As the co-founder of a rapidly-scaling fractional CMO business (yorCMO) and as a big fan of fractional professionals in general, I looked far and wide for a centralized hub where the world’s best fractional professionals could be found. My search resulted in one clear conclusion: there wasn’t a true community for fractional folks. No hub for sharing resources, no place for interaction and learning, and no way to collaborate and partner on prospective projects. Most fractional professionals never interacted with each other at all.
Well, that’s no good, is it? Surely, something can be done about it, I thought.
So, I did! I formed the Fractional Professionals Association (FPA) with the help of Rich Taylor. At FPA, we promote and support decentralized leadership, ideate and innovate, facilitate growth, and make life better for ourselves and our clients.
There are three main reasons why I built the largest community of fractional professionals in the world – reasons which also make it well worth joining if you are a fractional professional yourself.
A Need for Improved Visibility, Collaboration, and New Opportunities
ADP previously reported that, from 2010 to 2019, the number of contractors working for companies had increased by 15%. The pandemic amplified this change, with nearly one in five (17%) knowledge workers considering joining the gig economy in 2022 according to Paro via Forbes. As the U.S. saw its largest number of resignations since it started recording data, the number of applications submitted to launch new businesses increased by 1 million compared to the same time period the year before. Many of those “resigners” were executives who went to start their own consulting or fractional practice.
Unlike freelancers, fractional professionals don’t work “alone”: they are active members of an organization for a fraction of the time. Still, the reality of a fractional professional is a unique one.
As our fractional CMO business yorCMO began to grow, we learned that fractional marketing leaders shared a desire to collaborate and increase their visibility. Existing communities didn’t solve their need for connection as these focused on either full-time professionals or freelance or consultants, so we engineered our own. Eventually, we realized it wasn’t just CMOs who wanted to connect with each other; the need for community was felt across fractional C-level leaders from finance to sales to operations and tech and beyond. The FPA was born – and continues to thrive – on its commitment to building true community for its members.
There is so much value in connecting with like-minded people, both for fractional professionals and for their clients. Members now have an environment where they can share leads and opportunities, expand their network, collaborate and ideate, and generate plenty of buzz about their fractional biz.
It’s also how fractional professionals stay ahead of industry trends – and sometimes pioneer a few of them ourselves. The more ideas the community can generate together, the more companies for which fractional professionals work get to benefit. In the process, real connections and collaborations can be had, which I cannot help but feel inspired by.
Access to Knowledge, Resources, and Events
I’ve been a member of numerous peer groups over the years primarily in the entrepreneurial space. The best peer groups function like a community in a small town where every “neighbor” lends invaluable insights rather than a cup of sugar. And the results are all the sweeter for it. Along the way, we’ve learned that our stories can help each other grow and thrive as individuals with something special to offer prospective clients.
This ability to learn from one another’s insights has paved the way for new growth opportunities and resources (including VA sourcing, personal branding services, and multi-channel lead generation as detailed on our website). When a community shares knowledge, solutions and resources grow rapidly. Everyone’s fractional business benefits.
There are also special events, like our first-ever in-person Fractional Professionals Association Conference event taking place in late 2023 (I am beyond hyped for this one). There is no in-person event quite like it. Beyond the community and connectedness, it’s the learning portion I am most excited about. The event is slated to feature a ton of remarkable speakers, thinkers, and ideators on best practices, trends, and opportunities for fractional professionals to capitalize on to scale their practice.
Whether it’s our monthly speaker series or an in-person super-conference, FPA continues to act as a bridge linking community members to resources and knowledge. Whether one has been a fractional professional for years or is considering taking the leap into the fractional world for the first time, there’s something for everyone to learn.
Fostering Connections – and Growth
Naturally, all these efforts enable members to form connections with each other – and can act as an additional source of leads for one’s fractional business. The more fractional professionals connect with each other, the more they can exchange opportunities, bring each other onto fractional mandates, or make introductions to companies in their network. Companies suddenly go from where I originally found myself (“Where are all these fractional professionals, anyway?”) to having second-degree access to an entire network of fractional professionals in diverse verticals. Prospects can harness new talent in a way that is more affordable and more committed than consultants or freelancers, and fractional talent can work together to help companies reach their goals.
Our dedicated matrix is as cool as what it sounds like, syncing prospects to members and bridging the gap without overlooking any specific requirements on either end. Having the largest association of fractional professionals around is the secret sauce that makes it work so well!
Building a rapport with like-minded fractional professionals can be not only rewarding workwise, but also a whole lot of fun.
By fostering growth, we’re able to continually motivate and push each other to achieve success with our individual practices, and having a decentralized environment where we can interact with each other is a big part of that.
Conclusion (and an Invitation)
It’s an exciting time to be in the fractional space. Our community is continuing to grow. With continued development, innovation, and collaboration, we’re celebrating new wins daily – often in tandem with our clients.
A huge thanks to Rich and the rest of the team who made this wonderful, inclusive, and passionate community possible. Our incredible leadership group deserves a round of applause, consisting of early adopters who have lent their infectious energy and insights. Among them is Klarissa, based in the Philippines, who keeps the gears oiled and churning efficiently behind the scenes – super grateful to have you with us! It’s been an honor to be a part of the journey, and the future looks bright, much like the individual spotlights shining down on our members.
Whether you’re a partner, practitioner, or prospect, we’d love to connect. Consider this my personal invitation to you. If you’re seeking the finest talent that aligns with your organization’s needs, you’ve come to the right place.
Alternatively, if you’re a fractional professional looking for a proper community, then welcome home – you’ve found it!
Joseph Frost is a Decentralized Entrepreneur, University Professor of Entrepreneurship & 4X Founder. He is the Founder of Guided Outsourcing, a people-centric outsourcing business, and yorCMO, the first Decentralized Leadership marketing system. A member of EO Nebraska, Joseph is also a Public Speaker who has led keynote talks & workshops to audiences of entrepreneurs and fractional professionals across the globe.