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Behind the Scenes: The Strategy That Built My Portfolio Career & How It Can Work for You

Behind the Scenes: The Strategy That Built My Portfolio Career & How It Can Work for You | What is a portfolio career? Dive into practical steps for building your portfolio career that blends passions with income streams. Gain insights on starting small, balancing roles, and building the career on your terms. | What is a Portfolio Career | Future of Work | Online Business Coach | Small Business Coach | Business Coaching Services | Executive & Business Coaching | Business Coach for Entrepreneurs | Business Entrepreneurship | Entrepreneur classes | Entrepreneurship and Innovation | Small Business and Entrepreneurship | Becoming an entrepreneur | Digital Entrepreneur | Online entrepreneur | Entrepreneur coach | Entrepreneurship coach | Resources for entrepreneurs | Small business entrepreneur | small business entrepreneurship | Start your own business and become an entrepreneur | Business Coaching & Entrepreneurship Training by Ksenia Votinova-Arnaud
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Introduction: What is a Portfolio Career

In my network, there’s one question that pops up with remarkable frequency: “What is a portfolio career?” Each time I touch on this topic via social media posts, the flood of engagement, from curious inquiries to enthusiastic comments, underscores the widespread intrigue and appetite for understanding this modern career path. Reflecting on the past nine years of navigating and crafting my own portfolio career, I’m compelled to open up about the insights and strategies that have illuminated my journey.

A Portfolio Career is more than a buzzword in today’s dynamic professional landscape; it’s a strategic approach to work that allows individuals to blend a variety of roles—each reflecting different passions, skills, and income streams—into a cohesive and fulfilling career. This concept represents a departure from traditional, linear career trajectories, offering a mosaic of professional activities that can adapt and evolve over time.

The magnetism of a Portfolio Career lies in its inherent promise of flexibility and self-determination. It’s the freedom to explore consulting, venture into entrepreneurship, contribute as a board member, or share knowledge through public speaking and authorship, all under the umbrella of a single career. This approach not only diversifies income but also enriches one’s professional experience, making every day a novel adventure.

Yet, embarking on the creation of a Portfolio Career demands more than just enthusiasm; it requires a deliberate and informed strategy. The landscape is vast and varied, and without a map to navigate it, one might find themselves lost in a sea of opportunities without making meaningful progress.

In this article, I draw back the curtain on the Portfolio Career, sharing everything I’ve learned about piecing together diverse professional experiences into a coherent and satisfying career path. From the foundational blocks of a portfolio career to the nuances of balancing multiple engagements and evolving your career over time, this piece is a culmination of nearly a decade’s worth of insights, trials, and triumphs.

Whether you’re just starting to explore the concept or you’re looking to refine and expand your existing portfolio, the journey ahead is rich with potential. Let’s dive into the art and science of building a Portfolio Career that not only meets your financial needs but also fulfills your professional aspirations and personal passions.

Phase 1: Building Blocks of a Portfolio Career

Embarking on the journey of constructing a Portfolio Career, I’ve discovered it to be an exhilarating exploration of professional diversity, a harmonious blend of passion, purpose, and pragmatism. My own career mosaic, which began with the co-founding of Le VPN, has evolved significantly over the years, reflecting a continuous quest for growth, learning, and contribution. As a Co-Founder, I initially embraced the role of CMO, immersing myself in the strategic intricacies of marketing. This role gradually transitioned to a board-level advisory position, allowing me to steer the company from a broader vantage point.

Parallel to my tenure at Le VPN, I ventured into digital marketing consulting, which marked my first foray into diversifying my professional pursuits. This experience was both enriching and enlightening, paving the way for my next significant role as a Business Coach at INSEAD Business School. Here, I found a profound sense of fulfillment in guiding aspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders through their own journeys of discovery and development.

My commitment to personal and professional development led me to become an ICF-accredited executive coach. This certification opened new avenues for one-on-one coaching with executives, further diversifying my portfolio with this 4th role. In this role, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing remarkable transformations as clients unlock their potential and chart new courses towards success.

Recently, I’ve added the creation of the online program “Mastering Startup Ideas” to my portfolio, alongside authoring a book that I eagerly anticipate sharing with the world. These endeavors represent the culmination of years of experience, insights, and lessons learned along the way. Additionally, my commitment to social impact has led me to mentor startups and participate in pitch competitions, enriching my portfolio with a sense of purpose and contribution to the broader community.

So here’s how my Portfolio looks today with 5 income streams and 2 non-profit roles:

  • Board role at Le VPN
  • Business Coach at INSEAD
  • Executive Coach for private clients
  • Course author & business owner of “Mastering Startup Ideas” online program
  • Book author (launching soon!)
  • Mentor to social impact startups (non-profit)
  • Judge/Mentor on startup pitch competitions (non-profit)

Expanding the Vision:

For those contemplating the path of a Portfolio Career, the possibilities are as vast as your imagination allows. A typical Portfolio Career might encompass a variety of roles, such as:

  • Consulting: Lending your expertise to businesses in need, a role that allows for both financial reward and the satisfaction of problem-solving.
  • Coaching and Mentoring: Sharing your journey’s wisdom to light the way for others, fostering growth and success in the next generation of professionals.
  • Part-time or Interim Roles: Engaging in short-term projects or part-time positions can offer diversity in work and flexibility in scheduling.
  • Board Advisory Positions: Contributing strategic insights at the board level, helping steer companies toward their long-term visions.
  • Angel Investing or Venture Capital: Investing in startups not only provides financial returns but also allows for direct involvement in the innovation ecosystem.
  • Public Speaking and Authorship: Taking the stage or penning your thoughts, sharing your expertise, and inspiring others can be both fulfilling and influential.
  • Teaching/Training: Sharing expertise through educational platforms, enriching both personal knowledge and the professional growth of others.
  • Non-Profit/Public Service: Leveraging professional skills to contribute to societal causes, enriching one’s portfolio with meaningful impact and diverse networks.
  • Content Creation/Creative: Utilizing creative outlets like podcasts, YouTube, blogging, or social media to express personal passions while building a professional brand and engaging with a broader audience.

Each of these components offers unique opportunities to blend income generation with personal passions and societal contribution.


I hope that now you have a good idea what is a Portfollio Career.

Building your own Portfolio Career is akin to composing a symphony, where each role or activity represents a distinct musical line, contributing to a greater harmonic convergence. It’s about crafting a professional life that resonates with who you are and aspires to be. From the foundational elements of entrepreneurship and consulting to the enriching experiences of coaching, mentoring, and beyond, the architecture of a Portfolio Career is limited only by your vision and ambition.

As we embark on this journey together, I invite you to consider the vast landscape of opportunities that a Portfolio Career offers. Whether you’re drawing the blueprint for your professional future or looking to expand your existing portfolio, remember that the path to fulfillment is not about occupying a multitude of roles simultaneously but about selecting those that align with your interests, goals, and the legacy you wish to build.

Phase 2: Diversifying Your Professional Portfolio

Embarking on the journey of a Portfolio Career is akin to setting sail into the vastness of your professional aspirations, guided by the stars of your passions and skills. The initiation of this voyage begins with a profound understanding of what sets your heart alight and what you’re inherently good at—or have the potential to excel in. My journey, for instance, has been a testament to embracing the multi-passionate approach, diving into the depths of my interests, learning new skills on the fly, and constantly testing the waters to discover where my true capabilities lie. This lean approach, coupled with a clear vision of the direction I wished to steer my career, enabled me to identify and seize the right opportunities as they emerged.

Strategic Selection:

In the tapestry of a Portfolio Career, not every thread has equal weight, and the art of balancing these threads becomes paramount. A common query I encounter revolves around the allocation of time across diverse roles. While it’s prudent to have an estimated time allocation for each activity, flexibility remains the cornerstone of a Portfolio Career. Being your own boss means having the latitude to adjust your focus as demands and opportunities ebb and flow. For example, my role at INSEAD occasionally intensifies, drawing me to campus for concentrated periods. This shift is manageable within the fluid framework of a Portfolio Career, allowing me to embrace invaluable opportunities without the fear of overcommitment.

Adding Value:

Each role or venture within your portfolio doesn’t exist in isolation; rather, they enrich and amplify each other, creating a synergistic effect that elevates your overall career. When I introduced consulting into my portfolio, it was a direct extension of my success as Le VPN’s CMO. The expertise I demonstrated there naturally attracted others seeking to replicate similar success in their businesses. Similarly, my engagement with a design thinking program at INSEAD not only fueled my passion for the subject but also infused fresh perspectives into my work at Le VPN and became a cornerstone of my online program, “Mastering Startup Ideas.”

This cross-pollination of experiences and insights illustrates how one role can serve as a catalyst for growth in another. My venture into creating an online program was inspired by the realization that, having coached over a thousand individuals at INSEAD, I could amplify my impact even further. This realization underscores a critical aspect of a Portfolio Career: every experience harbors the seed of multiple opportunities, awaiting those bold enough to explore their passions with an agile mindset.

In sum, a Portfolio Career is not merely a collection of jobs or roles; it’s a curated exhibition of your passions, skills, and professional aspirations, each element enhancing the others. It’s about navigating your career with the agility of a captain at sea, adjusting your sails as the winds of opportunity shift, always moving forward towards your personal horizon. This approach doesn’t just maximize your income streams or professional fulfillment—it transforms your career into a living, breathing entity that evolves with you, offering endless vistas of growth and discovery.

Phase 3: Gradually Building Your Portfolio Career

Embarking on the creation of a Portfolio Career is much like planting a garden; it requires patience, care, and the understanding that growth occurs over time, not all at once. The foundation of a flourishing Portfolio Career is laid by starting small—focusing initially on a primary role that aligns closely with your current skills and passions. This role serves as your anchor, providing stability as you begin to weave in additional strands to your career tapestry. My journey, for instance, started with my crucial role at Le VPN, which not only grounded my portfolio but also allowed me the space to explore and expand into new territories.

Maintaining Balance:

As your portfolio begins to diversify, the challenge of balancing multiple commitments without succumbing to burnout becomes paramount. The key to managing this balance lies in mastering the art of organization, prioritization, and, when necessary, delegation. Tools and techniques such as digital planners, time-blocking strategies, and task management software can be invaluable allies in this endeavor. They help delineate clear boundaries between different roles, ensuring that you dedicate appropriate time and energy to each without overlap or conflict.

Moreover, it’s crucial to listen to your body and mind, recognizing when it’s time to step back and recharge. Integrating self-care practices into your routine isn’t just beneficial; it’s essential for sustaining your energy and enthusiasm across your diverse roles.

Continuous Evolution:

A Portfolio Career is inherently dynamic, shaped by evolving interests, shifting industry landscapes, and emerging opportunities. Staying flexible and open to change allows you to nimbly navigate this evolution, ensuring your portfolio remains aligned with your personal and professional aspirations. Over the years, I’ve learned the importance of regularly revisiting and refining my portfolio. This process of continual reassessment has enabled me to identify when a role no longer serves my broader goals or when a new passion beckons, demanding exploration.

This journey of evolution has led me from digital marketing consulting to executive coaching, from business coaching at INSEAD to creating an innovative online program and authoring a book. Each transition was guided by a blend of introspection and market insight, highlighting the need to remain both self-aware and industry-aware.

And I know that I’m just in the very beginning of building my Portfolio that will change over time. My next milestones in terms of new roles to add to my professional mix include podcasting, public speaking and new advisory roles on startup boards. I will be exploring these opportunities in the nearest future, and who knows where it will take me next.

In essence, building a Portfolio Career is a journey of discovery, requiring an investment of time, a commitment to balance, and the courage to evolve. It’s about curating a professional life that not only reflects your multifaceted interests and talents but also adapts and grows with you over time. By starting small, maintaining balance, and embracing continuous evolution, you can craft a Portfolio Career that brings deep fulfillment and lasting success.

Conclusion: You Now Have the Answers to What is a Portfolio Career

In conclusion, navigating the journey of a Portfolio Career is akin to charting a course through uncharted waters—it demands vision, adaptability, and a willingness to explore. Drawing from nearly a decade of personal experience and the collective wisdom of a diverse professional network, we’ve delved into the essence of what it means to build a career that’s not just a job, but a reflection of one’s multifaceted interests and aspirations.

As you stand at the crossroads of your professional journey, consider the vast landscape of opportunities that a Portfolio Career offers. It’s a path that encourages not just professional growth but personal fulfillment, allowing you to weave together a career that’s as unique and dynamic as you are.

Remember, the beauty of a Portfolio Career lies not in the number of roles you hold but in their synergy and alignment with your life’s passions and goals. Whether you’re adding a new role to your portfolio or refining the ones you have, each step is a move toward crafting a life where work and passion intersect.

As we part ways, I encourage you to take that first step, however small, towards building your Portfolio Career. Reflect on your passions, evaluate your skills, and remain open to the endless possibilities that await. Who knows where your journey might lead? The only certainty is that it’s a journey worth embarking on.

Embrace the adventure, and may your Portfolio Career be a testament to the boundless potential within you.


Hi, I'm Ksenia.
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I empower corporate professionals to take a leap into the entrepreneurship world or build a Portfolio career, by helping them uncover innovative business ideas and build profitable and resilient companies.
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