No portfolio? No problem!
Getting started with your career is painful, but with a few tips, you can get clients even if you don't have anything to show. Oh, and don't worry, you don't need to work for free.
In this article, I'll show you the step-by-step guide to get clients without a portfolio of previous projects.
I don't want to lie to you. Getting clients in the first stages of your career isn't a piece of cake.
Since we don't have much experience, and maybe we don't have a portfolio, we need to use our brain and ask ourselves, “what do clients want?”.
A little revelation here: Clients don't care about what you've done in the past.
They ask for a portfolio cause they want to be reassured they're not wasting their money and time.
But how can we reassure them that we're the right person?
The answer is showing personalized help!
The mistake most of the entrepreneurs do is to propose a 360 degrees help.
A change of strategy
Let's imagine being in an interview. What is your usual behavior in a situation like that?
I would pretend I'm the most professional, skilled person they interviewed so far. I would definitely check all the boxes, and be able to help them in every area.
This that I described is the general approach to an interview. And it's also the wrong approach.
Everyone can lie about his past and his abilities. Acting like that won't put you on the top of all the other candidates, but will instead make you a copy of the others.
Plus, it will convey that you're not an expert in anything in particular.
The client's problem
A client decides to hire someone when she has a problem.
If you're the person who could solve that specific problem, you're the ideal candidate.
All you have to do is know everything about the client's problem, and be specific about the solution you can provide.
But how can we spot the client's problem?
When you start working on your niche, you'll soon realize that the main problems are always the same.
In my niche, I know that the main issues for my audience are “finding clients”, “writing the right message”, “convince clients to hire you”.
Find first the most common questions in your field, and if you don't know how to do, I created a pdf where I explain 5 ways to find common problems in your niche.
Everything starts with research
Once you have the most common problems, check which applies to your client.
Do proper research on the client looking at the website, profile on Linkedin, social media profiles, info coming up from Google, and so on.
If you're a web designer, do an in-depth analysis of the website. What can you improve? What's not working?
If you're a social media specialist, check all the stats for the client's posts and find what's not working.
If you put time and effort into this part and come up with the right list of problems and solutions, you've done 50% of your work.
This is what you need to explain to the client, not your previous projects and experiences.
How can you do the other 50%?
You need to lower your price if you're starting, but you can use this situation to your advantage.
For example, you can propose your special price in exchange for a video testimonial, and give an additional discount if they introduce you to new clients.
This referral system allowed me to grow a lot in my early times
I used to charge way less than what I'm charging now, and offer an additional 20% discount for every referral.
Word of mouth is still the most potent marketing technique.
If your clients recommend you to their friends, you won't need to show a portfolio or other credentials. If they need you, they'll hire you based on their friend's advice.