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Explore Portfolio Careers | Multiple Roles, One Career Path

Fancy being a portfolio careerist

Who says you have to have one career?

Or even one job at a time?

The world of work has changed almost beyond recognition from what your parents and grandparents knew.

Gone are the days of staying with one or two companies for life, in one career strand, holding one job at a time.

In huge part thanks to technological developments, increased international mobility, the rise in freelancing and the gig economy, as well as social changes (with a global pandemic thrown in for good measure), the professional world has changed enormously over the past couple of decades.

So much so that following a traditional career path with a 9-5 job is becoming less common. We are no longer expected to have just one ‘main’ job, either. In fact, many people have a side hustle or second (or third or fourth) job. Not just to make ends meet – but because they want to.

In other words, we are becoming portfolio careerists – pursuers of multiple professional roles simultaneously.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into what it means to be a portfolio careerist, explore the motivations behind choosing this path, and highlight some significant benefits (and cons). We’ll also offer specific, actionable tips for those aspiring to embark on a portfolio career journey.

Understanding Portfolio Careers

A portfolio careerist is someone who pursues multiple roles or careers simultaneously.

Rather than confining themselves to a single job title, they curate a diversified portfolio of work that taps into their individual skills, passions, and lifestyle needs.

These jobs aren’t necessarily full time. They can be a combination of full-time, part-time, contract, freelance, casual, or one-off roles. You might do some in person, others in a hybrid capacity, and others fully remote.

One of these jobs may be your ‘main’ role, while others are side gigs. Either way, you balance your working days between the competing priorities of each line of work, on your own terms.

Depending on the job and current priorities, you may work during the day, evenings, or even weekends.

Why Choose a Portfolio Career?

A portfolio career can take various forms, such as a graphic designer who freelances, teaches design workshops, and manages an online art store. Another example might be a marketing professional who consults for multiple companies, runs a side bakery business, and works as a freelance proposal writer. Or even a teacher who also works as a career counsellor and content writer.

People attracted to the idea of portfolio careers share a number of characteristics, such as flexibility, reliability, being deadline-driven, able to handle a certain amount of risk, have a high degree of self-motivation, and are entrepreneurial.

The motivations behind embracing a portfolio career are diverse. Some people seek increased flexibility, autonomy, and variety in their work. Others are driven by a desire to pursue multiple passions or create a personalized work-life balance. It might also be to maximize their earning potential.

The evolving job market, marked by gig economy opportunities and remote work, has further fueled the rise of portfolio careers.

Some of the many benefits of portfolio careerism include:

  • Engaging in multiple roles allows you to acquire and hone a wide range of skills and experiences simultaneously
  • Portfolio careers often offer greater flexibility, allowing for better work-life balance
  • Diversifying your professional pursuits provides a safety net in case you lose or no longer enjoy one of your jobs
  • Pursuing varied interests and passions contributes to overall job and mental health satisfaction
  • Multiple income streams can provide greater financial stability
  • Portfolio careers often involve entrepreneurial ventures, fostering a sense of ownership and innovation

Portfolio careers are not without their challenges, however. While the benefits tend to outweigh the disadvantages for many, there are certainly some cons to carefully consider:

  • Multiple income streams may lead to irregular pay, causing financial instability
  • There is a lack of benefits like health insurance and retirement plans compared to traditional roles
  • Balancing multiple roles can pose work-life and time management challenges, requiring highly effective juggling of priorities to prevent burnout

Our Top Tips to Pursue Portfolio Careerism

#1 Identify Your Core Strengths and Passions

Before leaping into a portfolio career, start by identifying your core strengths and passions. This self-awareness will guide you in selecting roles that align with your skills and interests, creating a more fulfilling portfolio. This step ensures that each role contributes meaningfully to your overall satisfaction and success. Because portfolio careers often involve a lot of hard work, you have to be convinced that what you’re doing provides meaning and fulfilment.

#2 Develop a Diverse Skill Set

Actively seek opportunities to develop a diverse skill set. This could involve taking on projects that push your boundaries or acquiring new skills through courses and workshops. A diverse skill set enhances your versatility, helps to keep your skills current, and makes you more attractive to potential clients or employers. It also opens up new potential avenues for future career path opportunities.

#3 Build a Robust Network

Cultivate a network of professionals across different industries. Networking opens doors to diverse opportunities, collaborations, referrals, and potential clients for your portfolio career. A strong network provides a support system, offers advice, and can be a source of new opportunities. Actively engage in relevant forums on LinkedIn, join professional membership organizations, and attend industry events whenever possible to build your network.

#4 Embrace Continuous Learning and Upskilling

Stay ahead by embracing continuous learning and upskilling. Keep up with industry trends, invest in relevant certifications, and actively seek opportunities to expand your knowledge. Take advantage of masterclasses and trainings on sites such as jobleads.com, LinkedIn Learning, or Coursera. Continuous learning ensures that your skill set remains current and positions you as an expert in your field(s).

#5 Explore platforms that provide diverse opportunities

A portfolio careerist finds job opportunities from multiple avenues, ranging from their personal and professional networks, to online platforms exclusively dedicated to project opportunities. Check out sites such as jobleads.com or upwork.com to explore the latest possibilities.

#6 Strategically present your multiple careers in your resume and LinkedIn

When presenting your portfolio career on your resume and LinkedIn profile, emphasize the overarching themes that connect your various roles to underline a sense of cohesion. Use a cohesive narrative that highlights your skills, versatility, and the value you bring to potential clients or employers.

#7 Find the right balance

Be careful about taking on too many opportunities at once. Carefully and continuously evaluate which projects or roles are worth your time and financial effort, and don’t be afraid to pull back from those that don’t deliver this.


Being a portfolio careerist offers a dynamic and fulfilling approach to professional life. Embrace the freedom, variety, and personalization that come with this career path. Identify your passions, develop a diverse skill set, build a robust network, and commit to continuous learning. Above all, manage your time and expectations carefully to avoid disillusionment and burnout.

Your portfolio career is not just a collection of jobs; it’s a custom tapestry that reflects your unique skills and passions. Consider this approach not just as a career choice, but as a lifestyle that opens doors to unparalleled professional satisfaction and success.

Key takeaways

  • The traditional concept of one career for a lifetime no longer exists. These days, it’s common for people to embrace multiple roles simultaneously (AKA portfolio careerism)
  • Portfolio careerists pursue diverse roles at the same time, curating a varied work portfolio that aligns with their skills, passions, and lifestyle
  • People choose portfolio careers for flexibility, autonomy, variety, pursuing passions, and creating a personalized work-life balance, fueled by the changing job market, financial considerations, and the gig economy
  • Engaging in multiple roles allows for skill acquisition, offers flexibility, provides a safety net, contributes to job satisfaction, ensures financial stability, fosters entrepreneurial ventures, and hones adaptability
  • Portfolio careerism is not all roses: potential cons include irregular pay due to multiple income streams, lack of traditional benefits (e.g. health insurance), and time management challenges
  • To be successful, actively seek opportunities to diversify skills, cultivate a strong professional network, stay ahead by continuous learning, and utilize platforms like jobleads.com and upwork.com to discover diverse opportunities and projects
  • Caution is advised in taking on too many opportunities at once. Carefully evaluate projects for time and financial commitment
  • When presenting a portfolio career on a resume or LinkedIn, emphasize overarching themes connecting roles, showcasing skills, versatility, and the value brought to clients or employers
  • Consider portfolio careerism not just as a career choice, but as a lifestyle offering unparalleled professional satisfaction and success

For more insights, tips and strategies related to this topic, be sure to read our other articles: How to Launch a Successful Freelance Career in 6 Steps & 8 Top Freelance Websites to Kick-Start Your Solo Career

Related questions

What is a portfolio career and how does it work?

A portfolio career involves pursuing multiple job roles or projects simultaneously rather than sticking to a single full-time position. This approach allows individuals to leverage various skills and passions, often combining full-time, part-time, freelance, and contract work. It offers flexibility, diverse income streams, and the opportunity to continuously learn and adapt to different professional environments.

What are the advantages of having a portfolio career?

The advantages of a portfolio career include greater flexibility, the ability to pursue multiple passions, enhanced skill development, and diversified income sources. This career path also provides a safety net, as the loss of one job does not necessarily mean a total loss of income. Additionally, it can lead to higher job satisfaction by allowing individuals to tailor their work to their interests and strengths.

How can I manage multiple roles in a portfolio career without burning out?

Managing multiple roles in a portfolio career without burning out involves effective time management, setting clear boundaries, and prioritizing tasks. It's essential to regularly evaluate which projects bring the most value and satisfaction and be willing to adjust your workload accordingly. Utilizing tools for organization and maintaining a balanced lifestyle through regular breaks and self-care can help sustain long-term productivity and well-being.

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