It might sound counterintuitive if you’re feeling unfulfilled at work to consider taking on an additional job, but that’s exactly what people are doing in their droves to improve their professional satisfaction. We’re meeting more people who are holding down a full or part-time job in one industry whilst working additional hours in a completely different field – it’s not unusual to find someone working in an experienced office role who teaches Zumba in the evenings, runs their own start up in an entirely different sector or who makes and sells jewellery or crafts at the weekends.
Having more than one job means you can play to your many (often very different and unrelated) strengths and interests - and leverage them to make money.
There are many ways to do it – have one full or part-time job and run your own side business around it; balance a number of part-time or freelance/contract jobs in different sectors; take on a mix of seasonal roles so you’re doing something different throughout the year. The combinations are endless – and you can choose your own level of financial risk.
The flexibility, autonomy and variety can be an attractive prospect to anyone who's fallen out of love with more traditional ways of working.
Here are the four steps we recommend for deciding whether a portfolio career might work for you:
1. Audit your skills, strengths and things you love doing
When you’re reviewing your professional experience, look for the common threads that bind your past roles together. Most of us follow a career path, intentional or not, but that route is not always straight and narrow – so follow the curves and see what it shows you.
We suggest you spend a good chunk of time reflecting on the types of activities that give you the most satisfaction and the most joy. When you’re not working, what kinds of activities do you enjoy? How do you fill your weekends?
From all these jobs, hobbies and experiences, you’ll have a great list of skills you’ve mastered and enjoy. Now you can consider whether any of them could be turned into revenue-producing work!
2. Develop a plan
You will need to work out what you think your ideal portfolio looks like (how many roles would you like to take on, how many hours per week on each, etc.) and then plan how you get from where you are right now to your ideal vision.
If you’re intending to keep your current role and add others around it, could you perhaps negotiate or reduce your hours to give you greater flexibility? How can you plan to slowly and realistically build up your portfolio so you’re mitigating risk whilst keeping momentum?
Assess the level of risk you’re willing to take – you might want to resign from a full-time job and leap straight into managing a portfolio of other roles, or you might want to continue working full-time and slowly build up your own business in your evenings and weekends, or perhaps you’re planning something between these two extremes. Choose a path that suits you, plan your milestones and keep moving towards your goal.
3. Leverage your networks
Your network of personal and professional contacts is extremely important when you have a portfolio career. Talk to these networks regularly (in person and online) about their companies and industries, especially in relation to outsourcing and the process for hiring consultants or contractors. Join professional and civic associations as you move into new areas and keep making new contacts. Every successful portfolio career is based on leveraging diverse networks and having your fingers in many pies!
4. Rely on a support system
You’re going to need supportive and understanding people around you if you’re going to take on a whole new way of working, so it’s important that your family and close friends are involved in and behind your plans. You might also want to consider working with a coach or joining a group of other people setting off down a similar professional path so you have outlets to share your frustrations, questions and, of course, successes!
One often overlooked source of support is your local recruitment agency – you can tell us all about your plans and we can look out for specific temporary, part-time or contract opportunities that might fit your portfolio. And we can be a helpful sounding board and personal cheerleader too!