This article originally ran in the July 2013 issue of AVN magazine.
When the temperatures rise with the season, there is always talk of a “summer slowdown” when it comes to adult online sales statistics. The theory states that as people find fun things to do outdoors and start up their own summer flings, they tend to be less interested in adult content than they would otherwise be during frigid winter nights. That belief may or may not be accurate, especially with the growing impact of mobile porn buyers who take their thirst for XXX content with them wherever they go. However, as one beautiful day follows another, business owners are faced with the task of keeping their employees, vendors and themselves fully motivated to produce no matter how nice it looks outside their offices. Here are some useful tips from industry insiders who have shown they know how to motivate themselves and the talented people around them.
Out of the Office
Some do their best to blur the line between work and play. “We plan outings to a fun bar or restaurant and invite their families to join in,” said Joey Gabra, managing director of Affil4You. “Other times we may just make a random field trip to see a movie that we all really want to see just to take a break from the walls that confine us each day.”
Others tap into the competitive juices of their team to turn mundane work into a more exciting set of goals. “It’s always more difficult to motivate sitting in an office, on a nice summer day—even more so living in a city like Barcelona full of hot, semi-naked women all over the streets in summer time,” said Joao of PinSex.com. “We do competitions on things like who can get the most popular pin or get the most followers during a specific week. This way we get everyone to look at it more like fun than work and that helps us all realize how lucky we are to be working with PinSex, instead of some other boring job. We also have a great team, so there are always the weekends and the holidays that tend to be quite exciting here and where there are tons of kinky and funny stories to share during the work week. To lighten things up even more, we have a weekly breakfast together, where we all gather and talk about everything except work, but somehow PinSex always comes into the conversation at some point. Work can be fun too.”
At JuicyAds the summer event schedule of adult trade shows also serves an important motivational purpose. “There is no real slowdown at JuicyAds as we are constantly working with our clients new and old, enhancing their campaigns. We are the ‘sexy advertising network,’ and I like to live up to the name by continuing to promote fun and exciting energy,” said Jay V., owner of JuicyAds.com, noting that the hosted parties at various webmaster events. Mixing business with pleasure and networking is an easy way to add excitement to any upcoming work schedule.
Irons in the Fire
Another way to maintain a competitive edge is by continually getting into new products, services and markets. “Traditionally they have always dubbed the summer months as the Summer Slowdown. Sure, things in the content biz tend to wind down for a few months. But what keeps us going is that we have several irons in the fire which will prove lucrative once released, so knowing this keeps us focused and motivated,” said $tan D’Aman, consultant to AdultCentro. “Keep an eye out for our late August-early September announcements, then you’ll know what kept us inspired this summer.” Utilizing the development schedule to make sure the pipeline of new milestones runs concurrently with times of the year that might otherwise slip away is an excellent way of organizing workflow and keeping people motivated.
Some successful brands pointed out that it always comes down to the quality of the people working with you. No matter what else you do to amp up the excitement, you need to have the right crew in place to make it count. Those ideas were best summed up by Bradley, the director of operations at iDealgasm.com. “As a rapidly growing company in its second year of business, keeping the troops motivated is thankfully something I rarely have to concern myself with because most of the guys here have been with us since the beginning and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more motivated group, no matter how bright the sun is shining through the office windows.”
Bradley attributes a lot of that to the history his team has in other ventures. “Most of us come from ten-plus years of traditional corporate management in our backgrounds, some in the more liberal world of daily deals, and others in the more conservative environment of corporate finance. Anyone who’s had that type of corporate education will tell you that for better or worse those teachings stick, and motivating the troops and keeping them on task is certainly something the management team at iDealgasm are all very familiar with doing. Luckily most of the chaps in the office get to look at naked women all day, so keeping them smiling is easy. For us keeping everyone on point is a matter of maintaining an open environment for communication. We’re in a very privileged place of being able to work in an environment without silos. We all have our defined roles, but we attempt to foster a very collaborative environment. Not to make us sound all warm and fuzzy (we certainly have our fair share of office screamers) but that’s because we all have extremely high expectations of each other and that in itself brings with it certain pressures. Luckily the mutual respect our employees have for one another turns that pressure into a very powerful motivating factor.”
Motivation, no matter how strong, is only effective if it is accompanied by clear direction and careful organization. “As a CEO, it’s your job to keep your team motivated and productive, especially during the lull of the summer months,” said Amar of PaperStreetCash and TeamSkeet.com. “A few important things we do: Stay organized—it’s really easy for projects to fall through the cracks and staying organized is the best weapon against that loss. Focus on the light at the end of the tunnel by giving each person specific goals with a bonus tied to their accomplishments. Apply the 90/10 rule by giving the team necessary assignments to work on while also setting aside time for more creative things that they each want to accomplish. Of course, when all else fails—Friday happy hours! Do things that will be appreciated, to help your high-quality team unwind, even if it’s on company time!”
Many things can serve as incentives, from nice weather to team socialization, but there really is no substitute for tying financial compensation to a job well done. “For the VideosZ team, having milestones is very important,” said Clement. “We use a system of deadlines, goals and profit-based incentives to keep everyone working in the same direction. One thing I have found is that if you make the bonuses big enough, you never have a problem with getting people to work hard. If anything, our team has a hard time leaving the office to go home and take time off. Our team is small, intentionally, so everyone works together and relies on each other. That also helps to motivate people because nobody wants to let anyone else down. Once you communicate clear goals and objectives to a small, talented team with strong profit-based incentives, the rest pretty much takes care of itself.”
With so many in this industry working remotely or solo without a large team in an office all around them, we took a look at some more solitary factors as well. “In the summer I will have my morning coffee outside while I start work,” said Lauren MacEwen, CEO of social engagement powerhouse 7 Veils Media. “The crisp morning air always puts me in a good mood and makes me feel like I can capture the opportunities of the day. I am lucky that I can work wherever I am and so can my team. I encourage them to work outside. Use the great weather to inspire your creativity. After all a huge part of what we do in social media is reliant on creativity. The summer weather gives us great things to talk about while refreshing the mind and body.”
Of course, the single most important factor of motivating any team is a leader with the ability to self-motivate while showing by example and communicating the importance of staying on top of your game day in and day out. “For me, I need to be in charge of what I do, for whom and when,” said Sean Holland of Hustler.com. “This is my core motivation that I live by and it drives me. Also, I’ll do whatever I need to do to get ahead. There is nothing worse to me than having a full plate or a full inbox, so it doesn’t matter if it’s spring, summer or fall, I always try my best to get the job done and fast. I’m a people person and I tend to bond strongly with my team. With that bond I can easily help motivate and support their needs when they need it most. No matter what you do, your job exists for a reason. Finding the human element, and of course balance in what you do, is key to staying motivated all year round.”
If none of that helps you to keep your head in the game, you might want to consider the fact that you are the most recent iteration in an evolutionary chain spanning all the way back to the start of the universe itself. Somewhere in your own ancestral timeline a caveman fought a bear with nothing but a stick—and won. The number of permutations that all had to turn out exactly right for you to exist in the first place is truly staggering. What you do with your brief time on this planet determines whether or not the struggles of so many prior generations were worth it. So when someone asks, “What did you do today?” you really ought to always have a good answer.
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