Create a Portfolio That Works When You Are Not

Recharge-with-Pattern-ObserverMy feelings about marketing change on a daily basis…

There are times when I love being out there, telling people about my work and my passion for this industry. I’m so excited about everything, but then there are those “other days”. These are the days when you’re tired and may prefer the thought of hiding under the covers and disappearing for a day, rather than forcing yourself to sit down and dive into the online world. You don’t want any questions, or to have any interaction at all. It’s what you do about this that matters most.

And I personally think that both feelings are OK, and to be expected. If you struggle to feel that way, perhaps you’ll consider adopting that more free-flowing attitude, because there are things you can do to not stifle your business, while you stifle back those yawns that come with the occasional unmotivated day.

Marketing tools such as: online portfolios, blogs, and social media allow us to tell the world about what we create, what we find interesting, and our creative process. Additionally, they can open us up to new opportunities, new ideas, and new influences.


Spending too much time marketing our work and perusing social media can become a slippery slope, leading to more “under the covers time” and less creative “in the zone” experiences. You could possibly slide right into the risky place of too little time in your day to create, think, or simply sit and recharge.

This type of focused effort also has some less obvious, more detrimental consequences, which include:

  • Crushing our creative spirit
  • Weakening our self-confidence

These types of unintended consequences can cause us to digress, just when our skills and spirits have really begun to shine.

Last year I met a Textile Design Lab member who mentioned that she really enjoys using Instagram for inspiration and to share her work, but she would often end up getting distracted by all the beautiful images, patterns, and scenes that people post.

Like most of us, she would then begin to compare herself and her work to the beauty of Instagram and feelings of self-consciousness would follow. So by the end, instead of being inspired or posting her work, she would be filled with doubt and become too self-conscious to post anything.

This is the ugly side of marketing and social media that many people relate to. I know I do. These are the types of situations that we all want to avoid, and with a bit of know-how, we can.

Yes, there are times when you can:

  • Avoid marketing
  • Avoid social media

And discover that your business doesn’t have to fall apart, and turn into a distant memory.

How? You can do this by putting the right tools in place. If you set your business up, anticipating these quiet times, you’ll be able to check out from social media more often. The ideal time to take advantage of these quiet times are when you are feeling a bit sensitive and know it would do you well to “unplug” for a bit. Or, you could do this when your children get home from school, or when you take that much needed vacation. Just step away, and know that you can have your portfolio work for you when you are not working.

Here are 4 tips to help you market your work while you unplug:

  1. Make a plan. Write blog posts, social media updates, and take product photographs ahead of time. I recently started writing all of our Pattern Observer Featured Designer posts at the beginning of each month and it has been a wonderful time saver, in addition to allowing me more “quiet time” later in the month.
  2. Social media scheduling. There are countless tools allowing you to schedule social media updates ahead of time. I still recommend posting some updates live and “off-the cuff”, but using tools such as Hootsuite and Schedugram offer a wonderful way to continually market your business while you go on vacation or escape from social media.
  3. Post, don’t scroll. Feeling a lack of self-confidence? Instead of logging into social media, scrolling through the first couple posts and then posting your image, post first. Then shut it down. Put down your phone. Step away from the computer and go paint, or write, or take a nap. It might feel a little awkward or selfish at first, but if your creativity and self-confidence are a bit shaky, you should really try this. It works quite well for most people.
  4. Have a well curated portfolio. Having the perfect artwork and sales copy can turn your portfolio website into a lead generation machine that welcomes potential clients even when you are away from the online world. So as soon as someone sees your work on social media they are immediately welcomed into your world by an array of eye-catching designs. They also gain access to a detailed description of the services you offer and an understanding of how to take the next step if they are interested in working with you. All of this begins with your portfolio!

Your excitement and enthusiasm for your craft are the most important assets you can have. This means you fiercely protect them and avoid what doesn’t help. Take care of yourself, always. If you’re feeling easily distracted or self-conscious then watch how you are using these powerful platforms and marketing tools. You can make them work for you, without sacrificing your sanity, or creative abilities.

Ready to create a portfolio website that welcomes potential agents, studios, and buyers into your world? Get started with our free Portfolio Checklist. Click here to download.

Here’s to recharging so you can charge ahead, Michelle



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Featured Designer: Cyrille Thonon