Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Building a portfolio career: the pros and cons

Since having my daughter 9 years ago the way I make a living has completely changed.At the time of getting pregnant I was a TV Director and Manager of Sony's Film and TV department. I was convinced motherhood wouldn't make me miss a beat and I would continue to fly around the world on filming jobs with the baby strapped to my back. Earth mother and career girl all rolled into one.

I might need to find a new way of working?
Once my gorgeous bundle of joy arrived and had in the very best possible way turned my life upside down I realised that not only was it not practical to continue as I had before but actually my priorities had changed. I no longer wanted to be away from home for weeks on end and whilst being creative and in employment were both vital,I needed to be able to do these things in a more flexible way which would allow me more time at home.

Time to create a new way of working (drill optional)
So Betty Pampers "Portfolio Career" was born. I didn't realise at the time this is what it was. To my mind I was doing a number of things which added up to a living but I've since discovered that more and more people are embracing the idea of having two or three income streams (a portfolio of work) rather than putting everything into one thing. For some its a necessity because the thing they love doesn't make enough money on its own and for others its because the flexibility and variety it offers works more coherently within their lives.
Showing ladies how to do vintage inspired beauty on a workshop
For me its been a mixture of the two. I run a tee-shirt business Nicky Rockets with my husband,I run workshops in Vintage inspired beauty with my friend Lilly with the Vintage Pamperbox, I teach one day a wek at a university and of course write columns for magazines, newspapers and this blog which is now a business all on its own called Betty Pamper Social 

If you look closely you can see a theme. All my ventures centre around my love of vintage inspired beauty and plus size fashion and all of them compliment each other beautifully. I carve up my time quite strategically so certain days are "writing days" others are "Tee-shirt" days and Saturdays are often "Vintage Pamperbox workshops ". I without a doubt work full time (and so much more) but as I work for myself I am able to finish in time to collect my daughter from school, take time off when she is on her holidays and have a certain freedom that working for others wouldn't allow. 
The downside is that I often have to start work again once my little one has gone to bed but as I enjoy what I do so much its never really a problem and I'm great at closing the door on work and concentrating on my family (a skill that's been hard won I can tell you)

A rare chance to sit down-well I didn't say a portfolio career was easy did I
So do you think a portfolio career might suit you? Need some extra income or ready to leave working for just one company to perhaps working for two or three? here are the pros and cons.

  • Work flexibility. Depending on what your jobs are you may well be able to make the hours work for your lifestyle.
  • Variety. Working on two or more jobs means you will never get that "groundhog" day feeling again.
  • Opportunity-By earning money on a couple of part time roles you can continue to do the one thing you really love or make headway in a new career. Part time work allows you to volunteer or even take a low paid internship which can pave the way for new ventures.

  • Brain fever-Unless you are very organised you can feel quite scattered as you attempt to switch off from one responsibility to another.
  • Lack of security-If you are someone who likes to have a regular income and to know exactly what you are doing from one month to the next portfolio working might not be for you.
  • Overlap-Learning to close the door one set of responsibilities to start doing something else  can be very hard especially if you work from home.Its easier if at least one of your jobs takes place outside the home.

Designing Tee-Shirts with my husband  is something I love

Portfolio working is nothing new.Actors and artists have traditionally "waited tables ' or "taken a second job" to keep cash flow coming and often people on low incomes have to take additional work just to make ends meet. The difference with this new way of working is probably the approach.People like myself are not doing it for a short amount amount of time or until a well enough paid job turns up but because they genuinely love working in a few different roles. It allows work to be a rewarding varied part of their lives.
With the recession biting at our heals and more and more people facing unemployment and reduced hours I'm hoping this post will wave the flag for  a different way of working. I'm on the other side and the views not bad at all.
Could portfolio working be for you? or do you enjoy the benefits of one full time job? I would love to know your thoughts.

All content (text, photos and other) are the property of Betty Pamper (aka Perelandra Beedles)  unless otherwise stated. Please refrain from copying any material without recognition of the author and a link to the source on this blog.

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