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8 Tips to Start a Portfolio Career

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If you find traditional jobs and the 9 to 5 concept as a bad fit for you, a portfolio career can bring you what you’re missing in regular employment: a better work-life balance and you being the boss of your time and your work.

A Portfolio Career is assembled from many skills and interests, often what you have learned from your career and from the differing kinds of jobs you have dealt with.

Instead of one full-time job, portfolio careers offer you the opportunity to do more smaller jobs or part-time jobs. You can work within one or more professions. Embarking on a portfolio career means that you have the opportunity to combine all of your education, skills, experience, interests, hobbies - essentially everything you know and like - and use it to do different part-time jobs.

Portfolio careers provide you with much more freedom and flexibility. To a large extent you create your own working hours and you decide on how much work you take on.

Why Choose A Portfolio Career?

There are many reasons for choosing a portfolio career. Let me list some of them.

When working a portfolio career, you organize your time. You can create more independence to balance your jobs. You may indeed not have to go somewhere else to work and doing so from home means potentially more time for your work. But it can also translate into more great moments with your family and friends or more time for yourself: go for a run, read a book or just meditate.

You don’t have a boss anymore. You can say you are your own boss, you are in control. This sounds god doesn't it? Well, realistically of course you will most likely work for a number of individuals and clients but you get a little more freedom to pick and choose.

Speaking of control, you also control what kind of work you will be doing and where where you work. You can choose to be based in your home, or you can be at a different location every day. A portfolio career can also give you the freedom to live the life of a digital nomad.

If this sounds interesting, here are 8 tips that may help you on the road to starting a "portfolio career".

8 Tips To Start A Portfolio Career

1. Analyse your work history.

If you have had a variety of jobs in the past, try to find what links them all together. If most of your jobs were linked to one profession, like education or customer relations for example, think about why you were attracted to these jobs. Even if your jobs were very different, remember why you chose each of them.

This will help dictate where your talents and interests lie and, naturally, where you can find work.

2. Review your education.

Try to remember all of your favourite subjects or courses. Make a list of all of them and try to find occupations and jobs where you can use your knowledge of these specific subjects. This way you are more likely to will find jobs that you enjoy doing. Use every part of your knowledge for a successful portfolio career.

3. Draw the individual skills out of all the past jobs.

Take everything into consideration: education, volunteering and the courses you attended. Out of all of this, list all the skills you have acquired. From technical to skills in relation to people, embody them all. Note all the apps and softwares you are familiar with. Also, please include communication, teamwork, management.

This is different to simply looking at your work history and will help to highlight transferable skills you have acquired.

4. List all your interests and hobbies.

Take some time to think about all activities you enjoy doing. Just as with any skill, list all of the activities as well: everything that you like doing when you are not working, how you spend your weekends, how you spend your vacations. Analyse your list and see if any of those activities can be turned into some kind of work that will bring you some profit. For example, if you play a musical instrument you may be able to give lessons.

5. Try a side hustle

Choosing a portfolio career does sound attractive; having a few small jobs, you being the boss of all things. But before you quit your traditional job and dive into this new world, it may be worth doing a little test to decide if this is something that you see yourself doing. Juggling multiple jobs may not be for everyone, some like to have their everyday planned and without any surprises.

Taking a "side hustle" is the best way to get a glimpse of what your life might look like when you switch to a portfolio career. You will see what it takes to manage your work and time, but you will still have your regular job as a safety net.

There are a lot of side hustles, but of course you may have your own ideas. Here are some to look at.

6. Plan everything.

To avoid the risk and any problems you may run into when starting a portfolio career, you should  have a very good plan for everything. Start with making a list of all possible jobs and clients, employers  and connections. Have a plan for work, make it a weekly or a monthly one. Plan your workplace or your home office. And of course, plan the budget in the greatest detail.

You may consider having one constant job to ensure that you will have a constant income. That can be some long-term freelance contract or a part-time job.

7. Create your network of connections.

Having a network of quality contacts will help you a lot when it comes to finding new jobs. Start with your former coworkers and their connections. Attending industry events will expand your contacts and connections, and that is a great way to expand your network. You should be in touch with people from the network you make. This way you will be well informed about the trends in other companies and about job opportunities.

Also, use social media.  LinkedIn is a good place to find people that have the same interests as you, potential employers or you can get some advice from someone with more experience. 

When you start with a portfolio career, you don’t have a company behind you, you are the face of your brand. It is very important to be professional at any time. When job hunting and when networking, if you keep it professional, you will make a good impression and people will spread a good word about you and your work.

8. Have a good support team.

Pursuing a portfolio career is a big decision and you will need all the support that you can get. Job hunting can be emotionally draining, so surround yourself with positive people, friends and family that are behind you in this new adventure.

Especially in the beginning, when everything is new to you in this choice of career, you will need help and advice from those closest to you. And if you plan to have a home based job, you may need someone around you so that you don’t feel isolated.

And remember. Stay positive.