What Is a Portfolio Career and Should You Consider Having One?

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It’s a big world out there, and there’s no end to the possibilities. Do you find it difficult to select a single path for your career? If you have many different interests and don't want to limit yourself to one type of job, a portfolio career may be the answer for you. 

What is a portfolio career, you ask? Simply put, it's having several smaller jobs, related or unrelated, instead of one full-time job. This offers a substantial amount of freedom and allows you to shape your life the way you want, but it also demands incredible discipline and hard work. It’s definitely not for everyone. 

Let's take a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks so you can decide for yourself whether this concept is right for you. If you need help figuring out how to add a portfolio career to your resume, get in touch with our resume experts.

Benefits of a portfolio career

Whether you have many passions and want to pursue them all or simply want flexibility for a better work-life balance, having a few different jobs may be the answer. Here are some of the benefits of a portfolio career:

  • Your time, your way

Traditional 9-to-5 jobs may offer stability, but they don’t usually allow much flexibility. By choosing to work a few part-time or temporary jobs, you can essentially make your own schedule based on what you have going on in your life. Some weeks, you may have more time and work extra hours; other weeks, you may need to cut back to accommodate personal matters. You get to decide. You can also deal more easily with unexpected events, and it’s a great career choice for a stay-at-home parent who needs a flexible schedule to attend to their children.

  • Work from anywhere

Many portfolio careers involve jobs that are primarily done online. If that’s you, your portfolio career allows you to be location-independent. You can work from the comfort of your living room or home office, but you can also do your job from a quaint little café or a cozy public library. Plus, you can travel the world while working—digital nomads explore country after country while earning money.

  • Diversify for the unexpected

When you diversify your streams of income, you're expanding your options for financial security in the event that something goes wrong. First of all, if one of your jobs goes south for some reason, you'll have other income to fall back on. Second, a portfolio career allows you to develop various skills you may not have had before, which can come in handy should you need to find other work. You may not have the stability of a traditional 9-to-5 job, but you can build more security for yourself by diversifying.

  • Try something new

A portfolio career can let you explore a new field of work without a big commitment. You can essentially test-drive a different type of job to see how you like it. Maybe you'll decide it’s something you want to do full-time. Maybe you won't like it, and you'll find out it's better to focus on the other jobs you have. Either way, you have the freedom to explore new territories.

What to keep in mind

A portfolio career brings flexibility and variety, but it also comes with some challenges. You'll no longer have a certain guaranteed monthly income, as you would from a traditional job. The key is to be prepared and think ahead.

  • No benefits

One thing you can rely on in a traditional job is getting some benefits from the company that employs you. When you work for yourself, you don’t have guaranteed medical insurance, paid time off, or a 401(k). It's up to you to arrange insurance, plan ahead for time off, and invest money for your retirement. If you’re careful and intentional about your finances and insurance, this should not end up being a problem.

  • Cash flow fluctuations

Some months you may make more money than others. How are you going to account for the fluctuations? Perhaps you stash away a certain amount during the more plentiful months to make up for the ones when you know your income will be lower. Maybe you work more hours at one job when another is slow and adjust accordingly to have a steadier income during the ebbs and flows of the year. The best strategy differs from person to person, but it’s important to have a plan in place so you can enjoy a healthy financial life.

A portfolio career isn’t right for everyone, but it can definitely work out for many people. It can provide you with a better work-life balance. Consider the pros and cons and try it out if you think it might be right for you. If you need help incorporating all those smaller jobs into your resume, check out our resume-writing service

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