How to make the best UX writing freelance portfolio

Your UX writing portfolio in the world of freelance is a sales asset. Learn what makes it different from full-time and how to do one well.
ux writing freelance portfolio
In: Freelance

If you’re coming from the full-time world, forget most of what you’ve learned about UX writing portfolios. In UX writing freelance, portfolios are a completely different ball game.

That’s because, when you’re looking to land a UX writing job, your UX writing portfolio should convince the hiring manager you have the chops to add value to the team. Which makes sense, because they’re looking for people to invest in and help foster careers for.

But when you’re looking to land a client, your UX writing portfolio should sell potential clients your services as the solution to their problem. They’re not looking to invest in you, they’re looking to buy from you.

That’s right — your UX writing portfolio in the world of freelance is a sales asset. The client likely isn’t a UX writer, and won’t really know what “good” UX writing is or means. They don’t care so much about your content audit or competitive analysis — those are just details to a technical CTO or CEO.

What UX writing freelance clients do care about is if you’ve succeeded in the past at using UX writing as a tool to solve problems just like theirs.

How do you communicate that? By designing your UX writing freelance portfolio to be the best-possible vegan sandwich…

A good freelance portfolio is like a vegan sandwich

Aka the best part is the bread. The lettuce, tofu, and vegan mayo are necessary, yes, but the fresh-baked ciabatta is really why we’re eating the sandwich.

The same is true for your UX writing freelance portfolio — the potential client wants to know that you accomplished a relevant problem. Your successful solution is like the hot, crispy bread, or the reason the sandwich gets eaten.

Learning about your process is just necessary due diligence, like the vegan sandwich fillings. You eat the fillings because they’re healthy, but it’s not the yummy part.

Let me break it down…

The first piece of bread

The best UX writing freelance portfolios start their portfolio sandwich with a hell of a slice of bread, like this:

Now, that’s some sweet ciabatta.

It tells the potential client everything they care about, and you’ve likely already convinced them your service is a solution to their problem.

Again, when looking at your UX writing portfolio, freelance UX writing clients care about and are evaluating:

  1. Is this a problem I have?
  2. Did you solve the problem?
  3. How well did you solve it?

How you solved it is just the details. And details a CTO or CEO likely doesn’t understand (or have the time to learn about.)

By front-loading the most important information, you’re making the most effective and efficient viewing experience possible.

The tofu, lettuce, vegan mayo, and stuff

Just like the trying-to-be-healthy human tolerates the vegan-mayo-soggied iceberg lettuce part of the vegan sandwich, the potential client will skim our process-related content.

Again, our potential client likely isn’t a UX writer, and reading about our UX writing  process is the “healthy stuff” they have to do.

That’s why we want to utilize the overview-based portfolio, like this:

The vegan sandwich fillings of our freelance portfolio (aka our process) has 3 short parts:

  1. Overview
  2. Hypothesis
  3. Implementation

1. Overview

This is where you give just enough context for the potential client to understand the project background.

Emphasis on “just enough” — you want to share as little as possible for someone to still understand what’s happening. That keeps you from overwhelming the reader and keeps them focused on only the context that matters. Less is more in this UX writer portfolio example.

2. Hypothesis

Again, this is necessary background for the reader to understand the point of the project. Keep your hypothesis to a brief, specific, and measured statement that’s not too wordy.

3. Implementation

This is where you give some light context as to your design process and the work you did to produce the result.

You need to say a lot here. Put yourself in the potential clients’ shoes — they’re not a UX writer, they’re looking to see how UX writing can solve a problem they have. Ipso facto, say only want you need to add context as to how UX writing solves problems.

Add another layer of context, or share one interesting tidbit about how you collaborated or applied a certain skill. No more, no less.

The (non-soggy) bottom bread

Because our vegan sandwich is BAMF, we don’t let the bottom piece of bread get soggy. No, we close strong. And that’s by repeating our result, like this:

And closing with a strong call-to-action:

Mic drop 🎤

How do I make this glorious portfolio?

Because you’re running a freelance UX writing business, like any business worth their salt, you need a great website. And each portfolio project is a sales page.

I use Squarespace for my freelance website. It’s the easiest website-builder I’ve found. Using Squarespace, you can easily reproduce my example above.

Happy UX writing 🖖

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Written by
Slater Katz
As founder of The UX Gal, my mission is to make learning UX writing fantastically-simple and landing a job easy. I've held UX writing jobs at companies like Netflix, Fitbit, Verizon, Afterpay, & more.
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