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20 min read

How To Create A Winning Freelance Portfolio

Post by
Yash Shah
freelance tips

Let’s understand what a career portfolio is. A portfolio is a collection of work samples that shows your capabilities to prospective employers; it shows them what skills you have and what quality work you have done for others. A portfolio, in a way, is like letting your work speak instead of you going with your resume.

Why Does A Portfolio Matter?

This is how your potential clients get to know who you are and what you can do.  You cannot expect people to come and find you if you are hidden under a rock. Your portfolio gives potential clients a chance to understand what you are capable of, what kind of work you are looking for, how flexible you are, and if you match their requirements.

More importantly, it also shows them the kind of professional you are. A well-made online career portfolio for freelancers can highlight you in the competitive space of freelancing.

How Do I Make A Portfolio?

We will understand how to make a portfolio online and how to create a winning portfolio for freelancers. One of the easiest things to do is to look at the numerous websites out there that help connect freelancers.

Such websites often help you create a portfolio by asking you to fill in forms or questionnaires. That is essentially how you make a portfolio. Once you’ve registered with a few freelance websites, you will have a clear idea of how to go about it, so go ahead, register and start.  

What To Include In A Freelance Portfolio?

Here are a few tips to create a successful online portfolio:

  1. Start with a resume-type document first. It will give you a layout; this should be enough to get you going and land the first few freelance gigs. If you are serious about freelancing, it makes sense to take it to the next level and create a website for your portfolio.
  2. Check out a few samples here.
  3. Make your LinkedIn or other social media your portfolio, go ahead and flash your skills. Get the word out there and use the various social media accounts you have to give yourself some background and credibility.
  4. Explain what you do clearly; you don’t have to write an entire essay on how amazing you are. Let them know exactly what you do and what they can expect from working with you.
  5. Be honest and tell people what you can do. Don’t be that guy who advertises a million different skills and can’t actually follow through. Choose a segment or industry that you have experience in, or are interested in, if you are a fresher.
  6. List down your skills and the jobs you can deliver. Don’t stop there; add what you bring to the table. If you are a digital marketer, let people know how much value your service will bring to their business.
  7. Choose your customers. Choose your jobs. The benefit of freelancing is you get to choose. Be clear about the kind of work and the kind of people you would like to work in association with. Also, let them know who you are as a person and a little bit about your personality and how it helps you be great at what you do.
  8. Don’t be boring. Get creative and showcase your work and your skills in the most creative way possible.
  9. Don’t be shy. Then again, don’t just be all show. Show off a little bit of your best work if you’ve got experience. If you are a fresher, go ahead and showcase what you’ve done for yourself. Show them your trials and experiments, don’t hesitate.
  10. Upwork suggests that you tell a story for each service you provide. When you show off the projects or services you’ve done, go ahead and give it a little context.
  11. Make sure you are easy to reach out to. Make use of the multiple venues that social media and modern tech allow. Put your contact details out there, give people options on how they can contact you.
  12. Your background is important too. Everyone wants to know why you think you’re an ace freelancer. Go ahead and let them know what you’ve done, what you’ve studied. If you’ve got additional skills that don’t necessarily tie in directly to your work but ones that really help you push the boundaries of your vocation, go ahead and mention them.
  13. One major key to creating a winning portfolio is to update your skills regularly! Stay current. Just because you’ve made a portfolio doesn’t mean it’s written in stone. Update your skills and showcase your recent achievements. You don’t want to become the old dog.

Wrapping Up

It is always a good idea to compare your portfolio with others in your industry. Once you’ve created a draft, check out what others are doing and see if you need to change gears.      

If you have some freelancing experience, it makes sense to focus on what you are best at. If you are new, be open to trying out a few things closely related to your line of work while emphasising your desired speciality. And, be willing to provide free sample work if you’re starting out.

Get references. It doesn’t matter who you have to ask. If someone has told you that you are good at what you do, ask them to give you a testimonial that you can put up in your portfolio. Get a few if you can. When people hear good things that others say about your work, they will be willing to hire you right away.

Without a portfolio, hunting down freelance gigs is going to be tough, so you better get started and showcase your skills and achievements. It’s never too late to start freelancing.

best freelance portfolio

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About Author

Yash Shah
Co-founder & Chief Executive
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Yash did Mechanical Engineering and worked as an Investment Banker before founding a Tech Agency that grew to 55 people team offering SaaS, FinTech and E-Commerce Web & Mobile app Development. He currently serves as Chief Executive at Clientjoy - a platform that helps 13K+ Agencies & Freelancers in 90+ Countries acquire and retain happier clients.

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