Portfolio creation is (quite possibly) the most anxiety-inducing part of beginning your freelancing journey.
It is quite literally the definition of the job search paradox, "I need experience to get experience..."
I'm letting you in on the tips I figured out when I started my journey of freelancing - and how I created samples that earned me 500+ in just two weeks with NO OTHER strategies in place.
Lay the Framework
Your portfolio is only as strong as your profile. In order to make your portfolio accessible and uniquely stand out to your client base, you need to make sure the right framework is in place for your potential clients.
Here's a few quick checks to do before you start trying to apply to jobs on Upwork and Fiverr (or any other site!)
Does my profile...
Have grammatical errors?
Have oddly-sized images or graphics that aren't high-quality?
Seem confusing to a reader who may have never encountered me?
Offer my specialties in a unique and clear way?
Have my details completely filled out and in a platform optimized way?
I strongly recommend having someone else look into your portfolio and review it for you, as your eyes may only catch so much. Staring at the screen for hours and agonizing over every comma can cause some silly and easy to fix mistakes to be made.
Go Searching. No, Really. Stalk the Client Requests.
Look at all available client requests on your freelancing site.
Pretend that they are all of your customers.
Change the business names as you work into something from your imagination, of course, but adhere to the prompt. Showcase your skills. Write in a way that will set you apart like only you know how.
Yes, you know how. Stop doubting yourself.
Showcase your knowledge of SEO-optimization or linking. Display your research skills and dive deep into what the client needs. Write a summary at the top of your sample explaining the client's requirements and why you wrote how you did.
Do that five more times. At least. If not more.
I did that for every single writing niche that I catered to and offer on my site. In no time, clients were pouring in - despite me having no prior star rating or any other factor on my profile. In fact, it even showed me as a new seller.
What does this come down to?
Creating your portfolio doesn't have to be a daunting task. In fact, it can be an extremely fun (and lucrative!) way to showcase your skills. While you obviously won't be paying yourself for these samples, this can save you money in the long run.
You invest a few hours into this now, and you can be bringing clients on as early as tomorrow.
Go out there and create your portfolio!