A portfolio worker is someone who works for a range of clients in various roles. This breaks the tradition which has a technician working solely on technical work, a writer simply producing text, a software expert only hacking code or an accountant just working on budgets.
In many ways, most small business operators are portfolio workers – carrying out a range of duties within their own businesses whilst providing professional services to their clients.
I first came a cross the term portfolio worker in John Clark’s book “The Money or Your Life” several years ago. It was one of a range of options identified for workers in a changing business environment.
Portfolio workers are often people who have spent considerable time working along a career path until they suddenly find that they miss the rough-and-tumble of hands-on work that started them on their working career.
Suddenly, they become what were once called downshifters. They take a pay cut and, instead of moving further or sideways within an organisation, break free to look for work which restores life balance and fires them with passion again. But the term downshifter implies simply abandoning all those skills gained in senior roles.
The portfolio worker retains those skills and blends them in a range of work for various clients while achieving a better life balance and pursuing their own projects. This usually involves some work which attracts a professional hourly rate mixed with lower-paid continuity work and some work which attracts no income at all, such as writing or running an interest group. That’s the portfolio worker.
The challenge for portfolio workers is to break back into their field and convince potential clients that they don’t have to hire someone to do a specific task for a minimum of 3 or 6 months.
Portfolio workers are flexible. They can pop in for a few hours, three days, two weeks or one-and-a-half months. And, as they get to know their client’s business, they can work at various levels at appropriate remunerative rates – just as small business owners do in their own business.
And that is a shameless plug for the services provided by Wild Land. This website is the unpaid part of this worker’s portfolio! If you like what you see and need a helping-hand check out the Services and Business Card pages.
Now, normal service can be resumed once I chase that pesky wolf that’s lurking in the shrubbery. He’ll be knocking on the door, next. Go on, git!