Many of us learned countless lessons from our parents. From the alphabet to parenting techniques of our own, the influence of things our parents taught us is virtually inescapable. As we grow older, those lessons may become less frequent, but remain with us throughout our daily lives. In a twist on the classic dynamic, Kentucky-born entrepreneur, Kyle Eaton, now finds himself on the teaching end of his father-son relationship.
“Since I was five years old, my dad has worked as an electrician and in HVAC service,” Kyle recalls. “And for as long as I can remember, he’s dreamed of starting his own company.” That dream became reality in the fall of 2020, when, in the midst of a global pandemic, Kyle’s father called to inform him he had quit his job. “Your first reaction is surprise, confusion, maybe even a little bit of worry,” Kyle admits. “But when he explained that it was to start a business of his own, I had never been more proud of him.”
Early on, Kyle’s involvement was simply that of a son. He’d talk to his family about how things were going, occasionally offering his opinions or advice. Eventually, however, Kyle’s experience as a successful entrepreneur since 2016 found its way into the conversation. “I don’t know the first thing about air conditioners or repairing them,” Kyle said. “But I do know what it takes to run a business, and I know what speed bumps to avoid and which growing pains are worth toughing out. Being able to handle logistical sides of the business, IT, marketing, and general tech needs alleviates a lot of stress from my parents.”
The collaboration was a natural fit. In the first six months, the family startup surpassed six figures thanks to a combination of dad’s expertise and Kyle’s management. “It’s a great thing to be a part of, when you know the people winning with you are some of the people you love most in the world,” Kyle explains. “I’m proud that we could build something successful together in such a short amount of time.”
Even with the early success, Kyle admits that the experience is an unusual one. “It’s different for sure,” he admits. “I’ve done business with several close friends in the past, but this is the first time I’ve worked with family on such a large scale.” While working closely with those you love does allow for more open communication, Kyle says it is important to still maintain the usual business partnership decorum. “My advice to anybody working with family members is simple” he begins. “Keep in mind the long term rewards and remember that business problems can always be solved. Customers come and go. Don’t allow work, or money, to damage relationships. Stay calm, be respectful to each other, then learn and move on.”