Heard of a portfolio career? How to make it work?

Recently our Founder Sarah Broad was interviewed by Rachel Brushfield, the Talent Liberator, Energise who is a career strategist and fulfillment coach with a particular focus on portfolio careers.  Here she talks to Sarah on what makes up her portfolio career.

What is a portfolio career?

It could mean many things but commonly a portfolio career is when someone splits their time and skills between two or more flexible roles. For example, you could be running a small business alongside your employed role or be working on several freelance roles at the same time.

What is your background?

My career has allowed me to develop a distinct set of skills and experience in HR and Recruitment within the legal and professional services sector. I set up Attune Flexible Jobs 2 years ago, to help clients advertise their business support roles and showcase their flexible / agile working with stories, case studies, and thought leadership. We also provide consultancy and bespoke flexible working solutions. For candidates, I provide a one stop shop for professional roles on a flexible working basis, connecting candidates to employers, so the hard work is done and there is no need to worry about when to have the flexible working conversation. Also, I provide advice, training and coaching programmes. As a qualified coach and MCIPD professional I have coached many individuals, managers and teams to ensure flexible working is beneficial for everyone. I also write and provide guidance, advice and updates on flexible and agile working and have been interviewed for many different publications. I have been on radio and podcasts in the UK too.

What are the components of your portfolio career e.g. study, paid freelance work, part time job, volunteering etc.?

I am self-employed and work from home 2 days a week and in an office 2 days a week. I have a retainer, working 20 hours a week for one of my clients, a recruitment company, managing their social media and marketing, I have my own recruitment business Attune Flexible Jobs and I am a career coach supporting clients through their careers whether they are looking for a new role, promotion or development opportunities.

How did your portfolio career come about?

Slowly. There was no plan – although it was something I had thought about previously. My career heritage is working in recruitment and professional services. When I was made redundant, (the day I returned from maternity!) I decided to freelance and then my marriage ended – it was a difficult time. The client I am now working with on a retainer offered me a Recruitment project which I successfully delivered. It then  led to another and another! I also did a 6 month course to learn social media marketing which helped rebuild my confidence and I started up Attune Flexible Jobs. I had been coaching for years so this part of my portfolio career was my stability!

How has your portfolio career changed over time?

It has got bigger and I have been able to adapt to the changes over time. I have gone from projects to a retainer with my main client which suits me as I have two children under ten. I am also an extrovert so like being with people and working in an office. I soon realised working on my own all the time was not for me. My portfolio career has given me flexibility and freedom – flexibility is important so I can be there for my children.

When people ask you ‘what do you do?’ – what do you reply?

What I say I do has changed over time. It also depends on who I am talking to but in the main I would say I work in recruitment – I am a Marketing Manager for a recruitment company, run a flexible working job site and career coach individuals. They are all interlinked.

To what extent did your portfolio career happen by chance/luck and to what extent was it planned?

My portfolio career wasn’t planned. It happened as a result of circumstances 3 years ago and has evolved through networking, being adaptable and working out what I like and don’t like.

What do you most love about having a portfolio career?

I love the flexibility and variety. It is fluid and I can design it to fit my life. It might mean that I work some evenings or weekends on one or all of my projects or I can do some of my telephone career coaching in the evenings. As my kids get older, I may evolve some of my projects and work part time 4 days a week.

Part 2 of Sarah’s interview with Rachel coming soon.


View Sarah Broad’s LinkedIn profile:


Look at the Attune Jobs web site:


Follow Attune Jobs on Twitter:


Interested in a portfolio career for yourself?

Download your copy of Engergise free report Discover portfolio careers:


Developement, Flexible working

More news and career advice

Career Confidence 1 Day Workshop

This is a workshop run by Sherry Bevan a career confidence coach helping ambitious women in technology and professional services get crystal clear in their thinking. This workshop is aimed at women at a transition or crossroads in their career. They might be coming back from a career break, figuring out their options after redundancy or looking

Continue Reading

Top tips on how to impress a law firm – Your route into law

Law firms on the surface can seem a bit daunting if you have never worked in them before but they are all unique and have their own idiosyncrasies so its important to find the firm that will suit you. Benefits of working in law firms: There are many benefits to working in law: attractive remuneration

Continue Reading