Fractional work: the art of splitting your time

Working multiple jobs doesn't have to mean working non-stop – taking on part-time roles at different companies can be a great way to get some variety into your life.
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What if you could have three permanent jobs, but work a normal schedule? That's the case for those doing fractional work – a growing trend among people seeking more work flexibility. Employees get to exercise different strengths and try different roles without having to take the risk of going freelance. Employers get the benefit of working with highly qualified workers who otherwise may not have chosen to take on a full-time role (also saving some salary costs).

Bethany Crystal works three jobs in her fractional-first career: working on strategy for on-demand CEO firm Bolster, researching decentralized communities at Web3 platform Zeitgeist and building an education initiative at nonprofit Tech:NYC. Here's how she gets it done – and her suggestions for those considering it, too.

How did you find your jobs?

‘In the months leading up to my decision to go fractional, I tested out some language and ideas with some of my closest network connections to see how difficult it might be for me to find paid work in this new capacity. What I learned from that “personal value prop experiment” was that different facets of my network perceived different strengths within my generalist toolkit. This gave me the confidence I needed to make the plunge into [going] fully fractional.’

How is it different from freelancing?

‘Most of the work that I've taken on carries a lot of personal ownership and accountability, which feels like the biggest difference from simply being a freelancer or consultant. I'm seeking out senior-level work at a variety of places, but just on a part-time basis. I truly feel like a colleague with the teams I work with and they trust me to not only design but [execute] on the initiatives they pay me to do.’

Bethany's top tips for those considering fractional work

1. Be OK with ebbs and flows. ‘It really helps to have [someone] supportive [at home] that won't put additional pressure on you when [you're] in those in-between modes.’

2. Get comfortable selling yourself. ‘Because the nature of work is more transient, you need to be in “sell” mode for your own brand all the time. This means being comfortable telling your story [and] pitching yourself and not [being] afraid of the hustle.’ 

3. Reward yourself. ‘I think it's important to name the biggest benefits about going fractional, whether that's accessing more opportunities, giving yourself more flexibility or saving time for a personal pet project you enjoy – and make sure you actually do those things.’

A version of this article was published in the Courier Weekly newsletter. For more useful stories, tips, tricks and simply good advice, sign up here.

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