There are some ambitions that just aren’t taught. They form over time, growing hot in the pit of our stomachs until we can’t ignore the call to do something sensational, something that changes the course of our lives (and others) in an astounding and indelible way. For many, this gnawing and all-consuming feeling is better known as the ‘entrepreneurial spirit’. And it’s an instinct our community knows all too well.
We choose portfolio careers because we aren’t happy with the status quo – we want to be self-starters and focus on the work we’re passionate about. However, about a third of The Portfolio Collective’s members have aspirations bigger than a portfolio career – to start a company.
For them, a portfolio career is an interim step between full time employment and fully fledged entrepreneurship. These people know that quitting a permanent job cold turkey and starting a new company from scratch is a dangerous game, so working as a portfolio professional is a smart interim move – it gives you the time and financial stability you need to learn how to run your own business, plus to test multiple ideas for your startup.
Fuelling an ever-growing entrepreneurial spirit
Did you know that 97% of self-employed professionals say they would never go back to traditional employment? And it’s no wonder, considering how much flexibility and autonomy a portfolio career provides. You can learn the fundamentals of running a company – i.e. finance, marketing, networking – all without quitting your day job. That puts you in a great position if you want to eventually develop your own business.
Being able to try your hand at a range of different jobs and projects allows you to think creatively about the type of work you want to do in the future. And sometimes this inspires exciting new ideas to pop up.
Take, for example, Academy for Women Entrepreneurs, an entirely female-run coaching and training outlet that launched during the pandemic. Its founder, Ceylan Boyce, was a self-employed business strategist and marketing expert turned entrepreneur who used the impacts of the pandemic to launch an organisation that addressed a growing need for more women in business.
But Ceylan wasn’t the only one who used the last seven months to catapult towards the next stage in her career. According to Companies House, more than three times the average number of startups were registered in the UK between April and June, and one in five Brits either started a new business or were planning to by 2021.
Though the pandemic provoked a great deal of hardship for many workers, it also influenced a massive paradigm shift in the way we think about careers. With millions of people out of work and countless others questioning their career motivations, we’re seeing a renewed interest in short term and part-time career options.
That’s because the ‘career for life’ concept has fallen out of fashion. People don’t want to be stuck at the same desk for a decade; they want variety, they want excitement, and they don’t want their future to hinge solely on the decisions of other people. In other words, they want to be responsible for their own careers.
What a portfolio career teaches you about running a business
There are many resources out there that weigh up the pros and cons of starting your own company. It’s a risky move, especially in a failing economy. But what if you could start a business while simultaneously generating income from other sources?
As portfolio professionals, we essentially run our own businesses already. We look after our own finances. We brand and market ourselves. We build a community of talented and passionate colleagues. And what better foundations do you need when it comes to launching your own company?
If you were to go straight from a full-time job to launching a business, you’d be putting yourself in a high-risk situation. Add to that a global pandemic, and you’re diving head-first into choppy waters.
But when you use your portfolio as a stepping stone towards entrepreneurship, you:
- Don’t have to quit your day job, meaning you can still pay your bills.
- Have the time to build a network, meaning you can establish relationships with potential co-founders and future team members.
- Have the opportunity to hone your presentation and pitching skills.
- Can try your hand at a range of complex projects and valuable work.
Not only will you learn to be self-sufficient, you’ll better understand how to make calculated decisions based on real-world experience. And that will save you the struggle of learning as you go, meaning you’ll start off on the best possible footing.
Why there’s never been a better time to shake up your career path
The pandemic has forced many of us to evaluate our priorities. But the gig economy was thriving long before Covid-19 was dominating the news cycle. In fact, over half of Gen Z workers in the US were already freelancing – and this number is only projected to grow over the next five years. Currently, freelancers make up nearly 35% of the global workforce, and with the impacts of the pandemic, that number is expected to rise even further.
That’s because people are hungry for the flexibility that a portfolio career offers. It gives you the opportunity to try things out, start a side hustle or cherry pick the projects that truly mean something to you.
There’s never been a better time to invest in your future, and a portfolio career is a key step towards doing just that. So speak to our community – learn and develop together and find out what the best path forward is for you.
If you know you want to start your own business and are keen to develop some real-world experience first, consider enrolling in our upcoming Catapult Course. There, you’ll be able to build an amazing network, share ideas, develop your story and figure out what matters most to you. With this great foundation, you will be much better prepared to launch your world-shaping startup.