The Portfolio Career

With all the “disruptive innovation” going on around us – the increased development and use of smart technology, automation, artificial intelligence and robotics, our entire world is changing – and at a very rapid rate! It is a very exciting and scary time. With these developments, the need to be adaptable and flexible, and to continually reassess what we are doing, are becoming critical skills to ensure that we are current and moving along with the times.

One concept that has been around for some time, but has become more mainstream, is the Portfolio Career.  A portfolio career describes the concept of working multiple part-time jobs – including part-time employment, temporary jobs, freelancing, and self-employment – possibly with different employers that when combined, are the equivalent of a full-time position. It may also include volunteer work.

A Portfolio Career allows you to embrace adaptability and flexibility and to thrive in economic uncertainty. It allows you to increase work in one area when the work is there, build up your reputation in another area of interest, and gain income from a variety of sources. It promotes flexibility by not relying on one main source of income.

This structure also allows you to follow a passion or different interest that you may not have experience in, or may not initially make money from, whilst still bringing in an income from the skills and experience that you already have and that are marketable.

So for a lawyer who also has a passion for creating flower arrangements for weddings, a marketer who loves fashion and wants to write a fashion blog, or an engineer who is passionate about fishing and taking others on fishing trips, they can all use the portfolio career concept to reframe their work structure. This may include decreasing their current working hours in their main role to begin working towards their interest or passion, and building up their experience and reputation in this new area. Eventually once they become experienced and have a reputation that will get them business, their interest area could become their main income source, and their once main source of income could then supplement this.

So what are the steps to creating your portfolio career?

First of all, if you are contemplating the idea of pursuing your passion or interest, start NOW to add it to your life. If photography, writing, arranging flowers, etc. is something that you would love to bring into your life and begin to earn money from, then offer to take photos at an event for free, write an article and submit it for publication, offer to do the arranging of flowers for a friend’s wedding – start your journey to first see if first you like it, and second to start building your reputation in this area.

If you decide that you would like to continue to build on this, start to reassess your current job – can you negotiate to have a nine day fortnight? Or work longer days and take a half day off a week? If your employment isn’t flexible, do you need to look at alternative employment that will allow flexibility?

Taking small steps before taking the leap allows you to manage your transition smoothly. It also allows you to continue earning a living whilst you are setting yourself up. And you may wish to continue to keep your old way of earning a living as part of your portfolio.

Portfolio careers can be organised in many different ways – it allows flexibility so that you can have several sources of income, or pursue an area of interest whilst still earning a living.

If you would like to know more about portfolio careers, or work out a strategy to make this happen in your life, I would love to hear from you