How a Trip to Wal-Mart Started a Business

by / ⠀Startup Advice / September 29, 2012

I, Sheena Allen, started my own mobile app business, Sheena Allen Apps, one year ago at the age of 22. I got the idea for my first app after leaving Wal-Mart with a very long receipt. Once I got back in the car, I told my roommate that, “it would be so cool to have a checkbook app that also allowed you to keep up with receipts and checks and stuff.” That idea would turn into action. As soon as I got to my apartment, I opened Microsoft Word, designed out my first app, wrote out the details of the functionality of the app, and found a developer. After begging my dad for a small loan and after a small time frame, PAMO, was available for the world to download. In my mind, PAMO was the best idea ever. I just knew that it would get thousands of downloads and I would soon be rich. But I quickly found out that I was wrong. Being so excited about the app, I seemed to have overlooked the fact that there are hundreds of other finance apps and over half a million other apps for iPhone users to download. However, I didn’t look at it as a failure. I instead looked at it as a learning lesson.

Four months later, I got the passion to create a second app. My second app, Words on Pics, was an app that I wanted to be more of a fun app. I knew people loved adding speech and thought bubbles and photo captions to their pictures, so I created an app that does just that. The greatest lesson that learned with Words on Pics is that you don’t have to have a super expensive app to have a quality app. Unlike the more expensive PAMO, Words on Pics was receiving a good number of downloads per day. The success of Words on Pics excited me and made me want to keep pushing forward.

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Sheena Allen Apps started out with an idea for a checkbook + photo app because of a long receipt, but I soon realized that the company was now growing into something bigger. I soon realized that I wanted Sheena Allen Apps to be home to more than just one or two apps. I wanted to build a company that was home to numerous apps that people would absolutely love. With that being said, in early 2012, I went to work on apps two and three, Dubblen and TwtBooth.

After an investment from my aunt and uncle for Dubblen and a monetary gift for my birthday for TwtBooth, I was now ready to add two more apps to the Sheena Allen Apps family. Dubblen, an app with a split camera that allows users to create “two photos in one”, was released in June 2012. TwtBooth, a Twitter app that offers a simple and convenient way to view photos posted on Twitter, was released in late July 2012.

One year into Sheena Allen Apps, I have over 60,000 downloads based off of word-of-mouth and limited advertising. I have not spent over $3,500 for any of my apps; yet have seen success from most of them. In fact, three of my four apps have been ranked at some point in their category, with Dubblen currently ranked in the top 100s in the Photo & Video category. Being from Mississippi, there are not a lot of resources, so there is a lot of learning that is done through trial and error. More so, I don’t have a huge budget and I have no angel investors backing me, but instead of that putting me down, it instead gives me more motivation.

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In college, I did a double major in psychology and film. I didn’t go into college wanting to be an entrepreneur. In fact, in high school, in never crossed my mind. But now that I am an entrepreneur, there is nothing that I love more. Though I am happy of what I have accomplished with Sheena Allen Apps so far as a one-person team, I have a long way to go. I have many, many more ideas for apps that I plan to add to the Sheena Allen Apps family, but as of right now, I am going to focus on the four that are currently available. The journey to a successful business is an interesting one, and I am enjoying every step of the way.

Sheena Allen is founder and CEO of Sheena Allen Apps, home to apps such as Dubblen and TwtBooth. Allen is a 23-year-old entrepreneur from Terry, MS.

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.


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