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How to Design a Canva Portfolio for Beginning Freelancers: Free Canva Template

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So you’ve finally decided to take a leap to freelance and now want to get noticed, right?

In my last week’s post, I discussed a thorough guide on how to become a freelancer. I felt there was more to be discussed when it comes to creating a portfolio.

Your portfolio is going to be your biggest asset and the best way to show what you’re capable of. It can really help you to stand out and distinguish yourself from the crowd.

If you’re a blog writer, you can include your best article pieces and include the client’s website as well. Similarly, if you’re a fitness instructor, include your certifications and what type of workout programs you offer.

Do note whatever information you’re including in your portfolio has to be relatable to your client-specific needs. Dumping all kinds of stuff will only create confusion and clients won’t even bother reading through your profile. Make it as clean and simple as possible. No fussy stuff!

Now, how do you know if your freelance portfolio is worth considering?

It can be quite annoying to figure out what goes through a potential client’s mind. You’ve got to put in the work when just starting out and once you do, you can reuse the same format for different clients while saving a lot of time in the long run. Let me show you the ropes on how I’ve been able to secure clients.

Quick Disclosure: Some of these links happen to be affiliate links which means when you click the link to purchase something on this page, it won’t cost you more but I may receive a commission for sharing this with you. This is great because I was going to share it with you anyway!

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How do I create a free digital Canva portfolio?

Creating a freelance portfolio website can be quite time-consuming and can turn out quite costly as well (hosting, domains, plug-ins, website templates,…).

So that’s why – especially as a beginner – it’s much easier to create your freelance portfolio on the online graphic design platform, Canva. Even with the free version, you can design your Canva portfolio in no time with the user-friendly drag-and-drop interface. And to speed up the process, even more, you can download your FREE Canva Portfolio Template down below. Enter your text, change the colors to your brand colors and the font if you like, and you’re good to go.

However, if you’re interested in signing up for the Canva Pro version, so you can have full access to their HUGE library of templates, stock pictures, and elements, I’ve got you covered. Click HERE to discover their features yourself with their 30-day free trial.

What should I include in my portfolio?

It goes without saying that you should include your best work inside your freelance Canva portfolio; it should really give a “wow” impression, without creating false expectations. Once a potential client views your Canva portfolio, you need to make them stay long enough for them to eventually hire you.

So what makes an impressive portfolio? Let’s take a closer look at what to include when planning it out:

Specialty: Instead of being the jack of all trades, mention relevant information that you have likely developed an expertise in your niche. If you do have a broad range of skills, then create separate Canva portfolios for each skill set.

• Snippets: Include excerpts of your previous projects (A brief of things you did for a client).

• Create Samples: Portfolio samples do not necessarily need to be a piece of paid work you have done. Especially if you haven’t done any paid projects yet, you can just organize your own “imaginary client” project and showcase your work in the portfolio as an example.

Screenshots: Display screenshots of your work like before and after results, social media posts, Google Analytics graphs, Pinterest impressions, and so on.

• Degrees/Certifications: Although most clients look out for past work experiences, it is still good to mention your qualifications. You may need to provide proof of certification depending on the niche like freelance work for fitness/health, Information Security, or programming.

• Feedback/Recommendation: You can also include feedback from clients which shows you are a reliable freelancer to work with. Getting recommendations as well improves your credibility which most likely will help you get hired.

Tips for Creating Your Canva Portfolio

• Easy to Navigate: Make sure your freelance portfolio is easy to navigate for potential clients. You don’t want a layout that has too much information making it too long to load. Keep it simple. Make use of easy-to-read fonts with a simple background.

• Your USP: What makes you the best in the business? Emphasize why clients should hire you, what makes YOU unique? How can you leverage your skills and talents in a unique way to help and give value to your clients?

Create a Visual Hook: Take some time creating the best Canva portfolio that you can make. It should be engaging enough for clients to read through without getting distracted.

• Insert a Picture: Including pictures of you, either at your desk or workstation speaks volumes. It gives clients visiting your profile a professional look and your personality just shines through.

• Contact Information: If a client wants further information or decides to hire you, make sure you make it easy for them to get in touch. Do include your e-mail, phone number, and socials.

Give Credit: Tell a “story” rather than just mentioning the client you’ve worked with. A great way to do this is to use the “CAR” model. Write a brief about the Challenges you took when working on the project. Then mention the Actions you took to resolve clients’ issues/problems. And finally, you can write about positive Results that were achieved by the end. (Include charts, graphs, turnover, etc.)

Mistakes to avoid when creating a freelance portfolio

• Not mentioning the desired role: Having a portfolio that has little to no relevance for the client you’re trying to work for isn’t going to land you the job. Clients want their problems solved and having skills and experiences that are going to help them is worth mentioning. If you have numerous skill sets, create separate Canva portfolios for each and use only those that match the job description.

• Displaying all of your work: As the saying goes – quality over quantity. It’s best to mention your top 3 projects in detail rather than everything that you’ve ever worked on. Include only those pieces of work that you feel represents who you truly are capable of.

• No context on projects: Often times, freelancers only mention the projects they’ve worked on but no explanation of the actual work they took upon themselves. People won’t know what you’re actually capable of. So, do include a bit of context like I mentioned above.

• Lying about your work: Exaggerating or lying about results and numbers will sooner than later come back to haunt you. Clients expect to see the same or better results than you’ve mentioned. They also can easily do a background check if they suspect anything. Plus as a freelancer, you might not even get paid and your contract could get terminated.

Grammatical Errors: Do I even need to discuss this one?! Imagine trying to give a good first impression to potential clients, but you’ve misspelled some of the content. It shows that you’re not taking the job post seriously and blindly applying to any project that’s available. A great way to go about this is by sharing your Canva portfolio with family, friends, or even a professional. Sometimes they might find something that you haven’t when going through your portfolio.

• Over Sophistication: You don’t need to impress clients with your Anglo-Saxon writing or complex IT Lingo. The main aim of your portfolio is to mention the expertise you have in your niche. Keep in mind that your client may not have complete knowledge about your niche.

• No Contact Information: Imagine creating a positive impression on a client that now wants to hire you but can’t seem to find a way to get in touch – rookie mistake!! So many freelancers put a lot of time and effort into mentioning their expertise but always forget to include their contact information. So include your email and socials into your Canva portfolio or create a separate “About Me” or “Get in Touch” page. An easy call-to-action for clients to contact you is what you need.

I hope we’ve covered a lot of things here that will certainly help you create a professional portfolio in Canva. Make sure you go through every single point that I’ve talked about and you’ll be good to go!

If you need a template that’s going to make your clients go “WOW, I need to hire this person ASAP, download my FREE Canva Portfolio Template, that’s fully editable so you can create your Canva Portfolio in under 1 hour.

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    If you found this post useful, do comment down below on how this has helped you and share this post with anyone that needs it 🙂

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    1. This is exactly the post I need right now. I’m just getting started, don’t have a portfolio at all and really appreciate these suggestions. Thanks!

      • Latte Lover says:

        Hi Tammi, happy to hear this 🙂 You’re very welcome, all the best of luck with creating your freelance portfolio!

    2. Ruth says:

      These are fantastic ideas and tips for creating a portfolio. Thanks so much for sharing

    3. Rebecca says:

      Extremely Helpful! As someone who just started using Canva I really appreciate this article!

    4. Lyssa says:

      Thank you so much! I have been thinking of starting one of these for a while now but I felt overwhelmed trying to figure out how to start.

    5. Aubrey says:

      This is such a comprehensive collection of great portfolio info! Canva is my favorite business tool in my suite. It’s great to see how versatile it is for entrepreneurs of all skill levels. Thanks for sharing.

      • Latte Lover says:

        You’re very welcome! Canva is my fav tool as well, it’s impressive what you can create with it, without the steep learning curve, like with adobe products 🙂

    6. Jean says:

      Great tips for my freelancing portfolio too.

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