It's hard to believe anyone could have taken a more interesting path into the online adult industry than Ron Cadwell.
A native of Phoenix, Cadwell had just finished schooling for his initial chosen profession in 1991 when the first renegades of the adult industry were finding out how powerful the Internet could be for business. However, following in the footsteps of his father, Frank, Cadwell set out to become a chiropractor in his father's practice.
"My dad was the real entrepreneur," he said, almost downplaying the impact he and his credit card-processing company CCBill have made on the industry. "He was the [first chiropractor] to advertise using mass media and to open franchises."
Frank and his wife, JoAnn, instilled in their children - Ron and Stephanie - a work ethic that continues today and has been passed along to their grandchildren.
Aside from the work ethic, Ron and Stephanie learned the importance of family. JoAnn, who passed away in February 2008, stayed home to watch the children, while Frank, who passed away two months later, provided for the family. But there always was time to travel.
"My parents made it their goal to take us to see all 50 states and Canada," Cadwell said, recalling how the entire family would pile into a vehicle and trek across the country every year to seek out new locations and adventures. Even at play, it seems the Cadwell family set goals and worked hard.
Later in life, Cadwell said, during his time in the chiropractic industry, he hated taking vacations.
"If you weren't there in the office, then you weren't making money," he said. "Make no mistake: I was pulling in six figures a year, but I was working hard to make that."
As he was settling into business with his father, Cadwell's sister graduated from college with a degree in psychology. It was her first venture into the world of business that would change things dramatically for the Cadwell family and, eventually, the adult Internet industry.
"At the time, Jamba Juice was just starting to really take off," Cadwell explained. "There was a company called Total Juice Plus, and my sister started a franchise."
In 1995, the owner of Total Juice Plus decided to place an ad on the Internet. At the time, Cadwell said, it cost about $20,000 for a full-page ad in a magazine, but only $20 to advertise on a Web site. So, the Cadwell family scanned in a few pictures of fruit and juice cups and started selling juicers from the chiropractic office.
A friend of the family who was in the insurance business agreed to handle the e-mail orders for the juicers. They processed more than $12,000 in credit card orders. Shortly afterward, they processed $15,000. It was then the Cadwells realized that processing credit cards for other businesses was where things were happening.
"At the time, I had a friend who lived in Cavecreek, Ariz.," Cadwell said. "He was running an adult Web site, and he asked if we could provide the hosting with our dedicated server. Dad and I had no moral problems with hosting the site as long as the bill was paid, but it turns out our hosting company had a moral problem with it."
The friend was Colin Rountree, creator of the Wasteland.com site, which became the first site to utilize the Cadwells' new hosting company, Cavecreek Web Hosting.
It wasn't long before the Cadwell men were hardly seeing chiropractic patients, so the decision was made to close that business and move in servers and computers to focus on building CCBill and Cavecreek.
"CCBill was originally designed just so we could make sure we were getting paid for the juicers," Cadwell said. But as the business began to grow and more customers came on board, the Cadwells started to pay attention to CCBill, he added.
Through the years, the Cadwells have made the decision to treat their employees as if they were a part of the family, a tradition carried on today. Of the first 10 people hired by CCBill, three of them still work for the business, including the first person they ever hired.
"And always, since day one, we agreed that we would feed our employees," Cadwell said. Located inside the 20,000-square-foot building in Tempe, Ariz., is a full kitchen that puts most restaurants' facilities to shame. Twice a day, every day, a full staff prepares two complete meals. While he admits it may be considered an unusual perk by some business owners, Cadwell said the benefits of feeding employees far outweigh any cons. It not only helps reward employees for their hard work, but also improves production, since employees aren't distracted by trying to make lunch plans and leaving the building for meals. "It's a huge savings in our minds," Cadwell said.
And that sense of family and thanking those who work so hard to make CCBill and Cavecreek the successes they are is what spurred one of the most popular annual conferences for the adult online industry, The Phoenix Forum.
Now in its 11th year, The Phoenix Forum is held each spring and offers a chance for those involved in all aspects of the adult online industry to gather for seminars, networking and parties.
"We use [the show] mostly as a marketing tool and a way to show our appreciation to everyone," Cadwell said. "We don't operate it to make a profit."
Despite the successes of Cadwell, Stephanie and other members of the Cadwell "family" at CCBill, Cavecreek Web Hosting and Cavecreek CDN - a content delivery network company - some things drastically have changed in Cadwell's life. These days, he doesn't mind vacationing with his family. In fact, he looks forward to it.
"I'd love to get the time to do some more fishing this year," he admitted. "And I have a trip planned to take a boat to Cabo. I still love to travel."
This story originally appeared in the November 2008 issue of AVN Online. To subscribe, visit AVNMediaNetwork.com/subscribe.