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How to Prepare for the 2023 FX Portfolio Showcase

The Freelance Exchange’s annual Portfolio Showcase is coming up on November 8th. Are you ready??

FX puts on this signature B2B trade show to give you, the freelancers, a prime opportunity to get yourself and your work in front of the very people who are looking for you, including ad agencies, design shops, large corporations, small businesses, non-profits, and more.

For those looking for freelance talent, it’s a one-stop shop. They can find the one freelancer they need or put together an entire virtual agency. The possibilities are endless!

When / Where / What

First, the logistics:

Wednesday, November 8th

  • 3:30 – 5 p.m. Exhibitor Setup
  • 5 – 8 p.m. Portfolio Show/Open House, appetizers & drinks 
  • 8 – 8:30 p.m. Teardown

Portfolio displays and tables are to be set up prior to the doors opening at 5 p.m. We recommend allowing ample time to set up … and go around and meet your fellow FX members and view their portfolios!

Please unload your vehicle up front and then move it to a space further away so that attendees can have easy parking. There is plenty of parking available including:

  • at KCYA
  • across Main St. to the east
  • at The Whole Person, just north of KCYA

A cash bar will be on hand to purchase beverages throughout the event, and appetizers will be available (for free) from Chef Kansas City.

Best Practices for the Best Exhibits

You’ll choose either 4 or 6 feet of table space (or sponsor for 8 feet). The tables are rectangular and will be covered with a black tablecloth.

You can customize your display as much or as little as you want. For examples of table displays from past Showcases, look at pictures (see albums) on our Facebook page.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Think visually. The more visually appealing the display, the better chances of results.
  • Don’t just think flat table display. Utilize vertical and get crafty! That said, don’t get too ambitious and have a huge display that blocks your – or your neighbor’s! – view. Also, no floor displays are allowed.
  • Showcase your brand. Have your logo prominently on display, use signage, and bring plenty of business cards. Consider brochures, sample books, giveaways, raffle prizes, promotional items, etc.
  • Have an array of work available to view: Different mediums, industries, one-off projects, complete campaigns, etc.
  • Not a creative type and no portfolio to show? No problem! Consider having testimonials, case studies, and more available. Use this opportunity as a meet-and-greet to share your services.
  • Be organized. Use a flipbook, brochure stand, or any other piece that will help accomplish this goal. Laptops and monitors are commonplace as well.
  • Need electricity? If you didn’t note that when you signed up, your table may not be near an outlet. Let us know ASAP: [email protected]. Otherwise, plan to bring an extension cord; we’ll see what we can do.

Be Prepared

Aside from getting your portfolio and table display ready, there are a few things you can do to prepare, such as:

  • Determine your Unique Selling Point (USP). Figure out what makes you unique/different/better, and highlight that.
  • Write up your elevator speech. And practice it so it comes across naturally.
  • Bring a note pad and pen. Use this to take notes of what you spoke about and with whom so you can remember when you follow up.
  • See the big picture. Figure out how you can best communicate value to your prospects. Remember, you are not just a writer, designer, etc. You are part of this amazing collective in which you can partner with—and refer!—others on projects, form a virtual agency, and refer other members who may be perfect for a job.
  • Don’t just hand out your card. Have a conversation. Engage with your visitors! And get any prospect’s card as well.
  • Prepare for all types of questions. You may be asked about your capabilities, availability, and rates. While you get to determine how you want to answer these questions, FX suggests – in particular – you deflect any questions about your rate. Communicate your value, and ask for the opportunity to put together a formal project estimate instead.
  • Don’t be surprised. While we target heavily those looking to hire freelancers in our promotional efforts, we can’t prevent others (i.e., vendors, other freelancers, students) from coming to the trade show. We recommend greeting every visitor and engaging them in conversation up front to determine how much time you’d like to spend with them.
  • After the event: Follow up. Follow up. Follow up! Don’t miss out on a great opportunity. Make yourself memorable and begin a great relationship with your best prospects. Connect on LinkedIn, follow on other social media channels, send articles, emails, invitations for a coffee meeting, etc. (But not too much or too often. You don’t want to be a pest!)

Keep in mind, results may vary. Some years may generate some amazing hot leads. Others not so much. But it’s all about brand awareness and recognition. Meeting your peers. Getting referred and offering referrals. And who knows? You may end up with an amazing project years down the road from someone you met at this year’s show! So do your best to have a successful show, and keep the hope alive!

What You Can Do to Help

We promote this event far and wide through the use of email, web, social media, PR, outreach, and more. See more about our efforts in the FAQs section on the event page on our website.

Please help us spread the word and invite your contacts as well! Forward emails, share on social media, and help us get the word out.

Questions about the event? Contact FX Director Shauna Clark at [email protected].

What Makes a Good FX Portfolio?

By Amber Monaco

One of the best benefits of joining FX is to have your business listed in the Portfolio section. This section of the website is searchable by specialty or name in order for a potential employer to find exactly who and what they need.

You have to do your part by adding yourself to the directory and filling out your profile completely. But trust me, it’s worth it. I’ve had many clients and even more interviews from people who found me on the FX website!

Here are a few areas of the portfolio that you don’t want to miss:

1. Name and Picture

Many people take advantage of the first sample space within their Portfolio to share their title and headshot. People want to know who you are and what you look like. Beyond your name, give yourself a creative job title to truly express yourself. You could add your logo, but don’t forget to include your face. We’re all about making personal connections.

2. Background

This is your opportunity to share your past experiences, education, and name-drop the popular clients you’ve had. 

3. Contact Info

A potential client needs to know how to get in touch with you. They may want an email or they may want to call you. Meet the client where they are and provide a way to contact you. Don’t lose business because you forget to list your phone number. This is a great place to include your website and LinkedIn profile links as well.

4. Samples of Work

This is your time to show off!  

The portfolio allows you to upload graphics, link an image to a website or video. Alongside the example of your work, write a description of the work that you did and the outcomes from your work.  Brag about yourself – you work hard and people should see that!

Choose diverse selections of your work so that a potential new client can see the depth of your work.

5. Choose Your Specialty Wisely

At this point in time, you can choose up to two specialties to be listed, so choose well. You can pick from one already in the list or let us know what you want and we will add it for you (email [email protected]). It does make sense if the two specialties match similarly (example, logo design and website developer), but it may be a strategic move to vary your specialties a bit. It’s up to you.

6. Testimonials

Create a graphic to showcase your latest testimonial.  If your client took the time to say what they loved about working with you, you should promote that to the world.  Plus, testimonials can live beyond the platform where they were originally submitted!

7. Certifications / Designations

You have worked hard to earn your credentials – show them off on your FX portfolio page!  You can simply add the logo of the badge or accreditation you’ve earned and speak to the work that went into earning the designation.

These examples are just a few of the MANY wonderful FX portfolios on The Freelance Exchange of KC website. Listing out your work, experience, and potential deliverables is the most useful way to show off your talents to potential clients.  

Take the time to expand on your portfolio today – it’s worth it.