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What is a client portal?

In simple terms, a client portal is an online hub where you and your client can interact, collaborate, track, and manage your projects. 

In other words, client portals are essential for a freelancing business to avoid back-and-forth emails and unnecessary calls.

Here's what we cover:


  • The benefits of a client portal & why you need one

  • What you need in your client portal

  • How to set up your client portal

  • Client portal demo example

Let’s get into it. 

Client Portal Software For Freelancers

All you need to know about how Client Portal Software works and how it can help your freelancing business.


The Benefits Of A Client Portal & Why You Need One

Using a client portal is like hiring a golf cart when others walk.
You can walk, but just use the golf cart...

Here are some benefits of a client portal for you and your freelance clients: 

Organize Your Admin

For most freelancers, admin is a headache.
One project? Fine.
But 10 projects at the same time? Now, that's recipe to drop some balls.

Using a client portal forces you to use clear, predictable workflows and ensures that all the moving parts of a project–communications, contracts, assets, client feedback, invoices, etc–are in one organized place, so nothing falls through the cracks. 

Centralize Client Communication

Email used to be how we do things.

But things have changed. 
Your clients don’t want to spend hours in their day hunting through email threads. And neither do you.  

A client portal makes communication fast, efficient and organized.

All your client comms should be kept up to date in one central location where both of you can see exactly what’s relevant, and by when.

Streamline Collaboration

Working async makes sense for most of us, especially with international clients.
But we all know the frustration of clients or team members dragging their feet or having to remind them seven times to send us a profile file.

A client portal makes async work a dream.
You can keep track of your team or subcontractors’ tasks (without having to micromanage them). Clients can upload data, comment on your work, give feedback, add signatures, and approve milestones directly in the portal. 

Aside from being able to track and keep the workflow going in real-time, using a client portal portal helps ensure that all the steps of a project are followed in the right order. 

Automate Processes

Every project will include repeatable or tedious tasks that can be automated to save you time.
But more than that, each project or client journey represents a bigger process, which costs you a lot of mental bandwidth if you are trying to figure it out and keep track of every client. 

A client portal solves the automation problem on both of these levels.
It not only helps you automate the smaller stuff like creating and sending automated invoices, client intake forms, or project status updates.
It also provides a system to map out and automate the entire process with a client, from start to finish. 

In other words, a client portal acts as an efficient virtual assistant on autopilot. 

Project Transparency

Sometimes the reason you’re getting a ton of pushback from clients is simply because they want to feel in control.
And it’s understandable when they’re investing thousands of dollars in a project. 

Needing to hold clients’ hands and keep them in the loop on every little step in your process can be a major frustration and suboptimal use of your time.
But a client portal can remove that headache entirely.
Instead of emailing or calling you on a Friday evening, your client can simply login to the portal to see updates, check timelogs, review drafts, give feedback or whatever else they need to do.
With project transparency and a greater sense of agency, your clients can know that things are moving ahead, and they’re getting value from their spent dollars.

Ultimately, it lowers frustration and anxiety on both sides, and strengthens the client relationship.  

Improve Security 

Data security is an increasing concern for businesses and individuals.
Using a client portal gives your clients peace of mind by providing a secure environment for sharing files and protecting their sensitive data. 

It also makes it easy to track different versions of documents and make sure you and your client are always working with the latest files.
Plus, all the important versions are in a secure place on the cloud, so you don’t have to stress about making backups. 

Impress Your Clients 

One of the biggest ‘soft’ benefits of a client portal is the professional image it lends to your business.
When a client logs onto your site and sees ‘Client Login’ they know they can take your business seriously.
This instantly sets you apart from all the other freelancers and agencies out there who are still doing things old-school.  

And of course it’s more than first impressions.
Using a client portal will improve your clients’ whole experience of working with you, as you engage them in a more streamlined, secure, transparent process where they will also feel more empowered to contribute to a positive outcome. 

It’s not just common sense.
Countless studies have shown that businesses that prioritize better customer experience (whether through customer support portals or client portals) achieve higher revenue growth, lower overheads, and better customer lifetime value. 


Great 🙂


What You Need In Your Client Portal

There are plenty of different kinds of client portal software.


Some focus on project management and others prioritize secure file sharing or seamless customer service. 

As a freelancer, you obviously have different needs to a massive company handling thousands of customers, or a big agency juggling 100+ clients.

So what do you need to look for in client portal that best serves you and your clients? 

Here are 9 essential things to include in your client portal software:  

Simple Client Dashboard

This should be a no-brainer, but software can go overboard and get cluttered if it’s trying to be too many things to too many people. Look for a client portal that’s purpose-built for your style of business without all the extra frills. 


One of the most obvious features is allowing you and your clients to schedule meetings easily without emailing back and forth. 

Tasks and Deadline Tracking

Clients should easily be able to see what’s happening and what still needs to happen on their project. Your portal should let you break down projects into task lists and integrate calendars so you’re both on track and on the same page.

Real-Time Updates

One of the main functions of a client portal should be to keep your clients in the loop without you having to send them updates all the time. You and your clients should also be able to control and customize what updates you get. 

Invoicing and Payments

Your client portal should provide you with a streamlined and automated process for invoicing your clients and collecting payments directly. This feature alone makes it worth the investment for saving hours of admin and improving your cashflow. 


Make sure your client portal software has good security and privacy controls in place for your and your clients’ peace of mind.

Nice to have:

White Labelling

Some client portals allow you to customize the portal with your own branding and customize certain elements. It’s not essential, but can enhance your professional image.


Portal software that allows you to tailor the dashboard view for different types of clients can be a big advantage. 


If you use various apps or other software in your process with clients, you might want to look for software that offers those integrations to help you ensure a streamlined workflow. 

How To Setup Your Client Portal

If you've run your business over email for years, switching to a client portal will be a bit of an adjustment initially.


But don’t worry, setting up your client portal isn’t that complicated, and the benefits will far outweigh the initial bit of work you need to put into making things run smoothly. 


The steps to setup your client portal will obviously depend on the software you choose, but here is the basic process for using a simple client portal software like ClientManager: 


Client Portal Demo Example

Keen to get in on the benefits of using a client portal for your freelance business? 

Now all you have to do is find the best one 🙂

As a freelancer, I struggled for a long time to find a tool that was affordable, wasn’t too complicated or confusing, and that actually looked good.


That’s why we built ClientManager.

Our client portal software has everything you need, without the extras:

Collaborate on projects

Manage files, documents, assets, and invoices

Book meetings

Get client requests

Onboarding forms

Custom iframes

We’re also adding new features every month.

Try out ClientManager for free - it’s the simple client onboarding & management platform to run your business without the frustrations.

Onboard & manage your clients with ease.

Take control of your business. Save time and money - and actually enjoy the process, with ClientManager.


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