A beginner’s guide to building a freelance portfolio

Your freelance portfolio is probably the most essential advertising software you have got as a freelancer.

However in the event you’re a newbie freelancer, you may run into the dreaded Job Seeker’s Paradox: You want expertise to get expertise.

Fortunately, you will get round that — and I’m going to point out you the way.

Tips on how to make a contract portfolio purchasers love

With just some hours of labor, you’re going to have a contract portfolio like those that earn a few of our readers hundreds of every month.

However freelance portfolios are like snowflakes: No two are alike. A copywriter’s portfolio received’t appear to be a graphic designer’s (and vice versa).

BUT there are underlying methods and rules that go into making an excellent portfolio for any trade. In any case, you’re constructing your portfolio to cater to a particular viewers of potential purchasers. That applies to any subject.

Comply with these fundamental rules and also you’ll have a contract portfolio that’ll bag you purchasers.

Step 1: Create a web site

To create one, you simply want two issues: A site title and a web site builder.

Area title

There are a lot of websites on the market the place you should buy a website title. My suggestion: Hover. It has a simple to make use of interface and gives many reasonably priced domains.

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An ideal area for good-looking content material entrepreneurs.

Simply use your common title on your area. Later as you get extra purchasers and fear extra about your model, you may revisit your area title. However for now, your common title will do.

Listed here are a number of different nice choices for area registrars:

  • Google Domains. No-nonsense, straightforward to make use of area registrar. Costs beginning at $12 / yr for a .com.
  • Namecheap. Domains as low cost as their area suggests — with some as little as $zero.88/yr. A .com will run you about $12 / yr.
  • GoDaddy. A tried-and-true area registrar. A typical .com there runs for round $12 / yr.

Web site builder

Because of web site builders, you don’t have to know a bunch of coding data to create your portfolio.

Although the builder you go along with may rely in your objectives, I counsel WordPress. It’s an extremely highly effective web site platform that permits for lots of customization.

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A number of different nice web site builders:

  • Wix. Straightforward to make use of with quite a lot of customizable options on your web site.
  • Squarespace. Good for showcasing photographs and graphics. Extremely customizable.
  • Weebly. A ton of nice website designs to showcase your portfolio.

For extra on creating a web site, remember to take a look at this text on the subject from our sister website GrowthLab. When you’re accomplished creating it, it’s time to maneuver on to the subsequent step.

Step 2: Give us your area of interest

Your portfolio is your alternative to showcase to the world the kind of freelancer you wish to be even in the event you don’t essentially have expertise.

Let’s say you’re employed a daily 9-to-5 job however dream of turning into a contract author someday. Your freelance portfolio web site ought to be devoted to all of the work you do as a author.

Nice begin. However then you’ll want to area of interest down your market.

If you wish to be a author, ask your self: How do I wish to place myself as a author? Copywriter? Content material marketer? Blogger? And who’re you writing for?

Area of interest down your specialty and embrace it in your web site. Take into consideration who precisely will probably be utilizing your companies:

  • How outdated are they?
  • The place do they dwell?
  • What are their pursuits?
  • How a lot do they make?
  • What books do they learn?

Listed here are a number of examples:

(Hmm that final one appears acquainted…)

And don’t fear. If you happen to strive one thing out and don’t discover it’s an excellent match for you (or your pockets), you may all the time change your roles. That’s the great thing about freelancing.

Case research: How Brian turned his video interest right into a enterprise 

Brian beloved to make movies — a lot in order that he enrolled in movie faculty. However midway by he realized he didn’t have a clue on learn how to flip his ardour right into a worthwhile enterprise.

He understood the technical and creative aspect of filmmaking, however he didn’t know learn how to promote his abilities.

So he determined to put money into himself by becoming a member of Earn1K, our course on freelancing and incomes cash on the aspect.

Inside three weeks, Brian knew learn how to flip his interest right into a marketable enterprise: Producing high-end wedding ceremony movies. Armed with this information, he set two objectives for himself:

  1. E book three weddings and have one in all them be from a pair he didn’t know.
  2. Earn sufficient to pay for a brand new digital camera (about $1,200).

“Firstly, I used to be just about giving the movies away,” he remembers. “One was free. A pair had been $450. By the top of the primary season, purchasers had been paying $1,000 for every video. I noticed that I used to be giving individuals useful materials. They weren’t paying simply to assist me out. That meant lots. They actually wished what I used to be providing.”

He was capable of ebook six purchasers inside a number of months. Three of them had been individuals he didn’t know!

With every wedding ceremony he filmed, he gained a greater sense of what number of weddings he wanted to ebook as a way to flip a revenue and the way he may higher market his hustle.

“No one else is a full-time wedding ceremony videographer in my space,” he says. “There’s some individuals doing industrial and actual property video. However for now I’m sticking with weddings and doing it higher than anybody else. My purchasers admire that, and it makes it less complicated for me.”

Lesson realized:

Brian niched down his ardour of filmmaking right into a marketable product of filming high-end wedding ceremony movies. By doing so, he turned his interest right into a aspect hustle incomes him hundreds of every month.

When you do the identical together with your hustle and freelance portfolio, it’s time to truly put samples of your work on-line for potential purchasers to see.

Step three: Present your work (even in the event you don’t have any)

That is the core of your portfolio. It’s your alternative to point out potential purchasers why you’re the fitting freelancer to rent by work you’ve already accomplished.

Right here’s the place a newbie freelancer will run into the Job Seeker’s Paradox. The place are you going to seek out examples of your work to get purchasers in the event you’ve by no means had any work?

Listed here are two areas I counsel going to as a way to discover samples on your portfolio:

Create new work for your self.

Possibly you’re transitioning to a brand new line of labor. Possibly you’re simply beginning your freelance profession from scratch. There’s no cause you may’t create new or mock clips to showcase your abilities.

That’s precisely what one in all our college students, Heidi, did when she crafted a style design portfolio that helped her break into the trade.

“I bought my begin within the trade as a result of I had Adobe Illustrator on my resume together with the portfolio I created,” she says. “I lastly felt like my goals had come true. I may say the phrases I’ve wished to say since I used to be a bit lady, ‘I’m a designer.’”

You are able to do the identical on your trade. For instance, in the event you’re a copywriter seeking to land nonprofit purchasers, you may create a 700-word donation electronic mail to point out your abilities.

Actually gunning to write down for finance blogs? Write a number of weblog posts based mostly on monetary information.

Or perhaps you’re a graphic designer on the lookout for massive title industrial purchasers. You may create a flashy advert for Coca-Cola or Nike. In reality, there’s a complete neighborhood of people that create unsolicited redesigns for simply this objective.

Having work to point out in any respect is way more vital than whether or not or not they arrive from a job with an precise consumer.

Do free consumer work. 

Now it’s an oft-touted rule that in the event you’re good at one thing, you by no means do it totally free. I’m right here to say neglect that rule. 

As an alternative, reframe: It’s completely effective to work totally free in the event you’re working for the fitting individuals.

An important factor for you originally phases of your freelance profession is so that you can construct relationships with purchasers who can open the door to extra alternatives. Meaning you may work totally free with people who find themselves trusted and extremely networked in alternate for glowing testimonials or referrals to new purchasers.

For extra on this, take a look at our article on the subject.

The work you present is the work you’ll get. If you wish to do electronic mail advertising, showcase stellar emails you’ve written. If you wish to develop apps, hyperlink to the apps and software program you’ve created.

Now it’s time to let individuals know learn how to discover you.

Step four: Craft a name to motion

Your portfolio ought to all the time embrace a spot for potential purchasers to contact you by way of a name to motion. This may be on a separate contact web page or one thing so simple as together with your title and electronic mail tackle on the high of the portfolio.

Don’t overthink this. Right here’s a easy template you need to use:

If you happen to like what you see right here, I’d like to work with you. Attain out to me at tony@tonysfreelancingbiz.faux together with your inquiry and I’ll get again to you quickly.

Different issues you may embrace in your contact CTA:

  • Identify
  • Location
  • Social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, FB, and so forth.)
  • Telephone quantity
  • Deal with

A superb instance of this beneath:

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Supply: Rick McClelland

Many web site builders resembling WordPress and Squarespace embrace extensions that will let you create your personal contact web page that’ll redirect to your electronic mail.

An important factor is to incorporate your CTA someplace the consumer can simply discover it. Don’t bury it amongst your clips and pattern. Simply put it on the high of the web page or sidebar and also you’re golden.

Step 5: Embody testimonials

This can be a utterly non-compulsory step as your work can converse for itself — nonetheless, having a optimistic testimonial in your portfolio can provide the social proof you’ll want to get new purchasers.

A testimonial is a evaluation from earlier purchasers and folks you’ve labored with endorsing your work. Consider them just like the reward you see from different authors on a ebook cowl. And identical to your work samples, function testimonials from the sorts of purchasers you need once more sooner or later.

If you happen to don’t have any testimonials but, that’s okay! Right here’s an precise electronic mail we used at IWT to get a testimonial:

Subj: Can I quote you for my website?

Hey dude,

Thrilled to listen to you’re doing so effectively with the corporate and the brand new course.

I used to be questioning in the event you may give me a quote that I can use on my web site – one thing like:

“Ramit utterly modified the course of our enterprise. He re-focused our consideration on our customers, helped us determine a number of profitable advertising channels, and ripped aside an thought that will have wasted 6 months of our time. His recommendation will probably be price effectively over $100,000 — and that was simply over one dinner.”

-Mike Jones, Acme Corp

Is that cool?

Thanks,

-Ramit

A number of issues to notice:

  • Direct. This electronic mail is easy and will get to the purpose. Don’t bathroom busy individuals down with issues that don’t matter. Hold targeted on what you’re asking them for (be aware the topic line).
  • Pleasant. Whereas the message is concentrated, it’s pleasant. Keep in mind, you’re speaking to a different particular person right here. That’s why Ramit opened with “Hey dude.” Do you have to use the identical wording? Hell no. However it’s best to hold it informal.
  • Straightforward. Ramit made this straightforward for the particular person to say sure by together with a pre-written testimonial within the electronic mail. All they need to do is give the thumbs up. This improves the probabilities of them responding positively.

Whereas not 100% crucial, an excellent testimonial is usually a very highly effective recreation changer for getting purchasers.

For extra data on getting testimonials, take a look at GrowthLab’s video on the subject beneath.

6 improbable freelance portfolio examples

Now that you know the way to make a fantastic freelance portfolio, it’s time to try some GREAT ones.

Under are six examples of freelance portfolios from IWT readers. Discover that a number of of them bend and break the steps we outlined — which is okay! Not the entire components we talked about above are going to use to everybody.

The B2B tech author

Nick Darlington

WHO: Nick Darlington

WHAT: Copywriter

WHERE: http://www.nickdarlington.com/portfolio/

This can be a nice instance of a portfolio that clearly showcases a distinct segment. Nick is a author for B2B publications and that’s proven by his clips and “About” web page. It may be robust for writers to offer visuals for his or her portfolio — however Nick is ready to get round that by showcasing the journal covers which have featured him.

The quirky graphic designer

Greg Wilson

WHO: Greg Wilson

WHAT: Business graphic designer

WHERE: http://greggregwilson.com/

This graphic design portfolio works exceptionally effectively by leaning closely on the visuals that mirror Greg’s quirky, off-beat fashion. Inside just some seconds of scrolling, you understand precisely the form of work and magnificence he produces — which is a superb factor for potential purchasers.

The versatile videographer

Rick McClelland

WHO: Rick McClelland

WHAT: Information and wedding ceremony videographer

WHERE: http://www.rickmcclelland.com/

Rick does one thing fantastic in his portfolio: He leads with the products. The very first thing you see if you hop into his portfolio is a demo reel of various video shoots he’s accomplished. That’s precisely what you need if you’re a possible consumer on the lookout for an excellent videographer. He additionally ends the web page with a fantastic call-to-action for individuals to contact him.

The front-end developer

Adam Rasheed

WHO: Adam Rasheed

WHAT: Entrance-end improvement

WHERE: https://adamrasheed.com/

Nice portfolio that tells you precisely what the freelancer does up high: Adam is a front-end developer based mostly in San Diego. And it goes on to offer case research of various initiatives he’s labored on and ends sturdy with a call-to-action with alternative ways you may contact him.

The professional faucet dancer

Andrew Nemr

WHO: Andrew Nemr

WHAT: Faucet dancer

WHERE: http://andrewnemr.com/artist/portfolio/

Who says solely writers, designers, and builders might be freelancers? Right here’s a fantastic instance of how the rules for an excellent portfolio can apply to faucet dancing. Andrew showcases his abilities by offering hyperlinks to totally different movies and performances he’s accomplished. Additionally, his web site may be very easy and easy.

The marching band chief

Greg Dalton

WHO: Greg Dalton

WHAT: Marching band drill designer

WHERE: http://www.gregdaltondesign.com/

Very similar to our faucet dancer, Greg takes the rules for creating a fantastic portfolio and makes use of them for his off-beat hustle — designing drills for marching bands. By offering YouTube movies to his drills on one web page, potential purchasers can simply get a way of the work he produces. Easy, simple, and efficient.

Earn extra money together with your hustle

A superb portfolio is an important software for any freelancer … however it doesn’t cease there. You continue to want to seek out purchasers and work.

In any case, with out work, your on-line freelance portfolio is only a glorified enterprise card. So that will help you discover your first purchasers, we now have a present for you: The Final Information to Making Cash.

In it, we’ve additionally included our greatest methods to:

  • Create a number of revenue streams so that you all the time have a constant income
  • Begin your personal enterprise and escape the 9-to-5 for good
  • Enhance your revenue by hundreds of a yr by aspect hustles like freelancing

Obtain a FREE copy of the Final Information as we speak by coming into your title and electronic mail beneath — and jumpstart your hustle as we speak.

Sure, ship me the Final Information to Making Cash

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