I love the adult community with all of my heart but, if I’m being completely honest, I’m also friggin’ terrified of it.
Sometimes it seems like one slip up—one misstep or poorly-considered joke—and you’re on the chopping block about to be executed by people you admire and would never wish to offend in a million years.
It’s brutal at times and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that my heart sometimes skips a beat with worry when I say something that I then realize could be misconstrued, or otherwise be challenged.
Sometimes this attitude seems extreme, unfair, and even unrelenting but most of the time it’s fair and it’s also well worth paying attention to.
Although I (like most people) fear criticism and the repercussions that a difference of opinions may bring I also strongly believe that being challenged is a necessary part of life. It allows us the chance to practice introspection—to consider how we behave and reassess our views and approach to certain topics. In most cases even a difference of opinion can bring something productive, even if it’s simply a different point of view.
None of us are perfect, we’re all different, and we all have a lot to learn.
That being said, there’s nothing to say that you always have to learn the hard way. Making mistakes and addressing them in the best way you can muster is part of being a responsible individual but it’s not the only way to learn and grow.
The wonderful thing about being part of a supportive community is that we want you to succeed. We want you to join us in championing sex and all its wonderful facets. And, if you work with us, then we will champion you with full force and great enthusiasm.
Receptive companies: We’re rooting for you. We really are. And that means we’re also willing to share what we’ve learnt (and seen others learn) the hard way, so that you don’t have to go through that OR so that you know what to do should the full wrath of the adult community come crashing down on you.
I and a group of like-minded individuals got together to discuss these very topics at Eroticon, under the wonderful guidance of Ruby Goodnight, and here are some of the key tips that come to mind and that I’d like to share based off of this highly constructive event.
#1 Know Who You Are
Every plant starts as a seed and, equally, every business has that initial point of conception that it grew from.
At all points it is crucial that you know what this seed was and what it means for you and your company so that you can help cultivate it and stay true to your core motivation/s as time goes on.
Preferably this will be based around some sincere desire to make a difference to the adult community or to help propel the sex positive movement and/or dispel negative approaches to sex and sex toys.
A strong moral/ethical approach to your business will help make sure that you always have a firm anchor to blaze forward from. Speaking of which…
#2 Act With Integrity
Having a belief is nothing if you don’t hold true to it.
Actions speak louder than words, and the way you conduct your business will speaks volumes about you as a company.
I already spoke in length about this in my last article, so I won’t dwell on this point much here, but when companies conduct themselves with authenticity and integrity people listen. Which brings me to my next point…
Listen to your customers. Listen to bloggers. Listen to the angry people shouting at you on Twitter.
Listen. Listen. Then listen some more.
Of course you don’t have to agree in every instance, nor even change your mind (especially if you feel you’re being true to yourself). But when people take the time to actually speak to you then the least you can do is take the time to consider what they’re saying, to think about how it aligns with your beliefs, and to consider if reconsideration might be of benefit to you.
This is also a wonderful way to avoid the knee-jerk reaction that often comes with feeling like one is being attacked in a social media shit-storm. Too often nowadays we’re thinking of a counter or response to someone else’s opinion rather than actually taking in what they have to say and giving it the consideration it deserves. But doing this is so vital, especially when it comes to a business.
How you react on a daily basis is one thing, but how you react under pressure can make or break your reputation. Give yourself and the feedback you receive the time it deserves and you’ll likely find the entire situation much more rewarding for everyone involved.
#4 Recognize Your Allies
I’m just going to go and say it—Companies that don’t support bloggers are missing out.
Yes, this may count as blowing my own horn a bit (which I’ve never been comfortable with) but bloggers can be hugely influential in the adult community and that influence is worth tapping in to.
We know what the current ‘sitch is in the community. We have a large following. We love what we do and we pursue it with an incredible amount of passion (usually self-motivated). And, most importantly, we talk. A lot.
If you’ve pissed off one sex blogger pretty soon all other sex bloggers will know about it, as well as customers, other companies, and…well…you get the drift.
Something that is often overlooked is that we are also customers too. We don’t just speak on behalf of your client base. We are your client base. The major difference is we’ve taken our love of what you do to the extreme out of sheer passion and love for what you do.
Treat us with respect and you can be damned sure we’ll be paying customers as well as valuable business partners. Trust me—we’re worth investing in.
#5 Practice Gratitude
This may sound a bit New Age but I’m a firm believer in taking the time to be grateful for the people and things around me that enable me to live the life that I do.
We all put a lot of time, effort, money, and emotional investment in to our endeavours. They may all be different but they all share something in common—support and encouragement from the wonderful people who take an interest in what we do.
Taking the time to consider this and to think of what it means to you every now and then will help reaffirm your core values and how you wish to move forward when you find yourself faced with criticism or straying from your original path. It will help give you the sense of perspective, humility, and support that is sometimes sorely needed to keep on moving forward and to move from one strength to another.
So, I suppose, if there’s one core message to take away from all of this it’s the following—You are not alone.
Sometimes this means getting called out for being offensive, but it also means being acknowledged in the first place, being respected, and being given advice, support, and compassion from various different individuals, all of whom have their own reasons for choosing to stand by your side.
Take that to heart and respect will never be hard to earn, but a natural part of how you conduct your business.
This article was inspired by Ruby Goodnight’s panel at Eroticon, which I was able to attend thanks to Knicker Rocker Glory. Please show your appreciation by going to the sites featured in the article above (and showing loads of love to Knicker Rocker Glory).