Episode 287 Exploring fractional work with Verity Baldry

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Join Verity Baldry and Anna Lundberg as they explore the shift to fractional work and the different decisions we make at different points in our lives.

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In this week’s episode, we welcome Verity Baldry, a seasoned professional with nearly two decades of experience at Blenheim Chalcot, as we dive into her transformative journey from traditional full-time roles to embracing the flexible, dynamic world of fractional work. Verity shares her insights into the start-up ecosystem, where she now thrives as a fractional chief of staff and an investor in female-founded businesses.

In our discussion, we explore how Verity began to blend her work and lifestyle aspirations, eventually founding her venture Cheerful Orange. She details her approach to networking and finding business opportunities, differentiating between freelancers, contractors, and fractional professionals. Furthermore, Verity discusses the personal nuances of setting boundaries, incorporating exercise into her schedule, and finding equilibrium in work and life.

Join us as we unpack the challenges and triumphs of stepping out of a conventional role into something that aligns more closely with personal definitions of success. Whether you’re considering a similar transition or are curious about the intricacies of fractional work, this episode promises rich insights and practical advice.

You can connect with Verity on her website and LinkedIn.

00:00 Varied experience led to MA, now fractional chief.

04:09 Government experience led to career growth. Flexibility benefited bid work and family life.

09:06 Success was status and money driven.

11:09 Career experience and family priorities shape success.

16:41 Expertise needed, but unaffordable; considering entrepreneurial journey.

19:01 Flexibility in work: variety, transferable skills.

22:03 Balancing work and structure as a solopreneur.

25:25 Worked full time, shifted to nine-day fortnight.

29:08 Plan your career transition with self-awareness.

31:22 Found amazing support, connections, and valuable advice.

*Resources mentioned during the episode*
1:1 Coaching & Mentoring – If you’re looking for one-to-one support to help you achieve your specific life and business goals, Anna has a limited number of spots for individual coaching and mentoring. www.onestepoutside.com/coaching

Fractional work

Anna Lundberg:

Okay. Hello, everybody, and welcome back to this month’s interview. And I’m here with Verity Baldry. And Verity and I met online. I suppose we still haven’t met in person, unfortunately, but hopefully that will still come, as things often go, via a connector, who then introduced me to Verity and we had a lovely project together and which we can, maybe if it’s relevant, talk about later, but I’m really happy to have Verity on and she’s very graciously stepped in to help me out and I know that her story is an interesting one. So welcome, Verity. And could you please tell us a little bit more about what your career history has been like and what you’re doing today.

Verity Baldry:

Thanks for having me. It’s been a swift decision, hasn’t it? So I have spent the best part of 20 years working at venture builder called Blenheim Chalcott. What a venture builder means in the Blenheim Chalcott world is either starting businesses within the group or bringing external businesses in and growing and scaling them. And I described my role at Blenheim Chalcott was like a guy who had, you know, somebody had, you know, a hand on my collar. Like the Google map was just a man dropping me in. And it’s kind of the drop and run and go. So I traversed businesses within the Blenheim Childcock group. Loads of fun, lots of different experiences.

Verity Baldry:

I felt like my cv was the worst cv in the world, especially for somebody of my kind of generation, because I did all sorts. I did project management, I did consultancy, I did product management, commercial stuff, business development, you know, kind of whatever it takes in that startup world. And I left in the pandemic and went off and did an MA in creative and life writing, which I now think of as the antidote to nearly 20 years spent in startup in that quite frenetic environment. And then, since then, I have been working fractionally, which we can talk about for myself recently, just coming up for my first year working for cheerful Orange. So I call myself a fractional chief of staff, which is a title that is very flexible, and me to offer all of those skills and completely make sense of that cv back from Blenheim Child court. So I work with CEO’s and founders in early stage businesses to help them establish their businesses and grow and scale them. Doing those kind of right hand special projects, anything that a founder needs. And if it’s not me, then it’s normally somebody I know from my network, because they are the people.

Verity Baldry:

They’re the people that I have from my career.

Anna Lundberg:

And yeah, let’s definitely dig into that. Out of curiosity, if we go way back to the beginning, how did you end up in that career? Was that a very intentional career path coming out of education or how did you end up there in the first place?

Verity Baldry:

So I went into education saying I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. So I went off to uni and did a management sciences degree, thinking, haha, here we go, I’ll do all of these different modules. In HR logistics, it was, you know, some stats, it was everything operational stuff. I thought by the time I get to the end of it, I’ll know what I want to do. And I did really, if I specialised in anything, I did a lot of the small business modules, so I really enjoyed the business planning side of it. But you don’t graduate into anything that looks like that. So I graduated into a role with Morgan Stanley and I went down to Canary Wharf in investment banking, doing south african equity settlements, thinking, not really sure what this is, but I’ll give it a go. And I hated it, absolutely hated it.

Verity Baldry:

I feel like I’m, you know, slightly allergic to Canary Wharf just for that environment. It’s not me. It could never have been me, but I suppose I felt like that was the conventional thing. And, you know, project management was a module that I did on my degree, but it didn’t exist in the world. There were no project management jobs. So I feel like, you know, kind of the thing that I knew I was going to be good at wasn’t available in the world at the time when I did it. So I didn’t last long at Morgan Stanley. My sister very helpfully pulled me into some stuff that she was doing at Department for work and pensions at the time, which was on values and culture change, which was really fun.

Verity Baldry:

And from there I got my role with agilysis, which was one of the first, biggest businesses within Blenheim Childcott. So because I had the government experience and because they were winning government contracts, I mean, I was central government, they were looking for local, but it didn’t seem to matter. You know, they were looking for people that could come and kind of grow. And then I grew through agilysis, and then, you know, outside of agilysis, through the rest of the group. In my career, when I had children, I switched more into business development than direct client delivery stuff. And to try and get that flexibility, which is funny because that flexibility was, you know, sort of still finishing at five, maybe going home, dinner, bath and bed with the kids, but then starting again later. So, you know, it was fairly full on the idea that I was, you know, kind of more flexible and it was, you know, and my colleagues were very, very kind to sort of allow that asynchronous working. Although actually it benefited us a lot when we were sort of doing the big bid work.

Verity Baldry:

We doubled, agily says year on year with the bids that we were doing then. So it was a great time, but it was really hard work. And when I stepped out of agilysis, that was where I was like, I think I want to be, you know, kind of doing the small business. Agility was too big for me by then, it felt, and really, that’s a pattern that’s repeated. So the last role that I had within the blemchild group was with salary finance, and by the time I’d been there four and a bit years, you know, it was global, big investment, you know, lots of people and less fun. So I know that my heart is in that sort of small business, you know, kind of definitely the fast growing stuff, but for me there was no easy access, you know, no, like, I mean, I’m now calling myself a chief of staff. That’s a thing that didn’t exist, you know, previously. And I think really all I want is something that’s elastic enough to say what’s fun, you know, let’s go.

Verity Baldry:

I call myself a conjurer. If I call myself anything. It’s the thing that says, what. What do we think this looks like? How do we go from here to here, you know, and setting off without really even, you know, knowing whether you can get to the end? That’s the bit that I find really motivating. One of my favourite sayings is at first it’s impossible, then it’s difficult, then it’s done. And I learned that while we were building the community centre. So it was really, you know, that was one I lived on a daily basis just. I didn’t mention that, did I? My career thing, one of my and roles was I did a project to build a community centre locally, which is something that was really important to me at the time and it felt impossible and it really looked impossible.

Verity Baldry:

And then actually we were doing it and didn’t, you know, didn’t think we were ever going to get to the end of it. And now it’s done and there’s, you know, there’s natural building there. So that that really epitomises the kind of way that I work and the kind of things that I enjoy doing and I think startup is. It’s a whole environment that gives a lot of opportunity, a lot of scope for those kind of that, that sort of flexible job description, even if it’s not necessarily flexible work.

Anna Lundberg:

Gosh, I want to say so many things now. I love that, first of all, the impossible, because things can. Starting a podcast we were just talking about, you know, you’ve never done it before. It seems completely overwhelming. Even going on a podcast is the first step. And yet, as soon as you start breaking it down, okay, it becomes tricky and challenging and difficult. This is by far not as complicated as growing a business, but just as the example that comes to mind then, yeah, before you know you have actually done it, but things that just seem like a far off goal, it’s just not possible to visualise how that could become more real. It sounds like you’ve been too good at your job and you’ve grown the businesses too much and to the point that, you know, oh dear, too successful now for me.

Anna Lundberg:

I need to move on somewhere else.

Verity Baldry:

I can’t take full credit for that at all whatsoever. I’m only ever a cog in a machine rather than taking the leadership role and stuff, really.

Anna Lundberg:

But it sounds also like you have that self awareness and I think this multi potential sort of umbrella portfolio and fractional is so, so appealing to people like us. If I can lump myself in that bracket as well. My degree was very much, I want to study as much as possible to keep my options open. I didn’t really know, and I think who does know at that age, it’s really tricky. But with that self awareness as well. How did you look at success when you were coming out of education? Do you feel like you adjust, as you said, you know? Yeah, this is the kind of job that I should be taking as a parenthesis. The other point I wanted to pick up on before it goes away from my brain is this interesting thing that these jobs didn’t exist when you were studying. And obviously we talk now about AI and all the things, the stats, whatever it is, 80% of jobs won’t exist in 20 years, and 80% of jobs that will exist don’t exist today, which sounds like it was also the case already there.

Anna Lundberg:

So anyway, my question was, how did you look at success then and how has it changed?

Verity Baldry:

I think success used to be very status oriented and money driven when I was leavingVerity-headshot-2023 university, so, you know, Morgan Stanley was one of the top jobs. That was the vote, you know, it was the sort of mum and dad, be proud of me badge. I mean, I interview a lot of graduates and, you know, junior staff now for a lot of the roles that I do and they’re like, startup, it’s so brilliant and my mom and dad are delighted and I’m just like, if I’d have gone straight into a startup, my dad would have had a heart attack, you know, it would have just been like the riskiest thing. It’s a bit like, you know, some, some families would never entertain the thought of their children going into the arts or you know, if anybody said I want to be, you know, a music producer or something, they’d have been encouraged to go off and do maths, probably. So I think, you know, the getting the, you know, definition of success was that status role, which was big company, lots of money. And when I let go of that, it started becoming, you know, more fun. But I didn’t know, I just knew it wasn’t that I didn’t know that it was a new thing or a different thing. And as I say, kind of working in startup wasn’t seen as the groovy thing that it is now.

Verity Baldry:

Starry eyed about getting into startups, aren’t they? And the scope and the possibility. I think it was very much seen as something that was like, well you’re never going to get a pension and there’ll never be any mat leave and you work loads of hours for no money. Why would you bother? And the company may fail as well. I mean all those things are know probably still true, but at least now the understanding of the flexibility, the variety, the sort of the well rounded experience that you can get, I think is a lot more attractive to people than going into a corporate role or, you know, the grad training scheme at Morgan Stanley. I mean, back office equity settlements for the south african market wasn’t going to give me life skills, I’m pretty sure. Maybe that’s just square pegs and round holes, I don’t know. So I just have a very different definition of success. Success.

Verity Baldry:

Now some of that is that I’m further on in my career and I’ve got that experience behind me that’s in the bank and I want to be able to leverage that. But some of that is that, you know, I have a more grown up family and I have, you know, kind of more, more thoughts about, you know, I’m 20 years into my career with probably 20 years left. And success for me is more about fun and interesting. It’s more about variety, having autonomy, creating mastery, being able to do new things and take more risks for fun rather than for necessity. And that, I think, has been more of a joy to be able to experience. I’m very privileged because I don’t have to chase a paycheck in the way that I used to need to. And, you know, some of that working as hard as I did and saving money as hard as I did is then the platform that gives me the now. So I don’t think I could necessarily put my definition of success back to my younger self or, you know, vice versa.

Verity Baldry:

I think it morphs and changes as you kind of meet each different part of your life.

Anna Lundberg:

And it’s such a robust background to have then, to have that already, the big company and the status and the income, to be able to make those creative choices later. I think I heard Gary Vaynerchuk talking about how actually, when you’re young is the moment when you should take the risks and you’ve got nothing to lose, which is true. But then I wonder if you do that, then do not gain the experience. Maybe you’re burned and then you kind of go back to comfort zone and stay there forever. I don’t know. I mean, there’s probably no right answer, but it’s an interesting. And anyway, we can’t get back in a time machine and change the choices we made. So, you know, it’s too late for us.

Anna Lundberg:

The only question is now, for all of us and for listeners, what do we want to do now going forwards? And when you made the decision then to leave, you mentioned it was during the pandemic. Was that a big life audit reset or was it just coincidental? How did you make that decision then, to go off on your own?

Verity Baldry:

I’d already felt like the role that I had wasn’t. Wasn’t the one that I was really excited about having, because it, you know, was. Was a. At that point, small cog in a very, very big machine. And so when redundancies were offered going into the pandemic, that was a good opportunity, I suppose. I guess I’d have loved to have stayed in the Blenheim Charcot group and started again. But, you know, that wasn’t the environment. And it’s still not the environment, really.

Verity Baldry:

I mean, startup is tough. And in all honesty, I think, you know, that first kind of 17 years was exhausting. And I didn’t realise how exhausted I was. And when I stopped and, you know, we all took a breather in the pandemic, didn’t we? Doing that ma creative in life. Writing was poetry. It was nuts. I’d never, you know, I did sciences at a level and at university. That gave me the insight that I think to be able to burn as fast as I had for as long as I had, I had to close down a lot of that.

Verity Baldry:

Those, you know, you’re in survival mode a bit. I mean, you know, but when you’ve got the young kids and you’re doing the school runs and the pat lunches and we talked about that the other day, didn’t we? Like, it’s just the hamster wheel. And when you, when you get the ability to stop, which is, you know, lucky that I had that, because otherwise I might just carried on. It was my one mode and I’d never really questioned it, that I then went and kind of nourished the creative side. I then had that moment of, well, I don’t want to lose that. I don’t want that to look like the kind of midlife crisis in the pandemic. I am a woman of a certain age. It’s a risk.

Verity Baldry:

And it might have been that, who knows? But there’s nothing that I realised that that is something that I need to keep doing to have that balanced whole self. But actually, startup was my love. So I went back and took a role, thinking, I’m back on the, the wagon again. That was where we met, you know, startup forever. And then with the environment as it is, you know, that role wasn’t sustainable for me for the long term. At which point I just wondered whether I’d retired. Like, I left there and thought, you know, there’s not a lot out there. What do I do? And I knew about you.

Verity Baldry:

I knew about your, your book and your podcast. I had that in my arsenal. I had a really lovely friend who was, who said the word fractional to me because I was saying, you know, kind of, do I go back and get a, do I do part time now? Do I, do I go back round the wheel on, is it starting? Is it poetry? You know, how do I manage those two things? And she said fractional. And I thought, fantastic. So it’s the best rebranding of, you know, consult, you know, like contracting or part time or, you know, interim. It’s kind of all of those things. It can be anything that you want it to be. I would never, if somebody had said to me, go freelance, I would have said, no, that’s scary.

Verity Baldry:

But somebody said fractional. And I thought, oh, that’s interesting. I could workManageable-headshot fractionally and, you know, the, breaking it down into small steps. But I was then like, well, that’s really awkward. I don’t know how I’m going to, you know, and she sort of said, well, just set up a company, do it from within side a company, because otherwise I was a little bit like Verity Baldur’s services limited. I’m selling myself like that solopreneur in kind of you are selling yourself, but you need not to feel so quite flayed back to the world of the kind of promotion of it. So gradually, step by step, I kind of worked with the idea of the chief of staff, the fractional, thinking about what the startup market’s doing. People can’t afford.

Verity Baldry:

They need the expertise, but they can’t afford it. And so then I thought, well, if I have 20 years left to use the operator experience that I’ve got, kind of maybe in the future I go towards advising, maybe I start investing, maybe that’s the way that I go on the journey with startup without having to be in the kind of bleeding from my eyeballs nailed onto the rocket ship sort of approach to startup. And that then coalesced really quickly for me actually into something that felt quite nice. Cheerful orange was a business name that I came up with so many years ago now. You know, I’ve been asked quite a few times like, oh, how did you come up with a name? And I was sat kind of thinking about virgin as a brand and, you know, those brands that can be anything. And I was thinking, I just need one of those, you know, and then if I ever have a business in the future, I don’t know how I got to cheerful orange, but I loved it and I bought the domains for it. And then it’s been my guilty shame sort of year on year over time, it’s renewed. I think, oh no, why am I spending money on this? So when I got to that moment of, okay, I think I can do this, I think I can work for myself, I think I can make a plan.

Verity Baldry:

I think it can be a fractional chief of staff, I think it can be cheerful orange. And there we go. So 9 may was when we, when I incorporated. There’s a we here. It’s me and cheer bear. If you want to see how I. This is my.

Anna Lundberg:

Oh, that’s, that’s the company. Oh, I love that guy.

Verity Baldry:

Me and cheer there. Yeah. So that was, that was that thought process that then tipped me into doing this. And I’ve been lucky because it’s just talking to people, isn’t it? I mean, you say this, it’s not going out and doing this big marketing, branding, thrusting yourself forward it’s actually going around and speaking to people and finding out what their needs are and seeing if you can help. And I’ve been lucky that I’ve had those people in my network that are new businesses would like to work together. And that’s kept me out of mischief, really.

Anna Lundberg:

And what then is the difference between, is it just a mindset thing between being a freelancer contractor? Veritybaudry.com, kind of solopreneur, as you said. How have you been going about kind of with the business development? How has it for people listening who are like, oh, I don’t even know how to begin? How do I become fractional? How do I sort of tell people I’m available? How does it work?

Verity Baldry:

I think there’s, I think it’s a personal thing, because I know there are fractional, like slack channels that you can join. I mean, a couple, you know, there’s lots of now, you know, blogs, whatever, you know, out there. For the fractional industry, some people will do fractional as in two days a week in one business and three days a week in another. And, you know, they may do that kind of forever, or they might do that, you know, the two day week is the next three months and the three day weekend, and they’re constantly trying to stitch the ends of them together, or they’re trying to kind of make a week between, you know, different commitments. And I think that’s, that’s a really nice approach because you get that variety. You get, you know, being fractional. You see lots of different businesses and you can actually transfer all the best practise across them. You know, you come up with something once and you take it to a different business and it’s, you know, fit for purpose.

Verity Baldry:

And what do you know, you’ve been able to turn up and add value easily so that, you know, that’s one way of doing it. I do it more, I offer that. Of course I do. I can also be on a retainer as and when I can do hourly for certain stuff, or I can just literally do work packages. And that’s for me, like the ultimate kind of fractional, because I’m like fractions on fractions, kind of that I can work to balance the different clients that have. But that also allows me. I did start looking at the investing maybe a bit earlier than I thought I would because I realised that there’s awful, awful stats out there about investing. Only 2% of money goes into female founded businesses.

Verity Baldry:

That goes up to 17% if they’ve got a male partner. So I joined a female angel network group specifically to invest in female founders, which makes sense from a business development point of view because I’m out there and meeting female founders. But actually that’s also where my heart is, just to try and support the sisterhood of struggling startup entrepreneurs out there that otherwise don’t get the support. So I don’t want to work full time because I want that work that I do, you know, the investment that will be like a 1015 year sort of thing to come to fruition. I need to put the time into that now as well. So having the variable diary works for me. I can, you know, Superboost some things one week and other things in a different week and in theory also take time off. Tomorrow’s task is to take my son to get two teeth taken out.

Verity Baldry:

You know, that’s in my diary and that’s like a work commitment and I used to feel really guilty about that. I used to really feel like, you know, if I’d taken time out even to go to the dentist myself, let alone, you know, kind of for somebody else, then there was sort of a clock in my head where I needed to make it up and you know, and concerned that I was letting people down on the team that I was in or whatever. So now it’s just me. And cheerber, she doesn’t mind.

Anna Lundberg:

Amazing. And what does a typical work week look like for you then? Is it very varied or do you have a structure that you try to follow in terms of the balance you want?

Verity Baldry:

I think I could work more towards finding a regular structure. I tend to allow each week to do what it wants to do and see what happens. So I can sit from one week to the next with a completely empty diary, but by the time I get to Monday it’s full. I’ve just taken on a three day a week for twelve weeks project, so I’m going to have to start managing things. But that’s because it’s new and that’s experimenting and I kind of have a view on it that if I tried to make it happen I probably couldn’t anyway. I think that’s one of maybe the downsides of working for yourself and being the solopreneur. You are at the behest of other people and you’re only ever prioritised according to their priority list. So if I was going to say to people, I’m only going to be available on a Monday morning, one of my founders would turn around and go, well, I can only really see you on Thursday night.

Verity Baldry:

What are you going to do about that? And then be like, yeah, okay, fine, yes, let’s do that your way instead. So, yeah, I have agency over saying yes or no to stuff, but I don’t try and force particular patterns. But having said that, like my son’s dental appointment, I do now make sure that I bake in exercise. I saw you went off and played tennis the other day.

Anna Lundberg:

No, it was a very popular post on LinkedIn. Isn’t that always the way? They don’t like my serious stuff I’m putting out there, but I post her self.

Verity Baldry:

The minute you own up to the fact that you skived and you went tennis. But I wholly agree with you that that is so important. And I think that’s one of my later learnings. My friend has got the idea of the tumble dryer and your back brain, that there’s just always something turning over. And I. Yeah, so I would, and I think maybe, you know, kind of the poetry taught me this a little bit, that if you’re like, I need to go back to the answer now. You know, you kind of, your brain starts, whereas if you go off and sort the washing, which I would have felt guilty about doing what I was working, you know, for somebody else, you often sort the washing and your brain’s kind of turning stuff over, and then you’ve got the answer when you come back and it just. There’s a lot more ease in that.

Verity Baldry:

But that’s because I’m not feeling, I’m not sure anybody actually constrained me as much as I felt constrained, but I felt the responsibility to be working, you know, as harder, if not harder, slightly than everybody else around me, just to make sure that I sort of, you know, I keep and felt my place within a bigger company, whereas for myself, cheerbear doesn’t mind.

Anna Lundberg:

Cheer bear is very supportive. We all need a chair bear. I did have a little Yoda figure here, which I realised just yesterday, I’ve lost. That’s no good. I need to bring back. Yeah, I’ve lost my little Yoda coach. But that’s. Yeah, that’s very interesting.

Anna Lundberg:

So, obviously, different industries have certain ways of working, and startup is very fast paced, and if they’re working long hours, they might expect you to do the same. But as you said, you can still have boundaries within that. Obviously you can choose not to work with startups, but then you can in that. And I always find that people respect that. I find that, you know, if you’re clear about what the boundaries are and you’re super willing to obviously bend them as and when needed and so on. I think that’s always landed better than I thought it would because we think, oh, gosh, I’ve got. Especially when we’re younger, you know, people pleasing and I’ve got to say yes to everything. And that’s, as we know, a recipe for burnout.

Anna Lundberg:

So having that space and time for your son’s two teeth and whatever it is, is pretty important to put that into the diary of.

Verity Baldry:

So the one hack that I did have while I was still working was I got to a nine day fortnight because I always felt like part time working was going to be impossible. I thought you hear from everybody, don’t you, that if you do a four day week, you end up working five and getting paid at 80%, which. Who wants that? And I’d heard that from a lot of my friends and hadn’t really felt like the roles that I was in were going to be appropriate for a part time. So I went back after six months maternity leave and I went in full time and I just made it work. And let’s bear in mind, that was like five days a week, an office as well. Like, I can’t even, in my head at the moment, figure out how that happened. But then I got told about a nine day fortnight from a friend who worked in charity, which is taking every other Friday off. So 90% of your salary, obviously, your holiday gets cut by 10%, but you earn these 26 days in a year, which are every other.

Verity Baldry:

So actually, because you are there some Fridays, most people think that you work full time, so you don’t kind of have that like the part time stigma. And also because you’re in some Fridays, you don’t fill up your available Friday with doing a yoga class and then going for a coffee or I always do the washing on this day or whatever, like the. Every other Friday becomes the gift day. And that’s so much more prevalent in charity and, you know, in government. You know, all of those different kind of working patterns are there. And, you know, this four day working week now, some organisations have gone to 90% rather than 80%. And interestingly, friend of mine, the whole company finishes at Friday lunchtime. So that’s a different way of doing 90%, you know, and if you did a 90% like that and you never worked Friday afternoon, frankly, who would notice? But you wouldn’t have the benefit of.

Verity Baldry:

You’d have every Friday afternoon off and you’d, you’d end up filling that up and you wouldn’t feel like you had the time off. So I, that was, that was the, the most that I managed to get kind of that flexibility while I was, you know, in a corporate job was to do that.

Anna Lundberg:

I think that’s not something I’ve come across before speaking to you about it a while back. And I think it’s such an interesting because, as you say, if you both in terms of sort of the image in the office or with other people, but also your own calendar, I guess that’s a danger. I’m such a fan and ambassador for remote working and flexible and hybrid. But of course, if we become used to a four day work week, maybe in years to come, everything will kind of have got into some kind of status quo there. And then the extra day doesn’t feel like an extra day anymore, does it? And it just becomes sort of taken for granted. So we need to keep mix things up maybe. But I love that creativity to find what works for you, either finishing early or doing every other week, and suddenly.

Verity Baldry:

I wasn’t in the hairdressers with a laptop. That was the difference, the hairdressers. Oh, nice.

Anna Lundberg:

Yeah, I have been doing the lunch every, but also it’s quite nice to be away from the Wi Fi and I find, you know, writing and so on. And. Yeah, the little anecdote, I think, of when you mention the domain name, because I think that will be so familiar to listeners. I’ve done the same. And it’s such a power in taking that first step of getting the domain name. And I know I hinted to you that I was writing another book and I’ve had that domain name for many a year finally sort of coming to fruition. So it’s that kind of, it’s really nice to. Obviously there is something there if you’re getting the domain name.

Anna Lundberg:

And some people may have had that sort of urge to work for themselves for a long time. And it might not take the form that we naively thought at the beginning when it was impossible, but it becomes difficult and then done. So there you go. Big pressure to say words of wisdom, but what final sort of leaving thoughts might you have for somebody listens? Oh, this fractional thing sounds very interesting. What could be a first step for them to explore and to take that further?

Verity Baldry:

I think there’s a lot that you can do. This is your advice, Anna? I’m sure I’m only going to parrot back the things that I learned from you, that you can start figuring that out while you’re still doing the thing that you’re doing and be clear about what it is that you will enjoy and you’re good at and where you’ve got that network. I don’t think you could go from day job doing a into fractional doing b successfully unless you do that overlap. You know, I don’t think b can be very, very different from a, but I think, yeah, I obviously left and then went, oh, what will I do? And that process was like a five or six week process, so it is possible. And you know, my b is not very different from my a. But you know, there is a discernment process, I think, about what it will be, because to be able then to make the fractional work, you’re not just going out to get yourself one job, you’re going out to get yourself multiple jobs, perhaps, some of which won’t start immediately. And that the resilience of knowing that something will come is the key thing. You have to really believe it when you do it or be comfortable figuring it out as you go.

Verity Baldry:

I mean, I’m still, you know, people ask me what a chief of staff is and my answer is still, it’s whatever you want it to be.

Anna Lundberg:

Okay, that’s good to know. I’ve always wondered, it seems to be a red thread that you’ve sort of gone for those choices that allow you to fulfil your potential in all the different directions. So that’s, that’s really fun.

Verity Baldry:

Projects with interesting people and that’s.

Anna Lundberg:

There you go. That’s your business plan, right? That’s, that’s the way it does sound like it’s a bit of a jigsaw because as you say, you suddenly get three days over twelve weeks. And then, you know, people always worry about having too many clients, which is a good problem to have, really, but then, you know, and then having sort of the feast or famine and so on. So I think that’s maybe something in.

Verity Baldry:

The community as well. I mean, I know you support the community, don’t you know, being, being surrounded by people who will have been on the journey before. I met somebody at a wedding really early on who was like, right, I’m going to tell you everything that you need to know. And I was like, I’ve not met you before, you know, friend of a friend. And she said, I wouldn’t have believed this if you’d have told me, you know, where I am. But, you know, I’m five years in now. I’m cutting a six figure salary. I’ve got, you know, these amazing clients and I’m really happy and I was like, wow.

Verity Baldry:

That seems amazing. Possible from where I am, but thanks. You know, and for me, those people, I found them all over the place. I didn’t join any networks at that point, but I just sort of found them and really clung on to any advice that anybody could give me. And also, you know, you talking to them about it, they might know somebody that can connect you, that might need a you. And that’s all you need, isn’t it?

Anna Lundberg:

Absolutely. And so where can we read more? Where, if we want to get a fractional chief of staff who can do all sorts of things, or if we just want to see what that looks like in sort of tangible terms, where can we find you?

Verity Baldry:

So cheerful orange is on LinkedIn and on cheerfulorange.com.

Anna Lundberg:

Is there a picture of cheerbear somewhere? Is he just a behind the scenes.

Verity Baldry:

Add cheer bear on the list of.

Anna Lundberg:

Happiness or one of those chief happiness officers? Something like that, yeah.

Verity Baldry:

I mean, cheerbear.

Anna Lundberg:

He is cheerbear. He’s unique. He’s got a very strong positioning, very strong USP, and he’s behind the success.

Verity Baldry:

Knows exactly what he’s doing. Hey, she. You know, maybe not.

Anna Lundberg:

Who knows? Yeah. Amazing. I don’t remember back in the day and I don’t think they had genders, the bears, did they? Which is.

Verity Baldry:

I feel like I’m picking up homework rapidly at the end of this. Now I’ve got to go off and put some more material on my website, my LinkedIn, and work out who cheer bear is.

Anna Lundberg:

Well, he, she, they does the great job and so do you. So, Verity, thank you so much again for stepping in. You. You’ve been, as expected, a delight and so many interesting things. I’d love to talk to you for longer, but I’ll let you go and the listeners as well. So thank you so much and looking forward to seeing how your journey progresses in the next 20 years.

Verity Baldry:

Yeah, yeah. It’s going to be fun. Thanks, Anna. Thank you.

Anna Lundberg:

Amazing.

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This privacy policy sets out how One Step Outside uses and protects any information that you give One Step Outside when you use this website (https://onestepoutside.com/).

One Step Outside is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. Should we ask you to provide certain information by which you can be identified when using this website, then you can be assured that it will only be used in accordance with this privacy statement.

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What information we collect and why

We only ever collect the information that we need in order to serve you.

Generally, this just means collecting your first name and email address that you enter, for example, when you request a resource, register for a webinar, or submit a message via a contact form.

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Google

We use Google Analytics to track and optimise performance on this site as well as embedding video content from YouTube, and this means that your web browser automatically sends certain information to Google. This includes the URL of the page that you’re visiting and your IP address. Google may also set cookies on your browser or read cookies that are already there. Apps that use Google advertising services also share information with Google, such as the name of the app and a unique identifier for advertising.

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If you leave a comment, the comment and its metadata are retained indefinitely. This is so we can recognise and approve any follow-up comments automatically instead of holding them in a moderation queue.

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Changes to our privacy policy

We keep our privacy policy under regular review. Initially created on 18th November 2016, it was last updated on 23rd May 2018 to be compliant with GDPR.

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