How One Man Turned $2,000 Into $500 Million

&l;p&g;&l;img class=&q;wp-image-584 size-full&q; src=&q;; alt=&q;Tim Gill&q; data-height=&q;492&q; data-width=&q;940&q;&g; Tim Gill

If you&s;re a newer entrepreneur finding your way toward success, this man&s;s story will inspire you and give you four strategies that helped him turn $2,000 into over $500 million.

&l;strong&g;Who is Tim Gill?&l;/strong&g;

In the early 1980s, Tim Gill found himself newly unemployed. He was let go from a small business due to budget cuts. Over the next couple of years, Gill nervously prepared for and went on numerous job interviews but never found something he liked. After too much fruitless searching, Gill stumbled upon an opportunity that forever changed his life and the course of philanthropy in the LGBTQ community.

Gill was one half of the partnership that created Quark, Inc. and its software QuarkXPress used ubiquitously in traditional publishing from the 1980s through the early 2000s. Gill&s;s humility shines when he describes his first product as &q;just a word processor for the Apple III computer with only 120,000 sold.&a;rdquo;

The market for an Apple III word processor was small then, but it was Gill&s;s experiences below that helped him and his business partner create an industry leader.

&l;strong&g;Hear how Gill became the philanthropic entrepreneur on this &l;em&g;Queer Money&l;/em&g;&a;trade;:&l;/strong&g;

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&l;strong&g;Tim Gill&s;s tips for entrepreneurial success shared on &l;a href=&q;; target=&q;_blank&q; rel=&q;noopener noreferrer&q; target=&q;_blank&q;&g;this&a;nbsp;&l;em&g;Queer Money&l;/em&g;&a;trade;&l;/a&g;.&l;/strong&g;

&l;em&g;1. Look for opportunity in the struggle&l;/em&g;

In his post-layoff job search, Gill says, &a;ldquo;I got disgusted , and then I decided I should do something on my own.&a;rdquo; That &l;a href=&q;;&g;change from frustrated to enthusiastic thinking&l;/a&g; opened Gill up to an opportunity many might have seen as work that was too hard.

At the time, there was a local computer dealer selling Apple IIIs, and even though Apple promised to build a word processor for it, they never did. The computer dealer said to Gill, &a;ldquo;I&a;rsquo;ll loan you an Apple III if you build me a word processor.&a;rdquo; Gill obliged.

For temporary help getting started, Gill asked his parents for a $2,000 loan. His parents shared years later that they never expected to see that money again. Gill was confident he&a;rsquo;d repay them, though he never envisioned Quark would become the leader in desktop publishing that it did.

&l;em&g;2. Find the need, then provide the solution&l;/em&g;

When starting out, we can&a;rsquo;t always predict the end-result. We must be open to feedback from our friends, family, business associates and customers.

Gill shares, &a;ldquo;I cannot think of a single product I&a;rsquo;ve ever designed where what we ended up producing, in the end, exactly what I thought I was making in the beginning.&a;rdquo; It&a;rsquo;s important to listen to your clients and discern from all their inputs which inputs are important, which are similar enough to combine, and then make a product that&a;rsquo;s logical and valuable as a result. That process can sometimes feel opaque but listening to your clients will help you create the product or service they need.

As entrepreneurs, we can get rigid with our way of thinking, but successful entrepreneurs must be flexible enough so that we design what the market wants and not what we want.

&l;em&g;&l;!–nextpage–&g;3. Avoid hiring a large sales force as long as possible, and turn your customers into your sales force&l;/em&g;

Gill advises start-ups without venture funding to project an image that they&a;rsquo;re bigger than they are at first; fake it until you make it. His first office was his spare bedroom, and at one time there were 13 people working for Quark in Gill&a;rsquo;s one-bedroom apartment. His apartment was full of boxes, stacks of packing peanuts and tape.

Gill&a;rsquo;s degree is in mathematics and computer science, but in the early days of Quark, he wore many hats. He did everything from tech-support to mail clerking. He was a producer, he worked with vendors, exercised his limited experience with accounting and more. He recalls, for example, waking up at 2 o&a;rsquo;clock in the morning to take customer service calls from his bed.

Long before &s;raving fans&s; became a corporate hunt, Gill&a;rsquo;s dedication to his customers turned his customers into his most valuable asset, his sales force. He knew if someone wasn&a;rsquo;t there to be tech support when his customer needed it, his customer would go somewhere else.

&l;em&g;4. Go as far as you think you can, and then go further&l;/em&g;

To Gill, this is the key to his success: &q;It&a;rsquo;s continuously working to achieve a particular goal and &l;a href=&q;;&g;making sure that the tasks that I have are exciting enough to keep me engaged&l;/a&g; and not burned out.&a;rdquo; I&a;rsquo;m willing to walk to the edge of burnout and look over, but at some point, you have to take a couple of steps back,&a;rdquo; Gill continues.&l;/p&g;

If your goal is to be a successful entrepreneur, find out what excites you and be willing to work harder, because it will be hard.

&l;strong&g;Gill and the LGBTQ community&s;s reward&l;/strong&g;

Not only did Gill become a multimillionaire, selling his half of Quark in the early 2000s for an estimated $500 million, but today he&a;rsquo;s the single-biggest donor for LGBTQ rights in the United States. To date, he&a;rsquo;s donated over $400 million of his own money toward LGBTQ causes.

Gill is a model for smart philanthropy. He doesn&s;t give to just any cause. In philanthropy as in business, Gill is results-driven. He says, &a;ldquo;Deciding what the result is so that you can tailor your funding to get that result, is smart philanthropy. &a;rdquo;

We champion LGBTQ entrepreneurs. We &l;a href=&q;;&g;need more successful queer leaders in business and politics&l;/a&g;, like Gill, who can also champion equality on Wall Street, Main Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.&l;/p&g;