• Advice

5 ways to win clients with a stellar portfolio of your work

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.

FACT: You are the only freelancer in the world who does exactly what you do in your unique way. Make sure that you are showing your work in the best possible way to your audience.

This post is for you if you want to show what you do and how you do it to your ideal clients in your marketing materials and on your website (So, um, everybody).

Even if you don’t do visual work (we’re looking at you writers and consultants) or even if you are a prolific designer or decorative painter, we have some great advice below that will get you feeling confident, organized and telling the right visual story to those that count.

We want to stress two things that will set you on the right path to creating a powerful visual archive of your work:

- an organized archive is your best friend, so be sure to set aside time in your practice to maintain it

- invest in the best way to document your work, which can mean hiring a designer or photographer that you work well with and who understands how you want your work presented.

- Oh, and the golden rule: back your stuff up on the cloud and on a reliable external hard drive... always. This is the basis for success!

**Ok, moving on to the five steps: **

**Collect: **the first step is figuring out how to best show your work to the world is to collect everything that is relevant to your business. So set aside a chunk of time to gather your work digitally or in a big physical pile in your studio or office; in the case of those of you who don’t make classically visual work, you may be making lists and collecting documents, and that is a-ok.

Remember that relevant is the key work here. Don’t unearth your watercolors and poetry from your most recent vacation unless they play a part in what you offer to your ideal clients.

Reflect: What story are your trying to tell with your work and what are you selling to your ideal client? Write these things down so that when you start wandering down memory lane you can stay on task and on point.

Organize: This is one of the toughest things for creatives, so start this with a deep breath. Ask yourself: What are the different categories of work here that I would classify as services for my ideal clients? Physically separate the work into each category.

Document: Within each category of services that you have here, does your work need to be beautifully documented in order to be presented in the best possible way? (Or if your work isn’t inherently visual, does it need to be designed so that it is?) In most cases, this answer will be yes.

Through the design of your site and the images of your work you are creating a sense of confidence for your ideal client as they peruse the beautiful proof that you are the best freelancer for their needs. How you document your work is a creative, important process, and therefore we suggest looking to see how others do it, and then make it better and your own.

Get Creative: Do you offer a unique service or is your process totally amazing? We thought so, so let your audience know what it is! We always recommend sharing how you work via images or a video in order to make sure that your services stand out from the rest and show how your process adds value to your final product.

Archive: Now that you’ve organized your work and documented it and posted it to your site and shared with your friends and clients on Facebook, your job is not over. Keep it organized and back it up. We want your archive to serve you in the future.

When a prospect asks to see an example of work, shouldn’t you be able to find it in thirty seconds? When your alma mater asks you do put together a talk about your work, shouldn’t it take 10 minutes to gather everything? YES! YES! Organize your work so it works for you and keep it up. Every time you finish a project, add it to your archive!

Good luck everyone! We can’t wait to see your work! Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.

Creating and maintaining a visual archive is a satisfying task but can also be quite daunting. Let us know if we can help! Email us to get in touch about your needs or let us know what kind of blog posts you want us to write, and check out this amazing DELVE service that can help with this. Learn about how to best write about your work here, and the best way to explain what you do here.