Becoming your own business takes guts and courage. You need to make a plan to support your dream and find a way to market your business to a wider audience.

Do you have time to become a marketing expert? No.

We know that your focus points are reaching your clients and maintaining the higher quality of services. Marketing naturally is too time consuming to keep up with on a daily basis with all other tasks of running a business.

Instagram is a great way to show the world how passionate you are about what you do in 1-5 minutes a day. It is no longer just a platform to put cute pictures of your cat. It is now a tactic used in the business world. Each profile is strategically laid out to attract a certain audience and look a certain way. The page should reflect the same style that you or your company strive for and it can take you a long way in growing your business.

Creating a portfolio is something any independent professional can and should do.

To make your life easier, we researched 1,300 Instagram portfolio pages by independent professionals and came up with–

The rules.

1// Be Consistent

As a beginner, try to post 1-4 times a day to build your initial audience of followers. Once you reach ~500 followers you might want to post 3-5 times per week to keep your awareness without causing an overexposure of your business to run people off.

2.5m followers takes consistency

2.5m followers takes consistency

@tattoos_of_instagram is a great example of being consistent in building their page following.

2// Hashtag specific targets

Depending on your profession/supertalent, there are certain hashtags that can make you more apparent for all Instagram users. We are here to inspire ideas for relevant hashtags for your photos. You can use the hashtag on your image caption or comment.

* Specific hashtags are those stating what you see on the image and the profession type you hold #NailArt #Ink #LongHair etc.

* Generic hashtags are those you can add to reach broader audiences #TBT (ThrowBackThursday) #Weekend #PartyTime etc.

* We also recommend you create your own hashtag, so clients can use it when they post photos related to your business.

Examples for professional pages that #hash-tagged their way to the top:

1.4m Followers who love #NailArt @badgirlnails for the love of nails

     117k #GrowingStrong

@maneaddicts for the love of all things hair

3// Quality Photos

This is 2015, HD and 4K views are available. Your photos should look sharp at the best quality.

Phone cameras featured on the latest releases can be great for your page. You can always use professional cameras by Canon, Nikon etc. to bring the best quality available to Instagram.

Do not take this lightly. Your photos represent you and your business so just as you’ll give your clients the best quality of service, your photos should also “mean business” and look the best.

Your photos can be great. Use your artistic eye and mobile device

@hopeforsnow is a super talented photographer so obviously his photos look and feel top quality. Can you guess which photos were taken with his iPhone and which with one of his mega professional cameras?

4// Keep it original

The basics of any great portfolio is to create your own unique content. You can always repost photos you like on other pages, but if you do, make sure to tag the original page and share credit in the caption.

You can also create text photos of inspiration moments you come up with during the day or share professional tips with your followers.

Photo: WillItBeard Instagram

@willitbeard post an original photo of his beard every now and then. He found his niche and has yet to fail his followers with a unique post. Find your thing and own up to it.

5// Stay true to your brand and visual language

The quality of your portfolio is based on two views: 1. Single photo view 2. The view of the full Instagram account. Meaning each photo should look great on its own and consistent when all together.

Your portfolio should have a visual language you commit to. Visual language can be the colors, the objects or the styling of each image. Whatever it is, make sure to own it and commit so both your photos and your page will look like an impressive body of work to clients.

Know and represent your own brand and visual language at all times

Know and represent your own brand and visual language at all times

@jesuso_ortiz has a very specific look to his photos and overall page. Don’t forget, he started with one photo just like you.

6// Add captions

Captions add context to your photo and can also represent the mood you’re in.

Writing captions is important to connect better with your followers, and show your personality. Captioning can be in a specific sense of humour, length or structure so make sure you make it your own. Add captions, hashtags, and tags (shoutouts) to benefit all connections Instagram has to offer.

Caption for context and for a stronger connection with your followers

Caption for context and for a stronger connection with your followers

@thefatjewish has hilarious photos and his captions add a humoristic dimension making all the difference in the world.

If you’ve read this far, we recommend you follow on Instagram for the best independent professional portfolio recommendations.

Send us your portfolio page on Instagram so we can follow!