Portfolio of products > Portfolio of clients

Portfolio of products > Portfolio of clients

September 12, 2022

By Mohammed Afzal

If you are a creative who’s just getting started and also who’s from a developing country I would strongly recommend to choose creator economy over freelancing/employment, but why do I say that and why do I specifically mention a developing country? let me explain:

Product > Portfolio > Resume
Product > Portfolio > Resume *Image License: CC0

Choose building your own craft(products) over building for someone else. Choose getting paid for your creativity over getting paid for the time you were available. Choose building audience over client network, your audience loves your work that’s why they pay you whereas you need to convince/please the client to pay you.

Am I the right creator to talk about this?

I’m not sure if I should be the one to talk about this because my whole income is still coming from my clients and employer and my average product income is almost 0 let me be completely transparent and show you how much I’ve made from my products till now:


Okay, now you might be wondering about 148 sales and $14. Yup! that’s because I’ve released 3 products till now from which 2 of them are free and the paid one is currently selling at $1 for the first 1000 buyers. So did you get what I’m doing here by releasing free products and selling a product for $1? Yes, I’m trying to build my audience, my 1000 true fans because that’s something in which I haven’t succeeded yet and that’s also one of the main reasons I’m still relying on my clients and employer for my income. So I showed you my all-time analytics, and you can clearly see that I haven’t made it yet, but I just can’t wait to talk about this till the time I make it because there is some stuff that I have observed and experienced that I really want to tell the creatives who are just getting started or the ones who have started but thinks that freelancing or being an employee is the only way out.

What if I told you…

What if I told you that you have to only work once and you’ll get paid for that work more than once?

What if I told you that you can get paid for your creation and not for the hours you were available for someone?

What if I told you that you don’t need to keep revising your creation according to some other person’s taste?

What if I told you that there will be people out there that’ll happily pay you just to see stuff that’s born from your intuition?

Okay enough, these questions now sound like hopium, but this can be the reality I have experienced it and I want to make it permanent and you can too.

Making it happen

So what you can do? Build stuff and publish it on the internet, if you are a designer that can be assets like fonts, vector packs, templates/mock-ups, courses, etc., or if you are a coder/developer then that can be apps, plugins, libraries, e-books, courses, etc.,

So You have started building and publishing now what? You are going to get sales? Obviously not, now you need an audience, your 1000 true fans for whom your products can be useful. And this is clearly not easy, building something that can be useful for someone is hard you’ll get better at it over time you just need to keep iterating, same goes for building the audience which is even tougher than building products because your audience itself is an asset for you. Now the question is how do you build an audience? First of all, you need to find your niche and make sure you are not being a jack of all trades but a master of one, and then by doing it in public, yes by sharing your journey not only your wins but also your failures. Tweet, post, and publish everything you got, your content is the smaller assets that promote your products.

And this isn’t only for beginners if you are a freelancer or someone stuck at a desk job this is your way out to own your time.

The early phase

Okay, so you want to follow this plan but how are going to earn money in your early phase in the phase where you are just building products and an audience? The answer is I started this article with how I haven’t made it in the creator economy yet and I’m still relying on my clients and employer for my income, and you can do the same. Yes, get a job and building products should be your side hustle till the time it’s more stable and making more money than your main hustle, and if you want to play on hard mode you can choose freelancing as your main hustle I said hard mode because freelancing isn’t as stable as a job, let me be honest here you can also build an audience by doing freelancing, by making a portfolio of clients but why do you want to provide service when you have an audience why don’t just use that leverage that you have where you can “Build once, sell twice”, that’s why the title of this article is ‘Portfolio of products > Portfolio of clients’ isn’t a portfolio which buys you more time & which pays you more than once greater than the portfolio which trades your time & which only pays you once?

Creative from a developing country

At the start, I said: “If you are a creative who’s just getting started and also who’s from a developing country” and the reason why I said that is:

I’m from a developing country India and I’m working as a freelancer for almost 4 years now and almost one year as an employee. And I have worked with international clients and international employers, and I can tell you with confidence that for most of the clients and employers that are from developed countries you are just a cheap alternative, they don’t want to hire you because they want to work with you they want to hire you because at the price you are working for them is saving them tons of money and they couldn’t have saved that much money by hiring someone from their own country. And like everything, this doesn’t apply to every international client or employer and also to every creative from developing countries. But it’s a fact for most creatives from developing countries, and that’s where I like the beauty of the creator economy your audience will pay you the same price no matter from which part of the world they or you belong, your country’s economy doesn’t have an influence here.

This was my take on why a portfolio of products is greater than a portfolio of clients.

Thank you!

Wisdom of the giants:

Build Once, Sell Twice by Jack Butcher

Six figures in 6 days by Traf

Product and Media are New Leverage by Naval

1,000 True Fans by Kevin Kelly

One video, article or side project can change your life by Van Schneider

Get the Asset Pack used in the visualization at the start.


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By Afzal Aex

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