Building Your Portfolio Career Part 1: Imagining the Mix

Portfolio career is the term used to describe a professional path involving multiple streams of income. This profile is commonly adopted by artists of all stripes. I, for one, have developed a portfolio career, and wouldn’t have it any other way.







Advantages of a portfolio career include:

  • The opportunity to control your own activities and schedule
  • A flexible framework for reaching earning objectives
  • A variety of activities and challenges
  • A structure that enables you to pursue passion projects
  • Interaction with multiple communities, allowing for great networking
  • Freedom from corporate politics
  • If you don’t get a full-time job, this may be your only option

Assuming you enjoy variety, the primary disadvantage of a portfolio career is that most of this most work is self-employed. You’ve got to hustle, market effectively, and create a solid career model. After all, no one else will do it for you. You must also be extremely good at time management.

This series of posts will help you design a blueprint for a portfolio career that reaches your earning objectives.


With your skills, interests, attributes, and connections, begin by determining major income stream categories where time and energy might be divided. Limit this list to seven entries. Here are the large-scale categories of my career:

  1. Composing
  2. Performing
  3. Teaching
  4. “Expert services”
  5. Expert services refer to activities built around a particular platform, or what I call a Powerhouse Topic. For more information, click here. My powerhouse topic is built around arts careers/entrepreneurship. 

  6. Merchandise sales
  7. Writing
  8. Miscellaneous

Please note that there may be more than one way to group income streams. For example, composing and performing might be combined under the single heading Musician Services. The important thing is to organize categories in a way that makes sense to you.


Within each large-scale category, go into more detail. What specific types of activities might you do? Since we’re just at the brainstorming phase, feel free to list as many options as imaginable, even if all don’t wind up being part of your eventual plan. Again, here is my list, with comments in boxes.

  1. Composing/arranging
    • Commissions 
    • Royalties 
    • Prizes & grants 
  2. While competitive awards like prizes and grants can certainly provide income, it’s usually unwise to depend on them as reliable revenue. 

  3. Performing
    • Concerts (headlining) 
    • Gigs (background music)
    • Accompanying
    • Other playing work
  4. Notice that concerts and gigs are separated here. Someone else might lump them into a single sub-category, which is fine. To me, they feel like very different activities, and require unique marketing to acquire.

  5. Teaching
    • College teaching
    • Private lessons
    • Teaching artistry
    • Festivals & camps
  6. I actually have a full-time college teaching position. Just because you have a job (with an external employer) doesn’t mean that a varied portfolio career isn’t possible or desirable for you.

  7. “Expert services”
    • Speaking engagements
    • Consulting
    • Private mentoring
  8. If your powerhouse topic is something people care about, a number of professional opportunities become available. Better yet, being known as an expert often leads to additional work in other categories.

  9. Merchandise sales
    • Book sales (through distributors/wholesalers/dealers)
    • Book sales (through website/back of the room)
    • Musical score sales
    • Recording sales
  10. Two categories of book sales are listed here.  That’s because the earning structure is quite different depending on where and how it sells.

    Notice that score sales are listed under Merchandise. They could just as easily have been placed under Composing/Arranging. In your blueprint, place streams where they make the most sense to you.

  11. Writing
    • Books
    • Blogs
    • Articles
  12. It’s only the rare occasion when I get paid for writing blogs or articles. (The financial benefits are indirect.) But they play a significant role in my schedule. In a portfolio career, think not only about what will earn income, but also where time must be spent.

  13. Miscellaneous
    • Investment income
    • Conducting
    • Other

We will discuss passive income sources, such as that produced by investments, later in this series. If this money is generated specifically for a long-term purpose such as retirement, you may not want to include it in your income model.


Here are a few observations when reflecting on the model above:

  • Quantity. My Portfolio Career Blueprint includes seven large-scale work categories and 24 sub-categories.  Don’t feel pressured to have that many streams. A portfolio career may have as few as two to four focuses. On the other hand, some people do much more than I do.
  • Variety. Most of my entries have at least something to do with music or the arts. But they don’t need to. Many artists pursue a much wider array of activities: playing music, cooking, website development, day care, painting, dog walking, etc.
  • Brainstorm. Remember, at the brainstorming phase, you only need to determine areas where you might earn income. In the eventual model, some of these paths may ultimately disappear.

Stay tuned for part 2…

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Share and Enjoy:
  • email
  • Print
  • RSS
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Digg
  • Technorati
  • StumbleUpon
  • Mixx
  • Blogplay
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • Yahoo! Buzz

500 Responses to “Building Your Portfolio Career Part 1: Imagining the Mix”

  1. Weflen says:

    Great looking web site. Presume you did a great deal of your very own coding.

  2. I use had an on-line magazine to get 3 years, and are planning to spice up the web site. We’ve utilized Joomla, but are now searching for something totally new. Is Wordpress better than Joomla? We will be adding content rich items on the website: videos, and so forth Any recommendations?.

  3. How can my blog become popular and read by many people people?

  4. virginiareed says:

    There is no thought in any mind, but it quickly tends to convert itself into a power.

  5. more says:

    i really wanna b like u anushka…

  6. Wer auch nur ein einziges Mal das Vergnügen geilem live Camsex mit einer blonden Cam Schlampe hatte, der weiß, dass bei diesem heißen live Sex nur ein Höhepunkt am Ende stehen kann.

  7. How can i copyright the content on my web site?

  8. Garantiert wirst auch Du hier schnell neue tabulose Sex Kontakte knüpfen und vielleicht sogar schon heute tollen Sex haben!

  9. adresse says:

    Sollten Sie wie viele andere auch ein bisschen Respekt davor haben, sich Dessous oder oben ohne fotografieren zu lassen, können Sie neben unserer Visagistin auch gerne Ihre Freundin mitbringen.

  10. Jose Lorente says:

    El portfolio de carrera en mi opinion puede y debe desarrollarse a lo largo de toda la vida. Por ejemplo es posible que despues de 20 ó más años de carrera puedas desarrollar perfectamente solo o con otros partners servicios de consultoría o que seas tu precisamente el partner ideal para una startup relacionada con la industria musical.
    Sobretodo habida cuenta de la dispersión y precariedad de los ingresos de los músicos.
    Me permito dejar un artículo interesante sobre start ups de música:


  11. Will there be a computer plan that will automatically start various other programs?

  12. Am i able to upload brief excerpts of copyrighted content material on youtube? Could it be supported by fair use provision?

  13. internet says:

    ich dort antreffe, lässt meine Hoffnungen vollends auf Null schrumpfen: hat Männerbesuch, genauer gesagt Besuch einem Mann.

  14. You’re completely correct, I’d really like to know new info on that issue! I’m as well interested by vshare for ipad since I consider it is quite trendy now. Thanks.

  15. Courtney says:

    Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It if truth be told was once a enjoyment account it. Glance complicated to far brought agreeable from you! However, how can we keep up a correspondence?

  16. Manchmal stellt sich heraus , um eine unschätzbare Hilfe , die professionell braffiterki passt BH-Größe sein .

  17. Our organization engages gatherings of all sizes and offers the absolute most focused deals and client mind. So when next time you are around the local area, mess around with Dhow Cruise Marina and Creek Dhow Cruise, Also encounter the more stunning side of with desert safari Dubai and lock in for a remarkable ordeal of your lifetime

  18. The city of Dubai is astoundingly wonderful and in addition astonishing area containing something more essential to give to different guests. Along these lines, if a man longings to heaps of gigantic notwithstanding shocking engineering and points of interest, odds are they can go to the town. The town offers travelers check out the wild from the commit the kind of the desert trip. Overnight Safari Tour or perhaps an afternoon of wadi.

  19. Wilfredo says:

    that is the end of this article on . Here you’ll find some sites that we think you’ll appreciate, just click the links over…

  20. Organised by Virgin Holidays / Alpha Tours. Great day out with my two daughters. Five hours of extreme fun. Please subscribe to my YouTube Channel to enjoy n…

  21. Damn im in love…she needs to go ahead and start doing porn.i would love to see rico and wesley dp her or mandingo tear her ass up.i wanna fuck her to though.if its possible let me know how in the response…damnnn!!.

  22. our Company offers 3 & 4 Hours Morning Desert Safari in Dubai with Camel Ride or Quad Bike.For Best Tour Package Check Deals.Book Now,Pay on Pick Time

  23. dhow cruise says:

    Book Dubai Desert Safari Tour Morning Evening Overnight Deals. Desert Safari World has only one aim and that is to fulfil your dream of the best Desert Safari tour in your whole life.

  24. Desert_safari_deals – Find Address, Phone Number, Reviews, Rating & Map Direction. Visit or download mobile app.

  25. naechster says:

    Die Untersuchungstische waren positioniert, dass und ich uns gegenseitig beobachten konnten.

  26. lesen says:

    Ich habe kürzlich beim Ethologen Eibl-Eibesfeld eine Bestätigung gefunden, daß es sich bei den den Yanomami getragenen Schnüren um Kleidung handelt.

  27. Atlanta Safari Dubai is very special tour you must to do in Dubai. It’s the best adventure tour in the middle of Dubai desert. We provide All types …..

  28. Dubai City Info, UAE – Information guide on Dubai jobs, Dubai map, metro, best tours, cheap hotels, events, news, expats, shopping deals, classifieds, business directory, autos, apartments, property, medical tourism in UAE, Emirates, Gulf, GCC & Middle East

  29. some genuinely wonderful posts on this internet site , regards for contribution.

  30. cheap logos says:

    Thank you for another magnificent article. Where else could anybody get that kind of info in such an ideal way of writing? I’ve a presentation next week, and I’m on the look for such info.

  31. Jesse Grillo says:

    amazing post. I will be subscribing to your feed. If your articles are always this helpful, I will be back. I simply have to tell you that I really love your pages page. I truly appreciate your efforts and I am waiting for your next post.

  32. There’s a lot of stuff on the world wide web these days. This is one more contribution for people to see. Great job and thank you.

  33. Jesse Grillo says:

    Is there anything else I could read to learn more about this? On a scale from 1 to 10, You are an 11.

  34. Die Römer erfanden das Türkische Bad.

  35. I went over this site and I think you have a lot of superb info, saved to favorites (:.

  36. click here says:

    You’re certainly right and I totally understand you. If you want, we might also speak regarding facetime, something that intrigues me. The website is truly remarkable, take care!

  37. You are absolutely correct, I would love to discover more on this subject! I am also curious about homework help online because I think it is really quite cool currently. Keep it up!

  38. Tiefe Rißwunden der glans und Zerfetzung der Haut über der gesamten glans.

  39. Simply a smiling visitor here to share the love (:
    , btw outstanding pattern.

  40. read more says:

    You are certainly right and I understand you. If you wish, we can also speak about best bass headphones, one thing which fascinates me. Your website is really great, regards!

  41. You’re completely correct, I would love to discover new info on that issue! I am as well interested in cheap smartphones because I consider it is quite cool right now. Thanks!

  42. read more says:

    There’s amazing improvements on the structure of this website, I truly like it. My website is relating to smartphones for sale and now there are quite a lot of stuff to be done, I’m currently a newcomer in website creation. Cheers!

  43. You’re absolutely correct, I’d love to find out more information on this particular issue! I am as well captivated by smartphone deals as I consider it truly is very unique nowadays. Great!

  44. You’re completely correct! I enjoyed reading through this and I will certainly get back for more right away. Our site is on wifi router access, you could take a look if you’re interested in that.

  45. Lange Spaziergänge und viel Auflauf stehen an der Tagesordnung.

  46. Alah says:

    You’re completely correct, I’d really like to know new info on that issue! I’m as well interested by vshare for ipad since I consider it is quite trendy now. Thanks.

  47. Sep 26, 2017 – If you feel alone in a city of millions and want to connect with nature than Overnight Safari should be your choice. The Arabian sand cools down …

  48. Live the true side of Arabian Desert with an off road safari across sandy dunes. … arabian safari, emirates safari, arabian nights desert safari, arabian desert …

  49. TDS offer widest range of Desert Safari Tour. Dubai Desert Safari, Desert Safari Dubai, Evening, Morning and Overnight Desert Safaris with camp activities.

  50. What To Wear in Dubai: The Ultimate Dubai Packing List tells you how to pack for Dubai, whether it’s a desert safari, shopping mall, mosque, beach, or nightclub …

Leave a Reply

Powered by Wordpress | Designed by I Design Blogs