Freelancing is a great choice of profession for individuals who like having independence over their work life without sacrificing financial stability. However, professional trajectories and career growth for freelancers are very different from those of regular office workers. When you are working freelance, your freelancer portfolio becomes one of the most important professional tools to help you advance your career and grow. What is a freelancer portfolio and how can you best use your online portfolio for growth as a freelance professional?
In this article we take a look at freelance portfolios, what they are and how they can help your professional growth as a freelance professional. We will also take a look at some freelancer portfolio examples to help you understand how to create a freelancer portfolio that gets you more clients and gigs! Let us dive right in!
What is a freelancer portfolio?
A freelancer portfolio is a curated collection of your best work as a freelancer that can be used as a professional tool to display your skills, creativity and experience to potential clients. Your freelance portfolio basically serves as evidence of your employability as a freelancer.
Freelance professionals are constantly looking for new clients and new opportunities. Since most of these clients are unfamiliar with you or your work, you need to show them some work samples and previous projects to gain their trust and business. A freelance portfolio contains curated work samples, including work done for other previous clients, client testimonials, a resume and other professional details. These details can be inspected and verified by potential clients who can then make an informed decision about whether to hire you or not. As you can imagine your freelance portfolio is incredibly essential to your growth and revenue as a freelancer.
But what about resumes, you may ask. After all, resumes are the standard for most industries and professions when it comes to hiring. Isn’t a resume enough for a freelancer? Well, that brings us to our next point. Here’s why a freelancer portfolio is essential to all freelance professionals and why only a resume does not really suffice.
Why do you need a freelancer portfolio?
Freelancer portfolios are important in freelancing. A simple resume doesn’t really cut it because a resume is only a compilation of your previous work experience, educational background and other activities. Your resume can tell employers about your professional and educational background but it does not really show them what you are capable of.
Freelancer portfolios are indispensable especially if you are a freelance creative professional. For freelance artists, content creators, illustrators, designers, photographers, writers and more, a portfolio can be even more important than your resume. Your freelancer portfolio is a visual display of your skills which is important for creative professionals. You can talk about your work as an illustrator and the projects you have undertaken, however, it is always more helpful for potential clients to actually see your work and judge for themselves if it meets their requirements.
With an online freelance portfolio, you also get the benefit of having a complete online platform to not only showcase your work but also promote and market yourself and book clients directly from your portfolio website. By including marketing and SEO features in your freelance portfolio website you can increase traffic to your portfolio and effectively convert site visitors into paying clients. You can also include contact forms and booking features into your freelance portfolio website and take new client bookings straight from your online freelancer portfolio.
With Pixpa you can build a comprehensive online freelance portfolio complete with galleries, blogging tools, a client-proofing platform, e-commerce tools and more. Here are the top 25 reasons why Pixpa is the portfolio builder of choice for freelancers around the globe!
Here are the 7 Top tips on how to build a great freelancer portfolio
- Understand your audience
- Curate your best work
- Make it personal
- Add client testimonials
- Include a contact form
- Create a professional freelancer portfolio website
- Don't forget about marketing and SEO
1. Understand your audience
Understanding your audience is the first step to creating a freelance portfolio that works. When you are working on a project for a client you try to achieve results that work for the client and their requirements. You are trying to impress your clients so that they hire you again and recommend you to others. When creating your freelance portfolio, keep in mind that you are creating a portfolio to impress potential clients. For that you have to figure out who you want your clientele to be, what they want to see and what you want to show them.
For example, if you are a freelance illustrator looking to get noticed and hired by children’s book publishers, you need to create a freelancer portfolio that can impress children’s book publishers. For this you need to understand what children’s book publishers are looking for. Curate your freelance portfolio with samples of illustrative work for children. Also take a look at other children’s illustrators and how they have set up their portfolio websites. Looking at other successful freelancer portfolio samples can help you understand what the industry standard is and what clients are looking for. You can also identify gaps in other people’s freelance portfolios and make sure to cover them up in your own portfolio.
It is also a good idea to create a freelancer portfolio for the kind of audience that you want to attract and not just the kind of clientele you are used to working with. To continue the previous example, you may be used to working with children’s book publishers but maybe you want to do something more and venture out into comic book illustration. In that case try to include samples of comic book style illustration in your freelancer portfolio as well.
2. Curate your best work
The next step to creating your freelancer portfolio is to curate your best work. Curation is important when it comes to portfolio building. Anything that you are not very proud of or that you don’t want potential clients to see should be excluded from your portfolio. Remember that quality will always beat quantity. Most employers are not really looking for someone who can produce a lot of mediocre work but someone who can produce good work.
When you are just starting out or if you don’t have a lot of experience, there is always the temptation to simply add everything you have ever done into your portfolio to pad it up. However, that is not really the best course of action and there isn’t really a point in including all the work that you have ever done into your freelance portfolio. Not every project you do will be the best or up to the standards that you want your freelancer portfolio to reflect.You only want to put your best foot forward and to do that a careful curation of your work samples and projects is necessary.
It is also a good idea to exclude projects that are several years old and no longer representative of your current skill level or interests. If you are a freelance writer who was undertaking a lot of travel writing in your early days and now want to focus more on lifestyle and wellness, make sure your freelance writing portfolio contains more lifestyle and wellness content and samples. Check out this article on how to write amazing content for your freelance portfolio website!
3. Make it personal
Your freelancer portfolio is not just about your work, it is also about you. While it is always a good idea to keep a business first approach when it comes to creating a freelance portfolio website, don’t forget to add a more personal, human aspect to your portfolio. Adding some personal aspects to your freelancer portfolio will make it stand out. Remember that this is supposed to be your portfolio. It is important to add some personal touches and information in your portfolio to make sure it truly represents you and does not look like just another generic freelance portfolio sample.
Adding an ‘About’ page to your freelance portfolio website is one of the simplest ways of adding a human element to it. Even the most no-nonsense, corporate websites are incomplete without an ‘About’ page and the same goes for your freelance portfolio. Keep your ‘About’ page short and to the point. Introduce yourself and include basic biographical information and professional and educational background. Consider your ‘About’ page to be both an introduction as well as a sales pitch. For a more detailed look into writing ‘About’ pages check out our guide to ‘About’ pages!
Another way of making your freelance portfolio personal is by adding personal branding elements to it. Custom logos, a consistent color palette that reflects your personal brand, custom fonts and other branding elements can help you stand out as well as make you look more professional as a freelancer.
4. Add client testimonials
As we have already noted before, the most important purpose behind creating a freelancer portfolio is to visually show your potential clients what you are capable of. Besides your work samples, another great way of showcasing your reliability and professionalism is through client testimonials.
Testimonials from existing and previous clients are essentially like reviews for your work. Before you buy something, whether it be a small purchase like a jacket or a larger purchase like an electronic appliance or gadget, you probably check out the various product reviews in order to make an informed decision. A product that has a lot of positive reviews is a product that you feel you can trust and therefore buy. The same goes for freelancing. Clients would prefer to hire freelancers who have positive reviews which gives them confidence that this is a person that they can rely on for high quality work and prompt delivery.
Your work samples are evidence of your skill level and the quality of your work. Your client testimonials are evidence of that as well as of your service. As a freelancer you are providing a service and the quality of that service is just as important as the quality of your work. Prompt delivery, commitment to deadlines, open communication, and ability to meet briefs are important for freelancers. When requesting client testimonials to put up on your freelance portfolio website, request your clients to cover some of these aspects of your work.
5. Include a contact form
By adding a contact form to your freelance portfolio website you can turn it from a simple showcase of your work to a full-fledged business website and an all-in-one platform for you to display your work, promote and market yourself, as well as take bookings and interact with new clients.
Outreach and exposure are important functions of any freelancer portfolio and both of these things involve communication. However, communication is a two person job. You are putting yourself out there for the world to see but what use is this if the people who are visiting your site, accessing your content and learning about you have no way of reaching back out to you? How do you convert potential clients into paying clients?
Contact forms give your site visitors an assigned space from where they can contact you. It is an important conversion point on your freelance portfolio where you can convert potential clients into paying clients. Contact forms also ensure that you do not have to give out any personal or sensitive information like emails or phone numbers which can make you vulnerable to spam or fraud. Contact forms let you use your freelance portfolio website itself as an interface for communicating with clients. They are the perfect way of enabling communication and outreach while also addressing privacy concerns.
Here is a guide to creating the perfect contact page for your website!
6. Create a professional freelancer portfolio website
What is the best place to create and host your freelancer portfolio? There can be no better answer to this than your very own professional freelance portfolio website. While there are a variety of third-party tools that can be used to host your portfolio, none of them provide the length and breadth of features and customizability that creating your own website gives you. With your own freelance website you can customize your portfolio’s design according to your requirements and add exclusive features and functionality as per your needs.
But isn’t it difficult? Creating your own freelance portfolio website sounds like a task for people with fairly advanced web development skills? Well, that is no longer the case. In fact, by using a no-code website builder platform you can create your very own freelance portfolio website to share, sell and promote your work online easily, even without coding skills.
Pixpa is an all-in-one, DIY website builder platform that can help you create a stunning, professional freelance portfolio website effortlessly. With a wide range of pixel-perfect, mobile-friendly and responsive templates you can create a stunning and unique freelance portfolio and fully customize it to your liking. Check out some of these amazing freelancer portfolio website templates from Pixpa!
You can also use custom CSS and HTML code to further personalize your freelance portfolio website and add extra features using a plethora of third party integrations. Built-in features include e-commerce tools, multiple gallery options, a client proofing platform, blogging tools, and more.You also get a full suite of SEO and marketing tools to promote yourself and gain more business and revenue. Pixpa is easy to use and completely no-code which means you can create a professional freelance portfolio easily, affordably and without touching a single line of code!
7. Don’t forget about marketing & SEO
It is not simply enough to create your freelancer portfolio website. Once you have a professional freelance portfolio set up and all the functional and design elements in place, you will need to actively promote your freelance portfolio. Promotion and marketing will help you spread the word about yourself as a freelancer and gain more clients.
One of easiest and most cost effective ways of promoting yourself is through search engine optimization. SEO can improve your website’s reach, make your website more searchable and generate organic web traffic through search engine result pages. SEO can be as simple as creating a freelance portfolio website that is well coded and loads fast. Choosing the right website builder is crucial here. Pixpa websites are built using clean HTML markup that improves loading times and helps your SEO. Some other good SEO practices are using clean URLs, sitemaps, image alt tags, SSL certificates, etc. If you want to learn more about how you can use SEO for your freelance portfolio website, check out this article on best SEO practices for creatives.
Other ways of promoting your freelance portfolio is through social media. Integrate your social media channels with your portfolio website and promote your freelancer portfolio on social media profiles. You can also use marketing tools like announcement bars, cookie consent bars, marketing pop-ups and more for further promoting your freelance portfolio and boosting your business.
Do check out these awesome freelancer portfolio examples built with Pixpa
Kathleen Smith is a freelance graphic designer and blogger who aims to educate other freelancers through her website. Kathleen’s website serves as a portfolio, a resource and a very effective business website. She makes use of marketing tools like pop-ups and announcement bars to promote and sell her resources and training tools. She also has an extensive about page to add a personal touch and introduce people to her work and the story behind her work.
Saurabh Narang is a freelance photographer and multimedia storyteller based in Germany. Saurabh’s freelance portfolio is simple but impactful. He utilizes a minimalist layout that focuses on his work by keeping his photographs at the center of his freelance portfolio website. He also includes a detailed ‘About’ page as well as client testimonials to create a strong, impactful freelancer portfolio that inspires confidence as well as curiosity.
Ankush Maria is a freelance photographer based in Delhi. Ankush works in various genres including portrait photography, real estate, product photography and other forms of commercial photography. His freelancer portfolio website uses a grid layout to give site visitors a look at the range of his work across different genres. He also includes a detailed About page with a professional biography, client testimonials as well as a contact form and a link to his Behance.
Antonio Prisco is an Italian graphic designer and freelance fashion designer. He uses a minimalist grid based approach for his freelance portfolio which places his work at the center stage and lets the pictures do the talking. He also includes a detailed ‘About’ section which covers his professional background and experience, acting as a resume of sorts attached to his portfolio itself. In addition, this freelance portfolio example includes contact forms which lets Antonio respond to clients and queries from his portfolio website itself.
Oxford, UK-based freelance illustrator Thomas Radclyffe proves that monochromatic color palettes can work splendidly for freelance portfolios. Thomas’s geometric, black and white architectural illustrations create an impactful landing page. In addition to his ‘About’ page and his contact page, Thomas also includes an online store in his freelance portfolio to sell prints of his work. This make’s his freelancer portfolio a truly multipurpose professional and business tool.
Your freelance portfolio website can be the most powerful professional tool in your arsenal when you are trying to grow your career as a freelance professional. Creating your own freelance portfolio website is not nearly as difficult or expensive as you may think! This article on how much does a website cost will be informative for you if you have been worrying about the cost of building a website!
We hope this article was able to shed some light on how you can create a freelancer portfolio website that can help you grow your career. We also hope that these amazing freelancer portfolio examples built on Pixpa gave you the inspiration you were looking for. So while this inspiration is still fresh and the creative juices are still running, why not start working on creating your very own website to level up your freelance career? Pixpa is the all-in-one, DIY solution for all your website building needs! You can start building your freelance portfolio website for free with Pixpa’s full-featured 15-day free trial! No credit card required for sign up and no hidden charges!