Tag Archives: self-employment

From Corporate Worker to Portfolio Worker

Portfolio working

I wrote a post last month called ‘Is The UK Becoming A Free Agent Nation, as I mentioned in that post, I’m quite fascinated by the rapid rise in UK start-ups and the general trend towards freelancing.

A recent eConsultancy blog post also highlighted this trend with some telling statistics on the rise of the freelancer. This statistic in particular resonated with me:

87% of the UK’s top performing grads see freelancing as a highly attractive career option.

I’ve worked in the corporate world for a number of years, I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly and I believe in terms of learning about business, leadership and a whole host of other skills it’s amongst the best training you can have. However, the culture within corporate organisations can be quite oppressive; processes, red tape and the general culture of ‘this is the way we’ve always done things around here’ can quench individuality and a sense of freedom. With each passing year my own need for autonomy and freedom grows, and I really understand why top grads would be drawn to freelancing as opposed to a corporate 9-5.

Autonomy has been shown to be a greater motivator than money and I believe this fact is a significant driver for why an increasing number of senior managers decide to hang-up their corporate boots and opt for a more entrepreneurial way of life. During the course of a corporate career, it’s quite common to reach the point where you want to break free, and the breakout is increasingly taking the form of portfolio working.

Portfolio working is a way of organising your working life so that you work for several different employers and do several different jobs at one time instead of working all the time for one employer. For example, one corporate job may be replaced with 3 contract or freelance jobs e.g. graphic designer, graphic design teacher and part-time yoga instructor, with the 4th quadrant in the image below representing the free time available to be a stay at home mum due to the flexibility of the work structure.

Portfolio working

Quite often an individual’s former employer becomes the first client in their portfolio and many believe it’s the way of the future. We all know the notion of a job for life died a long time ago many see the idea of portfolio working as a natural progression in the way we work.

This way of working offers freedom, flexibility and variety, the challenging side of portfolio working is that instead of arriving for work each day and getting a pay cheque, you become responsible for finding the work not just doing the work.

Here’s renowned author Seth Godin’s take on portfolio working:

If you’re thinking of taking the leap here are a few articles that might inspire you:

Speak soon,

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Entrepreneurs work for others too

So I’ve always had great ambitions of setting up my own marketing consultancy, it was never an if, but, or maybe but quite simply a when.  I’ve had a business plan of my dream business sitting on my bookshelf since before I left university

However, of late my thinking has changed and I’m no longer so sure that self-employment will be the end goal for me, I don’t feel that I’m any less ambitious, driven or entrepreneurial than I used to be, but something’s changed….can’t put my finger on what or when it changed, but it’s definitely changed…

perhaps it’s that I quite like the definite divide between work-life and home-life that seems easier to maintain when you work for someone else’s business rather than your own

perhaps it’s that my notion of success has changed; I used to think that the only way I would truly feel successful would be to work for myself – I no longer feel that way in fact the things that I associate with my success have less and less to do with ‘employment’ with each passing year

perhaps it’s that I’d rather spend my spare time in more philanthropic endeavours than building my own business

perhaps it’s that I’ve realised that there’s more than one route to financial freedom

perhaps it’s that I’ve realised that you can be an entrepreneur, a change maker within a company

and perhaps it’s that I actually quite like working for someone else dare I say it

Entrepreneurs and thought leaders are as much needed in established businesses as they are in start-ups and one-man bands. The nature of business has changed and now I realise that the burning desire I have to effect change, be a thought-leader and expert in my chosen field can be realised within an established organisation. The future of work belongs to entrepreneurs and thought leaders whether you work for yourself or others.

It seems that everyone wants to be an entrepreneur and run their own business these days, which is cool, I haven’t ruled it out myself, but my point is that business success doesn’t necessarily culminate in self-employment and that’s cool too.

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