Building Your Portfolio 101

When you’re pitching yourself for freelance work online, it’s really important to have a portfolio of work – or a pitch deck – to back you up. But if you’ve never created something like this, you might feel overwhelmed trying to find a place to start.

I highly recommend using Canva as a resource for this – there are tons of free templates for online portfolios that you can use. Back when I first started my company, I spent around $800 on having a designer create my first pitch deck. It will definitely save you some money while still looking really professional by doing it yourself on Canva!

To start, go to the Canva homepage and click on create a design, then type in “portfolio.” Click the online portfolio option that pops up.

On the left, you’ll see lots of different options for templates to customize for your brand. Find one that you work, and get to customizing! As you create your personal portfolio, remember that you can duplicate pages or delete pages as needed to get all the information into your document that you need.

Here’s what I recommend including in your pitch deck:

  1. Cover page – your name/brand, prospect’s name/brand
  2. Page one – who you are, include a headshot if possible
  3. Your background – a high level overview of your career/work. A few bullet points is fine, do not put your full resume here
  4. Your capabilities – basically a list of the different services you offer
  5. Examples of your work (I actually have this at the end of my presentation – after my actual pitch/services, but some people like to add this before their pitch)
  6. What you’re proposing to this client and pricing (this can be removed if you’re just using this to pitch yourself in general)
  7. Next steps – what should they do if they’re interested in moving forward?
  8. Contact page – how they can get in touch

Once you have your pitch deck where you want it, DOWNLOAD it as a PDF and save it with a nice name. You do not want to send a prospect a Canva link for your portfolio – it looks more professional and high end when you email them a PDF copy.

You can go back into Canva to edit this for other clients, but I find it helpful to have one version that’s clean (just my branding and no pricing), then create a customized version for actual pitching.

And that’s it! You just created your first portfolio. Congrats!