Know the Season: Part 2
In the first article we looked at the cycle of the financial year and the cycle of the school year to explore how much this impacted the way your clients and their customers respond to sales and marketing activities.
In this article we will look at two longer running seasons: the economic cycle and the season of your life.
Making Your Future Work – Get Experience as a Board Member
It is incredibly valuable as a senior professional to get experience as a board member. There are three reasons that this really can make a difference to your career.
Making Your Future Work – Plan your exit from full-time employment.
There are many situations in our lives where we start to realise that full-time employment is just not working for us. It may be that we are coming into a season where we want to look after our families, we want to have children, we want to spend time with our children.
What I have learned from helping to develop the Adaptability of others.
The AQai framework has a key dimension of Ability. These are five different subdimensions where you can build your skills and equip yourself better to be adaptable. When I talk to people about changing their adaptability, by building their skills, it’s amazing how some very simple interventions can start to shift the dial. Resilience If […]
Managing Your First Client
The way that you engage your first client is going to set the template for success in the future.
Is my Portfolio Executive Workstyle Making my Future Work?
Your Portfolio Executive Workstyle needs to be sustainable, rewarding and enjoyable. It’s not enough, in my view, for it to just keep you busier and busier. You don’t want to be moving from being enslaved by a Corporate Workstyle, to becoming enslaved with your own Portfolio Executive Workstyle.
How can I Multitask as a Portfolio Executive?
For many of us, we have had a working life where we have one job where we’re accountable to one set of people and we are doing one thing. When you become a Portfolio Executive, this no longer applies. You will have multiple clients who expect the best of you.
Rejecting Client Feedback – The Arrogance Trap?
As a Portfolio Executive you will have a level of confidence in your professional skill, wisdom and insight that you bring into the role as a trusted advisor to your clients. You may often believe that your client is less expert than you in the field that you’ve chosen.
Mental Health – How to Manage your Mental Health
Back in March 2021, Jonathan MacDonald, Kaur Lass and myself had conversations about Mental Wellness Habits, this series of articles is based on those conversations. You can read the previous articles in the series here and here.
Why full time professional employment won’t Make your Future Work
I have spent all my working life around professionals who have sought to build a career through their professional skills. But very early on in my working life I realised that, for me, being in full-time professional employment, wasn’t going to Make my Future Work.
Cash versus Investment for a Portfolio Executive
As I work with people who’ve got through the initial part of getting their Portfolio Executive workstyle started, I often find there is a tension between taking cash out of the business versus investing in their future. I was talking to one of the Portfolio Executives I work with last week, and he explained that he’s now earning more money than he’s ever earned in his life before then, nearly £120,000 in the last 12 months and yet he feels that he’s constantly short of money.
Becoming Part of the Portfolio Executive Community
Starting out on any kind of business on your own, is a lonely, and often scary, process.
It’s hard to push through the disappointments but it’s equally hard to understand when you’re doing well.
What’s the difference between an Interim and a Portfolio Executive?
A significant proportion of the people who come to me to develop a Portfolio Executive workstyle have been working as interims. And at first sight. they’re not very different. You’re coming into a business and helping them build a function or rebuild a function or cover for a function that for some reason needs external help.
What’s the difference between an Independent Consultant and a Portfolio Executive?
I am talking to more and more people who are attracted to the idea of the Portfolio Executive workstyle and are keen to develop a different approach to their Second Half Career. But often they feel quite confused about being an Independent Consultant versus being a Portfolio Executive.
Enabling people to buy through powerful conversations
Many years ago, I trained as a coach and as an executive coach you are taught to ask powerful questions and to engage in conversations which leave people at choice. I firmly believe that the most effective conversations with potential clients are conversations where you enable them to buy, particularly if you are offering them a professional service.
Video and the Portfolio Executive
Social Media organisations have been promoting video as their preferred engagement medium for quite a long time now. Making videos is more accessible for the average person than ever before. But I think you want to consider very carefully how you want to use video to build your profile as a Portfolio Executive.
Is referral and networking enough to build my Portfolio Executive workstyle?
Many of the Portfolio Executives I work with have had no experience of going out and doing anything more in terms of self-promotion than applying for jobs with a CV through an agent. The idea of doing some kind of outbound marketing and some kind of focussed selling can be very very challenging
Writer’s blocks: a couple of hacks to break through to writing regular content for LinkedIn and your own website.
Most of us are not natural authors, natural writers and yes, we can probably write a highly structured report or yes, we can put together some PowerPoint slides for an in-house presentation, but the thought of writing 800 – 1200 words on some kind of topic that is going to build my presence on LinkedIn can feel insurmountable.
Building a Pipeline of Opportunities
One of the great advantages of a Portfolio Executive working is that once you’ve got a mature portfolio of 4-6 clients who are staying with you for 4-6 years, then the number of new clients you need to find per year goes down to about 1.
Am I too young to be a Portfolio Executive?
I had seen the Portfolio Executive as a 2nd Half Career option and assumed that 2nd half starts at 45 i.e. half way between 20 – 70 years old.
Can I really be a Portfolio Executive? Part 2
There are a whole host of other professionals, some which are fairly sector specific and some which are much more general. Perhaps you have got 15-20 years’ experience in a particular field and you are wondering whether you can become a Portfolio Executive.
Starting a Conversation with a Potential Client
As you start to engage with potential clients beyond your immediate network, you need to find a way of pitching your value to people who don’t already know you. You may be recommended, introduced or just connected on LinkedIn. How do you start that first conversation with someone who you don’t really know?
Success in Crisis
What do AirBnB, Uber and Groupon have in common? They were all founded during the 2008 banking crisis.
In fact, it was Andrew Wolstenholme who coined the phrase “Never Waste a Good Crisis” in his visionary report on the future of the construction industry as a sustainable, low-carbon industry at its lowest point in 2009.
Who do you want to be known as on LinkedIn?
When I start working with people who want to build a Portfolio Executive workstyle, one of the key tools for them to develop their presence, build their reputation and find new clients is LinkedIn. But, before we can do any of those things, we need to spend some focussed time thinking through who they want to be known as on LinkedIn
Upgrading your Portfolio
When I am working with people who are building up their Portfolio Executive workstyle, very often they start working for smaller businesses than works best for them. They are also offering lower rates than they eventually can demand from the market. I encourage them to just get started.
Goldilocks and the Portfolio Executive
The first challenge for a Portfolio Executive is to work out what the ‘Director of’ or ‘Head of’ function you are going to adopt.
The second challenge is to work out what is the right size of business for you. Like Goldilocks you don’t want something that is too hot or too cold, you want something that is in the middle.
I’ve tried being an Independent Consultant and now I want to be a Portfolio Executive
Many of the people who come to me who want to become a Portfolio Executive, were in a full-time salaried position, but have stepped out to become an Independent Consultant. They may have been able to work with a previous employer to do some consulting work.
Is Ageism a Myth?
It is very interesting to see the ‘Older People and employment: Women and Equalities Committee report’ developed by the House of Parliament Select Committee published almost a year ago, and the response to it.
Portfolio Executive: DIY or …
You are an experienced professional. You know your stuff and are successful in your own field. Why can’t you just step out on your own and become a Portfolio Executive? Why can’t I do it myself? And if I’m not going to DIY my Portfolio Executive future then what are the other options?
Key Persons of Influence and the Portfolio Executive workstyle
I’ve been very impressed by the thinking of Daniel Priestley and his book “Key Person of Influence”. He tells a compelling story about how you build profile in your market place so that you become a key person of influence in order to attract people to your offer, to make your offer a premium offer and to build your business around being a key person of influence.
Do I have to run a business to be a Portfolio Executive?
At its simplest a Portfolio Executive is spending their time being a part-time head of or part-time director for a portfolio of businesses. In essence what they are doing is acting as part-time employees for each of those businesses.
Taking the career long view
It is very easy for us to stay focussed on the next promotion, the next job, the next assignment and to see our career as moving up an escalator one step at a time. But when we are asked to plan our finances, we recognise that there are times of investment and there are times of harvest.
Preparing your Network for your Portfolio Executive Workstyle
Finding your role as a Portfolio Executive is a different kind of journey than finding your next job and often if we have been in corporate life for a long time, our network can be very limited in scope. Our network tends to be within the organisations in which we work and sometimes with our suppliers and with our clients.
Understanding Referrers and Connectors
Word of mouth marketing is recognised as the most powerful marketing tool we have in our armoury and as we build our portfolio of clients then word of mouth will be crucial to bring in new clients. This is simulated on social media, but true word of mouth marketing is one person talking to another.
I am too busy to find clients
Having worked to help people build their portfolio executive proposition and to go out and win their first client. I increasingly hear them telling me that they are too busy to find anymore clients. At one level this is a great success story. They have more work than they can cope with. Fantastic!
Who should I pay to help me be a Non-Executive Director (NED)?
I am continually active on LinkedIn and I am incredibly open to signing up to various email newsletters. As soon as I had ‘Director’ in my job title, I was approached by several different organisations that promised me that they could make me a successful Non-Executive Director. Maybe you are too?
Why Consulting is Not Fit for Purpose
I have worked for a global professional services practice where I was a partner and where I was consulting for large and medium sized businesses. After being in that firm for five years I became very disenchanted with what big consulting did for its clients.
Can I only be a Portfolio Executive?
Can I only be a Portfolio Executive? Or can I have a richer portfolio than that?
As I continue to work with people building up their Portfolio Executive Workstyle, I am finding an increasing trend that people want to mix it up a bit.
Pricing as a Portfolio Executive
As I work with people developing their portfolio executive workstyle, one of the biggest challenges we come across over and over again is pricing. There are two very different ways of thinking about pricing
Selling your 2nd Half Career to your Current Employer
Probably the context in which you have the strongest relationships and the strongest potential to develop your 2nd Half Career is actually with your current employer. At first sight, you may question how favourably your employer will look at your proposal to become independent.
Finding the right size business for your Portfolio Executive Workstyle
I am working with former Finance, HR, Marketing and Sales Directors as well as CIOs / CTOs and a variety of other experienced professionals to build a Portfolio Executive workstyle. I have come to believe that there is not a ‘one size fits all’ answer to how big a company you should target for your services.
A little work will make your pension go so much further.
You may be aware that for many people the kind of annuity rates they can get when they cash in their pension have become very disappointing. I did a quick review of the kind of annuity that you could get for a million pound pension pot, aged 65 as a man and £50,000 a year, five percent, is high.
The power of becoming a Trusted Advisor
A critical part of your role as a Portfolio Executive is to build a relationship where you become the trusted advisor of the CEO. Sometimes your role won’t bring you direct access to the CEO, but you should still become a trusted advisor to whoever is your sponsor.
Winning and keeping clients: Capability Maturity diagnostic
As you start to engage with clients as a Portfolio Executive one of the key tools you need is a diagnostic to enable you to demonstrate the value you bring as early as possible in a relationship.
This article explores the three powerful way a diagnostic works for you:
Maintaining a part-time role
As I work with people building a Portfolio Executive workstyle, one of the biggest challenges I come across is “how do you maintain a role part-time?”. In this article I explore what is different from full-time and what stays the same.
How to use a diagnostic as an effective sales tool
As you start to identify clients, one of the things you need to do is establish a compelling reason for them to buy now. You want to build a long-term relationship, but most people won’t commit to a long-term relationship until they have worked with you.
Have I got the right professional background to become a Portfolio Executive
Are you considering becoming a Portfolio Executive as the next stage of your career but aren’t sure if your professional background has given you the right skills?
When interim roles no longer hold their appeal
You are a highly experienced, seasoned professional, and you have stepped out on your own to become an interim manager. You’ve started working at very senior levels, where you get drafted in to sort out a significant challenge in an organisation.
You need to define your clients’ success
When you are building a portfolio executive workstyle, your client will want to be clear about the value and quality you bring. Demonstrating that clarity will be beneficial for you too and will help you keep the relationship going for as long you want.
Turning disappointment into positivity as a Portfolio Executive
One of the toughest things to deal with when you are setting out as a Portfolio Executive is disappointment. You may have felt less sensitive to it when you were in your previous corporate life because you could always tell yourself that the ‘no’ wasn’t really about you – it was because of the organisation.
Building the right networks as a Portfolio Executive
As a senior executive, you’ll have developed very good networking skills within your corporate environment. You were good at connecting with other senior leaders across your corporate structure, you’ll also have built networks with suppliers and customers.
So, you want to be an entrepreneur? Here’s a different route.
There is a real hankering for many to start their own business – and there’s no shortage of empowering television, especially for younger people it seems. The Apprentice is now on season 15 and Lord Sugar’s search shows no sign of slowing down.
Why you should consider the charity sector as part of your Portfolio Executive work style
Many of the people I talk to about their 2nd Half Careers are keen to make the second half count. They want to look back and see not only success but also significance for their lives, particularly their working lives.
How to demonstrate your value as a Portfolio Executive
If you’ve read our previous blogs, you’ll know about the benefits of this workstyle and career path and how you can build a portfolio of rewarding part-time executive positions. But to make this new world a reality, you have to be able to demonstrate the value you’ll bring to the clients who are going to be paying you.
Have you got your 2nd Half Career game plan?
What can you do when you’re twenty plus years into your career, age between 45 & 55 and you realise it’s only half time?
If only I knew then what I know now
Being a Bruce Lee fan doesn’t make you an expert at kung fu any more than reading a book about leadership makes you a leader. That’s why I joined the FuturePerfect CEO Growth Academy.
Want freedom from the rat race, doing what you love?
If you’re tired of company politics, getting stuck in a rut and hitting the hamster wheel when you least want to, then perhaps it’s time to consider your alternatives.
5 Tips to get started in a Portfolio Career
Do you ever dream of a different life? Perhaps the 9am-5pm corporate world has run its course in your life? Or was it really 8am to 10pm, and you want more flexibility and variety in your work?