My good friend Marianne Cantwell, the Free Range Human lady – wonderful book – contacted me recently as she was having lunch with her friend Dorie Clark in New York. (There are pluses to being a free range human!) She wanted me to know about Dorie’s new book which has been selling very well in the US and is available in the UK by the end of October. We all know that the world of work has changed, and we’re shifting toward an ever more entrepreneurial, self-reliant, work-from-wherever-you-are economy. That can be a liberating force, and many professionals dream of becoming independent, whether by starting their own businesses, becoming consultants or freelancers, or developing a portfolio career.

But there’s a major obstacle professionals face when they contemplate taking the leap: how to actually make money doing what they love. You may have incredible talent and novel ideas, but figuring out how to get started, building your reputation in a new realm, developing multiple revenue streams, and bringing in a steady flow of new clients can be a daunting prospect.

Dorie Clark, a successful entrepreneur and author, has done it all. And in Entrepreneurial You she provides a blueprint for professional independence, with insights and advice on building your brand, monetizing your expertise, and extending your reach and impact online. In short, engaging chapters she outlines the necessary elements and concrete tactics for entrepreneurial success. She shares the stories of entrepreneurs of all kinds–from consultants and coaches to podcasters, bloggers, and online marketers–who have generated six- and seven-figure incomes.

When Katie and I wrote our book on portfolio careers in 2009 even we could not have realised just how mainstream this would be in less than a decade later.


Stephen Clarke, Research and Policy Analyst at the Resolution Foundation has just produced a report that adresses this topic.

It is fascinating as it blasts away at some of the stereotypes about millennials – those born in the 1980s and 1990s. This is the digital generation who supposedly are turned off the idea of a job for life. Instead they are  attracted by portfolio careers as that pattern fits more into their desires for travel and for being self employed. And  this age group are travelling abroad more than they’ve ever done and there has been a dramatic rise in self-employment since the financial crisis.

“However, far from being footloose and fancy free, when it comes to work, millennials are far less mobile than the previous generation. In fact young people – particularly young graduates – are moving jobs, and moving around the country, far less than they used to.

While the number of graduates has more than doubled since 2001, those who move region and change jobs has fallen by 80 per cent. Although this may be partly driven by the  fact that there are more job opportunities across the country – reducing the need to head elsewhere in search of work – this decline has coincided with a large increase in the number of graduates in non-graduate jobs, implying a deterioration in the job-matching performance of the UK’s labour market.”

By moving for work less frequently than in the past, today’s young graduates are missing out on significant pay rises. The typical annual pay rise for someone changing jobs but remaining in their existing region is over five times higher than that achieved by someone who remains with the same employer. Those who additionally move region receive even higher rewards.

So what can be done? Stephen argues strongly that part of the solution is to remove any barriers that may prevent young people moving to where there are jobs that better suit their talents. A lack of quality affordable housing can stop people moving and makes it hard for firms to find the best staff. Similarly in many parts of the country poor infrastructure makes it incredibly difficult for people to commute long distances; investing in roads, railways and bus routes would help.

Tackling the housing crisis, significantly boosting infrastructure spending and tackling regional inequalities will take time. He implores policy makers  to recognise that today’s young people are – in many respects – similar to previous generations. His research suggests that they do value job security and expect their earnings and living standards to improve as those of older cohorts have done. Where they are different is that, for many reasons, fewer are moving jobs, relocating and earning pay rises.

But I would argue that many of them are also looking at work and careers differently simply because work and careers are so different now. We have interviewed many millenials over the years and the Middlesex University research study that we quote in our book does indeed suggest that millennials – along with the over 60’s – do find the notion of portfolio careers very attractive. It will be interesting to see if the lack of job mobility does actually motivate this generation to look for the broader attractions of portfolio careers and portfolio living at different life stages.

You can read his full report here


Portfolio Careers in Australia

8 August 2017

Fascinating article in the Herald Sun quoting research from Seek which found that  59 per cent of Australians regard flexible working arrangements as a top work perk. Flexibility is seen as a two-way relationship and employers are seeing flexibility as a key part of their value proposition to potential employees. The  Seek study revealed that […]

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Portfolio careers and the Taylor report?

12 July 2017

When Katie and I first wrote about portfolio careers most people had never heard of the expression including people who had one! Now it is ubiquitous and is a major topic when it comes to the changing nature of work and employment. The Middlesex University research that we quoted showed that the 60+ generation and […]

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What is my current portfolio career?

22 February 2017

I regularly get asked about my portfolio career and it does change quite a bit depending on when you ask! Some friends suggested that I describe my current collection rather than just writing in theory about it – so hear goes! This does sound just a bit egotistical but my good friend Professor John Hayes […]

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How to Work for Passion, Pleasure & Profit

6 February 2017

This is a new book written by my friend Steve Preston and just published on Amazon. I was delighted to be asked to write the foreward for it. It is always good to get a new perspective on a topic one has lived with and loved for many years. With this book Steve has brought […]

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Voluntary work and portfolio careers

5 January 2017

Most people that I know with a portfolio career have unpaid work as part of that portfolio. I certainly do. I have offered free mentoring to people for many years. I have chaired my local community association for 8 years and for the past 3 years I have been a trustee for Disability Sport Yorkshire. […]

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Creating your work life blend as a freelancer

22 December 2016

Katie and I continually wax on about the pluses of having a portfolio career which also means that for many of us we are also freelancers. I found this article in Management Today fascinating as it is written from the point of view of employers of freelancers. The author, Peter Johnston, gives many tips on […]

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“A portfolio career allows me to share childcare.”

15 December 2016

That was a quote from someone at a recent conference where I was talking about portfolio careers. Sounds obvious does’nt it? But a recent CIPD survey shows that  only one-fifth (21 per cent) of the 1,050 senior HR professionals surveyed for the report said they had received requests from male employees to take up SPL. […]

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The future of work – again!

23 November 2016

I loved this picture even though it only represents men! When I started to write about careers in the 1970’s  we were already saying that the average worker was likely to have at least 4 jobs before retirement. That was well before this century when we now have portfolio careers, huge increase in self employment, […]

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