How do you build a portfolio from scratch when you’re just starting your freelance career, and there’s no previous work to be showcased for potential clients? Isn’t that the reason you’re building a portfolio in the first place: to get new clients and land new projects?
You’re correct, but there’s no need to panic and no need to be stressed out. Building a good portfolio takes time and a lot of hard work. Still, there are many creative ways that you can showcase your work and your talents without having client testimonials or a website filled with everything that you have accomplished. Here are a few things that you can do to get started on your portfolio, and that will help you land that first major client.
Put Your Samples Out There!
Surely, you must have written articles, short stories, and blog posts that are worthy enough to be included in your portfolio. Pick the best ones. Choose those that have been commented on or shared online the most. This shows that you’re capable of writing fun, entertaining, relevant, and engaging posts that are sure to appeal to clients who want similar content for their websites.
All those sketches and watercolor illustrations on which you worked all those summer weekends can also go right into your portfolio. Include your favorite pieces, no matter how big or small they be. Make sure that they show your creativity and flexibility as well as the depth of your knowledge and your love for the craft.
This can also be applied if you want to venture into freelance photography, travel writing, or graphic design. Put your best unpaid work out there, and eventually, people will be coming to you to hire your services.
Let Your Work Go Through a Peer Review
Show the portfolio that you have created to your friends and family first and see what they think of it. Take into consideration the good and the bad things they say. You can also go ahead and show your work to your colleagues or peers, even to people you admire and respect in the industry in which you want to do freelance work. What they say about your work will be valuable, especially when you land your first gig.
Be Open to Anything
Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone. This can mean taking jobs different to what you are accustomed to do so that you can gain experience. You can be paid for some jobs, while on other jobs, you can just be paid in kind. Take them on just for the experience. Be discerning when it comes to these things, though, because you don’t want to sell yourself short or get the wrong kinds of jobs.
Make Your Own Opportunities
People from your closest personal circle are usually your very first clients. Grab the opportunity and offer your services to friends and family who need help with their website or great marketing material for their business. Offer your services to people close to you, because they can very well help launch your career through word-of-mouth.