To get the first orders on freelancing, you need to show customers examples of your work. But where to get them, if there were no orders yet? It’s a vicious circle. You can always find a way out of the situation, and not just one. The main thing is to be creative. We will tell you how to fill your portfolio at the beginning of your freelance career.
If you decide to go freelance, it means that you already have certain skills and abilities. And if not, you will most likely be trained. Use all the opportunities to replenish the portfolio based on where you start.
1. The main work will help
Do you have a main job, and you have decided to take a closer look at freelancing yet? Add to the portfolio projects that you perform on a permanent place (unless this contradicts the contract with the employer). This is relevant for those who plan to work on freelancing in their own profile. If you want to try yourself in a new field, you will have to find free time to create works.
2. Cases during training
If you are undergoing training, you can simultaneously replenish the portfolio. The programs of many courses include practical exercises in which you can prepare projects for a portfolio and even complete a thesis. So by the end of your studies, you will have not only new knowledge and skills, but also work for a successful start on freelancing. Before enrolling in the course, it is better to clarify whether there will be an opportunity to practice.
3. Projects for fictional clients
Another life hack that novice freelancers use is to come up with a client and fulfill an order for him. For example, a designer can draw a logo or a website for a non-existent company, a copywriter can write several texts. And to make the project seem real, choose a theme, see its implementation from other performers, adding a couple of new ideas. We can say that these are the most ideal conditions: you are not limited by budget, customer conditions, deadlines. And don’t be afraid of getting rejected if something goes wrong.
Use all your skills and abilities, create for your pleasure. And if the skills are not enough at all, try to copy several real projects: draw a design or illustration so that the result is one in one. But just remember, you can’t put copied works in a portfolio. For him, you still have to come up with and do something separately. Lack imagination? See the next point.
4. View tasks on the service
Look for open source projects on the service that suit you, and try to do the work according to the technical task. This will allow you not only to add works to the portfolio, but also to assess the real level of complexity of the task, to see how much time is needed for implementation, to understand how much it can cost in terms of the time spent. Do not be disappointed immediately if it took a lot of time to work, and the project budget was low. Keep in mind that by filling your hand, you will one day be able to work faster and earn more.
5. Find a Mentor
Experienced freelancers who do not cope with a large amount of work are often looking for assistants. Try to find such a mentor and you. For beginners, teamwork is a great way to pump skills, get the support of real pros, build a portfolio and take the first orders.
6. Participate in contests
We have such a format of cooperation as competitions on our service. To participate in them, you need to perform creative tasks (design, naming). The customer describes the task, and the performers provide ready-made solutions. You can offer your idea and at the same time replenish your portfolio with cool works. Moreover, no one will make claims to the quality – you are not obliged to carry out the project, but only voluntarily offer your vision of the task.
7. Projects for friends
Tell your relatives and friends what you plan to do on freelancing. There are bound to be people who will need your services. If not friends, then friends of friends for sure. As a rule, many freelancers start their start with this. There are also disadvantages in working with friends – this is a money issue. Offer a good discount or do a few tasks for your free.
8. Practice in the studio
Get a job as an intern in the studio. This is a simple option for those who have not yet had orders. In the studio, you will not only go through the school of a young fighter, hone your skills, but also be able to learn from your colleagues. Often such work is routine, but you have a whole arsenal of projects for the portfolio. Just keep in mind that you can’t add team work to your portfolio where your involvement is partial. Over time, you will become more confident in yourself and will be able to go into free swimming.
9. Test tasks
Very often, customers offer potential performers to perform a test task. Beginners can also participate. Try to do the work as qualitatively as possible, taking into account all the requirements of the client. Even if you are not chosen as a performer, you can add the work to the portfolio. At the same time, you will practice performing tasks in your specialization.
10. Write a blog article
Any specialist can write an article on our blog to share an interesting case. Provided you’re not new to your field, you just haven’t worked freelance yet. You can talk about the nuances of the profession, share useful information or life hacks, and almost 1 million users of the service will learn about you!
How to avoid mistakes
Some beginners in pursuit of work for the portfolio agree to fulfill orders for a very low price or even offer to work for free. Don’t do that. Firstly, free work and dumping are prohibited on the service, and secondly, most often such projects are given by customers who have “a lot of requirements for little money.” With a huge degree of probability, they will ask you for the full program, and except for the lost time and nerves, you will not get anything. It is better to practice yourself and perform several invented projects.
A portfolio is your advertising that attracts potential customers. When customers choose a contractor, they look through dozens of portfolios to assess the professional level of freelancers and see examples of work on relevant topics. Therefore, it is worth filling the portfolio only with the best and strongest cases.
We hope you are convinced that creating a portfolio at the initial stage is not so difficult. It just takes a little time and imagination. But most importantly, when you have real customers, do the work as efficiently as possible to get the first positive feedback. Look for interesting projects, develop, improve, and you will succeed! We wish you a comfortable and pleasant work at the service.