how to build a portfolio career

What is a portfolio career?

The world of work has changed over the past 20 years, with a shift from having a ‘job for life’ in a single organisation to having multiple jobs throughout your career, as well as a surge in self-employment. One alternative way of working that has become increasingly popular and indulges interests/abilities whilst carving out a flexible, professional future is the so called ‘portfolio career’. This is where individuals choose to create a career comprising of a variety of jobs via multiple income streams from employment, freelancing, consultancy and often voluntary work too.

What are the benefits of building a portfolio career?

Do you want to utilise a range of skills and abilities? Do you strive for a better work/life balance? Are you looking for autonomy by becoming your own boss? A portfolio career can solve some of the common issues people encounter in their day-to-day employment.

How do I build a portfolio career?

In this blog, I’ve pulled together nine tips to help you build your portfolio career.

1. Find your anchor

In an ideal world, we’d have any career we liked, but there are mortgages to pay, essentials to buy and family members to support. That’s why any portfolio career needs to be anchored.

Your anchor would most likely be ongoing employment (usually part-time), which then gives you the ability to take on other short-term contracts, consultancy, or freelance projects you desire.

2. Review your hobbies and interests

What do you do when you’re not working? How do you fill your free time? What motivates and inspires you? What brings you joy? Take some time to reflect on what really makes you tick and brings satisfaction to your life. Then consider whether any of these interests could lead to revenue-generating opportunities.

3. Assess your work history

A career path can take all sorts of twists and turns but there are usually one or two common threads that bind together the journey. This could be working within complementary sectors or utilising a chosen skillset. Identifying what’s woven your career path together will make it easier to determine where you can concentrate your efforts as you build your portfolio career.

4. List your skills

Review your educational, employment and volunteering experiences to develop a list of skills you have acquired and enjoy using. There will, of course, be specific technical skills you’ve gained, but also consider soft skills as well, such as problem-solving, flexibility or conflict resolution.

portfolio career

5. Weigh up the pros and cons

A portfolio career may not be the most stable career path to follow, but it can be enriching and fulfilling. Before making any major life decision, such as breaking away from the security of the traditional 9 to 5, weigh up all the pros and cons!

6. Create a plan

A detailed plan gives much-needed structure to developing a successful portfolio career. For example, who are your prospective clients? Which employers will you target? Where will you work physically? What are your goals for the year, quarter, month and week?

Seasonal work can provide excellent opportunities for short-term contracts. Don’t forget to research these and add them to your plan if necessary.

7. Create systems

If you’re naturally organised and driven, then managing a portfolio career will be right up your street! If not, you’ll need to find processes and systems to support you. For example, excellent online tools are available to make invoicing, time management and recording workload easier to manage.

8. Develop your networks

Who do you know and who do you need to meet to help you develop your portfolio career? Once you’ve got a clearer picture, reach out on LinkedIn or contact employers directly.

Take some time to find out about current trends in your chosen industries to ascertain if there are outsourcing opportunities or short-term contracts available.

9. Create your brand

To build a lucrative portfolio career, you will need to convince companies to put their faith in you, your skills and past performance. Take time to understand your personal brand and make this shine through in your marketing, your face-to-face meetings and any digital correspondence. This will ensure that prospective ‘employers’ are crystal clear about what to expect when working with you. You can find out more in one of my previous blog articles.

Do you want to build a portfolio career in 2022?

If you’d like some help building a portfolio career in 2022, please get in touch with me to book an introductory 30-minute consultation for January. Let’s start your year on a high!

It would also be great to connect with you on LinkedIn and Facebook.