3 simple strategies for managing your portfolio

Why time spent showcasing your work is an investment in better quality projects later.

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Can you relate? You cringe when you hear a prospect say they are going to check out your website… Ooh wait, let me send you some recent work via email, my portfolio is out of date… Sound familiar?

Updating my portfolio is one of those business growth tasks that always feels less productive than working on client projects. There’s no client kudos or the satisfaction of checking something off in exchange for being paid. The project is already done – and I’m usually pretty tired of looking at it by the time I have to add it to my portfolio.

How I view business growth work shifted when I learned how to set goals the right way. I was able to reframe how I view the time I spend keeping my portfolio up to date – showcasing my work is an investment.

Time invested in your portfolio now will come back to you as better quality projects later.

So what prevents you from keeping your portfolio updated?

  • Perhaps you make it too complex so you dread working on it (the first page was fun to create now the rest feel like drudgery), or
  • you freeze up when you try to write case studies, or
  • you simply have too much client work to even think about your own website…

Check out these 3 simple strategies for managing your portfolio so that you can attract the best clients…

Gather portfolio assets as part of the launch process

Have you ever gone back a few months later to get screen captures of your project and it’s changed? Maybe a little butchered even? I’ve been there, done that…

Instead of waiting until you can work on your portfolio to capture the work – gather what you need as part of the launch process – even if you don’t update your portfolio right away.

Grab screenshots of key website pages – don’t forget mobile views! I use a combo of Chrome + the extension Awesome Screenshot or Fireshot. There are many options for generating quick screenshots to use later. Simply compress the browser window to capture a mobile or tablet view.

Ask for feedback while the project experience is still fresh in your client’s mind. Most clients will willingly give it. It’s a much bigger ask 6 months after the fact. Gather it now and turn it into a testimonial or case study later. I link to a form on my website in a message to my client through my project management tool. It’s normal to have to remind your client once or twice. It simply looks like this:

I would love your feedback when you have time – I have really enjoyed our collaboration. Provide feedback here » http://www.christinemariestudio.com/feedback/

Keep the layout of your portfolio simple

There are so many beautiful portfolios out there. Super fancy layouts. They have their place AND usually multiple team members to create and maintain them. If you don’t have a team (even if you do) – consider keeping your portfolio layout clean and simple so it’s complexity won’t keep you from updating it. Another reason for simplicity – it focuses your client on your work rather than the function or design of your site.

Remember, your design brand is not about you.

Showcase your work so it tells a visual story

In showing just a homepage on a monitor to represent your work, you are missing an opportunity to showcase your value. How is your potential client supposed to know the scope of the project from this? Or understand the strategy you contributed? Don’t count on them to catch the scope of what you did with just one image or even click to visit a website you’ve built.

Be proactive and tell the story visually. Make the work feel tangible – like something they could reach through the screen and touch. Help your potential client to identify with the thrilled client in your portfolio. Make them want to be that person. Use mockup photography – monitors, phones, tablets in real life scenarios – to help connect them to your work in a “real life” scenario.

Now the hardest part → make the time to invest in your business.

You’ve gathered the assets and the layout. Now, set aside a regular day every week, or every other week to work ON your business. Don’t let it get swallowed up with client-catch-up work.

Maybe that updated portfolio will bring in a client willing to pay twice as much for the same work? It happens.

What keeps you from working on your portfolio? Tell me in the comments below.

How to get testimonials from clients, plus simple tactics for keeping your freelance design portfolio updated.

Author: Christine Thatcher

Christine Thatcher is the founder of Christine Marie Studio, a boutique design agency dedicated to helping visionary entrepreneurs infuse their personalities into profitable virtual platforms. She combines 27 years of design experience to guide her clients through the web design process. Also the creator of Designing to Delight, a brand dedicated to teaching designers how to build collaborative client relationships so they can charge more for their work.