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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
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Rest and Recharging

There is one major advantage to being full-time: you get paid time off, and when your employer is closed, like on Memorial Day, it's easy to take advantage of the time off and rest. This is not that easy as a fractional. If you're getting paid on retainer, you may or may not have the luxury of taking time off, depending on your arrangement with your employer, but for those getting paid by the hour, if you don't work, you don't get paid (and yes, that's another reason not to charge hourly, but that's another topic and post). Add to that the potential feast and famine nature of working for yourself,  and is it any wonder many of us don't take the time off? I've been there so can totally relate, and it's something I still struggle with. It's one of the major reasons I had gone full-time with one of my fractional clients. But if you think about it objectively: You should be charging enough, whether hourly or retainer, to be able to afford some downti

Gaining a Competitive Advantage: Fractional Executives for Smaller Companies

Growing a business is an exciting journey, but it can also be a challenging and intimidating process for smaller companies. With limited financial resources and networks, smaller companies struggle to keep up with larger firms in attracting top talent, offering competitive salaries, and not having to compromise on expertise. However, the emergence of Fractional Executives has changed the game for smaller enterprises, enabling them to hire part-time C-suite executives who can help drive growth and profitability. In this blog, we will explore how Fractional Executives can benefit small businesses and how you can take advantage of this lesser-known talent pool. Trying to Afford to Hire Full-Time Executives Smaller companies are often faced with budget constraints that limit their ability to hire experienced talent on a full-time basis. These companies must be strategic in their hiring process and allocate financial resources to other necessities, such as marketing, sales, and product deve

A Functional Fractional: How to Operate Effectively as a Fractional Executive

Working as a fractional executive isn’t for the faint of heart (if you’re considering this path, check out this post to see if fractional is right for you ). There are the obvious prerequisites: years of experience, proven expertise, and executive presence. However, having skills and time in the seat isn’t enough to thrive due to the fact that a fractional executive, by definition, operates differently than someone in a full-time position. A great fractional executive must have a strong operational foundation and thoughtful toolkit to be most effective in their engagements and maintain their work/life sanity. While there is a healthy dose of personal preference in how each fractional executive operates, there are two primary areas to consider regardless of specialty: Personal Operations—Keeping yourself organized Client Operations—Integrating quickly and effectively in your engagements Personal Operations Toolkit A primary factor that defines a fractional executive’s experience is

Fractionals United Is 4-Months Old

Fractionals United has turned four months old today and we have over 1750 members. Below is a chart showing our growth month over month. This is the first time I've shared our growth metric on social media since we hit 1000 members, since it's no longer my primary goal and focus. As other founders with limited resources have discovered before me, and many will discover after me, it is best to focus on one major goal. If you try to focus on more than one at a time, you risk not accomplishing any well. My first focus had been to get us to 1k members, which I was told was when we'd become attractive to sponsors. My current focus is getting sponsors to support the community. Many from within and without have told me to just charge a small membership fee, and although in principle that is not wrong, given that it is so hard for fractionals to find work, it is wrong in this instance for me and this community. I do fortunately have volunteer leaders and other fractional community

Fractional Leaders: Giving Small Businesses a Leg Up

Behind the scenes of small businesses all over the world, is a movement that is changing the face of executive leadership. Fractional C-Level management is here to stay and is growing at an accelerated pace.   What does this mean for small businesses? For the first time, small businesses can hire a C-Suite leader without the revenue to carry a full-time salary.  Let’s peek at the numbers.   I’m a Fractional Chief Operating Officer. A full-time Chief Operating Officer can cost a company around $350k per year or more depending on experience and industry. A Fractional Chief Operating Officer will cost roughly 1/4 of that (not to mention the cost savings of benefits). The benefit a small business, especially a startup, reaps from the rewards of having a Fractional Chief Operating Officer on staff is innumerable and vastly outweighs that cost. You’re bringing top-notch leadership and strategy into your business—the same leadership and strategy that a company with 10x your revenue has—with t

Diminishing Marginal Utility: Evaluating the Long-Term Value of Hiring Executives

As a small business owner or startup founder, you understand the importance of hiring the right people for your organization. It’s what enables you to grow, succeed, and ultimately achieve your goals. Yet, hiring can also be a challenging and costly process, particularly when it comes to hiring executives. Hiring your leadership team is a crucial decision that can catapult your organization's success, but can also burn through your runway. The impact provided by these executives can also start to diminish over time, making it difficult to determine whether hiring them long-term is worth the investment (salary, benefits, equity, bonus). In this post, we’ll explore what diminishing marginal utility is, how it applies to hiring executives, and alternative ways to consider executive hiring. What is Diminishing Marginal Utility? Understanding the concept of diminishing marginal utility is necessary to evaluate the long-term value of hiring new executives. At its most basic level, it'