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Execs of the Year: Digital Media Businesswomen Discuss Top Business Drivers

Execs of the Year: Digital Media Businesswomen Discuss Top Business Drivers
XBIZ Staff

The digital media market has always been ripe for entrepreneurs with the right stuff — courage, ambition and drive to build or lead a thriving business.

As part of XBIZ World’s “Execs of the Year” special issue, the digital media market’s most prolific businesswomen share their thoughts on the top business trends of the year.

My greatest accomplishment as a businesswoman is building a company from the ground up, not just once, but multiple times. To be recognized as a nominee by my peers is an honor in and of itself. -Mia Zhu, Mobius Payments

The XBIZ Exec Businesswoman of the Year Award celebrates one extraordinary woman who encompasses all of the needed traits and has demonstrated leadership that’s above and beyond in every challenge. Each of the executives we spoke to below is among the finalist nominees for Businesswoman of the Year in the digital edition of the 2018 XBIZ Exec Awards.

What was your greatest accomplishment as a businesswoman?

Billie Miller
Yanks

“I can’t think of any one event as the greatest accomplishment, but I would focus rather on the ongoing success and longevity of my business. I started our first site with my partner in 2002 and have built it into a well-known and respected brand all while weathering a pretty significant downturn with the financial crisis of 2008 and a number of other industry changes that have threatened paysites and content producers as a whole. I am proud to still be here and flourishing in 2017, even growing our brand and being one of the first in the industry to produce VR. And from day one to today, I am the proudest of maintaining our high standard of ethics with our models, affiliates, employees, and customers.”

Dee Severe
Severe Sex Films

“Together with my beloved husband/business partner Jimmy Broadway, I built a successful brand out of nothing. Literally. When we first started out, we had a borrowed camera and some pro dominatrix friends who wanted to do content share. I also had zero business experience; previously, I was a writer and frustrated indie filmmaker. Ten years later we have a studio, many award nominations, a major distributor (Exile) an amazing Adult Empire-run website, and content with a point of view that speaks to adventurous fans as well as the fetish community.”

Laurel Hertz
ARLCash

“I would say my greatest accomplishment is that I took a chance on myself. When I was 23, I came across a business opportunity ad that read ‘start your own adult website, no computer necessary!’ I was so happy to see this because for a few years before that I really wanted to get into the audio text industry, but didn’t know how. The investment was quite steep at the time and considering that I didn’t even own a computer, I’m glad that I took a chance and did everything I could do to learn more about how to run an adult website. Once I graduated college, I knew that I still wanted to work in the adult industry and I’m so glad that I chose this path. The people in this industry have been so amazing, and I’m very fortunate that I listened to my gut, without hesitation.”

Mia Zhu
Mobius Payments

“My greatest accomplishment as a businesswoman is building a company from the ground up, not just once, but multiple times. To be recognized as a nominee by my peers is an honor in and of itself. The people I work with within this industry are some of the kindest, genuine, and business-savvy people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. Thank you, everyone, for the nomination and thank you, XBIZ, for the great work you do every year.”

Carmen
BitterStrawberry

“There are many things I’ve accomplished this far and even more things that I want to accomplish in the future. But out of all of them, the one I’m most proud of is the fact that together with my team I was able to create, launch and market a product in such a competitive sector and get it to the top. Now, this only fuels our drive to move forward and get better. So, I believe that if you want to succeed, you have to spark and come up with an innovative idea, inspiring people to be their best, to dream big, be bold and to work together in a high performing, inclusive manner so that they can make a difference in the lives of the people they serve.”

Vicky Vette
VNA

“Competing and succeeding in porn for 14 years and still growing my business while the average lifespan of a woman in porn is three years! Let’s be honest, the huge majority of people who do what I do are men. Initially, most don’t take me seriously, assuming someone else is working behind the scenes. I tend to get the attitude ‘oh ... you are just a porn star ... you don’t understand the intricacies of business.’ Yeah go ahead, underestimate me! I don’t blame people for assuming I am just another dumb blonde, must be the DDs and fake lashes LOL, but actually getting the respect of my peers so that I can do what I do for the rest of the girls in my business is an awesome accomplishment in my mind. They trust me with their sites and online businesses and that means a lot to me. The VNA is growing every year with increased market share in a difficult environment where others are folding.”

Lauren MacEwen
7 Veils

“As a social media strategist, when asked for an answer to this, my first reaction was to crowdsource it and contact the many people in my own social circle. That’s the nature of living in a world where communication is now so heavily dominated by online social interactions. Frankly, I think that’s my best accomplishment in this business. Fostering an understanding of the power of social media and being able to use it myself as a catalyst for everything from user metrics and traffic to the answer to survey questions like this one in an effortless and effective way.”

Lauren
Naughty America

“I’ve been with Naughty America for 10-plus years. When I joined the company, most adult entertainment on the market was less than pleasurable to watch. We (Naughty America) turned that around and put out a product that was sexy, fun and enjoyable for everyone to experience. My greatest accomplishment as a businesswoman has been making sure the women of this industry have always been number one! I feel honored to have gained the respect over all the years of many in this dynamic industry — by my peers, colleagues, talent, agents and content providers. We’re in business and have an industry because of the women on screen, this nomination is dedicated to them!”

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