What fetish clubs taught me about marketing

When you see me, a gal with tattoos and pink hair, it’s probably not surprising that I like to explore things outside of the norm. In my college days, that included a gig as a phone sex operator, and monthly nights at our local fetish club.

The fetish nights were held at a regular club, but you had to be dressed up to be let in. For me, as a plus sized woman, it was often less about how scandalous some of the activities that took place there were, and more about how accepting they were of everyone, regardless of body type. (And being in the birthplace of Lululemon, trust me, that was enough.) I’ve always felt like an outsider and a bit of a weirdo with my gifts, and my desire to always flirt with the edge of things, so in many ways I’d found my people. But unlike many of the participants who had kink as their primary sexual preference, I hadn’t the budget, the know how, or frankly the inclination to go all in (no pun intended) on the dress up front.

In a room with sex practically dripping from the walls, you can imagine that the outfits (including props) kind of stole the show. There were elaborate drag queens in GORGEOUS attire who looked flawless, some of the most striking make up I’ve ever seen (including in all my theatre years), and outfits that made me, in all my “I can handle anything” glory, blush. Everything was BIG, and BOLD, and a bit outrageous, with so much to see that you almost didn’t even know where to look. It was sensory overload.

And then there was me.

With the exception of one poorly thought out fishnet get up, I was always the most underdressed there. And I don’t mean lacking clothes, one dude wore only a loin cloth, I was basically a “normal” for the first time in my life. I wore shiny skirts and animal print tops and knee high boots, I wore a long line bra with a skirt made out of black table cloth fabric held together with rivets and shoelaces, and I wore wigs… partially because they were fun, and partially because I was afraid to be seen. One time, I was in tight pants and what I thought was a revealing top, and they almost didn’t let me in… TOO normal. (I think that was the night that prompted the poorly-considered fishnet outfit I mentioned before.) But here’s the thing… in a sea of glitz, and glamour, I was still noticed… I had someone to kiss, to dance with, and I ended the nights with phone numbers in my pocket.

Because sometimes, it’s not about the flash.

I’ve said it before: if everyone is zigging, you need to zag like a motherfucker. In this case, all the time, energy and money these people invested in their fetish attire was great, and it looked beautiful, but it wasn’t the only way to be noticed. So if we extend that same thought to the online space, it means you don’t have to be the big personality, have the perfectly polished marketing, or the fanciest website to be seen. What matters is that you show up exactly as you are. That, my sweet one, is magnetic.

A lot of coaches are those bright, sparkly types. It’s what naturally draws us in. (Think peacocks and their beautiful feathers.) And while the good ones will help you align your message and how you put it out there to who you are, the bad ones try to turn you into cookie-cutter versions of themselves. And if that’s not you, they will fail, and you’ll be the one who feels like the failure, which isn’t fair. There is more than one way to stand out, and it doesn’t require you to force something that isn’t in your natural wheelhouse. The trick is in finding the thing(s) that lights you up, the people you’re here to serve, and how you’re comfortable putting yourself out there. As I said to a client today, it should STRETCH you (I’m all about growth), but it shouldn’t BREAK you.

If you feel you’re being pushed into a mould that doesn’t quite fit, call a time out to regroup. You don’t have to be BIG, and BOLD and outrageous… You don’t have to be perfect before you put yourself out there, even on camera. There’s a way for you to have impact and be yourself, all at the same time, I promise.

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