Showing Clients Your Site
The first place that you can start with getting a portfolio together for your business is your own website. Your initial clients will want to see want kind of graphic design skills you have and who you've worked for in the past. However, even though you may not have had any prior clients, devoting the time necessary to make yourself a nice, clean website with great graphic design elements is important to showing prospects your talents and what you can do.
When creating your own website, be sure to make it look professional and clean in appearance. One unique suggestion to use to add a little variety to your portfolio would be to create several different graphic design logos that you can use for your own business. By having several examples, you'll have more proof to show your potential clients.
Another way to gain a business client for your web design portfolio is to connect with a non-profit organization or two that needs a website. Non-profit organizations can be found on the national level or local level. If you have found a non-profit organization that may need a website makeover, approach the organization in a direct manner telling them that you are trying to start a portfolio for your web design business and ask them if they would be interested.
The reason why non-profits are great to work with is because you're not only showing off your graphic design and web design skills for free, but their website will get plenty of traffic in the months ahead, which can be great for exposure! In turn, the traffic to their website should lead to more traffic to your business website, especially if you have posted a ‘designed by’ link in the footer of the site.
Taking your web design business and skills to small businesses around your area is a good way to get some real-world experience and it's also a great way to get referrals for future clients. For example, consider approaching several small businesses around the area asking if you could design a website for them if they don't currently have one. If you're offering a free service with no strings attached then most small businesses that see the value in a website presence should jump at the chance to have a free one designed. After you create their website, you'll have a satisfied client and possibly referrals as well.
Designing a Church Website
This is also another area that may be able to take advantage of having a website. Even though most churches don't necessarily need a website, having one allows them to stay in touch with their parishioners as well as post current happenings of the church community. As with small business owners and non-profit organizations, you can also develop a website for a church to add to your business portfolio. If you approach it with the mentality that you'll be able to use the church website as an added place to show off your web and graphic design skills, it should be an enjoyable task to take on!
Delivering your services for free in exchange for referrals and testimonials is an overall good way to start your web design business portfolio. The social proof attached to testimonials is a huge factor in gaining future clients and building your portfolio in this way will show off your web and graphic design skills as well! Once you have enough of a portfolio built up then you can begin not only charging full price for your services, but also start actively seeking paying clients more often.