It took Megan Lytle a while to figure out her place in the world of work. But her path eventually took her from bartender to business owner.
Lytle co-owns Lytle Electric with her husband, John, and has built the business into a powerhouse in a few years. The company offers services including new home electrical installation, remodeling and rewiring, troubleshooting and commercial space renovations.
Born and raised in Colorado Springs, Lytle attended the University of Colorado at Boulder for a couple of years. But after high school graduation, she mostly toggled between jobs selling insurance and bartending/serving.
Lytle’s work ethic and potential shone through in both those fields. As an insurance agent, she was a top producer and tutored new hires. As a bartender, server and host, she trained new employees and boosted bar sales.
“I went back and forth trying to find the right fit,” she said.
In 2015, she developed severe osteoarthritis and had to leave her job at Paravicini’s Italian Bistro.
“My doctor prescribed getting a new job,” she said.
But she struggled with finding a new position after her workmen’s comp claim ran its course.
“So I decided I needed to go back to school and get my degree,” she said.
Lytle, who by then had married her electrician husband, enrolled in online business administration and management courses at the University of Phoenix.
When she was about halfway through her two-year course, John, who was employed by a local electric company, told her he wanted to start a business and work for himself.
That idea resonated with Megan, so she switched her focus and signed up for classes in small business management.
“I had written my business plan three different times by the time I graduated,” she said.
She and John formed their company, with John doing the work and Megan managing the business, and borrowed $2,000 from a friend to get started.
That was enough to pay for liability insurance, QuickBooks and a little equipment.
“We made that last for a while,” she said.
The first couple of months were difficult, but “Facebook saved our business,” Megan said. She joined groups, fielded recommendations and listed on Home Advisor, where Lytle Electric became a top-rated business.
Most importantly, she started networking extensively. She joined the Southern Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, 1 Million Cups, Titans of Industry, the Senior Resource Council, the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado and Front Range Power Connectors.
She became a member of the women’s chamber’s young professionals committee, donated a package to the organization’s foundation for the accolades program and last year was nominated for member of the year.
She still spends six to 10 hours a week growing her network, attending breakfasts, lunches and after-hours events.
She also kept on learning.
“I moved into the [Pikes Peak] Small Business Development Center,” she said. Lytle took the SBDC’s Leading Edge program three times and logged an additional 72 hours of classes in one year.
“I probably was there as many hours as if I was in grad school,” she said. These courses helped fill a gap she found in her college-level studies.
“Everything in college is really about working for a big corporation,” she said.
Knowing that the business eventually would need to get into government contracting, she learned everything she could and implemented procedures that she knew would be mandatory.
Lytle Electric was the first company in Colorado Springs to earn the Cyber Aware business badge from the SBDC and BBB after Lytle completed an intensive, eight-week cyber business planning course, risk assessment and consulting to address specific needs.
The business also earned the BBB’s Age-Friendly Business certification.
By the second quarter they were in business, Lytle started to see her learning and networking — and John’s professionalism and customer service — pay off.
She formed partnerships with several contractors; more than 50 percent of their business comes from working with them on new builds and remodels.
“We wouldn’t be where we are without those relationships,” she said.
The first year, “we turned $2,000 into $200,000,” she said. “We came close to doubling that the second year, and we have grown an average of 25 percent every quarter.”
In the next year, “just from projects in the pipeline, I expect us probably to be running three to five trucks, and our business will definitely be in the seven figures,” she said. “We have some big things getting ready to happen that I can’t talk about,” including a million-dollar project with a homebuilder, she said.
The Lytles still work out of their home and currently hire contract employees when they’re needed on a job, but Lytle expects to hire more full-time, certified electricians in the near future.
Lytle is, characteristically, prepared for that to happen. She’s already written the company’s employee manual.