This is the third in a series of 6 blog posts by Simon Strong about his portfolio career. Reading how people have created their own portfolio career can be useful to inspire you to create one yourself.
The rest of this blog is in Simon’s own words.
How did your portfolio career come about?
It certainly wasn’t intentional. In part it came about because I find it hard to say no. In part because I’m always having daft ideas (my outdoor cinema for the football world cup was an unmitigated disaster!). And partly because I started to give myself permission to do things if I thought they were interesting.
How has your portfolio career changed over time?
It started with a business focus underpinned by the arts. I left advertising and got involved in using improvisational comedy as a tool to facilitate creativity, professional development, culture change, and branding workshops. I discovered there was this world of amazing people who did extraordinary business work: horse whisperers who did leadership development, a poker player who taught risk assessment and decision making, a Tai Chi master who taught negotiation skills etc.
For a short time I drifted away from a business focus to a more arts based interest with a business underpinning, partly due to the impact of the recession when the budgets dried up and companies found it difficult to justify working with someone like me!
I have now come back towards the business world and seem to be finding a way to combine my interests in really productive ways. I feel creatively potent and productive at the moment.
When people ask you ‘what do you do?’ – what do you reply?
My mum is really happy about the coffee shop – it means that she actually has an answer! But it is something that I have struggled with and angst over. Probably unnecessarily. It has been especially difficult at networking events when I think I should have something smart and concise to say.
Really, it depends who asks. Sometimes I say I am a barista or that I run a coffee shop or café. Other times I say I run a creative consultancy. Mostly I laugh and say I do stuff, for people, for reasons!
Part 4 of Simon’s 6 part guest blog series coming soon.
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