Business and ‘the Blonde’
Every entrepreneur knows that the line between business and personal is often blurred. If you don’t know that, you will. Most people would attempt to keep business and personal separate, but who we are in business is also who we are as people. Who we are as people has a lot to do with who we partner with, and those partnership are critical to our success in business as well as in life.
People ask me all the time how I got into the adult industry, and my answer is always the same — by accident. Long before founding JuicyAds and growing it into one of the leading adult ad networks, I was running websites as an affiliate and stumbled into the lucrative adult affiliate programs of the 1990s. I lied about my age (since I was only 17) and signed up for programs like GammaCash and TrafficCashGold. (Shhh, don’t tell them, this was about 14 years ago). Later I became one of LightSpeedCash’s top affiliates. Somewhere between discovering the lifestyle of the industry, and making more money than I ever would with a degree, I decided to drop out of a university to pursue the adult industry.
“The Blonde” was my girlfriend at the time, and she was not supportive. She was accepting of the adult industry but was uncontrollably jealous of more than just the women. I didn’t recognize it at the time, but our goals and dreams in life were horrendously misaligned. I was very ambitious and enjoyed working and making a better life for us, but she wanted no part of hard work.
The lifestyle I had discovered sparked anger and resentment of my newfound success, as well as mistrust from The Blonde who was still working for minimum wage at her parents’ gas station. While I supported the both of us and she enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle and a relationship that was the envy of family and friends, she appreciated none of it, and took her life with me for granted.
Years later, now a self-taught programmer rather than a psychology major, I custom coded the platform that would become JuicyAds and it took off after the Phoenix Forum in 2008. However, that’s just about when my life went so far sideways and it would never be the same again.
What everyone has seen for many years is the explosion of JuicyAds from banners into mobile and popunders. What you didn’t see was the ridiculous acrobatics of the balance in my life dramatically changing as my marriage was falling apart.
In hindsight, the explosion of JuicyAds closely mirrored the crumble and eventual collapse of my relationship, but it was our misaligned lives that caused the final break. Like any partnership, the day we had gotten married I had promised to work things out no matter what happened, but it seemed she had other plans the whole time.
The Blonde had no shortage of reasons why she was no longer happy and to keep the woman I loved, I changed. In business this is what’s known as a “pivot” when you change your business strategy. It goes only two ways, either it succeeds or it fails. I pivoted by turning JuicyAds from a one person brokerage into a company by hiring people, delegating, systemizing processes and cutting my personal work hours.
The problem was, no matter what I did, it did not change the core issues and misalignment in our lives. She completely did not understand or even care about the time, effort, and dedication it took to run a successful business.
In a twist, I didn’t see coming, The Blonde started making demands that contradicted good business decisions. She fought hard to limit my attendance at conventions, and went as far to give me an ultimatum to fire specific employees, or that she would leave me. My partnership was toxic. It was fatal to my relationship and it was damaging to my company.
It is of paramount importance to ensure that your partner is aligned with your business dreams and goals. More than that, for a partnership to be successful you must trust and support the direction you are going.
It doesn’t matter if its your business partner, wife, girlfriend, or you’re banging some cute redhead friends with benefits. You must be aligned or the relationship will break down and fail.
If it’s a business, you could lose it all in the process, like the bar and restaurant I invested in with a friend — but that’s a story for another time.