A Portfolio Career could be the answer – If so what is a Portfolio Career ?
Let’s start with a definition. If you search on the internet, you will come across various definitions of a portfolio career. However, I have found few that really answer the question in a way that sits comfortably with me. They either mention having ’multiple jobs’, rather than just one job, are just plain vague or veer off into ‘HR speak’. So here is my definition which I use all the time, when asked the question:
A portfolio career, in simplistic terms, is about deriving income from a number of different sources.
In my latest Amazon best-selling book Portfolio Careers – How to Work for Passion, Pleasure & Profit, I expand on my definition for the purpose of the book and general clarity:
It’s about changing your mindset from having a more conventional job to securing an income by using any combination of activities, interests, skills, talents and passions to create the working lifestyle you want.
This is what I call working for Passion, Pleasure and Profit, or the 3 Ps.
Taking things a stage further, a portfolio career doesn’t just have to be about deriving income. It can be a mixture of activities that allows you to be recognised and paid for work undertaken, or time given freely, e.g. voluntary work. For many people the portfolio career is very definitely a lifestyle approach. You will see a range of examples showcasing different aspects of portfolio careers and lifestyles from the case studies throughout the book.
One of the beauties of a portfolio career is that its composition can change; it is not absolute. People can develop their portfolio careers in different ways. Some people use it as their modus operandi forever and for others it’s a transition strategy, one that allows them to shift from one to thing to another. Again you will see a range of examples that showcase different routes and options as you read through the book.
So, what is the make-up of a ‘typical’ portfolio career?
Most importantly, the nature of portfolio careers means there is no ‘one size fits all’ or best approach. I’ve met many people over the years whose portfolio careers comprise a variety of different options. Some had a range of part-time jobs and while others combined an employed job with running their own business. So you see in the latter example it is possible to be employed and yet be able to develop a business alongside it. I have found this this to be a very common approach. Many people then take a leap of faith to give up their employed job to focus on successfully developing their own business. Once up and running, things will evolve and they will often add further strands, thus developing a portfolio career of their choice.
Your portfolio could be made up in different ways e.g.:
- Being your own boss and having different strands to your business
- Having multiple businesses focused on different products/services
- A part-time employed job and your own business
- A number of part-time employed jobs doing different kinds of work
- Regular interim or freelance projects alongside other occasional work in different fields
- A full-time employed job and developing your business alongside this
- Any combination of the above or including voluntary work
Some Key Benefits of a Portfolio Career
Having a portfolio career provides many benefits. These will become evident as you read through the book, however, from my experience here are some of the most significant:
- Having a range of different strands in your portfolio gives you more security – the increased options means not placing all your eggs in one basket
- If one of the strands proves unviable due to changing market conditions, or you decide to change your focus, you always have others to fall back on
- It can be a great alternative if you want to achieve more freedom, more variety, more flexibility and potentially more money in your working life
- Having multiple business strands means you have the opportunity to develop and optimise your networks with a greater variety of people
- Having a range of activities provides a greater opportunity for you to constantly learn and develop new skills
- Each piece of work you do adds to your portfolio of skills and experience, which you can use to attract more work
- Above all else, a portfolio career gives you CHOICE
Is this the year to change your working lifestyle and create a portfolio career working for the ‘3Ps’ of Passion, Pleasure and Profit? Intrigued? If you like this article, it is excerpts from my Portfolio Careers book. You can find out more on your country Amazon or by visiting https://steveprestonthecareercatalyst.com/portfolio-careers/
Steve Preston is a leading Career Coach to professionals and executives and an internationally acclaimed author and speaker