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A freelance career in the creative arts
A freelance career in the creative arts

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4.3 Planning a portfolio career

You’ve now looked at examples of both organic and more planned approaches to building a portfolio career. In the next activity you’ll start to consider how your own portfolio career might develop. A good starting point is to focus on a key skill or talent and consider what you could do to make money from it.

Activity 6 Planning a portfolio career

Timing: Allow about 25 minutes

Think about your hobbies and any job role(s) you’ve had. Choose five skills or talents that you enjoy(ed) using in these roles or activities. List them in the table below.

Examples of skills you might consider include communication, manual dexterity, attention to detail or creativity. Broader talents could include singing, painting or writing. If you would find it useful to have a list of skills to prompt you, Clear Mind has a table of transferable skills [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] (open in a new tab or window by holding down Ctrl (or Cmd on a Mac) when you click on the link).

Table 1 Skills/talents that I enjoy using
Skill/talent
1.
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2.
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3.
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4.
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5.
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Now choose one of your chosen skills or talents to consider further and think about different ways you might use it, for example by selling it, promoting it, teaching other people to do it, etc. Summarise your thoughts in the box below.

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Discussion

Here’s a worked example for a singer. Different ways you could use a talent for singing might include:

Spider diagram showing different ways singing can be used for a career.
Figure 2 Different ways of using singing for a career

You can see how you might build up quite a list of ideas. Brainstorming ideas with someone else can also be beneficial.

If you want to take this to the next stage, choose an idea that particularly interests you, e.g. ‘promoting it’ and start researching companies and organisations in that field. Find out where they advertise jobs and investigate whether part time work is an option.

If you found this useful, repeat the exercise for your other key skills. Even if you don’t want to pursue a portfolio career at this point, brainstorming ideas in this way can broaden your thinking and leave you more open to opportunities when they arise.

Building up your portfolio career can be a slow process and you might find that options you choose at the beginning will change or fall away as you develop and learn what suits you best.

Another option that can mitigate against some of the risk of going out on your own is to look for opportunities to collaborate. You’ll learn more about that in the next section.