Could a Portfolio Career Be Right For You? | Inspire to Freedom

Could a Portfolio Career Be Right For You?

August 5, 2015 Jonny Lilley


Have you heard of ‘portfolio careers’? This is a trend that has been growing massively in popularity in recent years. More  of us seem to be opening up to the idea of flexible careers that effectively utilise our varied skills in a way that fits more easily around our lifestyles.

A ‘portfolio’ multi-strand career incorporates a mix of part time jobs, self-employment and freelance contracts in place of one full time job. This could involve two different part time roles, a part time role and a start up business, or even two or three self-employed ventures. Think of it as a pick and mix career… you get to choose the sweets you like!

Let us give you an example. Jessie is a yoga teacher who loves what she does. She teaches half a dozen classes a week, mainly during evenings and weekends. During the week she also runs a website for yoga and meditation fans and manages a small mail order retail business from home, while managing to be there for her children at school drop off and pick up times.

Does this sound ideal to you? Here are a few of the benefits of having a portfolio career:

Portfolio careers can be very rewarding

Barrie Hopson, author of 10 Steps to Creating a Portfolio Career followed 46 individuals over the course of two years as they left their traditional jobs in favour of a portfolio career. All 46 of them said they were happier as portfolio workers and only one of them went back to a standard 9-5 after the experiment. After all, a portfolio career can offer a much more fulfilling work/life balance with the opportunity to explore a range of passions and interests.

Portfolio careers can offer more security

When you have a portfolio career your income isn’t dependent on just one company. Rather: your eggs are spread across many baskets. This means there’s much less of a risk of redundancy or market trends leaving you income-less, as you’ll have other work strands to turn to.

Portfolio careers suit all kinds of different people

What kind of person has a portfolio career? The list is just about endless but includes:

  • Business owners and freelancers who want to expand into new industries
  • Those who want the challenge of self-employment along with the security of a regular pay check
  • Individuals who are bored with a standard 9-5 and want more variety
  • New graduates who have struggled to land their ideal job
  • Working parents who want to shape a career to fit around their family
  • Business owners who want to boost their earnings
  • Individuals who want to pursue more than one passion as a career
  • Those who work in industries where there are a lack of full time jobs available
  • People who want to pursue a creative or non-profit charitable career but need additional income
  • Individuals who want to explore different career options to discover what their best fit is

Portfolio careers arent only for people who need to improve their cash flow.

Traditionally those of us who had more than one job may have done it because we needed to! Now this isn’t the case. In fact, in 2013 only 20% of people with portfolio careers did so because they needed more than one job. Nowadays  people actively choose portfolio careers, either because they want to dip their toes into self-employment with less of a risk, because they want to work in an industry that has less full time positions available, or even because they want to experience more variety.

Can you see yourself in a portfolio career? Take a look at our ‘Day in the Life of Working From Home’ to get a sense of what your portfolio career might look like!


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