The rise of ‘portfolio careers’ for self-sufficiency and resilience

Cast your mind back however many years you need to, to the time when your days in school were coming to an end and you had that dreaded decision to make of what you were going to be. If those school days were in the UK then it’s likely you had a careers department available to help you but you could only choose one vocation and then you had to stick with it! At 16 or 18, not many of us are equipped to make such a good decision in that area.

But life has probably dealt you a few more cards by now and the mist may be clearing on what you want to do. Added to that, lockdown may have shown you a better work/life balance or a financial vulnerability and a new or greater desire for better financial resilience, self-sufficiency and independence. How you earn a living is one of the biggest areas to analyse in satisfying all of those things.

So, where do you go from here? It is certainly very true that lockdown changed the financial landscape for employed and self-employed people alike so you may be looking at those options and seeing a weakness in both models, and you would be correct. But what is emerging from the results of the last 5 months of lockdown is the resilience enjoyed by those with a ‘portfolio career’. This can be defined as someone who operates within a diverse range of industries, contract types and with a range of skills for adaptability so that they can change their focus and offering quickly as something causes market demand to change. Adaptability is actually a very simple and very necessary business tactic but it is also something we need to be able to do ourselves. After all, our skills are a service and the work market is our target whether that be as an employed or self-employed person.

Whatever your situation was at the beginning of the year, if you are now unemployed and are evaluating where you go from here to come back stronger with a better work/life balance, a role you enjoy and a more secure income, get in touch with the Inspiring Enterprise team at Surrey Community Action. We can help you with, business planning and/or employment planning, 1-2-1 mentoring, training, resources, 3rd party funding sources, networking and some key contacts to help you keep going even after you leave us.

Call Sarah McCann (Inspiring Enterprise Project Officer) on 01483 447140 or email her at:

2 Comments on “The rise of ‘portfolio careers’ for self-sufficiency and resilience”

  1. Joshua Samuel Isaacs

    Hi Sarah,

    So I was my contract was ended during Corona and since have been struggling to find a job but also to decide on a career path that’s right for me.

    I have begun selling some claywork I may but am also looking for a full time job doing something more professional/industry based.

    I was looking into areas such as business consulting and commercial roles within an array of different companies.

    Would this be something you’d be able to help with or is this not really your area?

    Kind regards

    Joshua Isaacs

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