My Salary Journey: Chief Marketing Officer

21 Jun 2023

Do you think you are paid fairly for what you do?

At first when I entered the 6 figure range it was difficult to see why I was entitled to so much - this was beyond any salary aspirations I ever had. Over time I have realised not only am I being paid for my experience but the efficiencies and value I create for the company overalls, which saves them in costs. If I wasn’t worth the paycheck they would not have coughed it up. 


Do you feel that you did anything differently to increase your salary? Any tips?

Confidence and understanding that you are worth more than what they normally offer.

I learnt this through interviewing and hiring myself, there’s always more off the table than what is presented on the table. Ask for more and know your worth. Asking for more is not looked down upon rather it demands respect (always know the context!)

Now I’m more stringent when I get reached out to for other job postings, I clearly state my expectations and if it can be met then we can have a conversation. 

I started working from a young age. It was a freelance passion, designing posters, and I was offered an internship as a marketing creative. I was thrown in the deep end at the age of 16 but slowly made it my side hustle during university. I collated my portfolio of design work and reached out to different charities and NFPs and I ended up working in marketing during my last two years of university. This just helped in cementing that I have had more than 10 years experience in industry.

Do you get paid any bonuses at work? If so, how much?

I have been entitled to equity when I entered the c-suite, and with the current model based on KPIs I will receive locked tokens of the project I am currently on. Depending on the market this can range from being 2x or more of my salary, or half.

Normally if it's locked in for 2 years I don’t consider this to be of value - and I try and negotiate a higher pay grade rather than a variable performance bonus.

Do you feel comfortable asking for a payrise?

This is a difficult one. In the event where the company cannot meet your demand, don’t give up - offer an alternative.  Never be afraid to ask and push.

However, one piece of advice which has really helped me is ensuring you discuss your higher expectation of the range and negotiate a 3 month review meeting where you instigate it too (normally post probation). This has actually worked quite well for me, where the company had agreed to pay me £5,000 more per month (£60,000 increase) should I hit some ambitious targets which were aligned. God willing this should be achieved in the time frame and therefore, I will be able to negotiate an upgraded package.

Remember, Define your value, and when you have a counter offer on the table make sure to discuss it.

Do you feel loyal to your company?

Loyalty is a really deceptive term. It’s manipulative and condescending. A job is a job, it does not define you as an individual either mentally or spiritually. Rather it becomes a medium for you to sustain and live. I treat my work as a compartment of my life, there are many things I am more loyal to.

That’s why my relationships, my spirituality and my loved ones are the most important part of my loyalty circle. However, Loyalty is a two way street, when a company can show up for me - I too will show up for them beyond the contractual terms. 

I always believe when managing teams which I never expected to do so early on in my career, you must display loyalty to those you manage. Psychological safety is of the utmost importance and having worked with awful managers during the start of my career - it’s one thing I want to ensure that the teams I manage feel empowered and they trust me.

In short, no I am not loyal to the company as a money making machine, but rather to the people I manage and those who support me in my development.

How many times have you been promoted? Twice in one job.

Did you have to go to university to get your job?

Not really, but university gave me so much more. I really despise the TikTok talk that floats around that university gives you nothing. It’s why I also later on in my career have decided to go back into education. The skills and knowledge that my university gave me, come to life in different aspects.

Yes, you can be a c-suite executive maybe without a degree, but if you make the most of your time at university you can become a more well-rounded and informed individual. I believe the amount of people, personalities and viewpoints I was exposed to at university have been instrumental in my career. Maybe the random history essay you submit will never come in hand except for credits to pass, but you will be surprised at the skills it allows you to gain. The soft skills I gained during my university enabled me to springboard my career beyond measure.

Did you have to do any extra qualifications for your job?

Not really. Just good, sound knowledge of marketing which you can nowadays pick up online or through podcasts. I do make it known that I take management seriously, and also recommend to the leadership team the books I’m reading and forward on relevant talks I may find useful.

One learning not qualification I found really helped, was the framework of Radical Candour which I was introduced to a few years ago. Kim Scott’s talks are great ways for people to also quote in interviews especially if they are going for a management job.

How many pay rises have you had? 11 pay rises

What tips do you have for someone wanting to get your role?

Always keep your CV up to date. Keep applying for roles and map out where your journey will take you. Try to reach out to people and ask them for advice. 9 times out of 10 they will reject you. But never give in to the idea that the world will not help you. As a person of faith, I treat every career move or change as an act of faith. Knowing that God has destined for me abundance and sufficiently provides, is a mindset I am getting more and more comfortable with and I see it manifesting in my day to day. 

Nevertheless, I used to reach out to CMOs on LinkedIn and many of them would just straight up say they had no time to mentor or ghost. It was only until I volunteered for someone who I looked up to, helping him with his local charity, that he offered to sit down with me and go over a 1-1 mentoring session to success. Whilst that specific session was not at all helpful for my career, it taught me a lesson that people are always on hand to help you in life. You just need to knock on a few doors.

Never be surprised with the power that you can have through your online presence and branding. Especially LinkedIn. Rely on your network and if it ain’t doing it, then network some more and exit your comfortability a bit more. 

You will be surprised by what and who is out there. And even if you have had a random career journey, jumping sector and roles - craft a storytelling piece as to why all of those responsibilities and employment opportunities have led you to the role you are currently applying for. As humans we relate to stories, yours is worthy of telling.


What does the day-to-day of your role look like?

  • Check my emails during my morning coffee, followed by industry news and twitter scrolls through other projects
  • Daily stand ups with my team as they are all remote in different locations
  • Admin check-in with my operations team
  • Block out 2 hours for deep research / brainstorming (practically procrastinate through browsing but end up with a good idea to run with)
  • Prayer break
  • Meeting with shareholders
  • Messaging and updating the other c-suite on the progress
  • A call with vendors and agencies


How would you describe your work/life balance?

I think right at this time, comparatively - I have a good work life balance. The pay off being away from an office is that sometimes you have to be on at irregular hours. It’s a price I’m willing to pay if I am logging on from a beach or a shisha cafe.

Last year, I was away from the UK about 60% of the time, spending my time at a variety of conferences and also remote working holidays. I enjoyed the balance and being able to work anywhere in this sector is why I enjoy it the most.

What is the best/worst thing about your job?

The best thing about my job is the flexibility and the passion that as an emerging frontier of technology we can really reshape and change the way the world of finance is seen. 

The flexibility means that I am ultimately responsible for my own tasks and deliverables. In order for others to succeed I must deliver - so as Uncle Ben said ‘With great power comes great responsibility’ (it ain’t that deep but you get the picture).

The worst thing about my job is that whilst there are high rewards it also comes with great risk. A simple exploit can lead to a huge industry shock which can scare investors. Making sure you work at a place which makes sense for you can avert this risk. However, as a CMO part of my role in this industry is to create hope and avert anxiety from partners, users and builders into the project.

After a year at your first salary, what target salary did you think you'd be comfortable with? Literally £20k more than my first salary and my old self would have been happy.

How has this changed as you've earned more money?

Donating to charity more, helping my family and especially my parents reach financial freedom is my ultimate goal. Ngl, I do like the finer things in life which I always wanted to explore. Flying business or first was a dream and I guess it happens more frequently now, I brought my first luxury watch as a reward after I hit a certain threshold, but that created huge amounts of guilt which I guess is a good thing. 

Last year I spent 70% of my savings from my past two jobs, for a project to further my parents pension plans through an investment on their behalf. It could be seen as a good deed, but for me - it's the minimum I can do for them as they have sacrificed so much to help me achieve my goals and success. I do want to be financially free one day, and have residual income which is comfortable enough to focus on my passions and not be shackled by any corporation or entity.

One book which has changed my relationship to money, is Happy Money: The Japanese Art of Making Peace with Your Money by Ken Honda. He highlights that money is like a flow of energy which can be maximised for goodness through donating, giving it to loved ones, buying gifts for friends, giving something additional, being grateful when you receive money, praying for contentment, and paying with gratitude. The whole book really radically changed my perception of the fear attached to money and viewing it as a flow or consistency really helped me to start my journey towards a healthier way to engage with it.

As your salary has increased, how have your spending habits changed?

I guess it’s a difficult task managing money and coming from a migrant family where money was scarce growing up, I have certain views and psychological habits that are tied to wealth. Nevertheless, I always find joy in spending on others, investing in the finer things in life and ensuring that I can save comfortably and live nicely.

I have been introduced to or more aware of wealthy people and observed some of their lifestyle and habits. If I’m honest, the majority of my interactions with them seem to disappoint me. Unfortunately, when money is the only aspiration you have, it leads to a very destructive and a sad life. It’s more of a worry than a blessing. Money should be a means not the end, having a greater purpose and compass in life should help you achieve this. For me faith grounds me in my understanding of it and whilst it can fluctuate brings me back to achieving some sort of anchoring amongst turbulent thoughts.

As your salary has increased, have your saving and/or investing habits changed?

I try to invest 50% of my salary every month rather than keeping it for a rainy day. I’m interested in property and ensuring ultimate financial freedom but for now I’m comfortable knowing that I have enough to support myself and spend on loved ones.

Much of my money ends up being spent on experiences, travel and enjoying the finer things in life. I like to enjoy it with my family and friends - that’s probably the major upgrade in my habit - having more to do more.

In 10 years time, where do you hope to be career wise?

Out of one. The rat race exists on all levels of the career ladder. I want to be free of any corporate slavery and ensure that I have enough assets to live a free and sustainable life. I never thought I could achieve the salary I’m at before the age of 40, now that I have - 39 should be a good time to retire. However, I do get a kick out of managing and helping people develop. Maybe a role in advisory or organization impact could be appealing, as long as I’m not a motivational speaker, I will be happy ;)

How much do you hope to be earning in 5 years time?

I really do not know. Sometimes I feel like I have hit my peak. I guess I want to be in a position where I can earn off my own business model and develop something which could have more legacy than a role. I would be comfortable with my current salary and some, but either way - it's all about the journey more than the destination itself.

God has been kind, and I am forever indebted to those that have enabled me to get to the place that I am in. I do hope in 5 years time - I can feel more confident in my space and be in a position where I can support others around me to achieve what they wish to do. So earning is not really a figure for me, rather in 5 years time the lifestyle I wish to achieve is one without worry.