There comes a time in every budding freelancer’s life when they will be asked to share some examples of their work to a client. Time and time again, freelancers often wonder why they get turned down and passed up for jobs. They have all the necessary skills and are perfectly capable of doing the job, but they keep losing out to other more established freelancers. What makes these freelancers established? Lots of things, but one of the biggest is that they can actually show clients previous work that they’ve done already, giving the client an idea of what to expect from them.
Here’s the deal, talk is cheap. You can talk someone ears off all day about how great you are and what you can do, but when it comes down to spending tons of money, people are going to be choosy about who they spend their hard earned cash on, and they have a right to be.
Having an online portfolio is crucial when it comes to freelancing. If you’re a client looking to hire an amazing designer, it’s only logical for you to want to see the kind of work the designer has done. If the designer can’t prove their worth, no one can fault them for choosing one that can.
Don’t Be Cheap
One of the biggest turn-offs for clients is getting directed to a Blogger.com, WordPress.com, or any other free blogging platform when asking to see a freelancer’s portfolio. In all honesty, having a portfolio hosted on a free platform with a subdomain just makes you look cheap and unprofessional. Again, this is what typically separates the established freelancers from those that lose out. Even if you’ve never freelanced before and had zero clients, having your own domain and website will increase your chances of getting a job by a lot.
Purchasing a domain name and web hosting is extremely affordable these days. There are thousands of web hosting companies out there that provide affordable web hosting with domains bundled in, our favourite being WPEngine. However, if you’re uncomfortable doing these things yourself, don’t worry. ChillyBin (that’s us!) offers dedicated web hosting and domain management services that can handle everything for you, allowing you to focus on building your portfolio.
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The image you project to clients is very important. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, well the image that your project to your clients is worth a lot more. The money you stand to make by landing a client will more than pay off any money you spend on setting up a basic portfolio.
Use WordPress and the Genesis Framework
After you’ve got the web host and domain name, it’s time to start on your portfolio. In this case, we recommend installing the highly popular content management system WordPress in combination with the Genesis Framework from StudioPress. While a portfolio is important and there should be significant time spent on improving it throughout your career, if you’re just starting out, you can get things going much quicker by using WordPress with themes.
WordPress is insanely easy to set up and get going. It’s famous for its five-minute install process after all. After you’ve set up WordPress, we recommend hitting up StudioPress and checking out their large selection of themes.
StudioPress has themes for virtually any purpose that you would need. For our purposes, they have a really nice theme specifically with portfolios in mind called Modern Portfolio Pro. Using this theme can save you a lot of time since everything is already laid out and set up for you. Not only that, but it looks really beautiful too.
Whether you decide to build your own portfolio from scratch or go the WordPress and Genesis theme route, the point is, if you want to be taken seriously by clients and increase your chances of landing more jobs, having a professional portfolio is invaluable to your success.