From writing programs on a calculator in high school and coding in college to the successful synergy of technical abilities and business management, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville alumnus Tyler Douthitt has honed his skills and become an entrepreneur with a rapidly growing international business.
A Belleville native, Douthitt boasts a successful sales business through which he sells approximately 50,000 earbuds a week. There’s no corporate ladder involved as he runs the company from his home in Swansea with one employee. Instead, he’s on a “high growth journey.”
“I had always wanted to build a business on top of my coding abilities,” said Douthitt, who earned a bachelor’s in computer science from the SIUE School of Engineering in 2005. “I had my first domain registered when I was 17, right as the internet bubble was growing.
“Pursuing a degree in computer science at SIUE was a natural choice. As my business has grown, I don’t code anymore, but the ability to break a large problem into small steps has helped me tremendously.”
Douthitt’s entrepreneurial knack was fostered by his father who also ran a family business. That personal learning experience combined with his academic education have aided in his success.
“At my parent’s family business, I got good at sourcing products at the right prices,” he explained. “This led me to experiment with different products to sell on the side. I bought and sold various goods through Amazon and eBay.
“The earbuds took off and became so big that I decided to pursue it full-time. My productivity and ideas then skyrocketed, and I’ve been expanding my business through Amazon and my own site into Canada. I’m also ironing out the details to expand into the European Amazon marketplace.”
As a family man and business man, Douthitt says striking a balance is a continuous challenge, as being self-employed is a lifestyle. His trademarked phrase is “Outthink. Outwork. Succeed.”
“You have to think hard and work hard. Talent is great, but talent without hard work will always underperform,” Douthitt said. “I don’t play long-term. I play super long-term. Being among the first to see where things are going helps me.
“I can’t see the future, but I can get a good enough feeling of where things are going to capitalize on it and use it to my advantage. Technology moves quickly and that change is out of my hands. I have to use the fruitful times to prepare for the unknown as I provide for my family.”
Douthitt is also documenting his “high growth journey” in order for his kids, future grandkids and the public to see how an authentic person can grind out a living and grow a business.
Items for Illinois Business Journal publication may be sent to Editor Dennis Grubaugh, [email protected]