If you're a service provider or a freelancer, it pays to have a solid portfolio. Your portfolio will show potential clients that you have the experience and skills to handle their project. However, one of the challenges to creating a quality portfolio is gaining the experience. Here's how to build a portfolio the right way.
- Courses - There are a number of quality skill-building programs online. These programs often offer homework assignments along with professional feedback. This is an exceptional way to create a portfolio. It gives you the opportunity to work with experts in your craft. Additionally, you're able to use the class as a source of credibility on your marketing materials.
- Spec work - Spec work is work that you essentially do for free. The agreement between you and your client is that if they like your work, they will pay you for it. If they don't like your work, they won't pay you. It's a good way to get around the fact that you may not have a solid portfolio just yet, because it reduces the risk for your client. Additionally, once they're pleased with the work - and they will be because you're going to knock their socks off - then you can use the work in your portfolio. Don't forget to also add their testimonial to your sales page. And if they don't like the work, you can still use it in your portfolio if you're proud of the results.
- Volunteer work - Volunteer work is another opportunity for you to build a portfolio and to do good at the same time. Many non-profits can benefit from the work of freelance service providers. They get a service for free and you get quality samples for your portfolio. It's great when you can reference something and show potential customers where they can find your work online too. It's instant credibility.
As you build your client base, ask clients if you can use your best work in your portfolio. They're most often quite proud to be shown off and it's good exposure for them as well. Display your work in the most professional manner. If you have print samples, scan them onto your computer and save them as an image. Don't just link to sales pages and content because those links will change. Actually, save the work you've done as an image or a document so your prospects can see your work first hand.
Have confidence in your work, whether you're just starting out or have a portfolio full of professional samples. Confidence and the courage to take a few risks will help you build a portfolio the right way.