In this series of lessons we are covering all those things you need to do once a project is over. We have talked about getting paid, getting testimonials and getting referrals. Now let’s talk about portfolio management.
We’re Working With Them!
I think all clients appreciate a little enthusiasm. The second you get a new client you might be tempted to tell the world. I would advise against this, certainly it’s better to wait until after you’ve finished a project and everything has gone well then to shout about it and be
embarrassed later. Also depending on your line of work it can give a negative impression. For example a video company I once knew would post out “filming today!” and then it might be months before you’d see the final video. This delay could well be on the clients side but by being a little over-eager they were inadvertently creating a bad impression.
You’ll be surprised what a time consuming activity updating your portfolio is. I would recommend that generally when people are looking at your site they want to see a stream of regular activity. It may be better to store up a few months’ worth of portfolio pieces to push out rather than doing them the second they come in.
One piece of advice you might not expect is to include some crap work in your portfolio. YesI know it sounds counter-intuitive but from personal experience I always included all my work. The truth of the working for yourself is that not everything you work on will be
amazing. I think clients are sometimes wary of a portfolio that looks too polished. Showing some of your smaller clients can often balance you out. Also showing earlier work can be a good way to demonstrate professional developlent.
There are some projects that you can’t share with the world. Often this is because you are a sub-contractor to someone else. In most cases I would suggest that keeping mum should come at a premium to your client. One thing is that although you may not be able to share publicly about the client and their information, usually you can share this information privately with a prospect without fear of repercussions. In your terms and conditions I would recommend
putting in a clause that allows you to use any work as part of your portfolio, and generally speaking I would think outside of sensitive information you should be fine after a few years.
Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out the best way to showcase your work. Websites for instance. You may have made a fantastic website, but 12 months down the line and your client has added lots of cheesy stock pictures, there’s spelling mistakes everywhere. Suddenly this doesn’t represent you well as a link. In some cases your clients may actually go out of business! Ensuring that you always have a copy of work you’ve produced and have an easy way of displaying it is key. You need to be able to post/email it meaning large PDF files can be a no go. With a website portfolio, ideally you want to showcase your work without leading people away from your site. Creating lots of sub-pages is time consuming, but may need to be done!