Category Archives: Money Management

Sex work and payment processing

Its hard out there for a hoe! Being in one of the highest grossing industries doesn’t mean you get the benefits that anyone else would working in a “real” business. If you’re selling any kind of adult material from video to audio you will find a major roadblock to making money. Payment processing. It gets us all.  Since adult work is considered high risk most payment processors wont touch you with a ten foot pole. Those that do will take a giant chunk of your money. Sometimes upwards of 40%. That’s a lot of cash to give away to someone for them basically doing very little to actually doing nothing. A quick rundown of some options for selling your content and making money.

Paypal: Plain and simple Paypal is not adult friendly. Do not sell your material using them as a processor they will freeze your account.

Stripe: Its right in their Faq’s Adult content or services are a no go.

C4S: If you make video or audio C4S is an option. C4S is like old faithful, strong steady and they have been around forever. Thousands of people have studios with them, so its easy to get info on how they do business. They will host your content and they have their own customers to sell to  which means they bring traffic. They have a long standing reputable reputation. All that is great. They take 40% of every sale. That’s not great. Ive had a studio with them for years, customer service is great, they send me my money like fucking clock work and i rarely if ever seem them in pissing matches in forums with model. That’s called professionalism.  They are worth a look.

IWC: I Want Clips, popular with some people, others hate them. They pay out 70% and have contests where you can compete for more sales ( fun.. not) and occasionally have payouts that increase on holidays, wen is a nice feature. I heard there was some kind of multilevel system where the more in sales you make the larger % you can take home of your cash. That may have changed, ive been alerted by a user of the site its a straight percentage. Its worth asking the question of you decide to use them.  I have heard mixed opinions about how much traffic they actually bring to the table. Their nice is femdom more specifically video femdom. They are a small mom and pop shop, actually IWC has two dads. They have a lot of complaints about lack of customer service and a mysterious user agreement I haven’t been able to get my hands on but they could be a viable option if you fit their niche and don’t feel like you will have any issues that need addressing or immediate attention.

Niteflirt: A phone sex site where you an an independent contractor can use their platform to take calls or do webcam shows. However you can also sell your content which they call “goodies” Video, audio, photos all kinds of things can be uploaded there for sale.  They have a large built in audience but its hard to get noticed on the site unless you pay for top placement so you need to bring your own traffic until your audience finds you. They also take 30% of every sale. They have been around a long time so some of the features seem dated as they don’t do updates very often but Niteflirt is a workhorse, put in the effort and this one  pays off, in spades.

CCBill:  a long standing adult payment processor. Ive been using them for years. It works out to about 12/14% of each sale but depending on your weekly gross that can go down.  You will need to build your own site to sell your content on and you will have to pay the yearly fees to Visa and Mastercard which can come to 1000 per year. Yes, you have to give them a chunk of money for the honor of them taking  a % of every sale.  Welcome to the world of being a “high risk”  content provider. They don’t bring any traffic that’s on you but I have found their customer service excellent and my account rep is always happy to help me if i have questions.  Also if you are a Hypno Domme you know how hard it is to find a processor who always you to use the world “hypnosis” CCBill does not have that restriction.

Clipvia: I told you they were shady years ago. They finally shut down after stealing money from so many people. Good riddance.

If you have any platforms to add to this list? Get in touch with your experience!

Death and taxes, okay just taxes

Uncle Sam Another year has come to a close and that means it’s time do start worrying about your taxes. But I’m a sex worker, I don’t pay taxes you say. BAD idea! Everyone needs to pay their taxes be you PSO or escort. Uncle Sam wants the cut of your money he’s entitled to and it’s a good idea to give it to him so you don’t get caught up in him just taking it from you and he will just take it away from you.  Uncle Sam doesn’t care if you’re a hooker or a cam girl he just wants his money. Besides it’s good to pay your taxes for other reasons. Do you ever want credit? Want to buy a house someday? Get a car loan? Health insurance? Those are just some of the things you may need to show your tax returns to accomplish. Now that you’ve decided to be a productive member of society you need to fill out those pesky tax forms and saying “prostitute”  or “Dominatrix”  under the what do you do for a living part may not be what you want on your tax forms. That’s okay, you can say “model” or better yet say  “consultant”  Thats vague enough but is also mundane enough that it will just be glanced over. Lots of people are consultants you do not need to specify what kind of consultant. Problem one solved!

Depending on the kind of sex work you do you may get 1099 forms from the work you’ve done, or you may not. You still have to declare your actual income, even if you don’t get a form. If you’re an escort or pro domme and work only for yourself you will get nothing from no one. You still need to declare your income. It’s a good idea to begin the year keeping records of your income and expenses but thats an article for another time. If you are a cam girl, PSO, adult actress, dancer, adult content producer, fetish model and the list goes on and one you will likely get 1099’s from some companies and nothing from others. You are what is called an independent contractor/ sole proprietor which is commonly referred to as a freelancer. It’s your responsibility to keep track of your income so you can report it at the end of they year. Plus knowing what you make helps you budget in areas of the rest of  your life. You know like knowing if you are living above your means.

Now that you know what you make, its time to figure out what you can deduct as business expenses.

This about it like this, what things are you paying to run your business? Internet connection? Web hosting, domain names? Did you buy equipment this year for your clip shooting business? Did you pay a photographer for new pictures or take out expensive advertising on that pricey escort mall site? Those things are likely deductible. If you have a home office you can not deduct the full cost of your rent but you can deduct a portion of it. Usually based on the square footage of your office compared to the square footage of the entire place. Don’t try to scam the system keep track of your legitimate expenses. No those new $300 jeans you bought are not a “costume”

Viola you’re well on your way to filling your taxes. It sucks that you may (probably) will have to be cutting a check to Uncle Sam. No one likes that but nothing is being withheld from your earnings, including social security. You need to be prepared to be an responsible adult and write that check even if your hand shakes when you do it. I know mine does, every single fucking year.

Official disclaimer: I’m not a CPA or a tax attorney or anything along those lines. Sex worker friendly people in those professions are out there willing to take you on as a client if you look hard enough.  I’m just a sex worker who pays her taxes who’s trying to help figure out how to pay yours.

Jenny DeMilo: Dominatrix, Hypno-Domme and former GFE Escort

Follow Jenny DeMilo on Twitter

 

How to spend your advertising dollars

PWoman-holding-bag-of-money-via-Shutterstockaying for advertising sucks, but it is necessary. All successful business pay for advertising and sex work is no different from any other business. Spending your money wisely.. now thats the hard part. It’s hard to know what works and what doesn’t and there’s a lot of superstition involved in sex work advertising. Especially because where you are getting your clients from is often hard to know.  As a result people tend to keep ads up that are not working for them just because they always had them or out of fear that if they make a change their work will slow. Remember just because you like or don’t like a  specific site or because they are friendly to sex workers ( they all should be as you are their clients)  is not reason to keep yourself off it or put yourself on a specific website. You are in this business to make money and advertising is a business decision. If the money you invest in ads pays off then it’s a good investment, if its not paying off how you want then you need to find something that works better for you. A lot of trial and error is involved in sex work advertising, a lot. Set yourself a monthly budget and get to putting up and tracking your ads. Keep in mind that spending your hard earned cash wisely is the key.. so here are some tips to help you get more for your advertising dollar.

1. Track your web hits: Do this! Seriously do it now, right now. Tracking your web hits will often give you the best picture of how people are finding you. What keywords / search terms they are using to find your clip site, your escort site, your blog, etc. Where are you getting link referrals.  (Protip: this is also a good way to see who’s sharing your files if you are a clip producer) If you are paying a company big bucks for an ad and no one is clicking over from that site to your site, then you’re not spending your money well. Not at all, not one wee little bit. You must use all the tools available to you and tracking your web hits is A number one.

2. Ask your clients: Be aware that they often don’t know, cant remember or just plain will lie  about it but it never hurts to ask. When I would get a phone calls, I would always ask “Where did you see my ad?” Often they would say some site I wasn’t listed on cuz they can be stupid, but a lot of the time they would tell me where they actually saw my ad and if i was real lucky what they liked about my ad and why they were moved to call. Bonus! Asking where your ad was found is also a good way to track your bullshit callers too. If the time-wasters are always telling you they saw you on site X well then maybe its time to take your ad off that site. Its not doing you any good and in fact its wasting your time. d=Dealing with time wasters all the time contributes to sex worker burn out in a big way.

01USDA wise veteran escort friend of mine told me way back in the day when I was a baby ho how to figure out where to place my ads and it holds true today, maybe even more so. Do a Google search as if you were a client looking for an escort to see. Google: Escorts, Los Angeles or Escorts, Washington DC or escorts and whatever city/state you happen to be working in. Now look at those sites, you should have a presence on most of them. There will be a mix of junk sites, mall sites and review sites. So take a little time and look them over. Someone is always trying to capitalize on what they think is escort cash cow money so there are new sites popping up all the time, many in fact most never last. Make sure a site has been around a while and is established, look over who else is on the site, anyone you know? Anyone you respect? Does it look like a slapped together directory with stolen photos? Weed out the crap and hone it down to the solid options.  If something offers a free ad and in the top 10 search returns and looks reputable then it might be worth sticking an ad up there and see what happens. If there’s a splashy mall site with a solid reputation in the top 10 then maybe its time to see about what they have to offer, if there’s a review site in the mix and you are a reviewed escort that allows reviews maybe its time to step up a little participation. All things to think about. If that review site has an ad section, get a price list. Then do a cost benefit analysis. If i spend X, i expect to make X in return. Then track as best you can those results. If it pays off great take that ad out again. If it doesn’t then cancel that ad. Remember the Internet is ever changing so you want to fine tune your potential ads all the time. A site that seems great may stop working and its time to move on to something else or maybe a site that under performed made some changes and is performing better so you want to give it a second try. This is an ongoing battle one that you will have to adapt too all the time. It will drive you nuts but its worth the effort and your time.

Do all the free advertising you can and by that I mean, If you like to blog then write a blog, If you like to take pictures of what you had for lunch then get an Instagram, if you enjoy reposting sexy photos give Tumblr a try. Of course tweet but remember this is your work persona and keep that in mind when you are tweeting up a storm. Make sure if you use 3rd party sites that you carefully read their TOS and keep it clean if they require that. You don’t want to get kicked off sites just when your marketing was starting to pay off there.

Find out what works for you. Invest your advertising dollars wisely. Then go out there and bring home the bacon.

So You Want to Quit Your Day Job

So you want to quit your day job…

Ok, first thing? Don’t.
Not right away, anyway. You’ve got some serious planning to do first, sugarbritches! It took me nearly a year to get everything ready to go from working in this industry part-time to making it my full-time job and my sole means of income. If this is a choice that you have the luxury of making in advance, make the most of the time you have to make the move as painless as possible.

Are you making at least the same amount of money whoring part-time that you are while working full-time at the day job? If the answer is no, stop reading this article and start honing your skills in your chosen field and come back after the answer is yes. When you’re getting your footing while moving into being your own boss all the time, you’re going to need to take time figuring out a new rhythm, a new schedule, a new well… everything. This could very well eat into your planned “work week” at the beginning and allowing yourself enough time to adjust will save you some serious gray hairs. Especially since there really aren’t any guaranteed paychecks in this biz, bogging yourself down with “holy shit I have to whore for 60 hours to make this week’s bills.” will kill you. KILL YOU. So yes, make sure you are comfortably making your current pay with part-time effort right out of the gate. it will make your transition that much easier. There will be booming times and lean times, be prepared.

Are you prepared to no longer have a mainstream job as an answer when someone asks you what you do for a living? Do you plan on being “out”? To whom? These are questions that you may not have had to think about when this was just a part-time gig but once you are all-in, be prepared to be asked about this “great new job you’ve started” and you should have an answer ready, (whatever it may be) for people that matter to you. Obviously, not everyone needs to know your business but be prepared to be asked, and be asked often. This is also a good time to remind you that at some point in time you could possibly be recognized or god forbid, outted.

Have a hefty amount in savings put away before you give your notice. I hope you’ve been saving your whore money while you’ve been slaving away at your day job because you really never know what adjustments you’re going to need to make once you make your ho job your only job. I saved 6 months worth of expenses because my husband had been laid off the year before and that showed me how important a safety net was, especially with a mortgage.

Let’s talk health insurance. Because let’s be real, this is a giant issue for us all and if you’re leaving a job without health insurance, you better have a plan to replace it. Many of us go without, on a hope and a prayer and lord knows that shit ain’t smart. (I was lucky enough to only have to wait a few months until open enrollment for my husband’s plan through his employer. I know how lucky I was to have had that option.) Paying out of pocket for every last bit of health insurance you’ll need can get CRAZY expensive, and hopefully the Affordable Healthcare Act will help lessen some of the burden in the future. Regardless, it’s always a good idea to do your research and plan for what decisions you’ll need to make.

So yes, if Sex Work is the job you love (or love to hate) and the career path you’re choosing, please don’t jump in hastily. Plan ahead, save your money and come to terms with whatever social hangups others will have about your profession before making the leap.
It’ll serve you well in the long run.

 

Savannah Darling: Fetish Specialist, Webcam Mistress, Phone Sex Operator, Professional Domina

Work Smarter – The Marketing Edition

Marketing is probably the most time consuming aspect of success in the adult industry. Actually, I should correct that statement to encompass all industries, not just the adult industry. Because there is no one sure fire way to be successful at marketing, it involves a lot of trial and error. Sometimes you’ll find that one venue of marketing works amazingly, but then six months later maybe it’s a completely different venue. This royal pain in the ass also happens to be your best friend in the path towards success. Be careful though, it sometimes feels like an uphill battle. In stilettos. Since marketing is an ongoing trial and error process, your first instinct may be to advertise one month on one website and then the next month switch to another website. This can definitely have its ups, but an ad needs to be seen at least 3 times for the audience to make a decision on the product or service. Assuming someone goes to a website once a week, your ad would have to be guaranteed to show up each time they visit that website for them to remember you. That seems like it would be easy, until you factor in that you are not the only advertiser on a website. Most websites use banners that either change every 5-7 seconds or that change each time you click to a new page within the website. Give your ad on the site a 3 month trial period. If you haven’t gotten at least a 10-20% return on your investment, it is definitely time to look elsewhere.

When you’re paying for advertising, be smart about where you spend your money. A fellow producer friend of mine decided to invest by advertising on a popular fetish based tube site, which seems like a great idea except he advertised on a niche fetish tube site and his site doesn’t cater to that specific niche! Of course he was really disappointed by the results since he didn’t get a return on his investment, but he made the mistake of not investing intelligently! Make educated decisions on where and how you spend your advertising budget (do your research!!) so that you don’t end up making the same mistake.

If instead of paying for advertising, you’re doing your own advertisement, consider where and how you’ll be doing it. Are you sticking primarily to forums and interaction with potential customers to drive traffic your way? Maybe you’re running a blog or twitter? Consider this for a moment: what is your hourly rate for a cam show or session? Are your efforts at marketing bringing you that rate for each hour devoted to the cause? If you’re spending 3 hours a day tweeting, and your hourly session rate is $250, that’s $750 worth of work. Did you make that money up? Did you book a session during those 3 hours directly off twitter? No matter how you are advertising, you need to expect a return on your investment, which means not only did you make back the time and money spent, but your earnings go above and beyond that.

If you are advertising by your own means rather than a third party site, use tools that are readily available such as Google Analytics, keywords/search terms, social media sites, and forums (where you are allowed to market yourself. Check the forums TOS before posting ads!). Remember that time is money, and if you’re spending all of your time posting ads and trying to drive up traffic there needs to be a return. Perhaps you spend 10 minutes writing a blog post, be sure to add keywords to make finding you easier. Or maybe you’re tweeting, spend 30 minutes scheduling your tweets to post at popular tweeting hours. See if people you know are willing to do a banner exchange to help drive traffic to each others’ sites or blogs.

There is a lot that can be done to advertise on the internet, and taking advantage of all the avenues is one of the best thing you can do. Whether you decide to pay for advertising or do it yourself, make sure that you’re smart about it. Don’t present yourself or your brand in a bad light, choose the right venues for advertising, and make sure that your ad or banner catches the eye and is memorable!

Follow Sydney Screams on Twitter @sydneyscreams4u

Sydney Screams: Fetish Model, Clip Producer, Adult Actress, Radio Talk Show Host