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Jim Mousner has a photo of himself at age 5 donning a fedora and carrying a briefcase, playing secret agent. He went so far as to interview with the Secret Service but chose to pursue a different career. His interest in espionage, however, never waned.

By Laura Tiffany

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Today, as the founder of Houston-based creative design firm Origin Design, Mousner puts the skills he's learned as a sleuthing enthusiast to work for his clients, from employing investigative techniques to determine what clients really need to finding graphic design inspiration from counterfeiting investigations. The Secret Service had a lasting effect. "Working in the background and being the quiet hero isn't too different from making corporate CEOs shine and helping protect their brand image from threats," says Mousner, 37, whose business projects more than $3 million in sales this year.

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