I’ve been debating over this post for a few months now. Do I write it? Don’t I? For fear, it sounds less than an interesting post and more of a rant. But it is a topic close to my heart, which many, small business owners may understand. I know through sharing the realities of my business, it may result in the loss of associates, allies, followers, distributors, other small businesses opportunities, or even bloggers who have an affiliate with my business. But I NEED to say this. I feel it’s important. The fact that the niggling desire to write this hasn’t gone away, and I’ve toiled over it for a few months now, means I need to put it out there.
I’m not sure what I want you, the reader, to take from this, but I hope, at the very least, it opens your eyes to the world of my small business, certainly if not mine, others.
I’m lucky to be a female – a cis, white, female at that. I’m lucky to live in Australia. I’m lucky to have a roof over my head, a bed, and can go home to a meal and loving family every day. I’m lucky to have survived abusive relationships. I’m lucky to have survived a house break-in and rape. I’m lucky to be here typing this surviving suicide attempts. Yes. Yes, I am.
But I’m not referring about that luck. I’m talking about the weekly comments I receive either in person, email or private message about how lucky I am in my business.
So what makes me lucky according to some?
I’m so lucky I don’t have to work hard.
I’m so lucky because I make easy money.
I’m so lucky because I get paid to do nothing
I’m so lucky because my business runs itself
I’m so lucky because I stay home and have sex all day.
I’m so lucky to not have to do a real job.
I’m so lucky I’m not intelligent enough for a real job.
I honestly had no idea how lucky I was. Silly me.
I feel I work hard. I study my butt off, spend hours planning, writing & researching. I’m all the parts of my business engine – artist, SEO expert, photographer, product buyer, website specialist, product editor, and social media person and the rest– but who knew I was just ‘so lucky’?
Looking at the above, I feel perplexed, shamed, anger, pain, and confusion. Sadly, I hear them all too regularly. I interpret them to mean people equally admire, resent, disrespect my business, and the perceived lifestyle I have. They want it, wish for it, but could never do it because it falls in the land of ‘taboo’ and therefore isn’t considered respectable. Being seen as ‘easy’ money also makes it taboo, because if it’s one thing we’re proud of here in Australia, it’s taking pride in working hard for the dollar.
I’m honestly not sure what people think I do. Apparently, from some comments, I spend the majority of my time in bed, having sex. From people’s facial expressions, I think people think I’m sending virgins off to be sacrificed too. Whatever is being conjured up in their heads, it ain’t it. Well, Probably. I’m definitely not living the dream most think I am. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, and sex education is where I’m meant to be, but my business (secretly probably needs to be called an exceptionally, expensive hobby), and in its second year in, isn’t exactly setting me up for an early retirement. Yet.
Is it because I’m in the sex industry? Or is it because my business is predominantly online? I can assure both do not correlate with ‘easy’.
That association with my business baffles me. It really does. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say it didn’t hurt at times. I’m a strong person, but it’s hard to brush off these comments. They do take their toll occasionally, which doesn’t help the old mental health issues I have.
Being told my jobs not real, I’m not intelligent, I do nothing, my business is not valid or taken seriously because I sell sex toys. Is harsh. It becomes even more disturbing when people dislike what I do because they think it’s easy. Yet, even if I could convince people I work hard, I’d still be looked down upon for the type of work it is. I can’t win by society’s standards.
*Insert large sigh here*
Let me try to convince you that I’m valid, and so is the field I’ve chosen.
I generally find this attitude tiresome. And hate that I have to justify how I use my time and why. But in the interest of breaking down assumptions…
First of all, what is the measurement of ‘hard work’? Making a more than $50,000 a year? Lack of sleep? High working hours? 8 sales a day? Three blog posts a week? How exactly do I measure my work so I can aim for ‘hard working’?
I want to make this very clear.
I. Work. Hard.
The Slinky Minx is the culmination of years, and I mean years, of study (paid – about $30,000 and privately), personal transformation, abuse, ridicule, no money, and fighting against society’s norms and much bigger whales in the ‘sex industry sea. The Slinky Minx has come about through blood, sweat and copious buckets of tears. It’s a one-person show. Sorry I lie, I do have the odd bit of help from my partner. But for the most part, be it keeping up a strong social media presence, taking photos, write-ups, blog posts, artwork, accounting, researching, ordering, etc. it’s all me. Narelle Minx.
My day generally begins at 5 am, and finishes around 12 am.
On top of maintaining my business, I study full time, have a family and pets, and a home to look after.
Every minute of my day is accounted for, and I work meticulously to maintain that level of organisation. I won’t lie, when something new enters my life, it throws me a little, but I always get back on track.
Does that make a hard worker?
These comments always fill me with a little bunny rage.
- I don’t’ make ‘easy’ money, it’s bloody hard money.
- I don’t make money – I have no wage.
- I do everything in my business – ALL OF IT.
I started The Slinky Minx primarily to bring a range of products from America to Australia because I was sick of us not having access to body-safe products. My initial reason was not to make money. I started for love, and it will continue to be that. I want to share great products and help provide sex education to my community. If I can cover costs, I’m happy. Does The Slinky Minx do this now? No! I’m always dipping into my partners pay, and my credit card is maxed out.
Over the last three months, I’ve invested heavily in blogging, paid blogging advice, building up relationships with bloggers, invested in new products, and given products away for reviews. Now, this investment may only be about $4000, but since doing this, would you care to guess the number of purchases I’ve had? 30? 90? 51? Nope. Nope. And Nope. It’s ten. Now I know saying that, I’ll probably lose affiliates or and potential wholesale companies, but I want you to know that this business is not a big money-making scheme. I’m not sitting back and watching the money roll in from sales. I’m bloody small! Though it is increasing, it used to be a sale a month! Yay!
It takes time, and oh what’s that other thing? Oh yeah! Hard work to build! Especially when you’re a one-man show and going against the sex business norms – being inclusive, concentrating on artisan products, being open.
Now I’m not in anyway shape or form suggesting that my business model is ideal. I know it isn’t. And I am working on it. But the point is just because I’m selling sex toys, doesn’t mean the money is rolling in on wheelbarrows. I fight very hard for every sale I have.
As for people presuming I get paid to do nothing.
OMG! *facepalm* How? How am I getting paid to do nothing? I’ve already established I work hard – admittedly by my standards – and I don’t’ have a high sale rate. So how am I getting paid to do nothing?
I don’t get paid, and I do everything!
*In a rather tired and exasperated tone* It doesn’t!
As I said previously and will continue to say, again and again, I work hard for the connections I’ve made, and titbits of money that come my way. I’m not part of an affiliate program, (where I receive money for clicks and sales) I’m not part of ‘drop shipping’, I don’t have paid advertisements on my site (though I am thinking about it), the only money flowing in is via a sale. Otherwise, it’s all flowing the other way –out!.
I have no automated system which brings me money for doing nothing. Oh! I do use mail chimp for sending out my newsletter to all my subscribers, and I use IFTTT to help send a twitter post to other social media sites. Oh, and on occasions, I use Tweetdeck to schedule posts. Do they count? Because if that’s what you’re talking about, then yes, I guess my business ‘runs’ itself.
Sexing it up all day
Um, just because I’m part of the large sex industry umbrella, does not mean I’m home all day having sex. I refer people back to the paragraph about working hard and the lack of time on my hands.
But, can I just say, even if I were home all day having sex, good luck to me!
I can, and on occasion have done that. And it’s delicious! Don’t shame me, and others for enjoying our bodies. Maybe instead of shaming, I invite you to put aside a day or weekend and indulge in a day of rumpy-pumpy yourself.
Not a real job. Oh! And am I dumb?
Can I just state, very clearly, that a person’s job, is not an indicator of their intelligence! Nor is it a way of measuring it.
Just stop judging people! Ahhh! *head-desk*
There are many reasons why a person may be in a particular field. They’ve been made redundant, studying, in between careers, the only one they could find, or they actually like it! I use to clean houses, and I loved it – but I know people thought it was because I couldn’t get beyond high school. Little did they know – because no one took the time to ask me – I’d chosen to leave law, psychology, nursing, accounting not through lack of intelligence, but because they weren’t for me. If you’re curious, feel free to ask, just do it politely.
Just please stop judging people and looking down on them for doing a job you probably don’t want to do to or didn’t have the courage to pursue yourself. I consider myself an intelligent person, and I began my business because I want to bring joy to people. I want to help people to experience a sex positive culture, to be free of body shame, to learn that it’s ok to like sex and to talk about. That’s why I do what I do, and I love it!
To me, it is a real job because I do it every day. I live it. Breathe it. Lose sleep over it. The only things I don’t have is a wage. maybe that’s why it’s not real? Well let me reassure you, I’m working on it!
So in a rather open and perhaps at times incoherent blog post, if you have a small business yourself, go you! To the people who judge me and others because of their work, just stop it, please. I can assure I work hard for everything I have in this business, and I’ll keep doing it because I want to serve and build a sex-positive community.
Negative judgements aside, my business is growing and I do consider myself lucky – because I’m on my own path, doing what I want to do, making my dream a reality. Are you?
Narelle Minx x x x