By day, I’m fully employed in the commercial real estate industry. On lunch breaks, after the kids’ bedtime, and on weekends, I’m building up two businesses and running a blog. Some might call me a workaholic. Or a hustler. A #bossbabe. Or an entrepreneur. But regardless of what you label it, what I’m doing is building a portfolio career. A portfolio career certainly is a buzz word you hear a lot these days. But what exactly is it, why should you consider it, and how do you even get started? Read on for the full rundown on building a portfolio career.What is a portfolio career?
A portfolio career can be different things to different people, but the idea is your income (and fulfillment) doesn’t come from one, traditional 9-5 job. It could look like mine, with a full-time day job and a couple of businesses being built up on the side, or it could be a bunch of part-time, temporary, or freelance jobs.
Why do I need one?
Let me start by saying that a portfolio career is not for everyone. In many cases, building a portfolio career requires far more than what amounts to one full-time job, particularly if you’re running your own business(es). But even in the case of freelance and part-time jobs, the schedule coordination and context switching requires a lot of focus and self-discipline. But even successful ladder climbers can benefit from a portfolio career.
Like building an investment portfolio, it isn’t always wise to rely completely on one job as the sole stream of income. As technology continues to innovate industries at hyperspeed, our skill sets and jobs are increasingly at risk of becoming less valuable. Even in cases of highly skilled workers, like lawyers, for example, the industry can change from various factors, and what was once considered a sure thing for a stable career can become more burden than benefit. (Shout out to my fellow mid-financial crisis law school grads!) A portfolio career helps hedge against those risks by diversifying our skills, our networks, and our income streams.
I worked hard to pursue a specific career. Why add to it or change course?
If you have the drive and the desire, a portfolio career can be incredibly satisfying. Besides the obvious factors that can lead to job cuts and layoffs–technology changes, businesses merge, fail, and pivot, jobs get eliminated–sometimes your day job doesn’t fulfill you like a side hustle could. It can be energizing to challenge yourself in new and different ways, and to push yourself outside of the comfort zone where your day job comfortably lies. Or maybe your data analyst main gig doesn’t even remotely scratch your creative itch and you’re jonesing to develop logos and do graphic design but you don’t have the “official” skills to make a move on the full-time front. Whether you’re doing it for career security, to make some extra money, or to find a little satisfaction, there’s very little downside.
Where do I start?
The easiest place to start is to focus on something you’re good at or passionate about. Are you a social media maven wanting to help others grow their online presence? Maybe you’re a rockstar with a resume and want to help others with their professional growth through resume and career coaching. Or maybe you’ve been wanting to learn something new like coding or marketing and you can get your hands dirty by taking on small projects. These are all great ways to dabble in the portfolio career life and see if you like it and can handle the multiple job situation.
Share your tips on how you’re handling your portfolio career like a boss and stay tuned for my next post on legal considerations when engaging in a portfolio career!