Flirting with Fractional Guide

Christina Garnett
June 14, 2024
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Flirting with Fractional Guide

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Thinking about switching to fractional work? You aren’t alone and I’ve had a lot of people reach out to see how they can get started. This fresh career path is only becoming more and more popular and promises greater control over your work-life balance and allows you to exert a significant, direct impact on multiple companies. 

This post is not exhaustive but includes answers to the questions I receive most from prospective fractionals. Let’s dive in. 

Identifying and Positioning Yourself in the Market

When considering a shift to fractional work, it's crucial to strategically position yourself. Here’s how you can approach this:

1. What is the problem/demand
Start by researching your industry thoroughly. Look for trends, read industry reports, and join discussions to understand where there might be a demand that isn't being fully satisfied by current offerings. Maybe companies are looking for part-time CFOs because they can't afford a full-time position, or perhaps there's a growing need for cybersecurity experts on a project basis.

For example, there are a lot of fractional CMOs but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t become one. It does mean that you should be hyper focused on where the demand is and how you can differentiate yourself so you don’t immediately jump into a red ocean situation. The next two steps will be where you can separate yourself from the pack and minimize competition. 

2. How can you solve the problem
Once you've identified a gap, think about how you can uniquely fill it. This might involve offering custom services that leverage your particular skills or introducing a new approach that's more efficient than what’s currently available. If there are a ton of companies needing temporary project management to implement new software systems, for instance, and you have deep experience in this area, that’s a potential opportunity.

3. Why are you the perfect person to solve the problem
Now, it’s time to sell yourself. How does your background, expertise, and proven track record make you the ideal candidate to fill this gap? Prepare concrete examples of past successes that are directly relevant to the services you're offering. This could include testimonials, case studies, or measurable impacts from previous roles.

Use this madlib to help build out your core mission statement: My mission is to [serve X purpose] for [ideal customer profile] through [good/service].

What did this look like for me? Throughout my career, whether I was in social strategy, customer advocacy, and marketing, I always had to be focused on the customer experience and their behaviors based on that experience. 

I looked at companies online and at the general market. Where are people getting customer experience wrong? What’s missing? Is there demand for improved customer experience and how it can drive growth and retention for brands? In a fractional capacity, are there companies that have this need but are not in a position to have a full head count for it? Answering these questions helps me determine demand as well as be able to ascertain my ICP (ideal customer profile). 

Then I turned to my own work. What can I offer that can solve these problems? What knowledge can I bring to the table for this demand and ICP? Once I isolate the different service options, I move forward with the third question. Why am I the perfect choice to solve this problem. What experience, background, and social proof can I share that prove I not only know how to do the proposed services, but I can do them well and meet the goals of clients. 

Once you have all of this, your marketing materials and content should speak to these three points. It isn’t enough to announce you are going into fractional work. You need to tell your story in a way that showcases an understanding of the problem, your offering, your ICP, and your unique value proposition to your network and prospective customers. How can people find and know you can help, if they don’t understand your work? Clarity sells. 

Understanding Your Role: Execution vs. Advisory

An important aspect of fractional work is differentiating between execution-focused roles and advisory roles:

If you're drawn to the nuts and bolts of carrying out plans and managing projects directly, a fractional execution role could be right for you. Fractional CxOs, for instance, are often involved in day-to-day management, staff oversight, and operational execution. They are part of the team, embedded within the organization’s fabric, driving projects to completion.

Fractional isn’t just a trendy term. It specifically identifies someone who is an embedded member of the team but someone who is only there a fraction of the time vs full-time. To learn more about what fractional work is (and isn’t), read here.

Conversely, if your strengths lie in strategizing, providing insight, and guiding without diving into day-to-day management, consulting might be a better fit. Consultants analyze problems, propose solutions, and often leave the execution to internal teams. They step in to advise and then step back, allowing the organization to implement their recommendations with their own resources.

While advising can certainly be a part of a fractional role’s responsibilities, its other responsibilities makes fractional a poor fit for someone who doesn’t want to be on the more executional side of things. 

There isn’t a right or wrong answer as much as this helps you choose your path not based on title but based on the work. Picking what is best aligned to your needs and interests can prevent a lot of future headaches. 

When in doubt, I like to ask my prospective clients this question to really ascertain their needs: do you want my brain (advising) or do you want my brain and hands (fractional)?

Cementing Your Place and Securing Clients

To make a successful entry and thrive in fractional work, you need a blend of robust self-marketing and efficient project management. When in doubt, treat yourself like a client. What marketing assets and positioning do you need to tell your story and showcase that you understand your ICP (ideal customer profile)?

Showcase Your Expertise
Develop a professional portfolio that highlights significant achievements, skills, and endorsements. This will not only showcase your competence but also give potential clients a preview of what to expect when they engage with you.

Develop a Compelling Pitch
Your pitch should be succinct yet powerful, clearly articulating what you offer, how it benefits potential clients, and what sets you apart from the competition. Practice your pitch until it’s polished and persuasive.

Leverage Testimonials
Positive feedback and endorsements from past clients or colleagues can be incredibly persuasive. These testimonials should speak to your reliability, skill level, and the positive outcomes you’ve driven in previous roles. Just starting out? You can still reach out to people you have worked with in the past to ask for a recommendation or testimonial that speaks to your experience with your service offerings. Extra tip? Make it easy for them. Let them know what you need, why you need it, and give them some direction for the testimonial. 


Thank you for all of your support in the past.

I am moving forward with my own fractional/consulting business offering __________ for __ICP_ and would love to have your testimonial about my work since you have seen it first hand. If you agree, this would be featured on my website and sales deck. 

I’ve loved working with you and would appreciate any feedback you can provide as I launch my business. 



Clear Communication on Fees
Be transparent and upfront about how you structure your fees—whether it’s an hourly rate, a monthly retainer, or project-based pricing. Clarity in this area ensures that there are no surprises and helps build trust from the outset.

Having a lot of this ready to go when you are talking to prospective clients goes a long way in showcasing your value. Have a sales or pitch deck with testimonials ready as well as templates for scopes of work (SOW)/proposals, and contracts. This creates a replicable process as you grow your fractional business. 

Finding Leads
Today fractionals strongly leverage their network to get the word out about their offering and secure their initial clients. Fractional Jobs (the website you’re reading this on) is another great resource to find leads outside of your direct network.

Embarking on a fractional career is both exciting and demanding. With the right positioning, a clear understanding of your role, and robust strategies for client engagement, you can build a rewarding career that fits your lifestyle and professional goals. Dive in with confidence, backed by a solid plan and a proactive approach. 

Welcome to the fractional life. 

If doing fractional work sounds exciting to you, or you want to learn more, check us out at We've got plenty of live jobs from startups looking for senior-level fractional talent.

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