Starting a consulting business can be challenging. You have to learn how to manage yourself, market your services, often you have to learn how to start an ecommerce store to sell your work. There are many things that you have to learn and one of those things is how to sell yourself.
When you are working on landing projects and clients, your portfolio is how you sell yourself. If it is not up to par, you may find yourself in the famine part of the independent business owner’s feast or famine phase. Let’s go on to look at 5 elements that should be in every consultant’s portfolio.
1. Who You Are – Brand Identity
There are thousands of people that do what you do so why should people do business with you? What makes you special and how can people benefit from your services vs the same services from someone else?
Making sure you are descriptive about who you are and being vulnerable with your story. Oftentimes we like to think that business is separate from who we are, but truthfully, people love to do business with people that they like. If you can tell you story and let them get to know your personality a little bit then it is going to be much easier for you to close the deal with clients.
It is true that if you tell personal information about yourself, there are going to be some people that do not resonate with what you say. The good news is that those are not the right clients and instead of working with people that you do not enjoy working with, you can save your time for clients that are going to be perfect for you.
2. What You Do
If people go to your website, they need to know what you do right away. If they go to your website and click away with a confused look because it was less than self-explanatory then you need to clean up your act.
While you want to have a place to tell your story and let people get to know you a little bit, it is most important that you give a clear and quick description of what you do so that people can contact you and work with you. Once you have the clear and precise description, you can then lead them to more information to give them details on what you do.
Besides for the what of what you do, you can tell people how you do your work. What is your process? How are you going to help them through this journey as you work together? Answering these questions for people through your portfolio will help them see if you are a good fit for their project.
3. Work Examples
Why not let your work speak for itself. Put the examples of your work that you are most proud of in your portfolio. People want to see what you have done in the past because this is often the best predictor of what is possible in the future unless you’ve developed some new skills and if that is the case, you need to update your portfolio and work examples to reflect this as soon as possible.
You can also talk about what kind of work you enjoy doing and why you enjoy doing it. This is another way for people to get to know you a little better.
If you are applying for work in a certain niche and you have already done work in that niche, you should show them the work in their niche right off the bat. This will allow them to see that you are already familiar with the topic and the audience.
4. Formatting That Is Easy to Navigate
When people go to view your portfolio, are they going to find something that is well designed, sleek and easy to navigate? Your website doesn’t need to be complicated and confusing to be effective. In fact, the less complicated you can make your website, the better.
You want everything to point to your work examples, your story about yourself and the other parts of the website that are selling you. You don’t need them to be paying attention to your flashy site or getting confused when they are trying to navigate.
5. How to Reach You
Of course, it is important to let people know how to reach you so they can hire you. You can put down different ways to contact you, but make sure they know the best and fastest way to contact you in order to set them up for success.
If you rarely check your email, you might ask them to call instead of sending an email if they want a faster response.
Making sure that your portfolio is optimized and formatted in a manner that is going to get attention, keep attention and compel people to give you their business may seem like a big task. You should commit a good amount of time and effort to this since it could mean the difference between hundreds and thousands of dollars.
People want to work with professionals and when you show people that you are a professional and you know how to market your craft as well as perform your work, they will be impressed and likely to give you the interview and hire you for their project.