Talking Points

A female fashion designer stood next to her latest creation.

Why you should consider a portfolio career

A portfolio is a collection of documents representing a person’s work, which is then shared with potential employers in job interviews.

So, what is a portfolio career? You might already have one without realising it, or it may be something you’d like to switch to.

With the gig economy on the rise, individuals realise that the traditional full-time job isn’t the only way to make a living.

Let’s look at the definition of a portfolio career and the advantages and disadvantages of this modern approach to working.

What is a portfolio career?

A portfolio career is a nomadic career that encompasses multiple jobs.

Jobs may be related (a freelance author for an online magazine and an SEO copywriter for an agency) or unrelated (a teacher and a party planner), and simultaneous or not.

A portfolio career path usually involves various job types (full-time, part-time, freelance, etc.).

To illustrate the diversity of a portfolio career, here are several examples:

  • Someone who works freelance as a graphic designer for some clients and a marketing manager for others.
  • Someone who works full-time as a personal trainer and part-time as a party DJ on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • Someone who worked as a social worker after graduation, applied for a job as a youth worker, then moved into a role as an education consultant while tutoring GCSE students.

As the examples show, a portfolio career can be anything you want it to be — and that’s the appeal of it.

In the past, people would find a job after school or university and stay with that job, employer or industry for life.

Times have changed, and people are demanding more flexibility in their work lives — especially since the pandemic began.

Portfolio career advantages

A woman working on her laptop, freelancing for her portfolio career.
There are many advantages to a portfolio career — including the opportunity to work from anywhere.

The advantages of a portfolio career are plentiful for you and potential employers or clients.


A portfolio career offers a unique level of flexibility, leading to greater control over your schedule and workload. This results in a work-life balance that’s perfectly tailored to you.

Variety is another benefit, enabling you to pursue different projects and work with diverse clients and colleagues.

Switching to a portfolio career when you’re torn between career options can offer the flexibility to test-drive a few positions before you make a final decision.

A diverse skillset

You’ll build transferable skills with each new job, whether or not you engage in similar positions.

When working in various fields and industries, you’ll gain a wealth of experience and knowledge you couldn’t achieve from a singular position.

New skills are enjoyable to learn and advantageous for future employment as employers love adaptable employees who can add value to their business.

Greater autonomy

A portfolio career gives you greater autonomy and control over your work life.

Without being tied to a single job or employer, you can choose which projects and clients you want to work with.

You can negotiate your contracts and rates, including when and where you work.

If you need to fit work around family, childcare, or health issues, you can build a career tailored to your exact needs.

Passion pursuit

Suppose a traditional full-time job isn’t providing you with professional fulfillment. In that case, you can switch to a portfolio career — retaining the reliable income from your full-time job while pursuing a passion elsewhere.

Alternatively, you can work part-time, giving yourself the time and space to follow your dreams via other employment.

Another option is to leave a job you’re not enjoying and jump into what you’d rather be doing instead.

The choice is yours!

A safety net

If you have one job and you’re made redundant or fired, you’ll suddenly be in a difficult position regarding money.

With multiple part-time jobs or projects, you can reduce your reliance on any one source of income.

A portfolio career can offer financial security where if one job ends, you’ll still have other income streams to rely on — unless your work is voluntary or low-wage passion projects.

You have the potential to earn more too, as you pick and choose the work you do.

Portfolio career disadvantages

While there are many advantages, it’s crucial to consider the cons of this career path.


A portfolio career is not for you if you’re not a self-motivated worker.

When managing multiple workloads, you need to be highly organised and possess enough self-discipline to work when you should be working and deliver work on time.

No traditional benefits

Traditional full-time work delivers benefits that a portfolio career can’t, like paid annual leave, sick pay, maternity and paternity leave, training opportunities, and a pension.

An unpredictable income

While a full-time job and a standard career path are reliable, multiple jobs and freelancing can be unpredictable and result in sudden income changes.

Unpredictability can be managed by forward planning and putting money aside when possible, but nothing is guaranteed.

Management of multiple income streams

Managing your money when it’s coming from several income streams can be complicated and time-consuming.

In addition, you have to work to deadlines when self-employed, so organisation is vital.

Final thoughts

While there are numerous pros and cons to a portfolio career, the final decision is a personal one.

If you’re highly self-motivated and need to work around a busy home life, then a part-time or portfolio career are options to consider.

You’ll prefer the traditional career route if you are drawn to one steady salary, a fixed schedule, and a manager who can handle any issues.

A portfolio career means you can work from home when you like, so why not live somewhere you love? Explore our portfolio of Leeds-based professional properties today.

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