Cal Evans is an award-winning international cryptocurrency lawyer. He is the managing associate of Gresham International, a US Securities Consultant with a wealth of experience working in top law firms in both California and London as well as the founder of Fortune Wallet.
Cal undertook advanced IT at a junior college and received the top AVCE recognition award before undertaking his undergraduate in law. He eventually passed law school in England specializing in business and corporate law. In 2015 Cal undertook his certificate in financial markets with Yale – he is considered one of the leading individuals on Cryptocurrency and Crypto Raise Compliance. Few people have the technological, legal, and financial expertise needed to tackle the cryptocurrency market and Cal certainly is one of those rare individuals. He has experience working with companies across the globe, including some of the largest tech companies, during his time working in California.
Global Millionaire Magazine recently caught up with Cal to discuss his journey as an entrepreneur, and here’s what went down:
Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?
I started Gresham International back in 2015. The truth is that I was broke, living with a good friend, and had to move back to the UK to be closer to my mum, who was sick. I decided that I honestly had nothing to lose at that point in my life, so I should just roll the dice and start my own firm.
As things grew, I realised that having flexibility was a great thing. I could focus more on clients, meet their needs a get more involved than if I was just working for another firm. It’s amazing the stamp that you get to put on something when you build it yourself.
I can remember the first time I was able to give my friend ‘rent’ money. It was only a couple hundred pounds, but I earned those hundred pounds from my company. It was a great feeling.
Prior to setting up Gresham International, I worked at a California law firm. It was a great time. I finished my training with a small law firm and was preparing to take the bar when I had to move back to the UK. That time in California exposed me to real startup life if there is such a thing. Meeting so many amazing entrepreneurs also drove me to set up my own firm.
What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?
Gresham has an amazing industry name in the Crypto space. We have offices in multiple countries, and I love the team we have grown! The real benefit of our industry position is that most folks have heard of either me or us (probably both). Growth feels very organic at this point in time.
With the Crypto industry going so crazy, with so many new avenues, we’re not short on new clients. Actually, the opposite. We are now focusing more on strategic clients such as RadioShack, BabyDoge, CEEK, etc.
Don’t get me wrong; we love startups and new clients entering the market. The only problem is that as the number of them has grown, our test for them has too. Sometimes, it’s better to be kind to someone, highlight some flaws in their ideas and give them some steer, rather than just take their money!
We forecast some pretty awesome growth this year, focusing more on larger strategic clients.
What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?
Instagram is a heavy hitter for me. I have to balance between my personal image as an industry expert and the corporate one.
A couple of years ago, I decided to focus more on myself as an expert than as a company regarding social media. The reason being, is that most people don’t really have ‘brand’ loyalty, but they can develop ‘personal’ loyalty.
As a result, I have about 14,000 followers on Instagram and a large following on LinkedIn too. I actually think our corporate social media is dormant at the moment, given the change in strategy.
I have hardly ever used Twitter. I have a real personal issue with how Twitter treats its users and Jacks’ ever-changing view on Crypto.
What is your experience with paid advertising, like PPC or sponsored content campaigns? Does it work?
Honestly, no. PPC Campaigns are a thing of the past. They also get beaten by bots if they work out you have paid for engagement.
Our marketing focuses more on ‘in person’ events, especially with my speaking reputation. I would much sooner spend money at an event meeting, people, than hoping people click on our website.
What is your main tactic for making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers? How did your business stand out?
Marketing is very tough in the crypto industry. Especially being a legal service firm. The whole social media scene is full of fakes, bots, and spam. My social media accounts are constantly being cloned, and these clones reach out to my followers in an attempt to steal money.
As a result, my main tactic is to do as much face-to-face work as possible. In an industry full of so much ‘fakeness’ it’s easy to hide behind an email. Conferences, events, and speaking are all the main ways of generating interest and meeting people.
Of course, we keep the corporate side of things up with a solid website and some social media presence. The engagement of that definitely shows an intention to be in the industry.
What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?
In-person marketing has worked the best. Getting to events and conferences and meeting with people.
There are so many lawyers claiming to be ‘blockchain believers’ or ‘crypto captains’ – the minute I see a tag line like that on anyone’s social media, I switch off. It’s obvious they are full of crap. You see the same people at events worldwide, the real titans of industry. They recognize each other, and usually, meeting them shows your commitment to the industry.
My dad ran a very successful business for years. He once told me that we could put a sign out the front of the office, saying our services are free, but no one would come in if no one needed them. The reality is to realize that in any service industry, you are outnumbered, and it could all end at any time. We keep that philosophy. As a result, our marketing is nimble, and we try to be as out-the-box thinking as possible.
What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?
I recently moved to a new location, which was well away from what I would consider the ‘hustle and bustle’ of city life. I went from London to California to where I am now. To say it was a culture shock is an understatement.
Like many, during COVID, I realised that I don’t NEED to be in the middle of everything.
My main worry was that being so far away would impact my work and client relationships. My aim was to become more focused on things that I could help develop and build the company and better service our clients.
I think it has paid off. I have the ability to strike a much better work/life balance and enjoy what I do so much more. Not that
I didn’t enjoy it before! It’s just when you work long days; it’s hard to find time for yourself often.
What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?
I made a lot of mistakes—both personally and professionally. However, I wouldn’t do a thing differently. I believe those mistakes helped shape who and what I am. I would say the same to anyone else. Mistakes are as much a part of life’s journey as the wins. Embrace them as you do a win, and everything balances out.
If you are looking for one personal money mistake? I definitely sold some of my Crypto holdings WAY too early. However, I can never see that as a bad thing. I spent the money on stuff I needed!
What new business would you love to start?
It’s actually starting! Fortune Wallet is something I have been working on for several years. Filing the patent, fighting for trademarks, developing strategy. I just got the first valuation back at $10million, a pretty great starting point for a new company.
The wallet is essentially the best wallet you will ever use. Think of a Venmo or PayPal style app which allows users to remit Crypto easily to each other, using a really cool method. That system is patented.
Watch this space!
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?
Honestly, nothing. Except probably buy more Bitcoin.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
I took a lot of influence from my dad. I think most young men do, although they wouldn’t admit it. My dad has always been very pragmatic in life; a simple problem, a simple solution.
I also read a lot of books by industry leaders. I try to get as much information from them as I can while reading between the editing lines.
The best advice I was ever given, was honestly to just try things. There is only one way to find out is something I have lived in business and personally. You can plan, plan, plan, but there is no substitute for just trying and seeing how it goes at the end of the day. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I wouldn’t change anything about my past. If I had an idea, I tried it. If it didn’t work, I moved on.
What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
Just go for it. Don’t over plan. Don’t overthink. I promise you everything you think of will be different from how you originally planned it. You can never plan for every possible outcome, and you can’t predict the future.
Richard Branson is famous for saying, ‘if someone asks you if you can do it, just say yes, then work out how to do it when you need to’. Sure, that doesn’t work if you are a pilot, but it’s a great way to grow and adapt if you are starting a business. Don’t say no to something just because it doesn’t fit in your business plan. Grow along with your business and the opportunities life gives you.