How to Build a Portfolio From Scratch

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A respectable portfolio is essential to a successful freelance career. A portfolio is a collection of work that you create to exhibit your abilities to potential clients. Being able to provide clients with examples of your work will build trust and establish the style of work you can provide.

Write

The only way to build a portfolio is to start writing! Whether or not you have a client to write for, you need samples of your work to display. Sites like Medium give you a place to show your work for free.

Writing for little or no money is not a bad thing in the beginning. I began my freelance career as a ghostwriter for clients through Textbroker, which is a site that allows you to register and submit a sample for a star rating. Based on your star rating, you can choose from a pool of articles on a variety of subjects. Typically, clients on this platform request that you ghostwrite the articles and relinquish all rights to your text.

While this may seem tedious, you are building experience!

Build

You need a place to compile your work to share with clients easily. You can buy a domain for less than $20 through GoDaddy and have the link forwarded to a free WordPress site. Have a clean website that is easy to navigate.

Write articles on your website and compile the best on a portfolio page to share with clients. If you’ve written any public  

articles with a byline, be sure to include those in your portfolio.

Network

Arguably the most important thing you can do as a freelancer is to network. Networking is cultivating relationships for personal or professional support. Essentially, you create a network of people whom you can turn to for industry questions, advice, information, or even for job opportunities.

These are the same people that you initially want to have access to your portfolio. I’m not saying message every person on your LinkedIn page, but have access to your portfolio from your LinkedIn profile. You never know when someone might need a freelancer and will remember you.

Networking means being your own social media manager. Promote your portfolio on sites like LinkedIn and Twitter to start. When the time comes to begin proposing articles to potential clients, your portfolio will be well established and available on the web.

Maintain

Keep your portfolio up to date! As you write new pieces for clients, you will start to get a better idea of what people are looking for in an excellent article. Try to maintain enough samples of your work to show clients your range of expertise. Generally, 10-15 articles should be a good amount to display your expertise.

If you intend to write on a variety of subjects, be sure to showcase that variety in your portfolio.

Conclusions

Remember, we all have to start somewhere. Building a portfolio with no prior professional experience can seem impossible. However, if you put in the time and effort to provide quality samples of writing, you will be exhibiting your work and landing clients in no time. Good luck!

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