There are two schools of thought when it comes to “showing your work;” portfolio or being the “best-kept secret.”
Many people opt for the portfolio route because they want their potential clients to know, see, and experience the quality of their work. Which is a smart idea all on its own. But few people ever think about the rest of that story.
The rest of the story is this: once you put your work out there - anyone can steal your work and claim it to be theirs. And yes, this happens ALL THE TIME.
This means that you have to be proactive in protecting your intellectual property because if you aren’t then anything is up for grabs.
Now the other approach is being the “best kept secret.”
Here you never show your real work, you are simply alluding to it through testimonials and very limited snippets of what you do. The downside to this is sometimes the sale can be harder to close. But the real downside is that in the ambiguity to protect your intellectual property your potential client fills in the blanks however they see fit. Which if not fully clarified legally (and even when it is) client expectations can be unrealistic to the work at hand.
There is no clear answer on what is the best way to show the world your mad skills. The truth is that either way you look at it- sharing your work is so much more than a simple “show and tell.”