yourself and put it on your portfolio. We are talking of a professional-looking and high-quality portrait of you that don't go beyond your head and shoulders.
You can use tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, CorelDraw, Adobe InDesign, Issuu and Calameo to get a high-quality image. Avoid white backgrounds. Online magazines hate them.
11. Include Case Studies
If your clients are ready to share their stories with you, don't hesitate to include their case studies in your freelance portfolio. Even small case studies will also help you to get big projects.
Your client's success stories show that you can bring results and also shows the contribution and dedication you have given to the job. A screenshot of a recent or updated portfolio website links to newly published articles or add a logo with a link, each giving you a chance of winning some clients over.
12. Value Your Work
If you are a beginner then you have to include all the projects you have done in your portfolio. Many new freelancers don't value their work or charge less. Always remember that only if you value your work then others will value it. You can include all the short-term and long-term projects you have done.
Also, don't hesitate to include the tasks you have done for any internship program. Many freelancers also ignore that the projects on which they have worked for free show their passion and love for the work. Include all the things that show your creativity and passion. It will enhance your portfolio more.
13. Give a Call-to-action
You are doing all these things because you want to grow your freelancing business. Right!? So, here you are selling yourself or the better word would be your skillset. But after all your efforts what if you are unable to close the sale. You will end up with de-motivation or failure.
So what you can do to minimize this failure. By giving a Call-to-action, yes! You have to include a call-to-action at the end of your portfolio and of course! at end of each blog and sales copy.
14. Stick to One Niche
Don't try to put all the skills you have or the work you have done in your portfolio. Just try to stick in one niche and update your freelance portfolio with a relevant skillset. No one can be an expert in everything so try to show your expertise only. This way your clients will be sure that you are eligible for the specific project and also you are the expert in that field.
For example, if you are a web designer then you can add about your web development skills but if you have graphic designing skills too, don't mention that. Be professional because your portfolio will decide everything in your freelancing career.
15. Keep Updating Portfolio
Do you update your portfolio too often? No!. You have to update your portfolio often because it will help you to tell your clients that you are always open to learning. When you update your portfolio it shows that you are learning new skills and improving abilities. In the future, it will also show your expertise and experience and also it will be easy for you to land a high-paying project.
All of us want to bag that dream interview and live the plan that we sketched out in our minds. Well, that takes a lot of effort and some really good presentation skills. A good freelancer portfolio or resume is one of the most important tools that we need to succeed. Make sure that you give an adequate amount of thinking and time to create the right portfolio. It's worth the hard work.
What is a portfolio in freelancing?
A portfolio is a compilation of materials that exemplifies your beliefs, skills, qualifications, education, training and experiences. It provides insight into your personality and work ethic.
How to build a freelance portfolio?
- Create a portfolio of your personal works.
- Add the elements that are most important.
- Don’t just show, tell it.
- Focus on the type of work you want and the people you’d like to work with.
- Include practice projects.
- Say something about your education.
- Add mentions, press and testimonials.
- Give out free resources.
What are some of the best freelancer portfolio websites?
Journo Portfolio, Muck Rack, WordPress, Behance, and Adobe Portfolio are some of the best freelancer portfolio websites.