No, I'm Not Talent
I started my career in marketing for a small industrial equipment company in Cleveland and eventually moved on to start my own company when I was 23. I've also worked for a couple of Fortune 100 companies in positions ranging from inside sales to regional controller. After completing my MBA, I moved on to take the position of West Coast regional manager with responsibility for an $8 million territory — again, in an industry dominated by men. Covering 11 states required traveling about 80-90 percent of the time, so the quality of life wasn't all that great. I wanted to have my own business again, and I wanted to do something fun. The general population would believe that my corporate career choices were much better or more appropriate places for a woman to work, and that I would be treated "better," but I can tell them that they would be dead wrong!
I had been looking to get into the world of adult for about five years, and I knew that I didn't want to be a producer or content, but I hadn't really been able to find the right niche for myself. When DVDs For A Buck presented itself to me, I knew it was a perfect fit. Having spent a number of years in marketing and sales for distribution companies, I jumped at the chance to apply my skills to the company. While my previous life in the corporate world was exhausting, it has been excellent training for attending webmaster events — the travel, the partying, the late nights — one right after the other, all while working with various people to help grow the business.
DVDs For A Buck is an adult movie club that allows its members to create and/or expand their own adult movie collection. While the program might be considered "old school," there are many people who still enjoy watching movies in the comfort of something other than their computer chair or on a larger screen than a 15- or 17-inch monitor.
The backend of the company works much like the other distribution companies that I have worked for in the past. We've got inventory, we promote our products, we receive orders, and we ship product. The only difference between my company and the others that I have worked in previously is that the sales methodology and message delivery are a little different. The sales methodology for adult online is a little different in that while you can, and do, buy advertising, you are also "selling" your program to other webmasters so that they will help you promote your product. Being online also means that getting feedback from your customer is a little more difficult. Since you're not in front of them, you rely more on statistics and performance, which can take a little longer to give you a complete picture of what is really going on, not to mention the potential lag time of finding out if what you're tweaking is working or not.
While I'm still a relative newbie in the adult world, I have been to numerous shows, conventions, meetings and parties. All of these events have been a fantastic opportunity to network, share business ideas and socialize. These events are invaluable for the webmasters. In order to have a successful event, you've got to put yourself out there. I enjoy meeting with everyone and discussing business. These discussions might take place with complementary businesses or competitors, but regardless of this, great ideas are exchanged and businesses help one another.
What I have learned from the industry so far is that it is a more hospitable environment for professional women than most brick-and-mortar industries are. I believe that a large part of the acceptance of women in adult is because there are so many women working in all areas of adult. As long as you are professional and have a good attitude, you can sit down and have a very productive conversation regarding traffic swaps, upselling techniques, new business ideas and promotions with any other program and not be encumbered with the label of "female." It doesn't matter here.
If I were to give advice to other women who want to be in adult and grow their businesses, it would be to trust yourself — don't be afraid to ask for help from others, accept that you will make some mistakes, and find a balance between work and relaxation. You've got a strong intuition and you've used it successfully in other areas of your life, and believe it or not, it applies here as well.
Your internal voice doesn't just come out of nowhere. It comes from all of the subtleties around you and can pick up on what's going on. Asking for help is not just going up to people and asking them for physical things or advice. By "asking for help," I mean talk to other people about ideas and brainstorm. Network with people in similar businesses to share ideas, trade traffic with noncompeting businesses, work out some creative business deals with people who can help you grow your business and theirs.
Don't view your mistakes as failures. You can't know everything; you can only make decisions based on the information you have available to you. When you make a bad decision, ask if the result can be measured, is there a clear reason why this didn't work, analyze the data and use it to help you make a better decision in the future. Finally, find some balance in your life.
This industry, like many others, can be an all-consuming 24/7 business. Work hard, but make sure that you take care of yourself in the process. Without the relaxation part, you become less effective.
If adult is where you want to be, it doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman. As in any other business out there, you need to develop some skills: networking, socializing, industry lingo, a strong liver and a thick skin.
While the content or product you are promoting is somewhat different from the majority of companies in existence, this is still a business that runs like any other and has some great successes and some great failures.
Trust yourself to make sound business decisions, ask for help or guidance in the areas that aren't your strengths, be ready to accept the mistakes you may make and take some time for yourself to help maintain your sanity.