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David Fallarme: From Layoffs to Burgeoning Part-Time Marketing Advisory

How a Marketing Director used a layoff to spur the start of his Marketing Advisory Business - Part-Time Profiles in Tech 003

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David Fallarme is a marketing advisor for multiple venture-funded startups. He has built and led marketing teams at companies big and small, from public companies to venture-backed startups. He held positions such as Marketing Director at On Deck, and Head of Marketing in Asia for HubSpot.

You can find him on LinkedIn.

What’s your experience with part-time work?

As of September this year, I’m a full-time, part-time marketing advisor! I hold several part-time advisory roles that add up to a full-time job.

Going part-time was a natural step in my career. I was part of the tech layoffs in 2022, and I was fortunate to get a lot of inbound interest for my services even without explicitly advertising that I was now a fractional marketing leader for hire.

I’ve had a generalist marketing career, so I can plug into most teams. I’ve led marketing functions across both B2B and B2C. I’ve worked at seed stage startups starting from zero, and I’ve run acquisition for products that had millions of users.

Typically, I work with post-PMF, venture-funded startups (usually: Series A thru C) who need to improve their go-to-market strategy and get more value out of their marketing team. So far, I’ve done advisory ad-hoc for about 10 companies, but since I’ve done this in a dedicated fashion I’ve worked with about 4.

How do you find your part-time work and clients?

I get all my jobs inbound through LinkedIn and word of mouth. Past co-workers and connections on LinkedIn see that I do startup advisory and they reach out.

If you don’t have a large network of former colleagues, social media is really the key if you want to get started. The key is consistency: you can build up authority in your space by showing up consistently and genuinely trying to add value and share your experiences.

I notice that whenever I stop posting, the number of inbound DMs I get also drops. It could be just because I’m early in my part-time journey, but I’m seeing a strong correlation there. As a result, I try to post on LinkedIn at least 3 times a week, and comment on relevant posts at least once a day.

Why is working part-time important to you?

Exposure to new problems and situations. Helping as many people as I can. What makes my brain tick is curiosity and learning, and I find that I get more learning loops seeing inside different companies instead of just being at one company full time.

I also genuinely enjoy helping people and sharing what I know. And I get to do that at a wider scale if I’m able to plug into more companies at once.

What does your compensation look like?

I'm very new to this! My near-term gal is to match my full-time income, with a goal to exceed it in the next few years. I benchmark myself against VP marketing salaries, since I've been offered several of those roles. So that's the opportunity cost I've anchored myself against.

What are the tradeoffs to working part-time vs one traditional full-time job for you?

The context switching overhead for part-time takes a lot getting used to - you need the systems to be able to switch gears a lot. The same day could have you doing deep work in a project for 2 different clients. Then you might also do a call with a potential client in between those projects. Keeping it straight in your head is a muscle I’m still building.

There are a lot of “admin” things you previously never had to worry about, but when I think about it, there’s just as many “admin” things when you work at a full-time company. So I think that part is a wash.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to work part-time like you?

Give it a shot. Even if you're remotely curious. I regret not starting earlier.