By July 5, 2016 Read More →

Portfolio working – 5 ‘outside’ jobs

Portfolio working - Sophia MoseleyLately I’ve noticed that more people are doing more than one job, and possibly running their own business as well.

This is called portfolio working, and when Sophia Moseley mentioned in a Twitter conversation that she has 5 ‘outside’ jobs, I asked her to tell us more:

Hi Sophia, I understand you have a number of part-time jobs. How did this happen?
I went from being a full-time manager for an insurance company to a full-time mother. But as life became a bit more structured, I wanted to return to the grown-up world, especially as the money I had squirrelled away was starting to dry up.

I had a run of part-time jobs that fitted into school life, all of which I secured by asking people I knew. I also started to pursue my love of writing and had a go at feature articles.

After a few rejections I got a ‘yes’ and I organised a website and started to grow my client base writing their web content and newsletters. I felt like I had finally found my true vocation and people loved the work I did. I also wrote children’s stories that I independently published and marketed.

Rather foolishly I gave up a very well paid part-time job to pursue my writing full-time which meant losing a big chunk of reliable income. But I was following a dream which was more important than money.

Portfolio working - Marine TheatreUntil, that is, the recession hit freelance writers and work started to dry up. I bit the bullet and went for a zero hours job with a local theatre with a reasonable hourly that also fitted in with my family. The job soon led to other openings and before long I was doing two other jobs for them, including their blog, which was brilliant.

I was still working as a freelance writer and my work has been published in a few magazines. And as well as private poetry commissions I have two blogs.
I also work with a client helping him write his life story, and during term time I invigilate exams.

What are the advantages for you and your family of this kind of portfolio working?
The main advantage is that I am around for my sons so I still do the school run and go to school events. (I end up doing all the household-related stuff too which is more of a disadvantage and I know I’ve created a rod for my own back!)

We have been going through some heavy duty family stuff with aged parents so being available at short notice was important. Having to make loads of phone calls to different agencies might not have gone down too well with a conventional employer.

Do you find it difficult to ‘switch modes’ from one to another?
I keep a diary with each job highlighted in a different colour so I don’t double-book myself. If it’s something involving my writing I always psyche myself up beforehand, and the invigilating is great for my closet teacher tendencies!

During busy times I keep a daily blow-by-blow schedule as it may involve three different jobs & locations in one day. When it comes to billing my hours at the end of month, my diary turns positively psychedelic!

Are there other disadvantages in having an assortment of responsibilities?
The biggest disadvantage is the inconsistency and not knowing from one week to the next how many hours I will be working. It’s also up to me to organise my schedule and to keep on top of the requirements of the theatre.

My income can be erratic. When it’s exam time the hours rack up but at other times it can be a bit tight. It’s also essential to have a private pension plan set up, the sooner the better.

Portfolio working - magazinesDo you ever wish you only had one job to focus on?
Yes, I would like to wake up each morning knowing where I was going and what I was doing without checking my diary throughout the day. And I would still be able to keep up my writing, which is important to me.

What are your tips for other home workers who would like to try portfolio working?
First and foremost make sure it is financially sensible then if you have a reasonably well paid full-time job, ask if you can go part-time or job share to open up the field for you.

Don’t make the mistake I made of giving up a well-paid job in the hope your plan will work. If you are returning to work after a career break, don’t let convention or your previous life stop you from trying something new.

And if you want to return to education to improve your qualifications, don’t delay because the weeks soon disappear and you will miss the boat.

work from home secrets

Sophia Moseley is a freelance writer, poet and author. Her work has been published in a number of national and regional magazines, and she accepts private commissions.

Enjoyed this? You can read more about Sophia’s career as a freelance copywriter, and her experiences of house hunting and the perils of moving your home office.

Posted in: Making money

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