Your portfolio needs work doing on it, you’ve only written about your experiences rather than actually demonstrated any technical skills. Try putting actual examples of work you have done on the site.
James, it’s really easy to build up a portfolio, even if it isn’t for real clients. Faux-client projects are a great way to hone your skills and end up with something that you can show to a real client.
Just remember to make sure to note that it wasn’t a paid project – you don’t want to be a liar!
I moved to the US about 18 months ago with no professional experience in web design and nothing but product design projects in my portfolio (what my degree was in). I wanted to get a job in web design and I had an eye for design so I created about 5 one page mockups of sites in photoshop, (just a few hours on each one), sites that I would have liked to have built; a band site, a grocery store site, a site for a bar, etc.. and I when I went for interviews I stated that these compositions were just concepts for sites and that I hadn’t really built much before in the way of live websites. But from the mockups I’d created they could see that I had an eye for design and that I had potential, so I found a job pretty quickly. A similar tactic could also work for gaining freelance clients, try creating a bunch of quick dummy projects so that they have something to look at, even if they can’t view them as live examples. This is the first live site I designed when I moved here 18 months ago: ktraps.com and the client only had a budget of $300. Now that I have some things in my portfolio I’m taking on projects regularly that start at around $1,500.
Something you may want to look into also is http://99designs.com/ that is a great website to hone your skills working for real clients.
You may not get paid unless you win one of the contests, but at the very least you will have some designs which you can then show to other potential clients. As was noted above though make sure to note that it was not a paid job. (unless of course you win and did get paid for it)
Just another thing i’ve thought to say after reading that related post someone linked. I have to agree with what someone posted there about a portfolio being good but not required.
Sure if you are wanting to get clients through people browsing your site while looking for a web designer then yes, you need to be able to show your work to them without them contacting you for it, because otherwise they’ll just move onto another site that doesn’t require them to contact anyone to see the work examples.
I remember my first couple of clients were just friends of family and also a couple of people who I approached and offered my services very cheaply telling them that I was just starting out and therefore happy to charge a lot less than most web designers would given that it would be helping me get my business off the ground.
So long story short James, Yes everyone here who has said you need to get a portfolio set up is 100% correct BUT don’t think thats the only way, get some business cards made up (they are really cheap) give them out to EVERYBODY you meet, telling them that your a new web designer looking to build up your portfolio and get experience. You may not get a lot of work but it will be a start :)
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