Should You Consider a Porfolio Career?

Here is another installment of a best business practice that is predicted for the future – a portfolio career.  In case you’re not familiar with the term, this is when you have multiple areas of work and multiple income streams.  In essence, you are using your skills in varying jobs and varying organizations or industries.  You might work at several different types of companies or industries, and your pay may vary according to these differing job duties.

It is estimated that approximately 25% of the population has a portfolio carer.  Some examples include:

  • working a full-time job while consulting or teaching on the side
  • doing multiple free-lance work, like writing or IT-related
  • providing training to a nonprofit
  • leading youth groups at several organizations or churches

There are several advantages and disadvantages to this:

  • you are able to get income from several sources and not be reliant on one source
  • you are able to hone your skills and experiences, which add value all around
  • you will have to seek out these opportunities on your own
  • you have more control over how you spend your time and how much income you make

Another reason to consider a career portfolio is to meet the demands of the job market, as a lot of companies are looking to hire free-lancers and part-time contractors for limited work engagements.  New and small businesses, who may not have the money, would use a contractor or consultant as opposed to hiring a full-time employee but it could lead to that if desired.   Another reason to consider this type of career path is that it is predicted that up to 50% of the workforce may be freelancers (Hire Magazine), which is driven by the generational issues, such as the Millenials (who want the freedom and work/life balance) and the Boomers (who want the income but not the FT work).

You have to ask yourself if this type of career path is for you.  I have a portfolio career – I have my own business, teach at a couple of universities, and do consulting on the side.  I firmly believe in multiple streams of income and having control over my career and my life.   If you are considering having a portfolio career, begin by assessing your skills and experiences and then looking at where they would be best served and who might hire for them.  Some places to look are, and  I would love to hear your thoughts on this – if you have a portfolio career and what are the benefits or drawbacks you have found.



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