It might be difficult to get started as a freelancer.
Whether you want to work as a freelance writer, web developer, programmer, or even a marketer, it always seems like you’ll need a large portfolio to get started.
You might be asking the question, “Who is going to hire me if I don’t have an impressive portfolio?”
In actuality, the idea that you need a large and diverse portfolio is completely false.
Your portfolio isn’t the most important aspect in determining your success.
It’s how you position yourself as an expert and the value you provide.
There are ways you can do that, but let’s save this topic for another blog post.
Here are some recommendations on how you can build a portfolio, start to establish your expertise, and land your first client.
1. Create samples.
It’s possible to get good results by making your own samples. Potential clients like to see your work in action in the real world, so create one.
For example, as a web designer, you don’t need past work to show your designs. You can simply create samples and that will serve as your portfolio.
If you’re a transcriber, choose a video from YouTube and transcribe it.
If you’re a Social Media Manager, create your own Facebook page or Instagram. Fill it with valuable posts, then that becomes your portfolio.
You get the idea.
Your own website and marketing materials can also demonstrate your abilities.
This is especially true for bloggers, social media administrators, and independent web designers.
Imagine your ideal customer and then build a hypothetical project based on how you would follow out their instructions, if at all feasible.
2. Swap skills with other freelancers.
Many freelancers, especially those who are just starting out, exchange expertise with other freelancers.
A rookie writer, for example, may create free material for a graphic designer in exchange for a free logo design.
The projects aren’t usually substantial. They’re just simple jobs that don’t take up a lot of time yet get the job done.
Swapping skills is another excellent approach to expanding your portfolio.
Approach other freelancers and solopreneurs with whom you know you can collaborate and who may be able to provide the service you require.
If you’re successful and achieve an agreement, you’ll receive a free upgrade to a feature of your business (such as a new logo, well-written About page, etc.), as well as an additional portfolio sample.
Plus, some of the freelancers you approach who work in different niches might become future collaborators and business partners.
3. Work for family and friends.
The network of your relatives and friends is a terrific source of referrals for any new freelancer.
Many of your close friends and family members will be aware of your new professional route when you begin it.
Hopefully, they’ll be helpful in the majority of situations.
They may be able to assist you in obtaining portfolio items, whether via their own businesses and personal needs or through others they know.
Even doing work for an aunt or a friend free of charge might help a novice get their first useful sample.
It makes no difference how tiny the project is.
As long as you can put together some portfolio items that demonstrate your abilities, you’ll be glad to have done it.
4. Offer your service to local small businesses at a discounted price.
Small local companies are another group that will almost probably want your assistance in some way.
Usually, they won’t be able to afford the prices you want to charge in the future, but for the time being, they may serve as a great stepping stone toward creating a portfolio.
They recognize that they require assistance in a certain area but lack the time, skills, or financial resources to do the necessary duties.
You may rapidly acquire a few project samples under your belt by giving your skills to these micro-businesses for a small fee.
After you’ve surprised them with your great services, you’ll be able to ask for testimonials, which may go a long way toward attracting other possible clients.
Working with small businesses allows you to put your freelance operations to the test, such as invoicing customers, creating quotations and proposals, monitoring time, and project management.
It will also provide you with further business knowledge.
5. Offer your services to nonprofit organizations for free.
There are a lot of non-profit organizations that may benefit from your expertise.
There will be a nonprofit that needs your skills, whether you’re a freelance marketer, copywriter, graphic designer, consultant, or social media expert.
Of course, many nonprofits pay reasonable rates for professional services, but they also rely on the generosity of people who donate their time and expertise.
Consider doing some work for free for a short time in exchange for the opportunity to include the project as a sample in your portfolio.
The majority of organizations will be grateful for your assistance.
This type of labor will also reflect highly on you in the eyes of others.
6. Write small case studies.
It doesn’t have to be anything you did for a customer; it might be something you did for a friend, coworker, employer, family, or anybody else.
Perhaps you set up a Facebook profile for their company.
It doesn’t matter what you use as a case study; anything may be used to demonstrate your abilities.
There will be a tale to tell if you truly helped someone solve a problem or achieve a goal, no matter how trivial it may seem to you.
Here’s a really cool idea that you can establish your expertise in a particular niche.
You can do hypothetical case studies.
This enables you to discuss fascinating ideas without being constrained by your portfolio or employment experience.
As a consequence, you may select aspirational clients and determine the type of business you attract.
IMAGE CREDIT: Freepik