Ladies, if you're looking to inject some variety into your career and find a more flexible way of working, maybe it's time to break out of the nine-to-five and try portfolio.

Today's professional women are pursuing a fulfilling career and a work/life balance that suits their lifestyle, particularly after having children.

Portfolio working provides the flexibility to tailor your career around your passions or the school run. And, if you've got lots of interests, it's the perfect way to incorporate the things you love.

LinkedIn's Danielle Restivo shares her top tips on building a successful portfolio career:

1. Map out your approach…

Having several strands to your career can be tricky, so before you launch head first into a portfolio career make sure you've got a plan. As well as finding industries that you are passionate about, be practical; make sure that they complement each other and that you can do them alongside one another.

2. Don't be afraid to ask…

Starting a portfolio career can be daunting, but there are thousands of people who've already done it - so why not ask for their advice? A great place to start is by using your own network, both online and offline. Get in touch with ex-colleagues and friends who you know have gone portfolio, and use your LinkedIn network to cast the net wider.

If you're struggling to find someone in your own network, try joining a LinkedIn Group that is relevant to one of your interests, or a more general group for portfolio workers like the 'Portfolio Careers' Group. It's a great opportunity to get advice from someone who's really in the know.

3. Sell yourself…

A portfolio worker is their own professional brand so you need to make sure you're showing off everything you can do. The online world can be a great place to create your career 'shop window;' make sure you've got a LinkedIn profile that is up to date and clearly highlights all your skills.

To inject some personality and show what you're capable of, use your profile to showcase examples of your work - this could be anything from images if you're a photographer or graphic designer, to articles you've written if you're a journalist.

4. Harness the power of endorsement

You don't need to do all the hard work; you can get others to support your marketing by giving you a public pat on the back. A recommendation from an ex-colleague, boss or client can have a big impact and show that you're a valued business connection. Whether this is by word of mouth or getting people to recommend you on LinkedIn, it proves you're a valued business connection.

5. Build up a new network

Build a strong reputation and professional network to avoid being left with dry spells. Word of mouth works in the off-line world, but LinkedIn can open up a sea of new contacts for you that you wouldn't have access to otherwise.

Spending just a few minutes a day when you have some downtime or while commuting to work connecting with clients or contacts will help expand your network and could help new business find you.

6. …But don't forget your old network

As well as building a new network, don't forget your existing connections - they already know how great you are. So, if you're leaving full-time to go portfolio, make sure you keep in contact with old colleagues and clients by meeting up for lunch or a coffee and staying connected with them on LinkedIn. This will help you keep track of where they end up, as they could become your next client.

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