Future of Work

The #1 Question I Get Asked About My Portfolio Career

The #1 question I get asked about my portfolio career | Discover the key to a fulfilling portfolio career in this insightful article, where I unveil the top question I'm asked and share my strategies to a purpose-driven work life. | Portfolio Career | Future of Work | Entrepreneurship | 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: The Future of Work Unfolds in a Portfolio Career

The concept of a career is undergoing a profound transformation. In this age heralded as ‘the future of work,’ a singular lifelong occupation is giving way to the portfolio career—a vibrant mosaic of roles, projects, and entrepreneurial ventures that together form a multifaceted professional identity. This burgeoning trend is reshaping not just individual careers but the very fabric of modern work culture, promising more flexibility, fulfillment, and the autonomy every aspiring entrepreneur craves.

At a recent gathering with the Women in Business Club of INSEAD alumni, held within the innovative walls of Station F, Europe’s largest startup hub, a question from a recent Paris transplant caught everyone’s attention. She had noticed a pattern: many professionals, especially those with an INSEAD MBA, were pivoting towards consultancy, advisory roles, startups, and portfolio careers with a strong bent towards social impact.

Is this portfolio career trend influenced by the Parisian vibrant milieu, or is it a reflection of a deeper, perhaps global, shift in mindset? What are the strategies to make this shift?

That insightful query struck a chord. The journey towards portfolio careers and embedding social impact within one’s work isn’t confined to a specific locale or age group. It’s part of the larger narrative of the future of work—a narrative that emphasizes the mastery of one’s time, following heartfelt passion, and aligning one’s work with both purpose and societal contribution.

As we delve into this conversation, we’ll discover the transformative power of aligning passion, purpose, and profession in the future of work. It’s about crafting a career that isn’t just a series of jobs but a harmonious blend of experiences that resonate with our deepest values and aspirations.

Strategy 1: Embracing Independent Consulting in a Portfolio Career

The advent of the portfolio career, a cornerstone of the future of work, marks an era where professionals are no longer tethered to a single job title or employer. This paradigm shift is exemplified in the bustling city of Paris and across the globe, where more and more professionals are adopting the independent consulting mantle to craft a career that offers them the reins to their destiny.

My Foray into a Diversified Professional Life

My journey into the portfolio career realm began with co-founding Le VPN, a venture that marked my entry into tech entrepreneurship. But the entrepreneurial spirit is restless, seeking new vistas and challenges. It propelled me into the world of independent consulting, where I leveraged my wealth of corporate and startup experience to guide other businesses in their digital marketing strategies.

Yet, the essence of a portfolio career lies in its rich diversity. My role as a Business Coach at INSEAD, facilitating design thinking workshops, mentoring startups, and taking on advisory board roles, all added unique dimensions to my professional identity. Yearly, I would assess my ventures, strategically choosing focus areas and time investments—this calculated orchestration led to my current standing as a serial tech entrepreneur, business coach, and the mind behind “Mastering Startup Ideas.”

Real-Life Success: Vidya’s Journey from Pharma to Consulting

Vidya’s story is a testament to the transformative power of the portfolio career. An INSEAD MBA alumna, she spent a decade climbing the executive ranks in the pharmaceutical industry. Her ambition then led her to launch a startup. While the startup didn’t pan out as hoped, it paved the way for her true calling—founding a consultancy that specialized in open innovation and marketing strategy. This pivot not only allowed Vidya to work on projects that resonated with her expertise and passion but also afforded her the lifestyle and work-life balance she yearned for. Vidya’s consultancy work became the perfect amalgamation of professional fulfillment and personal contentment.

The Broader Implications for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Vidya’s narrative, along with my own, illustrates the broader implications of the portfolio career for aspiring entrepreneurs. It encapsulates the drive for professional autonomy, the importance of aligning work with passion, and the incredible potential for personal growth and impact.

Strategy 2: Capitalizing on Experience in a Portfolio Career

In the narrative of portfolio careers, a recurring question arises: Is it age or experience that ushers professionals towards this new paradigm? While age might correlate with accumulated experience, it’s the latter that truly fuels the shift. Experience is the currency in the marketplace of the future of work, offering the means to purchase autonomy and mastery over one’s career.

The Role of Experience in Shaping a Portfolio Career

My own career is a case study in leveraging experience for professional autonomy. After years of honing my skills in various corporate and startup roles, embracing independent consulting, and nurturing an obsession with innovation, design thinking, and agile methodologies, I found myself on a path to something greater. Each role, each project, became a building block, preparing me for the next chapter: becoming a Business Coach at INSEAD.

Mastery Over Work Life, Unbound by Geography

At INSEAD, I’ve had the privilege of sharing my experiences and expertise with executives eager to master the very subjects that have propelled my career forward. But there’s a twist: I could fulfill this role from anywhere in the world. Greece’s historic vistas, Thailand’s vibrant streets, the dynamic cities of the United States, Bali’s serene beaches, and even Nicaragua’s rich landscapes have all been backdrops to my coaching sessions. This is the real future of work—unbounded by geography, unfettered by traditional office spaces, and underscored by the autonomy that comes with mastery.

Experience as the Foundation for Growth and Flexibility

It’s experience that unlocks the doors to diversified professional avenues. It’s the foundation upon which a robust portfolio career is built, allowing professionals to pivot, adapt, and thrive in an ever-changing work landscape. The quest for autonomy and the drive to master one’s work life—these are the forces that compel us to curate a portfolio of work that reflects our journey, skills, and vision for the future.

3. Aligning Values with Work

The most profound careers are those that resonate deeply with our innermost values—where heart, passion, and purpose converge to form a powerful driving force. It’s this trifecta that shapes the most fulfilling and impactful portfolio careers, turning them into more than just a means to earn but a way to live out our missions.

A Framework for Unearthing Passion and Purpose

In my online program, “Mastering Startup Ideas: From Discovery To Validation,” I delve into the significance of uncovering one’s passions and purpose and integrating them into the very fabric of their startup ideas. The course provides a framework for exploration, allowing entrepreneurs to discover the core of what drives them and how it can be the bedrock of their business.

My Personal Journey to Online Program Creation

My decision to create online programs was born from a desire to amplify my impact. Coaching over a thousand individuals on their innovative ventures was incredibly rewarding, yet I realized the potential to reach an even broader audience. By transitioning to online programs and group coaching, I could extend my reach beyond the one-on-one sessions that, while impactful, could only touch so many lives.

Moreover, the economics of accessibility plays a role. Not everyone has the resources for personalized coaching, especially in the early stages of entrepreneurship. My online programs offer a more accessible avenue for those seeking to make a difference, aligning with my mission to empower entrepreneurs to build businesses that not only succeed financially but also contribute to social good.

Strategic Advantages in Today’s Economy

This alignment of work with personal values isn’t merely satisfying on a personal level; it’s a strategic asset in today’s economy. Companies and leaders who operate with a clear sense of purpose tend to attract like-minded customers, employees, and partners. They stand out in a crowded marketplace, not just for what they do, but for why they do it.

Conclusion: From Passion to Purpose to Impact

As we’ve journeyed through the landscape of the future of work, from independent consulting to the strategic integration of heart, passion, and purpose, it’s clear that the era of portfolio careers is not just a fleeting trend but a profound evolution in how we approach our professional lives. The allure of autonomy, mastery, and alignment with our deepest values is reshaping our work identities, offering a more holistic, satisfying, and impactful way of living and working.

A Personal Reflection

Reflecting on my own path, the transition from one-on-one coaching to creating accessible online programs has been a pivotal step in actualizing my mission to empower a new wave of entrepreneurs and innovators. I take pride in every individual I’ve coached, every project I’ve nurtured, yet I am driven by the vision of reaching even more people. It’s this vision that inspired “Mastering Startup Ideas: From Discovery to Validation,” a program designed to help you uncover and validate your startup ideas—laying the foundation for a business that’s not only viable but vibrant with purpose.

Your Next Step

If you’ve ever felt the pull to leave your 9 to 5 and forge your own path, to create a business that resonates with your values and has the potential for social impact, then you’re already on the brink of something extraordinary. The only question left is: Are you ready to take that leap?

Don’t let this moment of inspiration fade. Click the link to join the waitlist for “Mastering Startup Ideas: From Discovery to Validation.” Equip yourself with the knowledge, tools, and community support to transform your entrepreneurial dreams into reality. Make the first step in building your own business and becoming your own boss.

Together, let’s build a future where work is not just a job, but a journey of impact and fulfillment.

PARIS-BASED BUSINESS COACH, SERIAL ENTREPRENEUR, PCC, AUTHOR, INSEAD MBA.

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