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entrepreneurship

Sometimes Gay Businesses Fail Big. Let’s Hear Those Stories

I’m not sure how Justin Nelson, president and a founder of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, performed his math, but he says that are roughly 1.2 million gay-owned businesses in the United States. Ahem. If the U.S. population is 307 million, and we estimate 10 percent of these folks are gay, that means about 4 percent of all gays (and that includes gay children, heh) have their own businesses. Is that a lot?

Numbers make my head hurt! But they arrive in this Times article about gay entrepreneurs meeting up, through organizations like StartOut, to share business tips and business cards. It’s like Facebook or LinkedIn, but with actual physical hand shaking!

But these networking groups are really just two things are their core: a chance to drink cocktails with other gays, and attend group therapy. The Times piece cites all the positive developments that come from gay business owners, which is a great thing to highlight, like the story of Chip Conley (pictured) whose hotel chain is doing gangbusters. But if something like nine of of 10 businesses don’t survive their first two years, that’s a whole lot of desperation and failure to go around, and it’s something that yes, even the fabulous gays have to go through. Which is where groups like StartOut come in: Pay your dues, and you’ve got 300 gay shoulders to cry on while sipping martinis.

By:           editor editor
On:           May 20, 2010
Tagged: , , ,
  • 9 Comments
    • PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS
      PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS

      Sometimes the writers here at Queerty really need to learn a bit more about an item before putting their ignorant fingers onto a keyboard. “But these networking groups are really just two things are their core: a chance to drink cocktails with other gays, and attend group therapy” Sorry, but some of us actually can get together and do other things beside drink and look to screw. Please stop perpetuating the typical Gay stereotypes that one would hope wouldn’t be found on a Gay owned and operated site………

      If you gots the guts to come out at work, joining a Gay group can reap tremendous benefits. I hesitated for a long time and finally bit the bullet and joined a Gay business networking group I requested, and my company approved paying for membership. I figured if I was succesful and began securing accounts they would know any way. I have met a huge new circle of new people, that exchange ideas and leads that have helped all involved helped their business improve. As long as you have goods or services that are legitimate you will find that most Gays will do as members of other groups do: wish to do business with members of their own commmunity. Other groups have successfully networked for decades, its about time the Gay community has begun to work within our community.

      May 20, 2010 at 10:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • scott ny'er
      scott ny'er

      What would be better is if the topic was, how is your gay business doing in these uncertain times? Prospering? Failing? Tell us.

      May 20, 2010 at 10:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fitz
      Fitz

      @scott ny’er: And does your gay owned business target gay people, or the general public– important info. My small office is doing great (targeting GLBT people) but the larger job I do has had some financial hits.

      May 20, 2010 at 10:57 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • The Artist
      The Artist

      Kuddo’s to this organization for spearheading such a great endeavor. Networking is not only the key thing here, but also mentoring. Encouraging individuals to start their own business and run them successfully. Taking a leap of faith to follow your dreams and bringing along FAMILY to join the party. Nothing wrong with that. PEACELUVNBWILD!

      May 20, 2010 at 1:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Timothy
      Timothy

      Ummm…

      “If the U.S. population is 307 million, and we estimate 10 percent of these folks are gay, that means about 4 percent of all gays (and that includes gay children, heh) have their own businesses. Is that a lot?”

      We DON’T estimate 10% are gay. And we HAVEN’T for decades, once we got past the preliminary Kinsey estimates (which didn’t say that anyway).

      Better estimates range from 3% to 7%, and the CDC uses 4%, based on their huge 2005 survey. (roughly 4% could be classified as gay/bi based on three different criteria: identity, behavior, and attraction). This is also the percentage of voters who identify as gay.

      There are probably about 5 million gay/bi men and about 5 million gay/bi women in the country. Which makes about 12% business owners.

      That is a lot.

      A BIG lot.

      May 20, 2010 at 3:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Matt Damon
      Matt Damon

      I’ve been to the StartOut events, and they’re good. You can get on their mailing list here: http://startout.org/?page_id=83

      May 20, 2010 at 3:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AlwaysGay
      AlwaysGay

      It’s great organizations like this exist. Gay people helping other gay people warms my heart.

      May 20, 2010 at 8:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • scott ny'er
      scott ny'er

      @Matt Damon: Cool. Thanks for that.

      @Fitz: Good point. Target marketing. Niche marketing. Does it work in this economy? And it seems to be doing so with you.

      May 21, 2010 at 9:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kate Karasmeighan
      Kate Karasmeighan

      Hello – it’s been a few days since this was first raised as an issue, but I wanted to make sure that the initial (and worthy) question was answered regarding the number of LGBT-owned businesses the NGLCC references:
      The NGLCC reached the number of LGBT-owned businesses in the United States by a simple extrapolation: there are just shy of 25 million small businesses in the United States. By using the conservative end of the widely accepted statistic that 6-10% of Americans are LGBT, we reached the conclusion that an estimated 1.4 million business owners are members of the LGBT community.

      Jun 8, 2010 at 3:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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