Why is it so hard to create and publish your portfolio?

October 10, 2022

There is a Bulgarian saying stating: The shoemaker often walks barefoot.

Hi, I am Nikoleta, and I am a Web developer and UX/UI designer that is curious about countless things. One of them is self-improvement and anything related to creating or creativity. I am not a writer, but I have always practised some writing in micro or regular journaling. Maybe you can expect a book from me soon, who knows.

Starting as a freelancer and reaching out to clients means that 9 out of 10 times will ask you about your portfolio or previous work you did. While some colleagues advise creating your portfolio in Notion or any other self-hosting and free service, I know for certain that most designers have the urge to postpone publishing an entire portfolio than doing it as, how to say, minimalistic or unimpressive. Or is it just me?

The struggle to have a "perfect" portfolio is demotivating and captivating in some endless spiral of procrastination, and just trying to find the right words urges me to close my laptop and go out for a walk or something similar.

"Perfection is the enemy of progress" - by Winston Churchill
Small silver ball surrounded by two pointy piraminds. The photo comes up as result of writing perfection in Unsplash.com
Photo by Milad Fakurian on Unsplash

And here I am writing a Medium article (laughing in despair) about creating your portfolio by postponing the same action myself. So what is the solution to this endless cycle then?

These are the steps I am following for creating my MVP (minimum valuable portfolio) portfolio:

  1. First, acknowledge the reasons for delaying the design and publishing of your portfolio (fear of judgement, imposter syndrome, perfectionism or God knows what else).
  2. Create an MVP for your portfolio after reading tons of articles on how to craft a perfect one.
  3. Start with a single page including the sections:
  • The hero section (above the fold) includes a short introduction of who you are and what you do. Call-to-action button for contact, for example. A profile picture is optional at this phase.
  • Your case studies or previous work
  • Contact details
  • Footer. That's it.

4. Write down your case studies or prepare your visuals (if you are a photographer or a different type of creative professional).

5. Choose your best 2-3 projects you are proud of and wish to attract similar work with it.

6. Stick to black and white for your colour scheme. Trust me, as soon as you start making it will see how enough and "perfect" it looks even with that bare minimum.

7. Choose a simple font family, and don't overcomplicate it. If you like the font of the template you use, stick with it.

8. If you need a logo, put your name or abbreviations in the easiest and most minimalistic font you can think of.

9. Create a title skeleton of what your case studies will look like. Use that template for the rest of your case study projects so the user can effortlessly skim the rest of the content after being familiar with the first outline.

10. Start importing the text into the title skeleton.

11. Gradually start adding images or GIFs that best fit the storyline of your project.

12. Include your contact information in the footer or at the bottom of the page.

You succeeded, my friend. There are no more steps. Now, what follows is to publish it, run some tests, and send it to your friends, colleagues and family. Make sure you take notes of their feedback and keep it during the next iteration of your portfolio. This breaking down of your portfolio into shorter phases also helps you to overcome the sunk cost fallacy we often face when spending too much time on a project. Don't forget to check your links (they are not that many, remember MVP), do your best with the SEO and enjoy a stress-free negotiation next time a potential client or collaborator asks you for your portfolio.

Hopefully, this article helps your start and finish something you do for many people, except for yourself (myself included). I am curious to see how it turns out. Feel free to share your progress!

Thank you for reading! More interesting articles - subscribe to my newsletter! Also, remember to have a great week! 😎

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