Once I ask individuals about their greatest challenges to succeeding at freelancing, one of the crucial widespread responses I get is “Constructing a portfolio”.

It often sounds one thing like one of many following:

  1. How do I construct a contract portfolio with no work expertise? I’m new to freelancing / Upwork and I don’t have examples of earlier work to indicate.”
  2. How can I create a contract portfolio in my subject? Oh positive, you may create portfolios for freelance writers and designers, however I can’t as a result of I’m a bookkeeper / lawyer / software program developer / digital assistant / different “non-creative kind.”
  3. How do I make a contract portfolio if I can’t use my samples? I’ve executed some related work I want I may present, however it was for my employer (or earlier freelance consumer) so I can’t use these as portfolio samples.”

When you pay attention intently, the underlying assumption is that you just want to have the ability to exhibit years of earlier work in your portfolio to look skilled and win jobs.

That is precisely the kind of delusion many freelancing gurus and Outdated Execs have been perpetuating for years, however is it true?

Creating a contract portfolio doesn’t should be troublesome

A few weeks in the past I took my spouse and 3-year outdated son to the grand opening of a brand new grocery retailer. There have been balloons in all places, and my son requested if he may have one.

My spouse was about to inform him they had been “only for present,” however earlier than she may get the phrases out I’d already walked as much as the shop supervisor and requested if they’d an additional balloon for my son.

She smiled and handed me a whole bouquet of balloons. Once I gave it to my son he was beaming from ear to ear. However I’ll always remember what my spouse mentioned:

“Huh. It by no means occurred to me to do this.”

Right here’s an uncomfortable query for you: How typically can we select a tough path in life simply because a better various by no means occurred to us?

Certain, placing in years of labor will result in a giant portfolio… However what do you do within the meantime?

Do you simply keep caught within the catch-22 of “I can’t get freelance jobs with out a portfolio…however how can I construct a portfolio with out getting any jobs?”

That’s one choice. However I’ve discovered there are occasions in life when it’s OK — even preferable — to take a shortcut.

Sure, you may construct your freelance portfolio the arduous approach — or you need to use one of many following EASY portfolio concepts and provides your self permission to cease worrying about it and begin doing work you get pleasure from:

Learn how to construct a contract portfolio the simple approach:

  1. Don’t have your personal samples? Simply critique another person’s work
  2. Portfolio samples don’t at all times should be completed tasks
  3. Present the outcomes of your work — even when they aren’t dramatic
  4. Write (mini) case research in your freelance shoppers…or anybody you’ve helped
  5. You’ll be able to use screenshots for extra than simply “artistic” tasks

1. Don’t have your personal samples? Simply critique another person’s work

The following smartest thing to exhibiting off your personal work is speaking about another person’s work in a approach that demonstrates your data and experience.

Right here’s an instance of straightforward, 3-minute web site teardown:

Anybody can do that! Simply use an app like Camtasia (you may even use their free trial) to report your display whilst you discuss. Preserve it brief and easy.

(And please don’t inform me “that is only for freelance writers/designers/net builders”! You’ll be able to critique spreadsheets, Google Analytics dashboards, authorized disclaimers, software program, 3D renderings, translations, structure, or the rest.)

2. Portfolio samples don’t at all times should be completed tasks

As soon as, once I was 17 and dealing in a restaurant, I helped a chef put together stuffed mushrooms. My job was easy: to take away the stems.

Once I completed, I went to throw the scraps and stems out. However the second earlier than I dumped every part into the trash, the chef yelled, “WAIT — We will use these to make soup!”

Grasp craftsmen depart nothing to waste.

Equally, one FTW pupil began writing a weblog publish utilizing my Crystal Ball Method and realized that — even with out ending it — it was sufficient to indicate off her writing abilities. So she added it to her Upwork portfolio and referred to as it a “weblog publish excerpt.”

The consequence? In lower than the time it will have taken her to complete the complete weblog publish, she’d already used it to land a brand new consumer!

There’s no rule that claims your portfolio can solely comprise examples of accomplished tasks. Take a look at the publishing enterprise — an writer can write a single chapter of a manuscript and use it to get a whole e book deal! You are able to do the identical along with your portfolio.

You are able to do this with visible work as properly. For instance, graphic designers/artists can present sketches as an alternative of completed photographs, UI/UX designers can present wireframes and mockups as an alternative of accomplished apps, and net builders can construct simply one web page of a multi-page web site.

After all, this works for non-creative work too:

As an alternative of a full manuscript, proofreaders can put a single web page (or paragraph) of tough textual content in a Google doc with edits made beneath suggestion mode.

As an alternative of placing collectively a ten web page report, analysis assistants can present simply half a web page of detailed notes on a random topic.

The probabilities are infinite.

3. Present the outcomes of your work — even when they aren’t dramatic

Exhibiting screenshots of outcomes you’ve been in a position to obtain is at all times an ideal concept. Even you’re not in a position to show the precise work itself (maybe attributable to contract agreements), exhibiting the outcomes will get the purpose throughout simply as properly, if not higher.

When you’re brand-new, remember these don’t have to return from earlier shoppers — they are often outcomes you bought for your self, at a earlier job, and even for a pal or relative.

Additionally they don’t should be dramatic or “hardcore” outcomes.

I use A/B test results from my website in my freelance portfolio
This A/B take a look at I ran didn’t even win, however I put it in my portfolio anyway.

A Fb publish with a bunch of likes and shares can work wonders in case you’re concerned in advertising and marketing, social media, or content material creation.

An accountant can present how she saved a member of the family a few hundred {dollars} on their taxes. (If accountants can do that, I don’t wish to hear anybody else complain that it doesn’t work for them, OK?)

When you’re a copywriter, you may write an e mail for a pal’s enterprise and take a screenshot of the ends in MailChimp. It will present shoppers that you just’ve despatched emails which were opened and browse by X-number of individuals. (Any consumer who desires assist with their e mail advertising and marketing or copywriting will love this.)

When you’re nonetheless new or simply don’t have any concrete outcomes to share, don’t fear — as a copywriter, it was years earlier than I had a single concrete consequence to indicate and I nonetheless managed to tug in a six-figure yr on Upwork with out it. However in case you hold bettering your abilities and do good work you’ll finally have outcomes to indicate off.

4. Write (mini) case research in your freelance shoppers…or anybody you’ve helped

A case research is a narrative about somebody you helped. Right here’s an actual instance of a case research on considered one of my college students. Yours doesn’t should be practically as lengthy — a couple of paragraphs (or perhaps a few sentences) will do the trick.

And once more, it doesn’t essentially should be a couple of consumer — it may simply as simply be one thing you probably did for a pal, coworker, boss, relative, or anybody else.

Possibly you helped somebody arrange Google Analytics for his or her web site. Possibly you confirmed them methods to use Quickbooks. Possibly you created a Fb web page for his or her enterprise. The “what” doesn’t matter — something can grow to be a robust case research that reveals off your abilities.

When you’ve actually helped somebody resolve an issue or accomplish a purpose (even when it appears small to you) then there can be a narrative to inform. Even serving to somebody simplify their life by organizing their Google Drive information could make an ideal case research that may enable you get shoppers.

5. You’ll be able to use screenshots for extra than simply “artistic” tasks

You don’t should be in a artistic trade like writing or graphic design with a view to construct a formidable freelance portfolio.

I do know of a intelligent lawyer on Upwork who created a portfolio crammed with screenshots of customized contracts she’d labored on (edited to black out delicate data, in fact).

It doesn’t matter what kind of labor you do. Screenshots of spreadsheets, analysis paperwork, social media posts, apps and the rest you may think about can all make nice portfolio items that make you look good and credible.

Motion Time — How will you construct up your freelance portfolio?

It’s cool to learn weblog posts about freelancing, however I didn’t create this website in your “edutainment” — I did it to indicate you that you’ve got the facility to do work you get pleasure from, cost what you’re price, and have freedom and management over your life.

That doesn’t occur with out ACTION.

So I wish to problem you to select one factor off the record above, and block out simply 15-Half-hour within the subsequent week to make it occur. Then drop a remark under and tell us which one you’re going to do.

Please be SPECIFIC. Don’t simply say “Screenshot pattern” or “Case research” — inform us precisely what you propose on doing (e.g. “I’m going to put in writing a weblog publish excerpt about health” or “I’m going to critique my sister’s net design”).

The extra particular you get now, the better it is going to be to observe by way of and begin build up your freelance portfolio.

Be part of my free Mini-Course: Create your Minimal Viable Portfolio (MVP) and land your subsequent consumer

Which of those sounds higher to you:

  1. Spend months or years build up a “properly rounded” spec portfolio, or…
  2. Create a Minimal Viable Portfolio (MVP) in ONE AFTERNOON so you can begin getting paid to do work you like instantly?

When you selected 2, I’ve acquired one thing particular only for you. Be part of my free e mail mini-course to learn to create your MVP in a couple of hours, then use it to start out getting actual paying shoppers…TODAY.

The course is completely free. Right here’s what you’ll be taught whenever you enroll:

  • Learn how to use even a single portfolio merchandise to craft killer Upwork Proposals and get shoppers who pay you to do work you ENJOY
  • An entire record of straightforward portfolio concepts (together with a number of bonus concepts and many actual examples for inspiration)
  • Learn how to use your MVP to draw high-quality job invites from nice shoppers on Upwork
  • And far, far more…

Get entry to the free portfolio mini-course by signing up right here.

The publish Learn how to construct a contract portfolio from scratch — in 1 afternoon appeared first on Freelance To Win.


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