Ben Legg: Helping To Accelerate Professionals Past The Old 9-5 Environment


Thanks for talking to us. Shall we start by explaining what The Portfolio Collective is, and what its main mission is?

The Portfolio Collective is the fastest growing global community for portfolio professionals – that means freelancers, focused experts, side hustlers, multi-hyphenates, and all those hard-to-define career paths that consist of generating multiple income streams from advanced knowledge and skills. We call ourselves a ‘lifetime accelerator’ because we nurture portfolio professionals throughout their entire career journey.

Put simply, we’re the go-to place for all things portfolio careers. Whether you want to find work, grow your network, or just learn how to differentiate yourself, we can help with that. Our mission is to transform millions of professionals into accomplished entrepreneurs through learning, collaboration, and paid work opportunities, and we’re well on the way to achieving that goal.

What was the inspiration behind the founding of The Portfolio Collective?

The world of work was changing long before the pandemic, but COVID accelerated the motivations of millions of workers who wanted more flexible and higher earning careers shaped around their passions. 

According to the OECD, there will be roughly 180 million portfolio professionals by 2030. That figure was calculated before the pandemic, and we knew those numbers were likely to be much higher in the new employment landscape. So we built a platform that provided portfolio professionals with hands-on support through online learning, events, peer-to-peer mentoring, collaboration, and well-matched work opportunities. 

Since launching nearly 18 months ago, we’ve signed up over 5,000 members and had over 100,000 unique visits to our site.

What would you say is the biggest differentiator between The Portfolio Collective and its competitors?

We don’t really think there is a direct competitor out there doing what we do. There are, of course, other online learning platforms for professionals, online networking communities and job matching platforms, but none of them offer the same combination of benefits and services for portfolio professionals. 

That’s what makes us different – we offer everything a portfolio professional would need. Our community is an all-encompassing environment, and we’ve already started to see the amazing results our members are having in their own careers. Many have gone from taking our Catapult course to launching successful businesses. Some have even connected through our platform and launched their own startups. The real world results are truly astounding, and we love seeing the impact we have on each person in our community.

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What exactly is a ‘Portfolio Professional’?

The clue is right in the title. ‘Portfolio’ means you have a portfolio of work, so multiple sources of income rather than just one job. ‘Professional’ means you have advanced skills. It’s all part of the natural evolution of work. Our members are experts in what they do, so they, in turn, charge top rates. 

Every portfolio career is different, but the common thread that runs through them all is monetisable expertise. Some people are experts in multiple things, so they can charge for multiple services; others are deep experts in just one thing. You can create a bespoke career around what you love, what you’re good at, and what you can get paid to do.

Talk us through The Portfolio Collective’s Catapult course, and what that can give those with a portfolio looking to land paid work.

Our Catapult course is designed for portfolio professionals, by portfolio professionals. One of the amazing things about our team is that we all have our own portfolio careers in one way or another, so everything we do comes from a place of expertise. 

The Catapult course gives professionals the foundations they need to launch or boost their portfolio careers. There are two separate learning tracks – generalist and focused. The generalist track is more for people who are still learning what they want their portfolio career to look like. The focused track is designed for seasoned professionals who want to earn more and specialise their expertise. Both options are taught remotely, with all our course modules pre-recorded, meaning learners can engage with the content around their busy schedules. There are eight modules in total which cover everything from defining your value proposition to crafting your brand story, to setting up your business. In essence, it gives learners everything they need to differentiate themselves and find and land paid work.

How important is your community support in helping new members especially?

Our community has always been at the heart of everything we do. We want to enrich people’s lives, and we believe that hands-on support is an essential part of helping our members understand and navigate portfolio careers. 

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We have a dedicated community champion who welcomes every new member and helps them understand all the support available to them. We also have a weekly welcome call for members old and new who want to learn about our platform and resources. Then, of course, we have members supporting one another. All our events give new members the opportunity to connect with the rest of the community and our team, allowing the space to ask questions and learn from other professionals who have embarked on the same journey.

Give us a brief overview on the types of webinars and resources you offer at The Portfolio Collective.

We’re always introducing new resources for our members to ensure they are up-to-date with the latest information and advice that can boost their portfolio career. When we first launched back in 2020, our Catapult course was our main offering. Now, we offer a range of masterclasses on topics like personal branding and productivity, as well as weekly and monthly fireside chats, focused events, and virtual networking. 

In addition to that, we have an extensive library of content created by our team and by community members. That being said, we’re always listening to what the community needs, so we often create bespoke workshops and events around topics they ask for.

What do you think is the biggest mistake people make when looking to make it as a Portfolio Professional?

Switching from a 9-to-5 job to a portfolio career isn’t necessarily an easy journey, and there is a lot to learn in the early days about how to make it work for you. The most common mistake people tend to make early on is undercharging for their services. It’s hard to know what your skills are really worth if you don’t have the right experience and confidence under your belt, which is why we try to help our members discover what their value is early on. 

Then there’s the pressure to feel like you need to take on as much work as possible. You have to remember that you can’t do everything for everyone. In fact, we encourage our members to be picky and find the clients that resonate with their values and beliefs. If you try to do too much, you can burn out. If you work for clients who don’t inspire you, you can feel unfulfilled. It’s all a delicate balancing act, one that you learn to manage with each passing day. Our biggest piece of advice is to be resilient and remember that what you offer is unique.

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What do you think the working environment will look like in five years time?

The pandemic made remote work the norm, which has opened up so many opportunities for portfolio professionals. You’re no longer limited by a postcode or a commute. You can work for anyone, anywhere in the world (provided the time difference is manageable). 

The working environment is not only more flexible than it used to be, it’s far more global – and that’s really exciting when you think about how that will impact diversity and inclusion. That means workers from all genders, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds have more access to opportunities than ever before, as well as professionals with disabilities and caring responsibilities that may have previously made it hard to commute to a day job. 

Then there’s the potential for remote work to bridge the pay gap. When talent is recruited internationally, rates are determined by the law of supply and demand. Remote work is great. Flexible work is even better. Career freedom breaks down barriers, and we’re excited to be part of helping that new future become a reality.

And finally, what do you hope the future brings for The Portfolio Collective?

We have so many exciting plans for the future of The Portfolio Collective. In 2022, we’re looking to expand our talent matching service which connects our community members with innovative startups and scaleups looking for part-time and interim talent. We’re also looking to grow our platform and introduce a mobile and desktop app, meaning more people can easily access our community from wherever, whenever. 

Our membership has grown so much since we launched, and we’re excited to connect with even more professionals around the world. One day soon, we’ll be hosting in-person events at locations across the globe, providing more chances for our members to meet, connect and collaborate. Portfolio work is the way of the future, and we’re determined to accelerate that reality.

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