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How to Build a Freelance Portfolio

One of the biggest draws of freelancing is the flexibility it grants in terms of hours, schedule, and pay. However, this flexibility also extends to education and experience — there is no set path to becoming a freelancer, and there are no required qualifications. Instead, a freelancer demonstrates their skills and the quality of their work by showing potential clients their portfolio.

Building a professional portfolio is a great way to stand out as a freelancer and make a first impression that matches the quality of your work. This may sound like a challenge, but you don’t need to be a sales expert or a web developer to achieve results that are worthy of your work. In this guide, we’ll show you how to create a portfolio that will highlight your strengths and showcase your best work to attract clients.

Your Guide to Building an Impressive Portfolio

Below, we’ll cover nine simple steps to show you how to build a freelance portfolio that can help bring in more clients and increase your earnings.

1. Get Clear on Your Goals and Your Target Clients

Although it can seem like a good idea to keep your goals and target audience broad in order to draw from a wider audience, this strategy can often leave a portfolio lacking in the kinds of details a client wants to see. A focused portfolio with a clear target audience, on the other hand, allows you to show off your strengths in detail and show your ideal client that you have in-depth knowledge and experience in your area.

This also has a different, perhaps unexpected, benefit: if you target a certain niche, you might be able to command higher rates as an expert in that area.

2. Decide on the Format of Your Portfolio: Website or Google Drive Folder

The format of your portfolio plays a large role in its overall look and ease of navigation. Common options include websites and Google Drive folders. Both of these options have their own strengths: A Google Drive folder allows you to arrange your content in a simple and intuitive layout, and a portfolio website has a visual impact.

The right format for your portfolio often depends on the type of freelancer you are, and the type of client you aim to attract. For instance, businesses with a strong brand identity are likely to benefit from a personalized website, whereas freelancers who have worked on a large, complex project may benefit from the structure of a Google Drive folder. While using a Google Drive folder is undoubtedly quicker, it is also simple to create a portfolio website using a website-building service.

3. Craft a Compelling Value Proposition

Your value proposition is the core message you want to communicate to your potential clients. It outlines the main benefits of your services and tells a client why they should choose you over a competitor. It is, in essence, a marketing strategy, so taking the time to pick the right words and invoke the right image for your business can make a big difference.