Adam Threadgill was born in Texas as the middle child of seven children. When he turned 18, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. After two deployments to Fallujah, Iraq, he decided to reconsider attending college for a further education. After four years of service, Adam enrolled at the University of Texas where he would get his bachelor’s degree and law degree. Throughout law school, Adam focused on criminal law and interned for both a federal and county prosecutor’s office. His graduation from law school and passing the bar coincided with an offer from his brother to work for ownership in a financial advising firm, which would later be called Threadgill Financial, in Spring, Texas. Adam Threadgill married his seventh-grade crush in 2010. They have one child and are working through the process of adopting more.
Where did the idea for Threadgill Financial come from?
My brother started up a financial services company and thought I was probably not a bad person to bring on board. He asked me if I wanted to work for equity, so it was low stakes for him.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My four-year-old is an early riser. I like to be up well before him so that I can get prepared for the day, get some work done, and be ready to give him lots of attention once he is awake. That generally looks like getting up between 5 am and 6 am, answering some emails, doing a little reading, and drinking a lot of coffee. I make everyone breakfast and take my son to school. If I have meetings in the office, I’ll head in. If not, I’ll go back home and work from the breakfast table.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Writing down the goal, then creating a step-by-step plan that allows me to tick off the small steps as I accomplish them.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Private space exploration. I love that our country fosters the type of businesses that decide it’s a good idea to explore space. Many countries are spending a lot of money on space exploration, but no one else has private individuals spending their own money on space exploration like we do in the U.S. That makes me happy and hopeful that we still have a unique culture dedicated to exploration and excellence.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Goal setting. I write down goals in the order I want to achieve them and put my lists in places I will see often. Some of the goals are very long-term and personal, such as my wife and I being the type of parents that my kids want to come home to see. Others are much more immediate, such as keeping my weight under 200 lbs.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I worked a lot in high school. I got a job at 14 at a car wash, then worked at Eckerd’s until I could drive. Then I got a job working construction until I joined the Marine Corps. But I think it would have been helpful if I had set aside some time to play sports. Swimming and cross country would have come in handy in the Marine Corps and running is something I enjoy today.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Social media isn’t real life. Don’t waste your time being upset about it.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Decide to be friendly and courteous. My true nature is misanthropic curmudgeon. I have to make myself behave in a friendly, courteous, and professional manner since it is not my default.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Writing our own material and getting it in front of clients and potential clients has helped our business to grow. Over time, they will get a feel for your personality. If you’re a good fit, they’ll move forward.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
This is a really sales-focused industry and it tends to attract a lot of flashy, sales rep types of people, so it’s easy to think that’s how everyone does it. In the beginning, we thought if everyone is doing it that way, maybe we should also be wearing silk suits, pocket squares, and polka dot ties with ridiculous pointy leather shoes. But that’s really not our style at all. We grew up in a small town where everyone wears cowboy boots and hats, so the idea of driving a Porsche and dressing like we’re from Europe wasn’t the best representation our style. Figuring out how to be genuine and then being genuine works a lot better than trying to be something you’re not.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
My bet is Texas will legalize cannabis sooner or later. If Oklahoma is an example, people who have giant industrial spaces in low rent areas suddenly have a new market for their spaces.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
A percussion massage gun. Easily the best $60 I’ve ever spent.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I emptied my home screen on my phone of everything but the reminders tool. I put anything I need to get done on that list. Since it’s the only item on my home screen, I look at it a lot.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
On the Shortness of Life: Life Is long if You Know How to Use It. It’s easy to become obsessive in this industry, especially with the technology we have now. It’s important to think about how little or how much we can get done.
What is your favorite quote?
“If at first you don’t succeed, keep on sucking ‘til you do succeed.” – Curly from the Three Stooges.
• Don’t do what everyone else is doing if it’s not genuine to who you are.
• America is at its best when it fosters exploration and excellence.
• Write down your goals and keep them in a place you can review them often.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.