Ans: Our business is about helping companies reach their target LGBT customer online, via website, e-mail and social media campaigns. We are in Los Angeles and New York City.
Q. Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
Ans: I started in this business back in 1995 with the launch of GayWired.com. This grew into an entire network of LGBT websites including GaySports.com and SheWired.com. I sold this business to Here Media in 2006, and have worked with companies ever since that seek to target the LGBT community online. Having sold these sites has allowed us to place our client’s advertising on a wide variety of LGBT websites that best suit their marketing outreach needs, including social media.
Q. What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
Ans: I’ve always been comfortable with technology, and I started out at just the right time as an Aerospace Engineer, having access to some of the first IBM-based computers and some of the early productivity software such as Lotus 123, CAD/CAM, etc. I then went into sales of what I was working on as an engineer, and it was this combination of being comfortable with cutting-edge technology and enjoying working with clients to help them understand how that technology could improve their business and their competitive edge that gave me the confidence to grow GayWired.com from a simple website to a full-fledged business.
Q. What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Ans: It’s easy to build a website. It’s also easy to get a few clients. But developing a business and a process that keeps these clients happy and well taken care of, with staff and systems in place, is one of the keys to business success. I’ve seen great online ideas created by people that had no interest in communicating with potential customers other than via e-mail. I’ve also seen people create a business where they do have a decent idea and they are able to communicate that idea in person, face-to-face, and yet still fail as they were unable to translate that idea and client relationship into a success based on the inability to go from idea to execution. Rule #1 is that people do business with people, and Rule #2 is that you have to be able to do what you say you’re doing to do, to execute on and turn the idea into a creation.
Q. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: Perseverance, intelligence and people skills
Q. How many hours do you work a day on average?
Q. To what do you most attribute your success?
Ans: Having started down a path that was in line with what I enjoyed when I was young… I was the kid who understood and enjoyed math, and I also liked people. I simply kept myself along a general path that allowed me to do both, constantly adjusting and iterating along the way.
Q. How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Ans: Our primary form of marketing is in utilizing many of the strategies and tools we’re recommending to our clients. We stay focused on the LGBT business-to-business environment, especially as it pertains to advertising, marketing, technology and new media. We have positioned ourselves and our company as thought leaders in this space, and have stayed consistent with that position and that path, which in turn has allowed us the opportunity to work with some incredible clients along the way.
Q. Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
Ans: We have always been self-funded.
Q. What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Ans: Develop a strategy or plan and stick to it… it’s good to make adjustments here and there, but overall, a person has to stick with it and make it work. People and companies don’t start taking you seriously unless you’ve stuck with something and made it a success for at least 2 years.
Q. Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
Ans: Doing the same ol’ thing, but perhaps at some point, I’ll have to do a life balance readjustment and perhaps spend more time living and/or visiting other parts of the world even more than I do now.
Q. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Ans: Facebook. They took basic online tools that had been around for years, and put them together in a way that anyone could have done back in the early 2000s, had they stopped for a moment and just thought about people rather than just technology. Facebook simply put these online tools together in a way that showed they understood people.