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Can you get freelance work without a portfolio? 

I see the same question asked many times “How do I get work without a portfolio?”. Better yet, I’ll give a summary of the typical conversation!

Them: How do I get work without a portfolio?
Me: Why don’t you have a portfolio?
Them: Because I have yet to work with any clients.
Me: Do you know why they ask for a portfolio?
Them: To see the other clients I’ve worked with?
Me: 🙂

With this way of thinking you might ask yourself:

“When starting out, how do you get clients without any work to show?”
“Do you just accept very low paying work long enough to built one a decent portfolio?”
“Do you resort to doing free work in hopes of making a name for yourself?”

What are some reasons a client would want to see your portfolio?

  • To get an idea of the type of work you do.
  • To make sure you have the actual skills needed to get the job done.
  • To see a track record of completed projects
  • To compare your work to other prospects

The misconception is that a portfolio needs to show work from other clients to land a new client. While that may help in telling the story behind the project, it’s not a requirement.

If you don’t have any clients. Be your own client. Decide on a personal project, make a decent amount of progress on that project and add it to your portfolio. Repeat 4 times.

How do you know what “a decent amount” is? Enough so that you can have a lengthy conversation about it, the problems you encountered and how you addressed them. Since no project is ever “completed”, be prepared to talk about your future vision of the project, the next steps, goals, etc…

Each personal project added to your portfolio is getting you one step closer to landing a client. Consider each a plaque on the wall, your goal is to fill that wall!

I plan to talk more about ideas for personal projects in the future but, in the meantime. Start working on a portfolio of personal projects.

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© freelance after five 2019
no gmo's, gluten or themes were used in the making of this!
by @FreelanceAfter5