Is a portfolio career viable for an interim manager?
A career in interim management allows for a lot of flexibility and control over what assignments you take on and when. This allows you to carve out a niche specialism in a particular speciality project or industry, focusing on interesting and well-remunerated work and working on your own terms. However, some interims choose to explore the interesting concept of a portfolio career.
A portfolio career means that rather than working on one project at a time, you might take on two or three clients and work across their projects simultaneously. With the rise of video conferencing technology and remote working practices, a more interim managers are considering a portfolio career a viable option.
Portfolio career pros and cons:
This can be a great way of working for interims at any stage in their career but there are some factors to consider before pursuing this style of interim management work.
- Portfolio working can be a great way to:
- Build up expertise in a particular industry
- Gain fast experience with one or many different type(s) of project
- Optimise earnings
- Potential for a better work-life balance
- Remain ‘outside’ of IR35
- Some challenges you may face with portfolio working include:
- Clients can be more outcomes focussed and critical if you are not a visible presence
- You run the risk of burnout and over scheduling
- It can be hard to find clients who will take on a part-time interim
- It can be difficult to source a continuous stream of clients
- It can be challenging to secure the right remuneration/client levels for it to be sustainable
- It can pull your focus having to search for new clients whilst on a/several project(s)
- How to build a portfolio career
If you do choose to pursue a portfolio career, you need to be aware of the importance networking will have on your chances of securing clients.
Professional networking is a vital part of any interim manager’s career; however, this is particularly true for portfolio working, as your continued success at sourcing multiple opportunities relies on your professional reputation, gaining introductions and contacts. Creating, maintaining and growing your network can make all the difference to the number and quality of assignments you are offered.
Remote networking has become the norm, with greater emphasis placed on the benefit of virtual roundtables, events, conferences, webinars and all with the additional simplicity of being able to attend and contribute from the comfort of your own living room! It is still very easy to make yourself visible in your chosen sector, and to ensure a steady influx of opportunities you will need to loudly and frequently market yourself as a leader in your field.
LinkedIn will also be a good source of opportunities for you as it will serve as an online portfolio of your achievements and expertise. To this end, it’s imperative that your LinkedIn profile be completely optimised to attract potential clients, check out our guide to being found on LinkedIn.
How to enhance your interim management career
The negatives often outweigh the benefits of portfolio working for interim managers, and interim service providers are reluctant to support your search for opportunities as it diminishes their service if they can only offer a part-time interim.
If you decide that portfolio working is not for you, however, engaging an interim services provider will ensure you have access to the optimal opportunities that align with your long-term career goals.
An interim service provider is an intermediary agency that will help to place interim managers on assignment with businesses looking for specialist skills. Interim service providers like Oakwood Resources, are specialists who only work in interim resourcing, giving them a unique insight of the requisite skills and competencies that may not appear in an assignment spec or brief, but are integral to the success of a project. Oakwood also offers a bespoke Blended Model® that enables interims to provide specialist skills and support to consultancy engagements alongside full-time consultancy firm staff.
Oakwood Resources works closely with interim managers, businesses and consultancy firms to support their growth goals, matching the best professionals to appropriate opportunities. If you wish to discuss interim management and whether it might be right for you, contact our specialist interim management team who will be happy to talk with you.