The Freelance Exchange’s annual Portfolio Showcase is coming up on November 9th. 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 9th
- 3 – 5 p.m. Exhibitor Setup
- 5 – 8 p.m. Portfolio Show/Open House, appetizers & drinks
- 8 – 8:30 p.m. Teardown
- The Guild (in the Crossroads), 1621 Locust St., Kansas City, MO
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!
A bar will be on hand for purchasing beverages throughout the event, and appetizers will be available (for free).
Best Practices for the Best Exhibits
You’ll choose either 3 or 6 feet of a 6-foot table (or sponsor for a 9-foot table) 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.
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 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.
- And, 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 Special Events Director Kate Bradshaw at [email protected].