Let’s dive in:
Wall Street continues shunning traditional finance professionals unless they have an IT background. Not publicly, but you know it happens quietly. What’s the difference if it’s you? Bankers, traders, sales, risk, compliance, reporting, etc. professionals are still being let go.
Therefore, where are these professionals to go? Maybe FinTech? FinTech and maybe crypto are the logical choice. However, how do you get there?
How do you enter a brand-new arena like FinTech and crypto when you…
- Don’t really know a lot about the newest technology (at least admit it to yourself)
- Have few contacts in this area since it appears swamped with 20 somethings
- Need a stable base salary that Wall Street has always provided
It might appear easier to become a clown, space traveler, or streaming movie star. Have you even identified what transferable skills you can take to a FinTech and crypto company? What do FinTech and crypto even mean anyway?
Start to close your technology gap by reading everything you can on blockchain and crypto. Study the FinTech 250 produced by CB Insights. Think about taking a certification course in Python, data science, or anything else that will give you an appreciation for how technologists think.
I can hear you now, Mike “I’m not a techy”. You don’t need to dig deep, just dig a little. Passing these courses is not that hard. Learning after the age of 40 is hard I will grant you!
At a minimum learning about technology will show you have an interest that you can turn into a passion. Employers love to see genuine interest.
Continue your investigation and ask the experts; Yes, I mean your kids! You probably want to bribe them with Bitcoin to get their attention though.
Do you know how many of my technology clients have gone back for an MBA after 10 years of working? About 10x as many as those MBAs that have gone back to “school” for technology. There is a reason tech is taking over. They know how to fill gaps and don’t assume anything.
Your contacts in the FinTech and crypto spaces are more numerous than you think. I have written extensively on how to network into companies and industries with professionals you share a commonality like a university or former employer.
In terms of finding a less speculative FinTech and crypto company that can pay you a real base salary, stick with the companies that have already raised a series C/D or are post IPO.
My client’s challenge
My client, call her Sarah, was working at a Bulge Bracket investment bank, making great money in fixed income. She could have stayed for many years, but family pressure and the need for something more creative drove her to open her eyes and call me.
Sarah had an interest in crypto but didn’t know how to even approach the space. She spent her life “working”, not “networking”. Therefore, her network was small. Who has time to network when you work 60+ hours a week?
I showed her how to network and she hit it out of the park
Sarah and I focused on building her network within the FinTech, crypto, and blockchain spaces. She had worked for 3 former Wall Street firms and came from a mid-sized university. I taught her how to leverage LinkedIn to:
- Find professionals working in FinTech, crypto, and blockchain
- Contact them using friendly language in the connection request
- Ask for a coffee chat (virtual) in a way that disarmed the professional
- Conduct the conversation to gain information first, job second (the only proper order)
- How to follow up on a carefully scheduled plan to enhance the relationship
Sarah had 15+ coffee chats and learned where she belonged in this new world order. 3 months and a lot of follow up later, she landed a job at a crypto company with a $200k base plus upside.
Finally, there is a reason “work” is in “networking”.
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