“I’ve had side hustles since I was a teenager, but it wasn’t ever in my game plan to ditch a day job completely. I didn’t think five or six hours a week of side hustling could be turned into a full 40 hours. But in 2019, I went all in on a portfolio career,” says Ben Legg.
“A portfolio career is where you don’t just have one job, you have multiple jobs and sources of income.” In 2020, Ben founded The Portfolio Collective, a platform and community for people with portfolio careers, including side hustlers, freelancers and solo entrepreneurs.
The Portfolio Collective provides career courses, a jobs board, free learning resources and a forum where people can share opportunities and answer questions.
Ben, 51, is based in London. Along with many people in his community, he uses Starling for his business banking.
Building The Portfolio Collective
“The Portfolio Collective exists to help launch and sustain successful portfolio careers and address loneliness - we want to give people back up, training and support,” says Ben.
“In early lockdown, like a lot of people, I had a few things cancelled so I had some free time. A friend asked me for some career advice. They told me that they were done with corporate life and wanted to build their own version of my portfolio career.”
Over the years, Ben has held a number of diverse roles. These include Army Officer, Strategy Consultant for McKinsey, Vice President for Sales, New Delhi area, India, for Coca-Cola and Chief Operating Officer of Google Europe.
More recently, he’s worked for multiple organisations at once, usually as a consultant or board member. “I work with start-up founders and investors and help them with whatever their most important challenge is - fundraising, hiring, partnerships, marketing.”
The call with his friend on career advice turned out to be the first of many. “I found that I was saying mostly the same things to everyone. So I set up one video workshop every Wednesday about portfolio careers that anyone could join.”
These weekly video calls marked the start of The Portfolio Collective. “As the calls got busier, I started charging people to attend. This made me develop more of a structure and look into setting up a website to provide more information.”
One of the resources on The Portfolio Collective website is a library of more than 100 articles written to help people with portfolio careers. The team provides advice on setting your rates, keeping on top of taxes and avoiding burnout, something that can be a particular problem when managing multiple roles.
“One of my tips for managing your work-life balance is to block out time in your calendar for exercise, family activities and screen,” says Ben.
Paid members can also sign up for masterclasses on monetising their expertise or finding a market.
Seamless banking with Starling
One of the questions often asked within The Portfolio Collective community is: What’s the best bank account? “Starling always comes out on top,” says Ben.
He first found out about Starling through a fellow entrepreneur. He set up a Starling business account for The Portfolio Collective in July 2020. “I didn’t want a bank with branches that I would never use. I also didn’t want to pay fees for a business account.” There are no fees for a standard Starling business account.
“I wanted to have a seamless financial life, not one made up of standalone elements,” he says. Ben uses Xero for his bookkeeping, something that can be seamlessly connected to his Starling business account. “Starling is intuitive and start-up friendly.”