Find flexibility, increased pay, new challenges and autonomy as a Fractional Exec


By Janice Burch, Career Coach, Executive Brand Builder


Robert was a CTO for a manufacturing company when he came to us to rework his positioning and materials for his next career jump. After a couple of exploratory career discussions, we zeroed in on titles, responsibilities, and potential industry transitions – even opening up a consulting agency.

I asked if he had ever considered some nontraditional roles as part of his next steps. Specifically, had he ever considered becoming a Fractional CTO for companies needing transitional or specific project leadership?

Robert went silent for about 5 seconds and then blurted out — tell me more.


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Rise of the Fractional Executive

Companies are increasingly hiring the Fractional Executive as a game-changing solution to help their business thrive, gaining access to top-tier expertise across various functions and industries. A company hires a Fractional Executive to fill an executive role for a specified term, fill a short or long-term vacancy, train an emerging CEO who needs 1×1 coaching, tackle special projects, or fill a gap created by merger-acquisition deals. Sometimes, the Fractional Executive is hired because of their expertise for a project or to help a company achieve a specific goal. Private equity firms frequently hire Fractional Executives to help their portfolio companies achieve revenue goals, transform an operation or brand, or repair broken departments and unmet goals.

The Fractional Executive gives a company valuable leadership expertise without the commitment and costs of hiring a full-time CEO, CMO, CTO, CISO, or CFO. It is the new frontier for those who seek a new challenge but want more flexibility while controlling their earning power.

Individual agreements for Fractional Executives range from $10K to $15K monthly, based on an FE spending about 40 hours per month on a company agreement. This opens up opportunities to take on multiple clients or work part-time for a few months or a year while tending to family needs or opening up a consultancy. When one considers that today's average salary for a CMO role is $350K (50th percentile according to, hiring an experienced and focused fractional CMO becomes pretty appealing to companies needing a fresh perspective and guidance.

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Why Do Companies Hire Fractional Executives?

No matter what your area of expertise is, whether it is operations, marketing, finance, HR, product development or sales, there exists a need for your executive experience and guidance as a Fractional Executive.

In addition to the significant cost savings for today's companies, an FE leads strategy building, and drives action plans, transitions, transformations and improvements across a division or the corporation. The FE is concentrated exclusively on delivering results in the most efficient manner possible with the highest quality outcome.

Those who most frequently move into the role of the FE role come to the table with at least 15 years of experience. They understand challenges in people, technology, customer relations and financial issues, and can facilitate difficult conversations. A FE can bring a fresh perspective to age-old problems and foster a culture of continuous learning. Because you are more focused on precision, impartiality, and results, the FE can often work faster than an employee would – even at the C-level.

What experience do I need to become a Fractional Executive?

Generally, to secure an FE role, you will need 15 years of experience in your field. You must show you are an expert in your field with a robust history of accomplishments. You must have held a VP, C-suite or equivalent high-level title that included executive management responsibilities in the area you wish to focus on as an FE (Marketing, Operations, Finance, Executive Leader, Sales, HR, etc.)

You have to be able to show your accomplishments, how you drove results and impacts in roles you have held. Being able to articulate your value and career history, big wins, and how you solved problems for your company or clients will be critical. This means making sure your resume, bio, and other materials represent and speak to your level of expertise and your value to show your future clients why you are the right person to hire for the FE role.

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How do I Get a Fractional Executive role?

Fractional leadership is not a new concept – it has been around for about two decades as companies realized they could hire senior executives on a part-time contract basis to help lead projects, change or short-term strategies. It is not just an option for retirees either. Interim executives, including mid-career pros and young executives, represent a diverse age group. The average age of an interim executive is 52 years old. Professionals are drawn to the role to increase work balance flexibility and gain different experiences to augment their resumes.

While one can strike out on their own to serve as an FE by using your network and building new networks to drive opportunities, several agencies offering pools of FEs have emerged over the last few years. This can make it a more attractive and viable option for executives wishing to transition, as you will have the built-in support of a company behind you and usually can leverage executive peers where needed on client work.

For instance, Authentic Brand offers fractional CMOs for growth-focused organizations. According to the company's website, the mindshare peer community is a hired network of fractional CMOs, providing additional support and accountability for the company, vs. working with a single consultant. The client company gets a connected team of CMOs fueled by its mindshare community to deliver aggressive results.

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Chameleon Collective is another agency that pools entrepreneurial executives into a collective to offer shared services to high-profile $500M companies and early-stage startups. They have grown to 100 Chameleons, as they call their Fractional Executives, all virtually based, and each able to control their own client strategy, scale, work schedule and success.

These are just a couple of the more specialized examples of FE agencies; there are many more out there that offer all types of FEs and those that provide executives within certain functions, like marketing, operations, or finance. Some agencies even offer group insurance rates for their FEs who join their team – something to explore if you don't have a spouse able to carry you on their health insurance. You will need to explore independent insurance plans otherwise, and of course, take that into account in your fee negotiations and agreements as well as your business tax structure.

After we finished building his professional brand and materials together, Robert, our client mentioned at the start of this article, found his Fractional CTO role with a highly acquisitive private equity group. Today, he moves between the group’s growing portfolio of companies for short term strategy planning and implementation, and provides assessments of their prospective acquisitions, advising on systems needs and costs. His overall pay went up by more than 50%, and he has more time to travel with his wife, as some of his work is remote, and he dictates the length and type of commitments he takes on, as it fits within his schedule.

“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” – Jim Rohn

Be Ready

If you are unhappy in your current role or are concerned about your future with your organization, being ready for change is simply put – just wise practice. Ensure your resume, profiles, materials and talking points are current. Take the time to write down those important things you have done over the last couple of years and the results you delivered for your company and clients. There are numerous ways to define your value to help you stand out and secure that next opportunity when looking for an FE role, or a new full-time corporate position.

Visit to learn how we can help ensure you are prepared to pursue your next opportunity – – or CLICK HERE to set up a free consultation to discuss your goals and how we can help.

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