As human beings, we need to feel creative in some way to feel fulfilled. Most of us have a creative passion of some kind, even if it’s known only to ourselves. You may feel that your professional life leaves you little time to spend on your creative side—but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Sometimes, with a little inventive thought, you can find ways to integrate your creative passion into your existing career. For example, an advertising copywriter might find a creative outlet as an editor of children’s books. I have managed to integrate a new creative facet into my career by helping other coaches develop, produce, and edit their own radio shows. If your passion and your career can complement each other, you’ll feel more fulfilled both in and out of the office.
The Portfolio Career
If your passion and your current career seem mutually exclusive — or example, if you’re an IT manager with a penchant for fine French cooking — you might feel a little stuck. Enter the concept of the “portfolio career,” where several revenue streams come together to form a single “job.”
People with portfolio careers do a lot of different things simultaneously; they may seem to have several part-time jobs, which may or may not be related to each other. For example, I know a non-fiction writer who’s also a yoga teacher, a web designer, and a bookkeeper. Doing several things at once allows her to attract a diverse clientele, some of whom end up using her other services. It also keeps her on her creative track, because there are constantly new influences coming into her life.
Other people work a number of jobs within the same general field; for example, a graphic designer might work two days a week at an advertising firm, another two days on freelance projects, and one day at a non-profit. Even though graphic design is the sole focus, it’s still a portfolio career.
Another advantage to portfolio careers is that they can help prevent burnout. Many people succeed in making a career out of their passion, only to find that when they’re at it all day, every day, they lose their zeal for the process. There’s a big difference between cooking for friends and family on weekends, and doing it all day, every day. With a portfolio career, you can limit the duration of each activity to the equivalent of a part-time job, sparing yourself from “overexposure”.
Finally, developing a portfolio career can give you a chance to test your creative passion in the business world, without taking the plunge completely. You still maintain diverse revenue streams, but you have the time and energy to devote to making your passion into a career.
- There are several great books out there on how to build a portfolio career, including:
- Job Shift: How to Prosper in A Workplace Without Jobs by William Bridges.
- This article from Quintessential Careers explains the portfolio career concept.
Career Strategy Session
I’m offering a one-time career strategy session to new clients or with no future commitment during the month of September. If you feel you need to take steps in a new direction, or if you want to learn more about how you can begin to build your own portfolio career, email me at DQ@CoachDQ.com or complete the form below.
Make it a great one!