10 good reasons why you should not become a Portfolio Executive (2 of 2)

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Becoming a portfolio executive is not for everybody and as I’ve been talking to people for the last 5 years, I feel that there are 10 good reasons not to become a Portfolio Executive.   For the first five look here.

6 – I’m too busy

“I’m too busy in my current roles to consider becoming a Portfolio Executive”.  OK then: absolutely acknowledge that you are too busy; you are happy being too busy and you want to continue being too busy for the rest of your corporate life!

Or realise that you are too busy, but that is not the future you aspire to maintain.  Now you can decide to get the support of an expert over time, re-prioritise your commitments and release some time to prepare for a Portfolio Executive workstyle.  We recommend the 30-day challenge at http://www.8essentials.biz to start that journey of what really matters to you.

7 – I want to build a business

This is a very good reason for not being a Portfolio Executive if the business you want to build has nothing to do with your existing professional skill set.   Perhaps you want to build an internet business on Amazon. Or start a bed and breakfast in a seaside town.

But there are a number of people who, as they start to understand the number of opportunities that a Portfolio Executive workstyle presents, use their professional skill as the core of their new business.   For example, with a portfolio of part-time Finance Director roles, you can readily position yourself to take on a full Finance function outsource relationship with your clients. You employ bookkeepers, credit controllers, management accountants etc.   I recently reviewed a business model for one of my long-standing Portfolio Executives and with £1m turnover he could release £250k cash a year and multiply his effective day rate to exceed £3k per day.  All on 12 days fee earning a month!

Similar opportunities exist for sales, marketing, IT, cybersecurity and other professionals.

8 – I don’t like working on my own

Yes, it’s tough working on your own.  If you are a naturally gregarious person you want to be with other people.  However, the idea of the Portfolio Executive workstyle is to become a part-time member of the executive team for several businesses. This gives you the opportunity to engage with a whole range of different businesses rather than being locked into what might have been a small departmental responsibility.  You also get to join the Portfolio Executive community, where you will find other like-minded people who are trying build their own Portfolio Executive workstyles https://portfolioexecutive.biz/community.

In corporate life, you can end up spending plenty of time on your own.  The time on your own is often wasted time like travel, commuting or catching up on your emails.  The promise of the Portfolio Executive workstyle is that you will be able to limit that wasted time.  Less commuting, less travel, less catching up on your emails (no longer copied in on endless corporate threads).

So absolutely if the only way you want to work is in an open planned office with 20-30 people around you then, no you’re not going to have that as a Portfolio Executive.  I chose to join a business club where there are people around me.  I can meet with new people and have a wider variety of conversations.  You could open your horizons to all sorts of new relationships.

9 – I’m on a really good salary now

I’ve worked with a number of people who when they come to me are on a salary with bonus where they can expect to bring in between £125,000 and £180,000 a year.  However, they recognise this is not going to continue forever.   Sooner or later, they will lose their current role to people who are younger; they will not get the big promotion; the risk is they move from one corporate role to a lesser profile, less prestigious job in a downward spiral where each tenure gets shorter and shorter, the work harder and harder and the pay lower and lower.

However, as a senior professional previously earning £125,000 – £180, 000 a year then it is feasible to rebuild that income as a Portfolio Executive.   Imagine that you are fee earning 12 days a month for 12 months. That’s 140 fee earning days a year, at a £1,000 per day that’s a £140,000.  As your confidence grows you can charge £1,200 or £1,500 a day. 140 days at £1500 per day is £210,000 a year.  I have Portfolio Executives who have increased their effective day rate from £600 per day to, as much as £2,000 per day over 18 months.

10 – I’ve had to work from home during lockdown and I never want to do that again

Your instincts about feeling isolated at home in your home office are very real.  But more corporate environments are encouraging home working.  Not full time – often several days a week.  I believe there will be a multi-tiered approach to corporate working.  Sometimes you will work from home, sometimes you’ll work from a serviced office that is close to your home, and sometimes you will go into corporate headquarters.  This is certainly how the big serviced office providers are responding to accelerating trends.

You can do a similar thing as a Portfolio Executive.  I recommend that Portfolio Executives spend at least 1 day a month on their client’s site. If you have 6 clients that’s at least 6 days a month. I recommend that you find a work environment that really suits you. For me, working from home in a silent bedroom didn’t work.  I chose to use a business club where there are people around me.   You could join a local hub of some sort where you can meet interesting people, have that experience of going out of the house and being somewhere else.   But also give yourself the freedom that, when it suits, you can spend some of your time working from home.  The big joy of the Portfolio Executive workstyle is the flexible working it allows you to experience.  You get to choose when or where you work.  No more are you going to be forced to turn up in a place simply because that’s the way things should be done according to some kind of corporate mandate.  Some of my Portfolio Executive clients work from the beach – all you need is a laptop and a Wi-Fi Hotspot.  I have spent many a year serving my clients from a holiday flat in the Canaries.

10 good reasons….?

Yes, there are 10 good reasons why you shouldn’t become a Portfolio Executive but are they really strong enough for you to give up all of the Freedom, Joy, Rewards and Opportunity that a Portfolio Executive workstyle brings for the rest of your working life?


Charles McLachlan is the founder of FuturePerfect and on a mission to transform the future of work and business. The Portfolio Executive programme is a new initiative to help executives build a sustainable and impactful second-half-career. Creating an alternative future takes imagination, design, organisation and many other thinking skills. Charles is happy to lend them to you.