profile

WIA Profile: Sarah S.

Women in Adult

Each month, industry news media organization XBIZ spotlights the career accomplishments and outstanding contributions of Women in Adult. WIA profiles offer an intimate look at the professional lives of the industry's most influential female executives.

How did you get into the business?

My life has been shaped by choices I have made when veering off of the beaten path. I translate this to my business attitude.

It was an accident. I was not looking for a job in the adult industry. I sent my resume to a hiring manager for a web marketing position posted on a mainstream job board. The listing mentioned that the candidate must be comfortable with some adult content but I had no idea what adult content would entail. Before Naughty America, I worked for an interactive agency. I was a project manager for web development and marketing campaigns. My initial Naughty America interview focused on my web marketing skills and what I felt I could contribute to the company. When a more detailed description of expectations were discussed with me and I was offered the job, I asked for a some time to think it over to talk to my close circle about what working in adult would mean. I came to the conclusion that I should give it a shot; if after trying, I didn’t like it, I could do something else.

What in your background prepared you for what you are doing now?

Professionally, I knew how a website was built, I knew how the pieces of the web fit together. I understood the affiliate model and I was comfortable with on-line marketing. My project management background helped me to stay organized and stay on top of my communication with affiliates and partners. I find that my experiences living and studying abroad for a number of years taught me how to adapt and relate to others around me. My life has been shaped by choices I have made when veering off of the beaten path. I translate this to my business attitude. I seek to find new opportunities outside of the norm.

What do you see as the challenges of working in the adult online business? How do you overcome them?

It is funny that you ask this. Earlier this year, I was reading an article on XBIZ.net written by Colin Rowntree, CEO of Wasteland.com. Colin was offering trade show advice to the newbie and said, “Women in adult are not what you want to try to pick up. They are more professional and intelligent than most of the men in this industry and will burn you down in a heartbeat.” I read this and was reminded of my first few adult trade shows. I am not going to fully agree with Colin and say that the women in this industry are smarter than their male counterparts. I do believe that many women feel that we have to be careful not to cross the fine line between business and pleasure in order to be taken seriously. We have to prove that we know what we are talking about and have the balls to play with the boys. (I could not have gotten away with that in a mainstream article.) I always do my homework before a big meeting. I pull stats, make a list of key points and make sure that I know about both the company and the individual(s) I am meeting with. Tip: Never play harder than you work on a business trip.

Does your work life affect your personal life?

It definitely has and continues to have an impact on my personal life. Most people, male and female have a preconceived notion about the adult industry and are quick to judge. I keep the industry a secret until I am comfortable sharing. I am not ashamed of what I do or the industry that employs me. Unfortunately, I have encountered ignorance and I don’t have the time to explain or debate my choices with those picking fights.

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