Why Don’t You Have a Public Portfolio?

by | Price & Process

Edit as of 6/6/23: We don’t believe it’s right to change the past, but we do believe it’s okay to change your mind. For historical purposes, this post is still available. But we have since created a small portfolio of featured projects across the industries we serve, which is available here. Perhaps we’ll write a future post about this decision. Thanks so much!

It’s quite common for new prospective clients to ask if we have a public portfolio to share with them at NorthMac.

This, of course, is understandable.

It’s natural that you’d want to know what our work looks like so that you can determine if the work we do is satisfactory.

Well, we don’t have one! Here’s a few reasons why, in no particular order:

It Makes Us Different

One of my absolute business heroes, Dan Kennedy, has based his “renegade” business philosophy on this principle (paraphrased):

If everybody else is doing one thing, it’s probably best to do the exact opposite.

When it comes to your options for having a website designed, there are plenty. After a while, they all start to run together.

We want to stand out, even if it’s a perceived negative at first.

Ideas > Visuals

We live in a very divided world. And whether consciously or subconsciously, most are far more likely to do business with those with they trust and agree with.

Therefore, we do something that many others do not, and that is, share our ideas.

This very blog post is a great example.

Seeing what was built for someone else doesn’t really move the needle of trust.

Who cares what something looks like if you’ve never heard them articulate the work or share what they believe?

White Label Work

Some of the work we do is for another agency with whom we’ve partnered. This is called “white label” work.

In those cases, our team built the site, but another agency gets the credit, since it’s their client. We’ve worked together for years now and it’s been a great partnership!

But I do not feel right publicly displaying those sites in our portfolio.

I will share them with you privately, if requested, since these sites often contain our very best work.

Seeing Isn’t Believing

On average, someone needs to interact with your website 20+ times before making the decision to even think about becoming a customer.

Most of us are quite skeptical and will invent reasons to ignore what is right in front of us. Remember in the Santa Clause, what did Charlie remind Scott of?

Seeing isn’t believing. Believing is seeing.

Once you believe, you will see. But belief does not come by sight. Belief is formed by information, which in turn creates “sight.”

To be a bit less philosophical: I don’t want you to look at a website in our portfolio and say, “Oh wow, I wonder if they could build me THAT!”

I want you to read, watch, and listen to us discuss the craft and begin thinking, “Wow, with that level of skill and experience, what could they create for me?

Your Project is Different

This is downstream from “seeing isn’t believing.”

The mere recognition that something nice was built for someone else is not evidence of what could be built for you.

Everything about your project will be unique, even if you’re in a similar niche to other clients.

I’m a drummer. One thing drummers know is that the basic “rock beat” (bass, snare, bass, snare, etc) is the simplest of all beats to play. And despite its simplicity, every drummer will sound different when they play it.

So while it’s cool to get ideas for your project, I’m not sure how useful a portfolio is in helping you decide if we’re the right fit for yours.

Good Design Isn’t Hard

No shade to designers—there are definitely good and bad ones, and by the grace of God, we have some insanely good ones.

But these days, it’s just not that hard to build something that looks great. Which is, unfortunately, what many clients are focused on.

We mostly build challenging websites. They are expensive. And that is because it takes lots of time and talent to build them.

Regardless, they are guaranteed to look great, not only because our designers are good but because for the most part, your feedback and requests are likely possible!

(We can basically make it look like whatever you want it to.)


So, we don’t maintain a public portfolio. That said, we’d LOVE the opportunity to share some of our work with you if you’d like to see it.

Just reach out, describe your project, and let me know you’d like to see some examples of our work. I’ll send the most relevant stuff we have.


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