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In FinTech Podcast: EC1 Partners meets Paul Arnold

Have you ever experienced ‘The Golden Handcuffs’? That feeling when you find yourself on an excellent good salary, a great job title, are part of a good team, but you still find yourself dissatisfied at work?

Today our UK Managing Director Jake Gottlieb talks to Paul Arnold, Chief Revenue Officer at 3S Money. Paul talks about his extensive work history; lack of a university degree, and working as an international DJ before finding himself in the world of sales. His lack of education gave him imposter syndrome and self-doubt, but he never let that hold him back.

Tune in to find out more.

The discussion

JAKE: What challenges have you faced by not attending university throughout your career? Did it impact your progression?

PAUL: In the 1980s, when I attended school, the landscape was different. Back then, a university degree was not necessarily a requirement for positions. The focus was more on qualities like attitude, drive, and how you presented yourself rather than your educational background. However, one of the main challenges I faced was my own self-doubt. Working alongside highly educated individuals at companies like Bloomberg and Euronext, I often felt self-conscious and experienced imposter syndrome. It took a lot of effort to overcome these feelings and speak up confidently. I believe hard work, attitude, enthusiasm, and tenacity are crucial in overcoming any perceived educational disadvantage. While education is important, these traits cannot be taught, and they play a significant role in one’s success.

JAKE: What did you learn from your experience that supported your growth as a successful salesperson? How did you navigate through it?

PAUL: One of the key lessons I learned from my time at Bloomberg was the importance of adaptability, openness to change, and flexibility. These qualities are essential in a rapidly evolving industry like finance and technology. Technology and markets constantly shift, and being able to adapt ensures that you stay ahead. Bloomberg emphasised the need to be agile and responsive to market changes. I carried this mindset throughout my career and applied it to various roles. Navigating through these changes required a willingness to learn and embrace new approaches. It has been invaluable in supporting my growth as a salesperson and beyond.

JAKE: Who is the most talented salesperson you’ve worked with, and what made them exceptional?

PAUL: One of the most talented salespeople I’ve worked with is Lawrence Butcher, the CEO and founder of high FX, along with his brother, Daniel Butcher, who is also a founder. Lawrence had a remarkable ability to sell us the idea of high FX, acting as a charismatic leader who inspired others to follow. He led by example, demonstrating a solid work ethic and always being the first in the office and the last to leave. To me, a great salesperson is someone who not only barks orders but also instils confidence in their team by proving they can do the role themselves. Lawrence’s approach of actively listening to clients, asking open-ended questions, and identifying gaps in their current practices stood out. His belief in the product he sold and his ability to build rapport made him an exceptional salesperson and leader.

JAKE: As you transitioned from the corporate world to a scale-up, how did you manage the potential monotony and keep yourself motivated before deciding to make the leap?

PAUL: During the COVID period, I reflected and realised that I wasn’t reaching my full potential in my corporate role. Despite the stability and good salary, I felt unfulfilled. It was a period of questioning and reassessing what I truly wanted to do. I remembered the passion I had during my time at ___ FX, where I excelled in my career and believed in the product. I wanted to find something that would reignite that passion. Ultimately, I made the decision to prioritise personal fulfilment over financial security. Taking a step back in salary was a sacrifice I would make to pursue something I was genuinely passionate about.

JAKE: How have you found the transition into your new role? Are you enjoying the experience of learning something new?

PAUL: The transition has been challenging. I won’t deny that. Joining a young and ambitious company like 3S Money requires long hours and hard work. Unlike at larger companies, there isn’t an established infrastructure or processes, so building them from scratch can be difficult. However, the excitement and freshness of the scale-up environment make it worthwhile. Every day is a learning experience, and I embrace the opportunity to expand my skill set. Without internal resources to rely on, I’ve had to seek answers independently, which has been both challenging and rewarding. Overall, the learning aspect is what I enjoy most about this new role.

JAKE: How does the company culture at your current organisation differ from your previous experiences at Bloomberg and Euronext?

PAUL: The company culture at 3S Money is quite different from what I experienced at Bloomberg and Euronext. The environment is more “fintech” oriented, with a relaxed and casual atmosphere. Hoodies and sneakers are more common than formal attire. It’s a cohesive team that enjoys working together, which creates a positive and productive work environment. The cultural shift has been noticeable but refreshing.

JAKE: What advice would you give to leaders in the FinTech market who may be considering a similar career move but are hesitant?

PAUL: While it may be easier said than done, my advice would be to evaluate your happiness and fulfilment in your current role seriously. Life is too short to be tied down by golden handcuffs or to feel underutilised. Consider whether you are truly passionate about what you are doing and if you believe in the product. Taking a leap can be intimidating, but the rewards of finding something you are genuinely passionate about are worth it. I understand that not everyone may have the same freedom to make such a move, but it is worth exploring the possibilities and pursuing personal fulfilment for those who can.

JAKE: COVID has catalysed many people to reconsider their careers and seek more flexibility. I’m glad to hear it’s going well for you, and I appreciate your time.

PAUL: Thank you. I believe COVID indeed prompted many individuals to reevaluate their lives and priorities. It has been a pleasure speaking with you, and I hope our conversation resonates with others in similar situations. Thank you for having me.