If you don’t blow your horn, who will?

Learn how to present your work, in an expressive manner to potential clients, as a creative artist or content creator, or graphic designer, or someone gifted to provide a service in the creative arts, including tech

Today, I want to address an issue, that I see that many “creatives” have, and that is, being able to showcase their work.

Nowadays, if you go on Google or any of the freelance platforms, and you do a search for virtually any creative, for example, “graphic designer”, “voice-over artist”, “content writer”, “copywriting”, or my favorite, “web designer” etc, you are bound to find thousands of listings for each of these skills.

Some of the listings will be going for ridiculously low prices, and some go for astronomically high prices, well, it is their own choice to place that price on their service, it’s their perception of what their service is worth, and it’s a marketplace.

This happens on all marketplaces, whether it is Fiverr, Upwork, 99designs etc.

Please note, that I am specific about “service marketplaces” and not your regular product marketplaces like Jumia etc.


With physical products, it’s fairly easy to see the value of the product from the pictures and the features, but with services, it’s not that simple.

Almost anyone, including the unskilled in an area, those who are yet to finish their “learning” and those who don’t even know the basics of that trade, can wake up and claim any title.

 


You see beautiful titles like “storytelling expert”, “graphics design expert”, “UI/UX Expert”, “Front End Developer”, etc, and these are the things that potential clients can see, at that point, they have no idea on whether you are actually “capable” of doing what you wrote in your title or not.


The potential customer is essentially taking a very big risk in patronizing you, he does not know if patronizing you will become a complete waste of time and resources on his part or not…


At least, let him or her know that you are capable of doing what you said you could do, the pricing can be a separate discussion, but are the skills there? Let the answer to this question be a “YES”…

So, how do you, a creative, show a potential client that you have the skills to do the Job?

If you are a web designer, do you have a well-structured, well-organized “portfolio” that a potential client can access anytime to review some of your work?

You are a content writer, do you have a personal blog website that you have set up that you can reference a potential customer to?

You are a graphics designer, and most likely you use professional tools like Adobe Photoshop, illustrator etc, do you have a profile on Behance where you showcase your work?

You are a video editor, do you have the same?

By now, I hope that you are getting the drift.

Let me position myself as a potential client to you, and I ask you, can you show me samples of your work?

And then you say yes, and send me what is best considered as “scrap” work, maybe graphics that are still in sketch mode, or web designs that are not live, or work that looks very unfinished, how do you now expect me to take you as a serious professional?

Let me show you, in a summarized way, how to set up a good portfolio for yourself online:

 

One thing that everyone on the internet loves so much, is “short videos”

Videos that are short, no longer than 5 minutes, and with great background music.

Showcase your work using these short videos to build your portfolio, and it can work whether you are a UI/UX expert, a graphics designer, a web designer, a content writer etc.

For this to work, you need a PC or Mac or a very good mobile phone.

Do this:

 

1.) Make sure that your work is in a finished and presentable format, that you can access via a website, or in a folder on your system.

2.) Download a screen capture software, like LOOM on PC or Mac, or any good one on your mobile phone that will not have their watermark all over your videos

3.) Begin the screen capture of that work (website, landing page, images, blog etc), make sure you are actively browsing through the work during the screen capture so that the customer gets a feel of what you are doing.

4.) Make sure it is not longer than 5 minutes and save it

5.) Look for background music that is “copyright free”, there are websites online like Pixabay, where you can get such music and append it to the video


6.) If necessary, loop the music and edit it into the video till it gets to the end.

7.) Save the video with the appropriate name.

8.) Open an account on VIMEO, or if you prefer, YouTube, but I prefer Vimeo because Vimeo allows you to set up a “showcase”.

9.) Upload the video to your Vimeo account and publish it.

10.) Repeat the same for each piece of work and upload to Vimeo, then publish all those portfolio videos as your “showcase”.


Now you have a portfolio that you can present to any customer at any time and you will look professional while doing this.

This is one of the ways you can “stand out” from thousands of other people who “claim” they can do what you do as well online.

One of the ways you can help your clients separate the “wheat from the chaff”.

 

I have embedded a video demonstration of one of my works, which was done as a result of a "role play" for a multilevel marketing company, the video is below:

 

 

…and please don’t try and play smart, by using other people's work, or trying to deceive your potential clients, it will always backfire later on when you have to get the job done.

Only post your work, and what you are skilled and capable of doing, if UI/UX is the only thing you can do, focus on that and don’t claim that you are a developer.


Someone may ask, “How do I build such a body of work when there are no clients?”

 

Now, that’s a very good question, remember that you are a “creative”?

It means that you can do “role play”, for you to succeed with this, you have to be willing to “sacrifice”….

either by building this body of work yourself by assuming the position of the “client and professional” at the same time for maybe “5 to 10 jobs” that you use for your portfolio….

…or approaching some clients and offering to do these jobs for them “free”, with the caveat that you will use their finished work as part of your portfolio….

Get it?

 

Most people don’t want to make such sacrifices and this is why they hardly have any portfolios to speak of.

Entrepreneurship requires sacrificing once in a while, you have to do so to build relationships, build client lists, and retain the ones you have.

I do hope that this helps someone build a good profile online.


Have a great day


Ebenezer Wey

1 Blog posts

Comments
Israel Unya 7 w

This was quite insightful; thank you Sir for sharing this piece. It seems I'm a culprit on this matter.
Imagine having done lots of web design jobs for years and yet no tangible portfolio to showcase my work.

I will make the needed adjustments.