Portfolio work refers to a way of working in which self-employed individuals work on a range of different projects for different organisations or clients. Portfolio work has increased over the past 20 years because many organisations feel less able to offer permanent employment contracts and many individuals choose to work this way. This has led to the concept of a portfolio career in which individuals develop and maintain a package of paid and unpaid activities that draws on their range of skills.
One of the early proponents of portfolio working was Charles Hand (the Irish management guru). He has advanced the idea of the portfolio worker along with the Shamrock Organisation (in which professional core workers, freelance workers and part-time/temporary routine workers each form one leaf of the Shamrock).
Portfolio working forms the basis of a number of members activities who can earn in excess of £50000 per year whilst helping substantial numbers of children. If you are prepared to work 44 weeks, 6 days a week and 10 hours a day then your earning potential is £71000 (pre tax).
Some of the features of being self employed are:
There’s more risk in the short term but less in the long term (because you have more control). The first six months to a year are usually the most difficult, whilst you are building up a client base. It helps if you have financial support, or savings, to cover this period and one or two core contracts to start with.
There’s more freedom - where and when you work and freedom to choose the type of work - but there's more personal responsibility.
The four keys to professional success as a portfolio worker are:
- Self belief - focus on a successful outcome and believe that any obstacle can be overcome.
- A positive mental attitude - see a positive side even when things are going wrong.
- Sacrifice - to be the best requires some/many sacrifices of social and leisure time.
- Being open to opportunities - being alert and looking beyond what you typically perceive.
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