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6 Steps To Building Your Portfolio Career

If you’re considering a portfolio career, it can be very easy to be overwhelmed by options.

It may seem hard to know which opportunities will fit best and how to make the leap from your full-time gig.

This is especially true in the beginning.

But don't panic!

This six step plan will help get you started on your new path.

1. Make a budget.

It is essential that you have a handle on your money if you are considering a portfolio career. While in many ways, there is more security in a portfolio approach than in a more traditional role, juggling a few different occupations often requires that you pay closer attention to the types and amounts of income you are earning.

Identify your current spending habits, what you need to live and what you need to live happily. I find that my clients who create a budget are often surprised at where they could easily cut back or where they were unknowingly paying fees. Your cost of living happily is probably less than you think.

2. Identify your strengths.

This step is a part of any job change, portfolio career or otherwise. Get a clear sense of your strengths to identify potential opportunities. You may have always been a strong writer, but didn’t think you could make enough money doing that alone. Now you don’t have to. Your strengths will take on a whole new meaning knowing that they don’t have to fold seamlessly into a single job.

3. Set anchors.

What is your purpose in embarking on a portfolio career? How do you want your time to be structured? What do you want to do?

There are countless ways to earn money, but they’re not all right for you. Answer these questions and create a mission statement can ground you as opportunities arise. You will want to make sure the opportunities you take align with the things you enjoy. You’re probably leaving a job that isn’t such a great fit; don’t take another.

4. Identify your partners.

Do you have a friend who is always asking you to go into business together? Have you turned down an interesting opportunity because you didn’t have the capacity to take on one more thing or it wouldn’t earn enough money? Is there a shop, restaurant or café where you fantasize about working? Explore those opportunities with fresh eyes. How could you fit them in if you had the time?

5. Establish your expertise.

As you read this article, you undoubtedly have an idea of what you’d like to do as you embark on this new path. Now determine what you need to do to convince people to pay you for it. Do you need a website? Should you be blogging? Are your skills up to par? You might need to take a class or compile past work.

I have a client whose main project in establishing her portfolio career was actually creating a portfolio. She had heaps of graphic design projects she’d done for friends, family and coworkers and she needed to put them together to showcase her work for new clients.

6. Get networking.

All job searches require networking and consistent networking is especially necessary for a portfolio career. Consider joining professional organizations so you can meet others in your new field(s) and stay up to date on the latest trends. It’s also very helpful to surround yourself with others who are following a portfolio path so you can learn from and lean on one another.

Your dream job(s) may be within reach with a portfolio career. Isn’t it worth exploring? These six steps will help you lay the groundwork for a successful leap into this exciting, alternative career path that is becoming more and more common.


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