Over the festive period I reflected on the year gone by and my plans for 2017. I refocused on my finances and made some hard tangible decisions. Let's set the scene here. I have two micro businesses through which I pay myself a modest salary. As with most small businesses, the bulk of the profits three years into the business lifecycle get reinvested into the business.
At PP workshops we teach that there are different types of Portfolio People; those that do it by choice, perhaps asset rich and want to do multiple things but don't really need to work, those that need to, who juggle multiple jobs to make ends meet and there are those in the middle - my generation.
Perhaps it has been the last six months where I've realised just how many Portfolio People are in that 2nd category - lots of hidden talent working jobs to pay the rent (particularly in London) whilst working to find their actual big break in what they do want to do. Seriously, 'The X Factor' and the like wouldn't still be televised despite shocking ratings if we didn't root for that incredible talent that may have not been discovered otherwise.
At the time that this post was published, I had completed my induction shift in said zero-hour role, not knowing if I will be offered another one or if I will take it. Here are a few reasons for doing so:
- I've been away from the world of a recruiter for a while
I still have work within recruitment, though often this is at the customer facing end. Not actually recruiting so much anymore. I wanted to experience what the process was like and if and how it had changed since 'my day'. My experience was relatively painless and perhaps because the nature of the work is casual, I wasn't grilled about being 'overqualified' Or maybe it's the Brexit effect?
- Sanity check the opportunity cost of doing something else
The phone pings with a text message saying 'shift available' today. I'm fortunate enough to have full control of my diary I would say 90% of the time. As a business, we are now at the stage where we are getting a steady stream of referrals and enquiries. We're in a funny old market at the moment where the reality when the surface is scratched the perception that was created is very different. There are now way too many businesses that are smaller than they make themselves out to be with zero budget. That coupled with people that think that they should have something for FREE...Sleeping on opportunities and then waking up to work out whether or not they are actually what they seem. Good reality check
- A fixed-revenue stream
Ok, so the nature of casual work is a contradiction here but if I rewind fifteen years and recall working as a professional temp. I was my recruitment consultant's favourite temp. Seven full years on the other side of the desk, I too had temporary workers that I had a great relationship with and knew who would go to certain shifts. A guaranteed revenue stream it is not, but knowing how to play the game helps. One shift per week = allocated income going towards a certain project.
- Busting the myth that zero-hour contracts are evil
See point above. No they are not, but yes they can be. It's all about the balance of power. Most agency temp work is actually zero hour in that the agency cannot guarantee you work. Nor should you have such expectation that they have to give you work. That's not to say that there haven't been genuine instances when companies do abuse these so-called agreements. I say another reason to be portfolio.
- In the old days, physical work was part of daily living
Seriously way too many of us sit on our backsides a lot of the time. On the whole, I have roles that mean I am out and about as often as I am not. I'm considering a standing desk and when the weather is nice like to do walking meetings. My induction shift was four hours on my feet and actually a bit of a work out (that I got paid to do); think what Mr Miyagi did in the film 'Karate Kid?. Pure genius. I've discovered muscles that I didn't know I had. Who needs the gym?
One of the things that I promised myself when I started out in business was that I would always have my own portfolio of work. The future of work is here - and if it is constantly adapting - to continue to be experts in our field, we need to be in a system to influence it - so a wise lady once said.
Written by Rupa Datta