The Gay Entrepreneur’s Toolkit: 100 Networking Resources, Guides, and Links

Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 2:20pm by Site Administrator

Resources for the LGBT community at large are plentiful, but it’s often difficult for gay entrepreneurs to find helpful business resources. There are, however, a number of networking groups, tools, and other resources available if you know where to look. These are 100 of the best.

Networking and Organizations

Get connected with other gay businesspeople through these events, organizations, and other networking resources.

  1. National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce: Get certified with this organization for better exposure, events, and networking opportunities.
  2. Gay and Lesbian Business Association of B.C.: Gay businesspeople in British Columbia can join this group for community resources, a red dress ball, and networking groups.
  3. Gay Business World: On Gay Business World, you can connect with others, find advice, learn about events, and even post a job listing.
  4. Gay Business Association: This gay business association boasts an extensive database, a monthly newsletter, and networking events.
  5. Out & Equal: The Out and Equal advocates support gays in all types of business.
  6. Gayellow Pages: Whether you’re looking for a vendor or would like to advertise your business, check out the Gayellow Pages.
  7. Golden Gate Business Association (GGBA): The GGBA was the first LGBT chamber of commerce, and for 30 years has supported LGBT businesses and those that support them. Check them out for a great directory, networking, resources, and expos.
  8. Gay Directory: Gay.com‘s directory is full of free listings for businesses and events. You should be there, too.
  9. GayFranchise: Are you looking for a business to start? This is a good resource to check out.
  10. GayCanada: Check out this directory for gay businesses, services, and resources in Canada.
  11. International Gay Entrepreneurs Association: Join this group to connect with gay entrepreneurs all over the world.
  12. Genius: This Netherlands association of gay professionals supports a network of gay businesses.
  13. The National Gay Franchise Expo: Whether you’re looking for a franchise to invest in or want to sell your own, this event in West Hollywood is a great place to be.
  14. Out Professionals: This network for gay and lesbian professionals offers events, news, and more.
  15. Greater San Diego Business Association: This Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in San Diego supports gay businesses through networking opportunities and social activities.
  16. Lesbian and Gay Veterinary Medical Association: LGBT vets can join this professional organization for support, information, and networking with other gay vets.
  17. Sydney Gay & Lesbian Business Association: Aussie LGBT entrepreneurs can join this organization for community connection and networking.
  18. US Gay/Lesbian Business Groups: Check out this list for a number of local gay chambers of commerce and business associations.
  19. LambdaBusiness: Connect with other gay and lesbian owned businesses through this directory.
  20. Out and Equal Workplace Summit: Find out how you can contribute to a diversified workplace at this gathering of gay business leaders and advocates.
  21. NetworkQ: This network is for gays and lesbians in business school and beyond.
  22. Queer Arts Resource: Gay artists should check out the Queer Arts Resource for help getting into an exhibition.
  23. Adventure Out Women: This website provides a networking portal for professional women, lesbian or otherwise.
  24. Lesbian Business: Find lesbian owned and operated businesses through this site.
  25. Gay Business Association: Gay entrepreneurs in the UK should join this trade association that represents gay and lesbian businesses.

Tools

Whether you’re networking, balancing the books, or just keeping track of it all, these tools are lifesavers for the gay entrepreneur.

  1. 8apps: 8apps features online applications that help users network more productively. Although not released for the general public, you can score an invite if you ask around.
  2. MindMeister: Get your mind mapping under control online and use this tool for collaboration and brainstorming.
  3. Box: Share and access files from anywhere using Box.
  4. Goplan: For online project management and collaboration, check out Goplan.
  5. FreshBooks: Use FreshBooks to make billing easier and more effective.
  6. Breeze: Stay in contact with your customers in style with Breeze.
  7. Remember The Milk: Keep tabs on the things you need to do with this easy-to-use online to do list.
  8. Open Closet: Send these "greeting cards with gay regards" to gay friends and professionals you want to keep in touch with.
  9. Spongecell: For the socially active gay entrepreneur, this calendar service is worth its weight in gold.
  10. Moo: Moo’s website says they love to print, and it shows. Check them out for colorful printing of note cards, business cards, sticker books and more.
  11. Jewelboxing: It’s all about presentation. With Jewelboxing’s professional grade DVD and CD packages, you’ll put your best foot forward.
  12. Biz-Plan: This business plan guide and template will help you with the framework and structure that goes into writing a successful business plan.
  13. Comodo: Use Comodo’s Secure Email Certificates to make sure you’re sending out secure, confidential emails.
  14. Zoho: The applications offered by Zoho make Microsoft Office programs pale in comparison.

Gay Business Districts

For the best in community resources and support, you can’t do much better than these gay business districts.

  1. Nashville’s Church Street: Church Street in Nashville is a hub for everything hip and gay in Nashville. This business district is home to a number of gay ventures, from retail and dining to office space.
  2. Seattle’s Capitol Hill: Capitol Hill, once known as Catholic Hill, is alive and kicking with gay culture. You’ll find a number of nightlife hotspots as well as support from organizations including the Lambert House and Seattle LGBT Community Center.
  3. Columbus’ Victorian Village: Victorian Village is very much a gay village, with many homes owned by same-sex couples. The re-development of this area is a result of gay gentrification.
  4. Providence’s Fox Point: Fox Point entrepreneurs love the way their gay businesses are embraced by both their gay peers and the community at large.
  5. Washington DC’s Dupont Circle: Many prospering gay businesses have made their home in Dupont Circle. The area is also home to D.C.’s first gay bookstore, Lambda Rising.
  6. Santa Clara’s Alameda: The Alameda is full of gay community resources, specifically the Billy DeFrank Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center.
  7. San Diego’s Hillcrest: Hillcrest is a hub for gay commercial activity in San Diego, as well as home to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center.
  8. Philadelphia’s Washington Square West: Washington Square West, known as "The Gayborhood" by locals, is home to a large concentration of gay bookstores, restaurants, and other businesses.
  9. San Francisco’s Castro: Castro is full of LGBT businesses and spaces, like Pink Triangle Park and the Castro Theatre.
  10. Tulsa’s Brady Heights: Brady Heights boasts a large gay business organization, TuRBO, as well as a new Equality Center that serves as an anchor for the district.
  11. Fort Lauderdale’s Wilton Manors: Wilton Manors has a majority gay city council, so you’re sure to have the support you need. You’ll also enjoy a pedestrian friendly community and neighboring businesses like "Gay Mart."
  12. Los Angeles’ West Hollywood: Although technically a city in its own right, this LA community boasts a gay-supporting coalition called the Community for Economic Survival (CES), a group that supports gays and other special groups. Like Wilton Manors, West Hollywood has a majority gay city council.
  13. Chicago’s Boystown: Boystown was the first officially recognized gay village in the U.S., a fact that is clearly supported by its booming gay businesses and community.

Help!

Whether you need financial support or local resources, these links are sure to guide you in the right direction.

  1. Prosper: Get funding from real people, not banks, using Prosper.
  2. Angel Investor Directory: Find angel investor networks in your state.
  3. GayJob: If you need to hire help, check out this job site for gay and gay-friendly employees.
  4. Gay Marketing 101: Get help spreading the word about your business with this gay marketing service.
  5. Small Business Administration: The Small Business Administration offers lots of resources to entrepreneurs, gay or otherwise.
  6. Count Me In: Lesbian entrepreneurs can use this resource to join programs and get small business financing.
  7. Gay Finance: For assistance with business finances as well as implications for civil partners, check out Gay Finance.
  8. State-Specific Entrepreneurial Resources: Find helpful resources in your state.

Articles & Advice

For expert advice on business matters that affect gay entrepreneurs, take a look at these resources.

  1. When Is It Time to Get Capital?: This article discusses the fine art of timing your funding.
  2. Can I Date My Client?: Find out if it’s wrong to love a client in this advice column.
  3. Keys to Successful Capital Acquisition: Get your hands on important financial resources with these tips.
  4. How to Select a Shopping Center Location: If you’re ready to move your business into the retail arena, be sure to check out this article.
  5. Seven Ways to Avoid Becoming the Boss from Hell: No one likes a scary boss, so why would you want to be one? Follow this advice to be the boss your employees respect.
  6. Like a Magnate: This story details the many pearls of wisdom gay entrepreneurs can use from Madonna’s successful career.
  7. Members’ choice: the most gay-friendly companies: When doing business with companies, check this list to see if they’re supportive of your lifestyle.
  8. Keep Your Business Afloat by Becoming a Sustainable Leader: Read this story for five practical steps towards building a business that will last.
  9. Lavender Road to Success: Should you relocate?: Take this quiz to find out if it might be a good idea to relocate to a more gay-friendly community.
  10. What Gay Entrepreneurs Contribute: This article details just how important you are to your community.
  11. Learn How to Manage Virtual Workers: Find out how to keep tabs on and support your employees from afar.
  12. What To Do When You Can’t Raise Money: This article details a number of methods you can use to stay afloat during slow business months.

Publications

From blogs to magazines, these publications will fill you in on the latest in gay entrepreneurship.

  1. Echelon Magazine: This online magazine for gay business professionals highlights economic development, education, and trends in the marketplace.
  2. GFN: GFN covers financial news that matters to the gay community. You’ll also find a helpful professional directory.
  3. Gay Market News: Stay up to date on the latest in market research and trends with Gay Market News.
  4. Queercents: This blog focuses on money for the GLBT community, a topic that entrepreneurs are sure to benefit from.
  5. Planet Out Money & Careers: Planet Out’s Money & Careers section offers advice for gay business owners and even features a $20,000 Entrepreneur of the Year contest.
  6. Gay Banker: Read the story of this gay man who is an investment banker in London.
  7. Coaching4Lesbians: This blog encourages readers to be successful lesbian business owners and professionals.
  8. Queer Chef: Chase blogs about life as a queer web designer.
  9. Kirk Snyder: Kirk is an authority on business and workplace issues as well as a regular contributor to well-respected gay publications.
  10. Miami Glen: On this blog, you’ll find Glen Mitchell’s musings on life as a gay photographer in Miami.
  11. Gay.com Business: This gay publication’s business section is full of helpful information and resources.

Success Stories

Find inspiration from these gay and lesbian entrepreneurs who have found success.

  1. Quickbrowse: Marc Fest solved a problem for himself, but may make a fortune for his mostly selfish action.
  2. Drew Banks: This businessman-turned-author has found success in both home networking and publishing.
  3. Lisa Thomas: Lisa is Co-Founder and former CEO of Clif Bar. She’s also an executive producer of award winning media works.
  4. RainbowVision: This gay retirement community has found great demand in Santa Fe.
  5. Nasty Pig: This clothing line was "born on the dancefloor of Sound Factory" and has grown into an icon of leather and fetish culture.
  6. Olivia: Olivia has conquered the gay and lesbian cruise market and is now finding success in resort and retirement communities for aging members of the LGBT community.
  7. Pride Factory: Pride Factory celebrates 10 years of business, 6,000 square feet, and status as a tourist attraction in South Florida.
  8. Udi Behr: Udi Behr’s "Love and Pride" collection has found success by producing attractive jewelry with meaning.
  9. Mike Dorsey: Mike Dorsey founded Roy G. Biv to bring color to the outdoor furniture market.
  10. Mariah Hanson: Dinah founder Mariah Hanson has thrown lesbian-centric parties for 18 years.
  11. Dixie Longate: Miss Dixie sells Tupperware in drag. She’s become the number one personal seller in the country.

Books

For more in-depth discussions on gay business and entrepreneurship, check out these books.

  1. In the Pink: The Making of Successful Gay and Lesbian-Owned Businesses: This book is full of real life tips, focusing on working with your partner, success stories, finances, and more.
  2. Selling Out: The Gay and Lesbian Movement Goes to Market: Read Selling Out for a great discussion on the consumerism of the gay community.
  3. Gay Media Guide: Use your marketing dollars more effectively by understanding the media market. You’ll find information on what’s available in the gay media marketplace.
  4. Untold Millions: Secret Truths About Marketing to Gay and Lesbian Consumers: Are you sure that your gay peers are interested in your business? Read this book to find out how you can make your product or service more attractive to the community.
  5. The Pink Pages: The Gay and Lesbian Business and Services Directory: Keep this book handy to support your fellow gay business owners.
  6. Business Inside Out: Capturing Millions of Brand Loyal Gay Consumers: Tap into the lucrative market of gay consumers with advice from Business Inside Out.


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3 Comments »

  1. This is quite useful and I place a link to this post from my blog btw

    Comment by chase — September 15, 2007 @ 8:12 pm

  2. Thanks for including me in your list. I am honored. It is a GREAT list of resources & I hadn’t known about it before. I will now have to spread the word.

    Warmly
    _Paula

    Comment by Paula G — October 17, 2007 @ 12:38 pm

  3. http://www.GayExecutive.com is also a great resource

    Comment by Steven — January 16, 2008 @ 12:11 am

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