How Being Gay Has Made Me a Better Entrepreneur

Mar 11, 2022

Being out as a queer person has never been "easy" for me. While my story as a gay man has nowhere near the amount of heartbreak and rejection as so many other LGBT people, I have certainly experienced my fair share of rejection and shame as a result of being queer.

In this episode, I share a glimpse into my coming out story, and talk about three of the concrete ways that my experiences as a gay man have made me not only a better entrepreneur, but a better person overall.

Whether or not you're an LGBT entrepreneur, this episode will help you start to think through your relationship to rejection, connect with others more authentically, and start to build the resilience you need to be a successful entrepreneur.

In today's episode, I am going to be talking about how being gay has actually made me a much better entrepreneur over the years. To get started, I want to clarify that it's not actually about sexual orientation. The fact that I like men has nothing to do with me being an entrepreneur. Instead, it's actually about the experiences that I have had as a result of being gay. This is an important distinction, because I don't want to suggest that being queer actually has anything to do with entrepreneurship. In fact, it's the experiences that I have had, as a result of being queer, that are significant in this conversation. 

In looking back at my story as a queer person, I know that my story is not the kind of typical heartbreaking story that you might think of. I wasn't disowned. I wasn't kicked out by my family or ignored by them. I didn't have a lot of the trauma that a lot of queer teenagers do when they come out. In fact, my family was probably some of the most accepting of all the people that I came out with, specifically my immediate family, with my parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and such. Of course, there are some family members out there who have pretty much tried to ignore it or really haven't ever said anything about it, but largely, my family, after I came out, was really quite supportive of me and is where I found a lot of comfort as a young queer person. 

With that bit of background information in mind, I want to share with you the three core ways that being queer, or the experience I've had as a result of being queer, has helped me to be a better entrepreneur. Even though I didn't experience any significant rejection from my family, I certainly met a significant amount of rejection at school and in the larger community that I was in. Growing up in Charlotte, North Carolina; I was in a really affluent, white, conservative area of the city, and I was going to one of the biggest high schools in the entire state of North Carolina. In fact, when I was going there—I'm not sure if this is still the case—it was the largest public high school in North Carolina. 

It wasn't just in high school, when I came out, that I was met with a lot of rejection. It was actually also earlier in middle school, well before I even knew I was gay, that I was being bullied really severely for being gay, which was obviously at the time kind of mind boggling to me, because it was like, Well, I'm not gay. What's what's going on here? But it was still this same vein of rejection that I was experiencing from my peers. And while that rejection caused a lot of pain that I have really had to work through over the years, and still to this day have to work through, that rejection has ultimately made me not just a better person, but a better entrepreneur, because it has taught me how to deal with that rejection. 

It has taught me how to accept rejection and not internalize it and not turn it into this reflection on who I am as a person, who I am as an entrepreneur, and how I see myself as a person, and how I see myself as an entrepreneur. But that's not all the rejection has done for me, because in experiencing that rejection, and experiencing so much rejection, I actually became better able to read people, to understand people and see what's going on under the surface. 

I started learning how to do this primarily as a defense mechanism, so that I could anticipate whether they were going to reject me or not. But then later, it actually started to become a way to connect with people on a much deeper level, because I started to realize that when other people are feeling seen and understood, then they're actually likelier to see me and to understand me. As entrepreneurs, we know that, really, the name of the game is connection. It's all about being able to connect with the right people on a deep, authentic, genuine level. And it's that ability to connect to people—that has, for me, come from a place of experiencing so much rejection—that has been one of the driving forces of my business. 

The third and final way that being queer has helped make me a better entrepreneur is resilience. It has helped me be a more resilient person, plain and simple, to have the ability to face challenges, to get knocked down and to be able to get up over and over and over again, until I'm not getting knocked down at all. Sometimes I do still get knocked to the floor, but I truly believe that my experience as a queer person, my experience of rejection and of not being accepted and of having to try to fight for and earn my place at the table, it's that experience that has helped me become more resilient. And it's that exact resilience that has helped me achieve success in my business and in my life as a whole. 

As I mentioned at the beginning of this episode, my sexual orientation is relevant to this conversation, but being gay is not ultimately the point, which means that whatever rejection has looked like for you, whether or not it's had anything to do with sexual orientation, it still matters, what you do with that rejection that you've experienced in the past. That is what, at the end of the day, is going to help you become a better entrepreneur and a better person as a whole. 

You Only Need 2 Ingredients to Rapidly Scale Your Email List...

Enter your details below, and I'll send over my two-part training series that gives you the two ingredients you need to scale your email list today.

You're safe with me. I'll never spam you or sell your contact info. Unsubscribe at any time.


Want Helpful Audience Growth Hacks Every Week? 

 Sign up for my weekly newsletter, and I'll send you exclusive audience growth hacks every week.

You're safe with me. I'll never spam you or sell your contact info. Unsubscribe at any time.