We had the good fortune of connecting with Sean Harmer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sean, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Since starting my woodworking business, I’ve learned a lot about the importance of work life balance. Initially, it was easy to put a lot of pressure on myself to work long hours and consistently spend as much time as i could building my business. To a large degree, putting in the time is paramount for any new business. It builds character and sets the pace for your work ethic. Its incredibly important to put in the long hours and devote your mind space to your business but eventually this will wear you down in the long run. In my experience, a few years worth of 60-80 hour weeks was enough to burn me out but this developed a 6th sense per say of work ethic that i now feel like I’ve earned. I may not work as many hours per week, but my mind is trained to be able to think about work consistently and still take much needed breaks. I’ve earned my relaxing weekends and shorter days and can put that extra time back into myself, my family and friends. The balance makes me a better business owner as well as a healthier person. Don’t be afraid to put in the long hours, or burn yourself out. That’s passion for your business and the drive to succeed! Just remember that at some point you will need to give time back to yourself so you can move on to the next level.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a professional CNC machinist and woodworker with 5 years of business under my belt. I started my company after my son was born and become a stay at home father. In between feeding and naps, I did my best to learn and study fine woodworking and furniture building. A few years later and I’ve been able to move out of my garage and into a commercial space and make my dream become a reality. Custom woodworking is not an easy profession and requires a lot of attention to detail, structure and handwork. When I’m not building a piece of furniture, I am constantly running a CNC machine, carving various items and products to sell. Its important to have a strong presence on social media and be open to working on challenging projects. I strive to have my work speak for itself with a high attention to quality and detail.
In addition to custom woodworking, its important to focus on a specific product offering that is easily reproducible. Whether its cutting boards, bowls, coffee tables or a niche product like hangboards for rock climbers to training and hang from, I’m always looking for ways to make a product that is in demand.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, my rock climbing friends couldn’t find a hangboard to train their finger strength with and all the rock gyms had closed. I realized there was an opening to create a new brand of wooden hangboards and decided to create a new company called Hardwood Climbing (www.hardwoodclimbing.com) to fill the need of the local community. Since starting the brand, I’ve had a lot of success in bringing my creativity and woodworking knowledge to the climbing community. I combine unique hardwoods and artistic designs to offer the climbing community a new take on a hangboard that they’re proud to show off in their home.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Denver is such a fun city to explore with parks, trails, art and shopping districts, museums, eateries and bars. One of the first places id recommend is the Dairy Block, downtown. There are dozens of unique restaurants and eateries in one place with a weekend open market for local makers and businesses to display their goods. If I’m in the mood for a really good drink, a hidden gem is the old time speak easy called Williams & Gram. You’ll find some of the best drinks in town hidden behind a false bookshelf that brings you into this awesome bar. (Be sure to make a reservation before hand)
It would be hard not to visit Washington Park and scoot or bike around the park. People are constantly outside in Denver and Wash Park is a great example. We have endless trails for bike riding and the city is easy to navigate.
Red Rocks Amphitheater is a short drive west of the city and stunning to see. Summer events or yoga on the rocks make a great pit stop before heading into the mountains. Once you’re out of Denver and headed up I-70, be sure to stop at some of the amazing mountain towns along the way. Georgetown, Idaho Springs, Silverthorne, Breckenridge, Vail and Aspen are just some of the great places you can get lost in.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to shoutout my mother for being such a positive influence on my in my life. She’s always been instrumental in everything I’ve done as well as pushing me to do my best. My artistic ability undoubtedly comes from her eye for beauty and I’m grateful for her support in my woodworking business. Thank you, Mom for being a positive role model, friend and mentor