Love What You Do!

Sean Allen '05 shares his experience of starting his dream business in 2021

My company, Allen Woodwork, initially started as a hobby. Growing up and throughout my life, I have always been interested in building things, creating and designing. It started with creating small things for myself and family and in 2019 transitioned into making wood signs, trays and flags for friends and family. It was always in the back of my mind that this may become a full time business, but to be honest, I was scared to ever pull the plug or quit my job in fear of failing.

As the passion for my hobby grew, so did my projects as I transitioned to bigger items. The more I worked on my side hobby, the more I enjoyed it more so than my corporate day job.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, times became hard for my company and I was let go in August 2020. It was a scary time, but after talking with family members, I decided to go full-time with my business.
It was the push I needed to take the leap of faith.

The first few months were difficult, as I transitioned fully into working for myself, trying to drum up business as well as figure out what my identity was as a woodworker. I worked out of my basement and only had the word of mouth of friends and family to keep me going.

For six months I kept grinding, taking any job I could. I didn’t make any profit during those months as every dollar I had went right back into my business. There were days when I contemplated finding another job in corporate America and quitting altogether but when it was all said and done, this was my dream job
and I knew I wanted to make it work.

I networked with other woodworkers, designers and contractors. I stepped up my social media interactions and made sure that the quality of my work was top tier. In early 2021, I started to finally see some of my hard work pay off, as my jobs gradually became bigger and my clientele became more diverse.

Summer of 2021 I felt like I finally hit my stride and as my portfolio of projects grew, so did my book of business. I am happy and proud to say that one year after being let go from my job and diving full fledge into being an entrepreneur, I have been able to move out of my basement into a legitimate shop, purchase a new
work truck, and make more in profit monthly over the last few months than I ever did at any of my corporate jobs.

My high school football coach and former engineering teacher at Chaminade Julienne, Coach Bob Young,
gave me a gift that I still keep to this day that he inscribed with, “Never Stop Learning.” I have looked at that gift often especially during this transition period to continue to learn in my business and grow as a person. The best thing that could’ve happened to me was to be let go from my former job.

It forced me to finally pursue what I was really passionate about. It really is my dream job come true. It is still hard work and long hours but when you do what you love, you never really feel like it’s work and that is true for me.

Allen Woodwork, LLC

(Story first published in Vision, Fall 2021)