On any given day, you never know where you’ll find our newest tenant around Centerco – working in our kitchen, networking with neighbors or hard at work in his office. As an Intellectual Property attorney, Adam works with corporations, entrepreneurs, innovators and inventors to protect their ideas and intellectual property. Working in a collaborative office space seems like a perfect fit.
The Path to Small Business Ownership
Adam came into his profession in a bit of a nontraditional way, earning his undergrad in electrical and computer engineering and working as a software developer for about 10 years, before deciding that wasn’t what he wanted to do the rest of his life. He went back to law school part-time at SLU while he also worked part time. He graduated in 2007, and passed the bar on his first try. He went on to work for an intellectual property (IP) firm, which includes trademarks, copyrights, patents, etc., for about five years before deciding to go out on his own.
A born entrepreneur, Adam had a realization that so many have – he wanted to work to build his own firm, to chart his own path. Now he’s back on his own, practicing independently for a year and a half.
As a business owner, Adam has his own criteria for defining success. Meeting his obligations is a major part of it; “It’s hard to feel successful if you can’t pay your rent and everything else.” One of the things Adam really loves about small business ownership is the ability to choose his clients, and to have control over what projects and clients he takes on.
Most important, Adam realized he wanted to set his own hours and to be at home whenever he can to see his kids grow up and to be an active part of their childhood experience. As long as he had done what he needed to, he could also be there for his family.
Growing his firm
Part of what has helped Adam find success as a business owner is his varied background. Much of his patent work comes from inventors who are computer and software based, and his software development background gives him a bit of a leg up on his competition. Instead of the inventors re-explaining with less technical terms, they can simply hand Adam the code, saving both time and effort. Most of Adam’s inventor clients are also solo inventors, and though he doesn’t do business formation, Adam is able to use his experience to counsel other business owners, giving them basic knowledge and information they may need to protect their business.
As a new small business owner, Adam has found that he has to wear many hats. “I’m not a sales person,” he says of the need to generate business for his firm. But he has found partnership with other entrepreneurs in the building – one of which is helping him strengthen his message in order to share what he offers other small businesses.
Over the next few years, Adam hopes to transition his business to part-time practice, part-time coaching. His goal is to help other attorneys and software engineers learn to have a life outside of work and like what they’re doing. He is also hoping he will be able to be even pickier about who he takes on as a client, and focus more on patents than trademarks, because that’s really the part he enjoys. He is also working to develop classes for entrepreneurs and innovators through Dabble. Click here for a list of his upcoming classes!
To connect with Adam, email him at Adam.Bagwell@gmail.com.