Fireside Chat: Woodworking, BBQ, and Family with Jesse Mullen

We asked Jesse Mullen, creator of the popular Solo Stove DIY Projects Series, to drill into what makes him productive. A lover of all things cooked slow, you can generally find Jesse outside BBQing, sitting around his Yukon with his family, or crafting a new project in his workshop.

We talked to Jesse about how he transformed his love for woodworking into a dream career and life as the owner of Mullen Woodworks. Read below for the inspiring conversation!

Please share a description of who you are, where you live, and what you do.

I am a woodworker and DIY’er from Northern Utah. I build projects and plans, and let people follow along in the whole process! I also run a small marketing company where I help businesses optimize their social media presences.

Tell us about an average day in your life.

I take care of my three kiddos during the day while my wife works as a teacher. During early morning, nap time, and late evening I build projects and edit videos. Between all of that, I have found a passion for BBQ and smoking meat. I’m diving into BBQ like it’s a bad habit!

For me, I have challenges staying patient with the kids and balancing life. I do not have a normal work schedule, so I’m making sure that I can prioritize appropriately and get things done. Watching three kids most of the day has crazy challenges that I thought I would never have to deal with. I have learned a lot the last few years and my kiddos teach me a lot.

How did you get interested in woodworking? What do you love about it?

I got into it through needing a new coffee table. I figured building one would be a lot more fun than buying one…. I was right! I have been hooked ever sense. I love being able to take a piece of wood, cut it, sand it, and finish it so that it turns into something awesome!

What are your favorite ways to get outside?

I love hiking, playing games, and BBQing every weekend from spring to fall!

Why do you enjoy spending time outside?

Mostly spending it with family and a group of close-knit friends. We love to spend the days outside swimming and enjoying that BBQ. It brings us closer together. Too often our world gets sucked into our screens and devices. Being outside lets our family put our phones down and actually converse with each other.

Who or what inspired your love of the outdoors?

Starting when I was little, my parents would take us hiking throughout Southern California. I was always outside, playing sports throughout my childhood. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been fortunate to keep up both hobbies, I’m outside any chance I get!

You’re busy! How do you manage your time?

Barely… lol. I have a calendar I try to stay up to date with. Having a very understanding wife helps more than anything. She is always helping me in every way she can.

How do you reconnect with what matters?

Stepping back from social media and just focusing on my kids helps a ton. Last year, I took 2 months off of social media and it let me refocus. I felt reenergized and less stressed.

If you had a motto or slogan, what would it be?

“Do Better. Work Harder.” Our world nowadays makes too many excuses. Work harder and get after it every day.

How does your Solo Stove help you slow down and enjoy the outdoors?

Our Solo Stove Yukon creates a great space to grab a beer, relax, and enjoy our family. Our world is so fast paced. Something about a fire lets us slow down and the stress just melts away. We love spending time together and our Solo Stove is the perfect gathering place!

Thanks so much for sharing your stories and wisdom, Jesse! You can keep track of Jesse’s woodworking projects on Instagram at @mullenwoodworks.