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Clients Who Won't Let You Display Work You Did For Them In Your Portfolio

Active Member
Sophie S Member Since: Jan 18, 2017
1 of 5

I'm basically just looking to understand the reasoning behind why some clients don't want you putting what you write for them in your portfolio. It doesn't always happen, but I can't help but feel a little frustrated when it does. One client said specifically as a condition of me working for her that I couldn't put any of the material in my portfolio. 


The only scenario I can think of really is that my rate is a mid-tier 35/hr, so maybe they think if people see their content in my portfolio it makes them look bad or cheap I guess? But it's not like all (if ANY) of their customers are looking at my Upwork portfolio. 


This leads me to my other question: What is the best way to ask for someone for permission to put something I wrote for them in my portfolio? Because you are supposed to ask permission, and I never know who's going to have a problem with it, I always feel like I'm doing something illegal when I ask, lol. 


I usually ask by saying something like "Would you be okay with me putting some of this copy in my portfolio? Also, would you be okay with me linking to your site?" 


Am I doing this right?

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
2 of 5

Yes. You're doing it right.


Asking for permission first, and NOT posting material unless you receive permission.


Why don't some clients let you? I don't know. Could be lots of different reasons. You would have to ask each one their reason. (But don't do that.)


As you already realize, the work belongs to the client, not you. So it is their choice. Just like if you buy a car. You could drive it around town. Or park it in the garage and never let anybody see it.

Community Leader
Timothy S Member Since: Oct 19, 2016
3 of 5



Once a contract is completed and successfully ended, I typically write something like this:


[Client Name],

Would it be okay to add this task to my portfolio?

This would consist of telling what was needed, how I helped, and the outcome of the project. It would also include screenshots. The client (you) would also receive an opportunity to review the portfolio piece and to request changes.


The exact wording is up to you, but this seems to work fairly well in my experience.

Ace Contributor
Samantha M Member Since: Dec 11, 2016
4 of 5

I hire writers for my clients. One writer asked to post the content in his portfolio, and the client said no. The reason was that it was seen as duplicate content and possible plagiarism. The same content was posted on two sites and thus was not seen as unique in searches. I'm not saying if this is true or not, but that was the reason I could not let the writer post his content in his portfolio. 


Also, if this is ghostwritten, someone could search and find the text, thus alerting people that the author did not write the content. I've found that authors will go out of their way to protect the fact that they did not write the information themselves.


Maybe putting a screenshot in instead of actual text? That might work.

Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
5 of 5

The Upwork TOS requires freelancers to keep information about their work confidential (I'm paraphrasing). This in effect means that unless the client consents or gives you a byline, you are ghostwriting.


If I had paid for an article and put it on my blog or published it under my name, I wouldn't want someone to be able to find it on a freelancer's profile. KWIM? 


Some clients don't care as the odds of anyone stumbling across the freelancer's work on Upwork is pretty slim. For others, it is an essential part of the relationship that the freelancer never disclose their involvement in the writing process. 


If you need profile items, consider creating your own. When I first started out, I used content that I had created for my blog (with my name removed to comply with TOS), content from clients who specifically approved its use via Upwork's system, and an article that I had written for a job that fell through.