How awesome would it be to one day get an email from a prospective client/boss like this?

Hello [your name]!

My name is [client / boss’ name] and I’m from [business / company/ background info].

I discovered your portfolio and would be interested to hire / commission you to [do something you love to do].

Let me know what you think about the idea. Thanks!


This really did happen to me.

I got an email from a company who wanted to hire me as a graphic designer after seeing my portfolio.

While it was a nice ego boost for me (#honest), what got me excited was the fact that YES, people really can make a living from their passion. And by people, I mean YOU.

You just have to put together a portfolio to show prospective clients/bosses how cool you are.

Today we’re going to look at the most important thing for your A+ portfolio, and NO, it’s not your art/work. 😉


Do you know what you really need to get paid or hired for your passion?

When I was doing my law degree, I was part of the client consultation team. Client consultation is basically a mock session where a “client” comes to the “legal firm”, dumps their problems on you, and asks for legal advice.

Some clients will ramble on and on and include family drama, love triangles, etc. Some just ask for advice outright without giving any background info.

My job as a “lawyer” at the time was to separate/identify the legal problem from the rest and advise accordingly. At the end of the session, the judges will rate me based on the accuracy of my advice and my ability to explain it to the client.

They’ll also ask the client this: Are you confident with the advice? Will you hire Ms Aina as your lawyer?

So to answer my question: What you really need for you to get paid or be hired is the client's / boss' CONFIDENCE in you.


To inspire confidence, you need to show your Info-Gathering Process.

Info-Gathering Process: The process of collecting info relating to the client’s needs and objectives in order to produce the right results.

Before the client / boss puts their money on you, they want to feel confident that you will do the job CORRECTLY.

Can you be trusted? Will you fulfill their request?

Or will you take their money, disappear for a few days/weeks, and reappear with something that they DO NOT want?

These are the questions that are bouncing around in their head. Their confidence has nothing to do with how “creative” or “artsy” you are.

Think about it: If you went to a tailor who you’ve never met before and asked her to sew your baju kurung for you…

...and she goes Uh-huh OK, takes your money and DOESN’T take your measurements…

What would you think? Ah, this is one magical tailor! She knows my measurements just by looking at me!

Heck. No. You’d start to doubt the tailor and her sewing skills. I’d take my fabric back, if I were you.

If you want to be paid/get hired doing something you love, you have to show people that you’re capable of doing the job right. Just like a professional.

Act like a professional, make money like a professional. *drops mic and walks away*

By the way, your blog can be your portfolio too! It doesn’t have to be on a portfolio website.

How you can show clients / bosses your Info-Gathering Process.

The best way to collect all this information and put your client's / boss' mind at ease is to ask questions.

By asking questions, you can figure out EXACTLY what they want and do the job right. They'll know that the results will be what they wanted, not something that you just throw together.

Here's what you need to do:

  1. Brainstorm as many questions as you can that will tell you about your client’s needs and objectives. For example, apart from taking the client’s measurements, the magical tailor could’ve asked about what kind of baju kurung that she wants, if she wants pockets or not and so on.
  2. Every time you update your portfolio with a new work, include these questions at the very beginning. Put them on your portfolio so that clients / bosses can see. This makes your work appear super thoughtful and full of detail.

How are you supposed to show your work if you don't have any clients yet?

It can be weird to include the Info-Gathering Process in the beginning if your work isn't for any specific person.

But you can make it easier for potential clients / bosses to relate to your work by posting as if it was for an IMAGINARY CLIENT.

I went into more detail in this blog post (How to Build A Portfolio Even If You Have No Clients Yet), but basically, you make up imaginary clients with specific needs and objectives so that your work looks more professional.

Next week, we’re going to look at the second most important thing to include in your A+ portfolio.

P.S. If you need another brain to brainstorm your info-gathering questions with, shoot me an email! 😊

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