The Portfolio Entrepreneur

In a discussion with my friend Eric Siu of Single Grain, I raised this concept of the Portfolio Entrepreneur.

“Basically the idea around the modern entrepreneur having multiple projects (or a portfolio of projects). More below:

Some Benefits:

-Multiple projects =multiple perspectives = more well rounded entrepreneur

-Multiple income streams de-risks the entrepreneur.”

Detractor might be that it decreases focus. (Investors don’t like it either btw.)”

Yes, focus is important for all startups and this is very much the Silicon Valley startup founder path. But for those who are not going down the Venture Capital Go Big or Go Home funding route aka Bootstrapping, I think “Portfolio Entrepreneur” route is probably the way to go.

One of the best thinkers and practitioners in this area is Tiago Forte of Forte Labs.

“Portfolio thinking recognizes that having multiple parallel projects provides many opportunities for synergy. They don’t have to interfere with and impede each other — they can actually combine into something greater than the sum of its parts. Each one can make the others easier, more fun, and more profitable.”

Source: The Rise of the Full-Stack Freelancer

This portfolio of products and services can ultimately be of benefit not just to yourself but to prospective clients and customers. It’s a Win-Win.

Tiago goes on to say better than I can.

“If you only have one offering, then the value of, say, building a new website only flows to one node. If you have 5 offerings, that single website adds value to all 5 nodes with a single effort.

Since my portfolio is a network, it exhibits network effects: each offering added increases the value of all the others.

I believe this is actually the most profound benefit of a portfolio approach to work: it is fundamentally unbounded when it comes to personal growth, creativity, and learning. Changing direction is just a matter of adding or removing an item from your portfolio, not making a dramatic, wrenching career change. This offers the possibility of a deeper sustainability than even a well-paying job can provide.”

Diversification is King in a Fast Changing World like the one way we live in today. We have no idea how fast things change (or break). Customers/clients stop paying. Governments get toppled, or currencies or banks die. Just look at the pandemic and the atrociously incompetent responses across the globe in the USA, United Kingdom and European Union which are supposedly the best equipped to handle pandemics.

The wealthiest people have at least 7 streams of income. This is definitely something all of us can learn from, emulate and build towards. Being more “Anti-Fragile” is a good thing and something i think we all can agree on in 2020 and beyond.

For those interested in doing this, I would recommend this following book. “The 10% Entrepreneur Book” by Patrick McGinnis. It’s something I wish I had started doing much earlier in my career. Don’t make the same mistake I did, it’s not too late.

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Ever curious: Tsundoku, Reader, Aspiring Shokunin, World traveller, Investor & Tech/Media exec interested in almost everything!

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