Entrepreneurs

3 ways to make a radical idea succeed, from the founder of MakeLoveNotPorn

Cindy Gallop attends the Tribeca Talks Daring Women Summit at Festival Hub on April 20, 2016 in New York City.
Steve Mack | FilmMagic | Getty Images
Cindy Gallop attends the Tribeca Talks Daring Women Summit at Festival Hub on April 20, 2016 in New York City.

Cindy Gallop, the founder of MakeLoveNotPorn, spends her days thinking about how to create a space for real sex videos, art and education. Not everyone finds her ideas appealing.

But the entrepreneur doesn't mind.

"Never waste your time banging your head against closed doors," she says. "Put yourself in a position where doors open automatically as you approach."

U.S. revenue for sexual wellness is poised to grow to $52 billion by 2020, and Gallop thinks it's the perfect opportunity.

MakeLoveNotPorn started as Gallop's side gig. She created a "tiny, clunky" website meant to serve as an alternative to the traditional kinds of adult entertainment available online. Gallop launched it while delivering a TED Talk in 2009. The video of that talk went viral. Today, it has more than 1.7 million views.

At four years old in beta, MakeLoveNotPorn has more than 400,000 members globally. The company makes a modest five figures each month, but in a world where 95 percent of all startups fail, Gallop is thankful that the company continues to grow.

"While we face many more obstacles than the average startup, the very fact we are still here is phenomenal," she says.

For entrepreneurs who want to pitch similarly radical or transformative business ideas, this is what Gallop suggests.

1. Help others understand the value, and values, of your company

Gallop likes to ask potential users of her service a personal question: "What are your sexual values?"

"And no one can ever answer that question because we are not taught to think that way," she says. But that gets to the heart of her business.

Once she gets her audience to realize that we are not used to talking about these kind of topics openly, she can make the case that it's vital to teach fundamental values like empathy, sensitivity, and honesty in sex education.

2. Be bold

When you have an idea that is truly revolutionary, like Gallop believes she does, trying to blend in simply isn't practical.

"You have to change the world to fit it, not the other way around," she says.

That's how she decided to alter reality in order to pitch a business pioneering sex tech. Because a category for her product did not exist, Gallop says she created a description for her kind of business and then posted it online. If you Google "What is sextech?," Gallop's post surfaces as the number one result.

3. Get people talking

The MakeLoveNotPorn founder sees even more opportunity on the horizon to build buzz and create brand ambassadors.

"When you do what we're doing, socializing sex, making it socially acceptable and shareable, you potentially triple, quadruple your returns," she says. When people are discussing your business, sharing it, and providing reviews, there's money to be made.