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Know When to Walk Away: A Guide for Fractional Leaders

I've caught myself saying the following more times than I can count: "Fractional work allows me to have all the fun associated with working at a startup without the bullsh*t associated with a startup." For most of my career, that has been true. But based on a recent experience, I have started thinking about the times when the bullsh*t of a startup does rear its ugly head and how I could advise new fractionals on how I've approached it. Here’s my list for how to know when to walk away. Reasons to Walk One of the most powerful concepts that I learned in that time is the concept of "firing a customer." There are many reasons why you might need to let a customer go: Nonpayment or chronic late payment; Violation of terms and conditions—for example, work outside scope; Unreasonable demands or expectations—3 AM replies; Abusive behavior; Lack of engagement—they forget they hired you; Misalignment of a target market; Merger and acquisitions; Legal reasons; Strategic

Fractionals United 3 Months In

Last week, Fractionals United turned 3 months old and we hit 1000 members. 

To say that I couldn't have expected this back in January when I went looking for my fractional tribe is an understatement. And since I'm an "accidental founder" and a first-time community builder, I've had to learn a lot...every day. 

Here are some of my top lessons:

  1. Being a founder is hard. As a Fractional COO, I've run small to mid size businesses across many industries and therefore don't shirk from tough decisions and responsibility, but now that every decision and every mistake ultimately is mine, it's harder. I will say that having an ops background and having been a COO and Fractional COO has made some things a lot easier, but it is different in ways I could not have anticipated.
  2. It's about the people. It should be obvious that community is about its members, but that means that you constantly have to keep their good in mind and also listen to what they're saying and need. And although I'm new to community building, leadership is also about the people so I think it helped prepare me to do that listening...and to facilitate and then get out of the way, which is critical to both leadership and community.
  3. Always be learning...and when you make a mistake, say you're sorry. This wasn't a new lesson (and I've been told "learning" is one of my superpowers), but doing it so much more publicly both makes it harder and all the more important.
  4. Never say never. As a COO and Integrator, I never thought I'd be a founder since I'm not the "ideas" person and visionary. Turns out all it takes is the right idea at the right time.
And luckily my idea for a fractional community came at the right time: when fractionals are in the news weekly (or sometimes daily) and there are more and more leaders realizing the benefits to working fractionally. 

Now we just need to educate all the companies and CEOs on the benefits of hiring fractionally.

To end off this short post, I just wanted to thank everyone at Fractionals United:
  • the fractionals and wannabe fractionals who have joined me on this marvelous journey and who are generous with their time and support in slack;
  • the volunteer leaders who have stepped forward and given even more of their time to help me build this wonderful community;
  • and to Tammy Bavishi, our wonderful community manager who is helping me with all the many things necessary to keep a community running.
I literally could not have done this without all of you and I look forward to seeing what we continue to build together...and where we are in three months from now.


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