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Marinating a consistent (and paying) client base presents the biggest risk in to freelancers trying to make a living on their own. Part of building a solid clientele depends on the way you present yourself to potential clients. This means building a professional and impressive portfolio that showcases your skills in whatever area you specialize, whether you’re a graphic designer, writer, or web developer. As a gateway to more employers (and potentially more money), your portfolio can make or break your freelancing prospects. Your portfolio should reflect the best of abilities; when your potential client leafs through the featured pieces they should feel assured in the strength of your abilities. Below I’ve listed some of the more important tips to bear in mind when you’re managing your portfolio to be presented to your next client.
Include Published Work
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When you’re deciding on what to include in your portfolio, make sure that you show pieces that have been published or utilized elsewhere. For example, if you’ve designed a stunning web site for some retail company that has authorized your use of the markups, by all means include them in your portfolio. When a potential client leafs through your work they’ll want to know whether or not you’ve had any success at getting your work seen. Having published works tells the potential client that your work has marketability; at least someone found your work appealing enough to use for their own. Otherwise your client will likely say (or think to themselves) something like the following: “This all looks very nice, but has any of it ever been published?” And as a freelancer, that’s not a position you want to be in.
Edit your Work Tastefully
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Certainly you should include work that showcases a bold aesthetic so as to draw attention to the individuality of your work. But mitigate your portfolio’s flair with a critical eye; separate the eye-catching work from the work that simply looks flashy. Failure to leave out your less substantive work might communicate a lack of taste to your client. You want to focus on offering glimpses of your work when you’re at your most creative and inspired; take the time to sift through all your work to determine the few strong pieces that speak for your talent. A well-crafted portfolio doesn’t need any explaining, your work can do the talking for you. If you don’t consider the quality of the pieces in your portfolio, you might wind up time defending the less-impressive works to clients whose business you need.
Don’t Feature Work you Don’t Normally Do
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It’s an obvious point in portfolio-building that’s worth reiterating: only show work that you know you can replicate in future projects. This point can save a freelancer from getting in over their head on a project when they promised to deliver on something outside their ability. If you’re a copywriter, showcase your best copy; don’t throw in projects from that one time you designed a website on the fly for a client. One time projects that overextended your resources as a freelancer should not be advertised as the norm in your portfolio. To do so invites the possibility of a job you that you may not be competent to overtake, which could initiate a host of problems you’d be better off avoiding.Tags: freelance, freelancer, Portfolio