Kyle Weatherly took over his mother’s compression garment business in 2006, grew it by 30 percent a year and sold it 10 years later — all without a relevant degree. In fact, he started out wanting to be a lawyer. Solaris had five employees when Kyle started and 120 employees when it was acquired by Lohmann & Rauscher International GmbH & Co., a European conglomerate of medical device and product companies.
"My thinking at the time was, I’d go to work for my mom’s six-person company for two years and would round out my resume and I could, then, run a Habitat for Humanity somewhere in the world, yet to be determined," recalls Weatherly. "The thing that was really surprising in there is within six months, I fell in love with working in a small business."
After selling Solaris in 2016, Weatherly and his new wife spent a year staying in Airbnb’s around the world, a trip that inspired the idea for Frontdesk, his current startup.
Here are some tips from Kyle for other entrepreneurs:
- Learn how to produce good work with time constraints
- Take chances
- Have a plan that you don’t mind deviating from
- Approach people who you think can help you with your business
- People around Milwaukee are generally willing to meet with you, hear your idea and provide feedback
- Think about which areas of the economy are positioned to do well over the next ten years — that’s where the growth will be