Building A Company From The Ground Up w/Adam Moore of The Factory

Introduction

The past couple of weeks have been pretty hectic here at Spencer Pugh Media but I'm excited that I was able to squeeze in this week's episode of The Bedroom Entrepreneur Podcast with a new and good friend, Adam Moore of The Factory.

Each week I aim to put out a blog post, YouTube video, and podcast episode to supply helpful and informative content to other entrepreneurs and small business owners in the Roanoke Valley or around the world.

On this week's episode Adam talks about his project, The Factory, which I have been really excited about. 

Feel free to watch the video or listen to the podcast above, or read the text that I had transcripted from the video. (I had someone do this for me on Fiverr. So, I know it's not perfectly transcripted but I hope if you read it, you can get the main ideas.)

I hope you enjoy!

Building A Company From The Ground Up

Host

Good morning everyone and welcome back to the Bedroom Entrepreneur. Obviously, you've noticed I haven't put out a podcast this week and that's because I was ready for this one with a special guest Adam Moore here. We met through the Gauntlet program which is put on by the Investment Foundation in Vinton Virginia and it's basically a way to bring in entrepreneurs, small business owners to sort of help them get their feet set so they can sort of build you know the foundation of their business and start working through that. So, that's been a lot of fun and I've got to meet really cool people like Adam here. So, Adam welcome to the podcast. 

Adam

Likewise, Thank you. 

Host

This is the first for both of us, I’ve never had a guest on….

Adam

I’ve never been on a podcast.

Host

So, Adam tell us where we are and who you are.

Adam

Well we're right now we're at an industrial warehouse space that's been called factory ultimately because it was an old factory back in the 50’s and the address is somewhere on Shenandoah Avenue close to Downtown also close Salem through a pretty heavily traveled corridor. The address and more information on that will become available soon.

Host

Cool. Yeah. So, what exactly is the space like? Well first of all what was the factory used for? What did they make here?

Adam

Well ultimately it was a couple things back in the day it was…. It started out I think as an additional laundromat that basically did industrial cleaning, uniform services this and that and the other. Its had several reincarnations through the year I could go back as far as saying that it was a popular store back in the day. It was the South West Virginia food bank at one point, a roofing company owned it before I did. So, yeah, I mean it's had reincarnations.

Host

Yeah, interesting. So, now what are you doing here?

Adam

So, it's an industrial co-working space. So, the idea is that it's accessed to space, tools, and resources that are normally beyond the means of most entrepreneurs or hobbyists. And essentially you know you can pay a membership rate to get access to stuff you normally couldn't afford kindof really help you get your feet under you.

Adam

No matter where you are in your career path. 

Host

So, anywhere from like people like me doing media work or creative work to literally physical woodworking, welding things like that.

Adam

Absolutely, yeah absolutely. So, we want to have clean office space for those that are just doing the day to day creative business from photography and digital design, anything that basically is office space related all the way to open warehouse space and open-air manufacturing. So, we want to have a woodworking shop, metal fabrication shop. We want to introduce 3 D printing, prototyping and again for it just to be a nice resource for the community.

Host

Sure, so you say we a lot which I always do, it's my company even though it's just me right now.

Host

And that's true for you as well to you know majority of the stuff here has been done by you.

Adam

For sure and I really don't know why I always say we but I mean it sounds better.

Host

Official.

Adam

It does, it sounds like there is this big team behind.

Adam

But ultimately, yeah, I mean I would say 95% of the work that's been done here has been done with my hands. And it wasn't I could say it wasn’t intended to be that way but that was just the resources that I had to work with, that was just a reality and I just you know kind of took it on open arms and just kind of chipped away at it as best as I could. It was a for bigger project then I could've imagined.

Adam

Yeah, because this place was like just a shell like you said earlier today.

Host

Like it was pretty empty.

Adam

Yeah, but it had some existing office space in it but ultimately the workhouse space itself was just an open ear-air canvas. 

Adam

You know what I mean I could essentially do just about anything I wanted to within means but yeah it really has kind of taken shape here in the past 6 to 9 months. 

Host

So, yes, I imagine it's pretty overwhelming to have just a huge canvas and sort of sit down and say, okay what I'm going to do walls wise?

Adam

And you know that is exactly what I did and that's another reason why it's kind of taken the time that it's taken to do this is that ultimately you know I have this plan for the building but most of it was just in my mind. You know I didn't really have the skill set to put it down on paper and so, ultimately you know I kind of went from place to place just kind of figuring out what is the building going to give me? What can I do with it? What's going to make the most sense time wise as well as resource wise? And there's a lot you know there's a thousand decisions that need to get made and ultimately, I was pretty in the size or a bunch of them. But you know just got to figure it out and just keep moving forward.

Adam

And I've been able to do.

Host

So, what was the biggest wall you ran into or struggle or maybe there was multiples what was the biggest thing that really?

Adam

Yeah, there are hurdles along I mean every turn there's a hurdle. 

Adam

I mean even the good even you know the good milestones there's a hurdle right there at that milestone or either right before or right after it. But ultimately, it's the time you know, that's the big thing, is the time. I mean that was like the biggest hurdle for me because it's ultimately, it's been like this hurry up and wait kind of game. You know you get so much traction and you start moving forward, a lot of momentum starts happening you get excited about the project only to have the brakes pumped up you know.

Adam

And I probably had those breaks stopped you know no less than 20 times.

Adam

Because you get to a certain point where either you can't move forward because of a decision has to get made down the line or you’re limited on your resources, I mean that's really is kind of what dictates. And for me you know everything that I've done in this building has really come second hand which is allowed me to make this bigger and better than I really could imagine. Like I knew in my head I knew what I wanted, I wanted this like industrial we workspace.

Adam

We work is a billion-dollar unicorn.

Adam

You know unlimited budget and I kind of took inspiration from what they're doing because I want this to be an inspirational work space you know again whether it's office space related stuff or whether it's manufacturing I want you know when you walk in the doors I just want you to have this like this feeling when you come and it’d like, oh man I can tell some special going to happen.

Adam

Like I want to be here, I want to be a part of the community. And with a blank canvas the way it was that was pretty hard to envision. So, little bit by little bit took a little bit you know you put up a wall here, you put up some sliding doors, you change them with a paint color, add some Ford wear, some lights and stuff like that I mean it's just really taken shape.

Adam

But the challenge has been waiting for certain materials and things become available because they're not always there.

Host

And I think you know you have something special because you're not at We Works you know it is your own sort of baby and so you're able to do things sort of your own way or maybe do things differently than they would.

Host

While sort of still offering the same kind of service to this area.

Host

And I think that's a huge part of it as we just don't have anything really like this here, so you know.

Host

I got immediately excited for this project when heard about it because this stuff is cool man and especially for the Roanoke area like it's trying to really grow and bring in younger people and you know promote entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Host

So, this is sort of like a step in that helping, like you’re providing office space, like your providing workspace.

Adam

Absolutely and you know hopefully I had a very affordable price point that allows people to kind of realize, hey you know what maybe this is a challenge and this is something that I can take on now. But you know it limits the financial hardship that the person coming in the door has to experience day 1. So, all the back-end stuff is already in place you know the resources are here, the power is here, the community will be here you know and it's just you know we want to provide an inspiring space for people whoever they are and whether it's again you know they want to be an entrepreneur or they are an entrepreneur, they're a craftsperson, contractor or just a hobbyist just looking to kind of get their foot in the door.

Host

So, you mentioned this is like you know your baby, this is your thing. So, you're not working right now besides this correct?

Adam

Correct. this is my full time. 

Host

So, what were you doing before?

Adam

Well, first I started, I got out of school and started selling insurance. That was my career path when I first started was basically that route school, jumped right into the insurance world of sales.

Adam

So, via selling property casually. I enjoyed it, it was fine you know I kind of didn't know really what my…. I didn't really honestly didn't know what my career path was when I got out of school.

Adam

I just wanted to get out, makes money and start you know just kind of build a career. 

Adam

But yes, started out insurance really enjoyed it. Got to a certain point and it allowed me to buy my first house. You know I was 24 I didn't know what else to do so like my parents were like you know what? It’s time to buy a house. I go okay, so I bought a house. Now I bought a house, didn't realize or maybe I did realize but it needed everything you know everything needed to be redone on it. You know I spent all my money actually buying the house that didn't have anything to, we didn’t pay a contractor to come in and do stuff. Well, so you know I kind of just set up learning these skills on my own, started that with some basic drywall and, electrical plumbing and then got into you know renovating the bathrooms and kitchen and I just wanted to do something different. Read in a magazine Concrete Countertops and this was kind of when they were first company and I was like dude, I can do this. You know I kind of like set up that I was going to make concrete countertops for the kitchen and the first go around I mean they really looked bad. I mean because it was a lot of work and they looked like crap.

Host

It’s one of those things you're like oh that's easy, it looks easy.

Adam

Yeah, like concrete I mean how hard could it be? But it was a challenge but it did trigger something in me that like you know what this creative outlet was….. something about it was really special you know just kind of set this like this light bulb off for me. So, I took an interest in it and I just kept making samples getting better and better at it and then finally came down to make my tops for real this time. Cause I changed the melt no less than 3 times because you know if something would crack on it or whatever. So, essentially, I just kind of set it out that I wanted to be really good at this one thing.

I went out got some professional help with it. I went out to Arizona with the Riley.

Host

You were serious!

Adam

Yeah, and like learn from some master craftsman. And again, that just kind of you know invigorated me to come back and be really creative with what I was doing and ultimately, I got really good you know I got really good at what I was doing with that and set out to make it a small business. So, essentially it was a side hustle of Concrete Countertops and Sinks.

Host

That sort of grew into it 

Adam

And it grew into basically a place where I could you know I needed to get outside of working in basements, I felt comfortable enough that I needed to get into my own you know commercial space.

Adam

So, I answered a Craigslist ad it was like $500 it was something I could afford, hopped on it, came to show up for where it was you know where the ad was and sure enough it's actually in this building that we're in right now.

Host

Oh, cool.

Adam

Yeah, so I was renting out of this 1500 square foot sliver of this and I was still working full time. But ultimately you know got to the point where I was getting more jobs with concrete and then doing the same thing that I felt comfortable enough that I could you know put full the time gig and just focus on being creative. Because ultimately, I found far more enjoyment by going back and sitting by the desk.

Host

Sure. And that moves me to the next question which is, what is your advice as far as quitting a full-time job or keeping a full-time job to be able to like pursue something like this or even on a smaller level like say someone just makes really cool paintings or something?

Host

So, would you advise them to cut the full-time job and just go all in?

Adam

I would not advise that I probably I mean I didn't take my own advice on that. I mean essentially, it is a balancing act. You know with this particular project I knew to get it to where wanted to be and I couldn't afford contractors to come in and do the work for me.

Adam

So, I had to do it myself. So, I basically decided I was going to take a year and a half although it turned into 2 years to really renovate this space out and for that, I've taken two years without any pay.

Adam

And that’s tough, that’s really tough you got to have a pretty good support system which I have in place. But I mean I would recommend you know just you know just cutting ties with something that's making you money. You got to ease into it until you can develop enough of you know fine to tell you know a good history of making sales with whatever creative value that you're doing. But you know what I mean I don't think I would recommend following my footsteps with that. 

But I would also say though is that I was passionate enough about what I was doing then I was willing to make it hurt.

Host

Yeah

Adam

You know and that's kind of a tale right there you know. If you really want to make something happen you know sometimes you've got to make choices that are pretty difficult. 

Adam

Ultimately you know I mean you know it will pay off you know you just got to sometimes you just got to you know get through it.

Adam

And yeah, I was in a position where I was in a full-time job for a year and at the end of that year I knew I didn't want to be there and also, they weren’t really happy with the digital marketing that I was trying to implement there.

Adam

And so, we came to this sort of mutual agreement that I would leave and so mine was more of what do I do now? Do I try and find another job like this that I'm not really going to like even though I have these skills and these talents that I want to start using to make money elsewhere? And so I sort of took the approach of just diving in you know and you know I'm young I was just out of college, a year out of college so for me to sort of make that choice was scary because the student loans and stuff but also really freeing and I knew you know I was getting married soon and you know kids will be on the way within a few years so I really wanted to do this. While the money isn't as important you know take that step and …..

Adam

No, I mean that's a good point too. I mean you know the opportunity is not a lengthy visitor and I think for me with this particular project it was an opportunity that I really couldn’t let pass. I wasn't ready for it you know basically I was renting out that 1500 square foot area and the company that owned the building ahead of me basically they were filed for bankruptcy, they didn't tell me. So ultimately, I was kind of stuck in this position of okay what am I going to do? And I was very fortunate to have a gentleman come in the door and basically, he owned the building outright and said, hey look I appreciate you sending me these rent checks do you have any interest in buying the building?

At that point you know I'm not making anything, still not you know. But you know it was one isn't there I mean I can't you know I can afford  like the $500 a month rent that I'm making right now past that I don't know. But you know I also know that an opportunity like this doesn't come across your doorstep very often.

Adam

So, you know I went back to him and said look can you give me 2 weeks to think about it maybe come up with a business plan and kind of you know him holding these things and make a go of it. And ultimately, you know at that point not married you know I've got my own house which I did sell so I was like you know I was kind of in this place where I have got a little bit of cash to put into it but ultimately not enough to really do everything that I needed to do with it but ultimately like you know I just knew that look this opportunity is not going to happen.

Adam

So, I kind of just embraced it and jump on it and again at that point I also knew that if I'm going to make a mistake the only person who's really going to hurt is me.

Host

Sure. That's true and while we're on that subject, did you then start doing the flipping of machinery and stuff? Was that sort of a way of having some sort of money come in so you could…?

Adam

OH, man that's a good point. No, I mean again this whole thing is for me it's like I'm not skillfully trained really in any of this but I just know what I want my head and I know I honestly kind of know how to make things look good. I mean just from the flipping of my house you know I was able to kind of develop of what I think looks good, you know the mean? But ultimately, I kind of so I bought this building and ultimately now I’ve got to figure out how I’m going to pay for it, right?

Adam

And I didn't really think all that through. I got to a certain point in it and I was really starting to need money because it's a big space, a lot of upkeep, a lot of expenses. I was buying you know a couple pieces of machinery to put into the wood shop, metal shop and ultimately, I started getting to a sticky point from where I could see down the road, okay I'm going to need to make X payments coming up you know.

Adam

Do I have that in hand right now and I didn’t? So, but what I did have were couple assets that were I bought for you know at auction. Again, everything that's kind of come through here has been second hand or auction. And I kind of saw a tight window come up and I was like well you know what this is an extra piece of machinery let me go ahead and just try to flip it and see what happens.

Adam

And ultimately it did really well. So, that then got me into this side business of basically buying and flipping industrial equipment. It wasn't something that set out to do with this at all but it ultimately again became like this hobby. I didn't intend to do it at all but it ultimately became like this fun hobby and a way to make a little extra money.

Host

Yeah, yeah. Which is cool and I think that can help too is like you know someone in my field I guess like I do websites I do photography and videography for businesses. But there's always a means of sort of still making some sort of money doing the stuff you love but maybe not in the exact way that you would like to.

Host

Like for me I could go shoot you know a wedding, I've been asked to do weddings and I usually turn them down because I want to focus on businesses but I could go do a wedding and make you know a couple grand on that which would be great for rent or you know putting it back into the business wherever it needs to be. So, I think there's always too of sort of contracting your work out and maybe areas that you don't necessarily want to in the future but ways to still do it while moving towards a bigger goal or a bigger picture.

Host

Yeah, I mean the big thing is to like you really got to stay flexible. I mean you can't say…. from my experience in this I just know right now that I can't hang on to an idea or an expectation of what something is going to be. Because ultimately, you've got to be flexible enough to basically make a change because when you start something to the end process it's never really the way you think it's going to [inaudible19:27], you know what I mean? You’re going to get hurdles in there again with this, you know I kind of thought that easy peasy and I'm going to get in there, work way and make it happen and you hit some big down roadblocks right away. And you can’t anticipate those things but, in a sense, you’ve got to be able to overcome that stuff.

Adam

Definitely

Host

Yeah. So, I guess we'll try to wrap it up here, this has been awesome. We could talk about this for a little while actually, what is some advice you could give to an entrepreneur in my field, your field I guess more so your field who is thinking bigger picture something this or craft wise or flipping wise you know machinery, what advice have you sort of found, the wisdom you found that you could sort of help?

Adam

I don't know because I have you know I would say find a niche and stick with it, get really good at whatever you're going to do. I mean right now for me I've gotten good at a lot of things but I'm not an expert in any one thing you know.

Host

Same here. 

Adam

So, like kind of Jack of all trades but at the end of the day I mean it’s like you do have to be flexible, you've got to be good at a lot of stuff to really you know…. for example, you don't have employees so you wear a lot of hates and you've got to be willing to do the dirty work sometimes you know. Here I think out the garbage, clean the toilets, you know what I mean it's not glamorous at all.

Adam

Sometimes it can seem like it but you know it's definitely not, it’s a lot of hard work. You know I mean you just got to really stay flexible.

Host

Cool, well awesome. Opening date for this place?

Adam

Summer.

Host

Summer.

Adam

Yeah, for me it's always been like this too much thing.

Adam

Like any time you ask me it's probably 2 months away but the reality is though and it's never been fortunately than it has been today you know meeting you through the Gauntlet I mean that came at a great time….

Adam

….I do feel like that it's going to be early summer, we're looking to do a big launch party, a new website it's going to be coming out a way for members to actually find us and kind of sign up for advance notice of when will truly be open.

Host

So, where can people go now to find out more about this place or keep up with what's going on?

Adam

Absolutely, well you can find us on the on the web it’ssparksflyhere.com and honestly, we kind of got this sparks flier here from you know it's this idea of like you know it's what's going to happen when you give creators access to tools and resources to think making the sparks fliers?

Host

That's awesome. All right well I appreciate you in this I guess first podcast with a guess, it’s been awesome. Yeah, I'll link all of his stuff below which you can go check out and if you're listening on the podcast I’ll link you there too. But thanks, Adam.

Adam

Awesome. I appreciate it.

Host

Yeah, pretty much easy and shake even though we're friends. All right the end, see next week.