So what is portfolio working?

Portfolio working is all about developing income streams from your skills and abilities. Forget about a wage or a salary. You need to analyse what you're good at and, more important, what you enjoy doing, and then try to work out a way of making money.

For instance, after meeting Grace Johnston, I realised I could teach people how to use computers, and also that I could write résumés. I could also make money from umpiring cricket matches, maths tutoring, proofreading and chauffeuring. It was all a bit haphazard but it was a start. I was worth something to others and didn't have to be dependent on an employer.

Grace describes this as her Ad Hoc© portfolio work model. There are no guarantees of any income and if you have regular commitments, such as paying rent, you might feel a little stressed.

I had a mortgage at the time, and felt that I wasn't contributing to the household expenses. So I progressed to what Grace calls her Anchored© model, in which I found a part-time job for two days a week, to pay my bills. This part-time role does not have to be connected to what you want to do. It fulfils a need. In my case it involved working for a publishing company compiling databases - not very stimulating but then not entirely boring either. For the rest of the week I was free to concentrate on what I really wanted to do, so I was out there delivering flyers and generally networking.

In time, my work evolved to what Grace calls her Synergistic© model, in which everything I do is related. I invested in myself by doing a career coaching course as well as acquiring a training qualification. These relate directly to my résumé writing skills as well as my interest in computers. Everything is linked, and I love what I'm doing. At the same time, I'm always looking for a new angle, and ebooks are a classic example.

I believe anyone has the ability to do portfolio working. You don't need a degree in anything. All it takes is to understand who you are, what you're good at, and what motivates you. What do you really enjoy doing?

The starting point would be to talk to either Grace or myself and utilise a skills/IP grid which Grace has developed in conjunction with a chap called Russell Johnson. This enables you to analyse your abilities and intellectual property (IP) to determine what you can supply and whether there's a demand. There usually is. You can identify the potential opportunities and then it's up to you to work out how to capitalise on them.

Alternatively if you put 'portfolio working' into any search engine you'll find heaps of information on the Internet.

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