How to become a freelancer if you don’t have a portfolio?
How to become a freelancer if you don’t have a portfolio?. If you want to go freelance, but do not know where to get a portfolio and first orders, read this article.
The most common question for novice freelancers is how to switch to freelancing without a portfolio? I tell you what to do if you have no experience and portfolio, but want to work.
How to find time to build a portfolio
I always recommend moving to freelance gradually. If you plan to continue working in your field, use the projects you completed in your primary job. You have the right to show them as a demonstration of your skills unless the employment contract specifies otherwise.
If you are completely changing the field, then create a portfolio in your free time: in the evenings, on weekends, on vacation. By the time you leave work, you will already have several completed projects to show to potential customers.
Sometimes, you lost your job and decided to go freelance, no portfolio, and even want to change the sphere. In this case, give yourself a month: every day, work exclusively on the creation of new works, and in different categories (if you are an illustrator, do not concentrate on only one type of illustrations – to receive orders you need to have at least 3-5 works of different topics: graphic design, characters, sketches, logos).
After that, you can start searching for orders.
How to make a portfolio if there are no orders
If you do not know where to get orders from, use a life hack: browse projects and competitions on exchanges and try to make a project on open technical specifications.
Then you can either send the completed order to the customer. Even (if you did not respond to the project, offer to take a look) or immediately add it to the portfolio.
You do not violate copyright: you completed the project yourself based on an assignment published in the public domain. If you are worried, then fantasize about the topic proposed in terms of reference and do your project.
Another option is to do work for acquaintances. Indeed your friends, relatives, colleagues are working somewhere or are running their projects. Offer them your services on preferential terms or for free. It will make it easier for you to start: there will be a reason to practice doing work. While you will not feel much pressure – it is easier to negotiate with friends.
However, I strongly advise against working with friends and family. When it comes to money, conflicts, misunderstandings, and quarrels arise. Cooperate with acquaintances only on a barter basis, or agree, clearly prescribing all the terms of the transaction.
For copywriters, the ideal way to get your first orders is to create them yourself. There are several resources where you can publish your texts for free (and somewhere you will even get paid). If your articles get approved, you will get a cold portfolio line and a couple of strong links. You can study more about this in this article. Moreover, to learn to write cold and expensive – on my course “Copywriting with a high budget.”
Who are these methods for?
Anyone who designs a text-visual product: designers, illustrators, copywriters, translators, SEO specialists, layout designers, photographers, video makers, 2D / 3D animation experts – can practice the method of creating a portfolio of published projects.
If you are a programmer, marketer, SMM manager, lawyer, accountant, consultant – the way to search for your first projects through your friends will suit you.
Another option is to develop your project and practice on it.
The main thing is to look for opportunities to express yourself in everything and not underestimate your talents. Do not expect a “perfect project” to be “worthy” of being placed in your portfolio. Share everything you did with your own hands. At the beginning of the transition to freelance, try to turn off your perfectionism and self-criticism, allow yourself to be wrong, and be an imperfect performer.
Then, when you have already built a portfolio and completed a hundred or two orders. You will understand that there will never be an ideal project since we learn and develop throughout our lives. Each new job will be better than the previous one.
Moreover, when your portfolio is complete, post it to one of the portfolio services.