A portfolio of passions

So there you are, shooting up the career ladder like a window cleaner on amphetamines, when BAM! – you get pregnant. You might tell yourself things won’t change, that you can juggle a full time, high powered role and a little person but the reality for many women (certainly not all, but many) is that priorities change when that munchkin puts in an appearance

So suddenly you love changing nappies so much that you’re willing to jack it all in to wipe bums professionally (there’s got to be a joke in there about making a sh*t career move) right? Well not quite. You want to be there for the little one, but you want to have a career too – not just any part-time job but something that challenges you and allows you to use all those skills you’ve built up. And that’s where being a mumprenuer comes in.

Building a portfolio
Because for most the key drivers for becoming a mumprenuer are spending time with your child(ren) and earning money doing something you enjoy and are good at, there are many ways to be a mumprenuer and achieve this.

I, like many other women, have found creating a portfolio career to be the perfect way forward. My own portfolio currently consists of a two day a week role where I’m employed on a permanent contract managing online and printed content for an international accountancy body, a short-term freelance contracting role for a large university and ad hoc freelancing work alongside that. For me, this portfolio allows me to do what I love – the freelance work – but still be sure I can pay the bills at the end of each month.

Sound interesting?
It’s not for everyone, some people are extremely single minded in their focus, but if you like the idea of a bit of variety to help ends meet, then I’ve pulled together a few ingredients you could consider mixing together to create your perfect (and totally bespoke) work life.

  • Not 9-5 - If you’re looking to be employed by someone as part of your portfolio, you aren’t limited to working traditional hours. With the rise in flexible working being offered to existing members of staff, there are more and more part time positions in good roles becoming available to fill the gap left by the newly part time employee. A great place to start looking for roles like this is Ten to Two, a recruitment agency dealing exclusively with flexible and part time positions of all shapes and sizes.
  • Tap into a passion - So say you’re a self-employed accountant. You’re great at numbers and experienced to the hilt. But you also love to bake. Could you combine the two and get the best of both worlds by making a hobby work harder for you? M|MK Coaching or another life coach can offer you support to help you move in a new direction and why not use social networking groups to pick the brains of others already in the new industry?
  • Make the connection - It may be that what you’re doing as a primary job could actually lend itself to supporting a second stream of income – for instance if you’re a freelance travel journalist but also an amateur photographer could you sell the photos you take while on location? Or if you’re a nail technician could you become a reseller of the products you use and promote them to your clients?
  • Fill in the gaps - If you’re not bringing in as much as you need, or there’s a particular passion that you’re keen to get involved with in a more low-key way, you can pad out your portfolio by taking smaller jobs like dog walking if you’re a fan of four-legged furry types or enter short story competitions if you’re an aspiring novelist.
Watch out for the thorns
Those are just some of the ways you could combine different interests or elements to create a fulfilling career. But it’s not all a bed of roses, sometimes remembering where you have to be from one day to the next can be a challenge in itself! Before you take the plunge and dive into creating your own portfolio I’ve outlined some of the pros and cons I’ve found in juggling lots of balls.

The benefits:

  • You never have the chance to get bored.
  • You can mix security with something more ‘out there’.
  • If part of your mix is an in-house role you’ll get pension contributions, paid holiday and the usual employee perks whilst still pursuing your dreams.
  • You get to meet and work with a real mixture of people.
  • You will be constantly networking for other relevant parts of your portfolio.
  • You develop many new skills in different areas.
The drawbacks:
  • Make sure you factor your family life into the equation – that was the reason you became a mumprenuer in the first place remember.
  • If multi-tasking isn’t your finest skill you many find the juggling act too much to bear.
  •  You may feel like a jack of all trades and master of none.
  • It can be tough to find the time to invest in and focus on growing your main area of passion, if that’s what you are looking to do – this takes discipline.
Ultimately, a portfolio career gives you the ability to pull together many strands of your life and work them around your family commitments (if you plan it carefully). And so for me will this portfolio last forever? Who knows, but that’s the beauty of this kind of career, it’s flexible and able to change to meet your needs at any given time.

About me
I’m Angie McAllister, a freelance copywriter, content marketer and editorial manager. I specialise in helping small businesses tell their story effectively and with personality across many different channels. Find out more about what I do at www.amcontent.co.uk