How To Build A Freelancer Portfolio
Did you know that your freelancer portfolio is probably one of, if not the most important tool you’ll have to win amazing clients?
Having active social media accounts and making sure to network are valuable skills to have, but they’re all built on being able to showcase your skills as a freelancer. The best and most effective way of gathering all of your experience and knowledge in one place? A freelancer portfolio!
It doesn’t have to be a lengthy portfolio full of loads of clips and testimonials. Even new freelancers can build a winning portfolio with a few simple steps.
Think of your portfolio as a super basic website, with the key pieces of information a client will need to make the decision to hire you all located in one place.
And it gets better! There’s a ton of free portfolio platforms, so say goodbye to hosting, domain, or maintenance fees!
1. Understand your niche
Creating a portfolio that interests clients means understanding your niche.
What kind of clients are you looking to work with? Are they in a specific industry or a certain type of company?
Do you offer website design, virtual assistance, copywriting?
Have a think about the types of clients you want to attract and what they all have in common. This will help you determine the information you’re including in your portfolio, and weed out irrelevant info potential clients won’t find helpful.
2. Tailor for your ideal client
When you understand your niche, you begin to understand your potential clients’ needs; a super important step in demonstrating that you understand how to solve their problems.
There’s no need for endless paragraphs of content on your portfolio site, because visitors won’t want to trawl through it all to get to what they were looking for.
If anything, too much content can sometimes cause visitors to click away from your site when they just wanted to view your past work!
Be concise, explain who you are and what you offer, but most importantly, that you understand what their pain points are and ultimately, how you can solve them and make their life easier!
A common mistake when creating a portfolio is to write the content all from your point of view. Your experience, your skills, how amazing you are at what you offer.
Instead, you need to focus on relating to your potential client - how you’re able to use your skills to better their situation. How you can solve their problems!
They come to your portfolio site to check out the examples of the work you’ve already done for others, which is already the best way to prove your worth!
3. Include your best, most relevant work
Your portfolio’s main purpose is to showcase your best work to potential clients. Actions speak louder than words!
The kind of work you do will determine what your portfolio looks like, whether it’s links to websites you’ve designed, clips of articles you’ve penned, or screenshots of customer support analytics that you’ve single-handedly elevated.
Include the work you’re most proud of and that’s most relevant to the types of clients you’re looking for, being sure to give a brief explanation of what the example shows.
4. What if you don’t have any examples?
If you’re a new freelancer, or you’ve completely changed niche, you might be wondering how on earth you’re supposed to include samples of your previous work if you don’t have any!
It’s quite simple, really - you can create your own!
Can you create a piece of work for yourself that would demonstrate your skills?
Pretend you’re creating work for a client - design a logo, write an email newsletter, or translate a piece of royalty-free audio.
You could even ask a friend or acquaintance if they need help that only you could provide, in exchange for a testimonial!
Our favorite free (and affordable) portfolio platforms
We know that paying for hosting, domain names, and monthly maintenance can be costly, especially if you’re just starting out as a freelancer and want a simple solution.
Check out some of our favorite portfolio platforms, all of which are completely free -- or very reasonably priced -- high quality options!
With beautiful layouts and a super-clean interface, you don’t need any coding or design experience to create your clippings.me portfolio site. Simply write your bio, upload your PDFs or online articles, even embed video and audio, and your brand new portfolio site will be ready to view on any device, thanks to its responsive designs!
We love how simplistic this is, both in putting your portfolio together and in its design.
Perfect for: Freelance writers, editors, or journalists.
The ‘themes’ on this platform are a little more flexible than clippings.me, so your portfolio has the potential to look more like a traditional ‘website’, with drag and drop features so you don’t have to worry about buffing up on your HTML.
The free option is a little limited, with a maximum of ten pages and 30 images, however if you’re starting out, it’s an ideal option to showcase your best portfolio pieces without shelling out any money!
Perfect for: Creatives. Photographers, designers, and stylists to name a few, thanks to its visual layouts.
About.me has a free option, but to benefit from the portfolio and other features, they charge a minimal fee of $8 a month (or cheaper if you buy their annual plan).
However, we think $8 is a steal for the features they’ve jam-packed into their platform! Not only do you have the portfolio and about me pages, but testimonial section, contact information, and even appointment scheduling.
We think your potential clients will be very impressed!
Perfect for: Any freelancers looking for a basic portfolio site.
Wix (around $4/mo)
Wix are the heroes of the drag-and-drop website design world, and their offering is perfect for freelancers looking to build a portfolio site!
They have a few premium site options which all come with free hosting, analytics, support, and the ability to connect your domain name if you have one.
With Wix, you have total design freedom and can make your portfolio site look any way you want!
Perfect for: Freelancers who want more design freedom!
We hope these tips will help you create a winning portfolio to show off just how amazing you are! Do you have your own suggestions for portfolio sites that you love to use? Head to the Facebook group to share your ideas!