The Money Doesn’t Last

Most of us got into this industry for the same reason – Money. We want to earn a lot of it and we want to earn it quickly. Whether it’s out of necessity or pure desire, money is a powerful force, and can be intoxicating if you’re not careful.

Here’s the thing about money in the sex industry – it’s rarely, if ever, constant. You have good weeks, bad months, killer years, and rough seasons. Ideally you get a feel for the rhythms that you’re going to experience and over the long run can live relatively steadily on your income. But that takes time, commitment, preparation, and dedication. It’s a challenge that few of us rise to on the first try. An added challenge is that we can be surrounded by clients who make obscene amounts of money, and are generally expected to present a glamorous and upscale lifestyle. Whether it’s as simple as having our nails taken care of or a deeper persona we develop – it’s important to have a REAL sense of what kind of lifestyle we can afford. But before you even get to that part – you need a really simple understanding that your income is not constant. You do not earn an annual salary. You do hours of unpaid labor. And sometimes the money just isn’t there. Sometimes you can do everything right, but the night is slow, the clients are flaky, or the worst economic recession in recent history fucks with your regulars. There’s a lot that is in your control – but there is a lot that isn’t. Your income WILL fluctuate.

This is especially important for New Girls. For your first 6 months (maximum – and depends on your field – for some it’s more like 6 weeks or 6 days) you will be the New Girl. You will be the hot new flavor, and you will be exciting. Milk this time. Build a base of regulars. Enjoy the relative freedom you have to make mistakes with fewer financial consequences. And remain fully aware the entire time that you have New Girl status, which will eventually fade.

It may not fade right away. It may not fade suddenly. You might not even notice it fading at first because (hopefully) you’ve developed your own rhythm and regulars and understanding of how you work. You can tell yourself that you’re going to do everything right. You’re going to be prepared, have some money saved, and have done such a good time building regulars and having new ideas to stay fresh that the experience you gain will counteract the disappearance of the New Girl status.

But you probably won’t. Honestly, most of us don’t. And that’s ok. For most of us there’s a significant dip between when we started and then when our businesses really started to grow significantly. Here’s some ideas to minimize the damage that dip can do to your finances.

Five Things NOT To Do With Your $

  1. Extravagant shopping sprees. Treat yourself for sure, but try to keep it within reason. Better yet, make someone else take you shopping.
  2. Taking on major financial commitments based on your brand spanking new salary. Like buying a new car. Or signing a lease on an upscale apartment. Make sure you know how much you’re going to be making over a longer period of time.
  3. Getting into debt. Don’t assume you can just pay it back later because you’ll see an extra client or sign on an extra couple of hours.
  4. Quit your day job. Yes, that’s usually the point. But hold on to it for a little bit of time while you get your feet wet and figure your shit out. It takes time. Really. And this industry has an extremely high turnover.
  5. Act like an asshole and brag about or lord over all the money you make to your friends. They’ll be far less sympathetic during the rough times, and well, you don’t want to be that asshole.

Five Things DEFINITELY To Do With Your $

  1. Put some in your savings account. Put more than you think you need in your savings account. Save 30% for tax season (see #5)
  2. Pay off your debt. Just good advice in general.
  3. Invest in your business. You already bought your domain, right? Get a decent camera. Get enough supplies to last for a while – condoms, lube, whatever. Get some dungeon gear. Get some new lingerie. Get toys! And keep your receipts if you’re going to file taxes!
  4. If you have financial goals – stick to them. Saving for a house? Don’t touch those savings under the assumption you can earn it back later. Putting money away for a college fund? Leave it there. Be disciplined and it will happen.
  5. If you have trouble with any of this – hire help. Get good software. Get an accountant. Hire the Tax Domme – and especially if your income is tracked, which it will be for just about any legal area of the industry, pay your damn taxes. It’s far more expensive not to.

I’m not a financial expert. I wish I had taken more of this advice when I was new. Just be conscious, cautious, and smart. It can be feast or famine in this line of work. Don’t let yourself starve if you can help it.

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Lauren Kiley: Webcam Girl, Fetish Performer, Fetish Clip Producer, Former Escort, Activist, Dirty Girl Next Door.

How To Protect Your Brand

I’m here to deliver some bad news: if you’re an independent escort who writes her own web copy, there’s a good chance someone else is going to steal it. The higher your visibility, i.e. the more you advertise, the better odds are of this happening, and of happening more than once. (I’ve even had wannabe straight gigolos steal my content!) Short of going completely UTR and hoping no thieves find you, what options do you have to deal with plagiarism?

Make your mark, don’t steal it

First, give yourself permission to protect your work. I hate confrontation, so even though nothing makes me angrier than being ripped off, I dread that reply email from the person I’m calling out. Steel your nerves by reminding yourself that you’re a professional, you created something original—and valuable—in the service of promoting your business, and someone else stole it for their own gain. This is not okay and it’s not harmless regardless of how green or ditzy the girl (or guy) who stole from you may be. You can get moral support from friends before taking action if you’re feeling a little unsure, and if they’re fellow working girls, they’d probably appreciate a heads up anyway about who among us isn’t as ethical as she should be. (I also derive a lot of encouragement from this comprehensive Amanda Brooks post capturing all the agony of having to deal with content thieves.) http://www.texasgoldengirl.com/afterhours/escort-plagarism/#more-954

Second, give the thief an easy way out. It pains me to admit it, but this is definitely a situation where you’ll get better results by swallowing your righteous anger and trying to sound sweet regardless of how furious you feel. Few people respond with grace when they’re caught doing something so obviously wrong, so whatever you do, don’t expect an apology or admission of guilt. Clench your teeth and type out something along the lines of “Dear Tiffanie, your pictures are simply adorable and you seem like a great girl but I noticed that you’ve inadvertently repeated some of the text I wrote for my own site. Can you please have your webmaster take down the following sections?” It’s a really good idea to let your first draft sit for at least a day so you can try to smooth out any lingering bitterness that’s come through.

Go ahead and let the culprit blame the copying on a web designer or a well-meaning client or a boyfriend, or her own crazy memory that allows her to mistake entire sentences of other people’s writing for her own. She’ll save face and you get what you want—hopefully.

Some friends of mine have offered to help the offender write her own text, or flat out ghost write it for her for free, which is something I would never be able to bring myself to do. However, I respect that approach for its generosity and you may have some luck with it. One of my friends explained this approach by saying, “I knew she’d never take me up on it,” but I’m not so sure about that. Definitely don’t offer this if you aren’t willing to follow through or she’ll probably feel justified in defaulting back to using yours.

Third, make it harder for people to steal from you. If you don’t care for visibly watermarking your images, you can use a digital watermark. Have your website designer code your pages so that it’s not possible to highlight and copy text. Thieves are by definition lazy, so this will have an impact right away, though on sites like Eros and Cityvibe they will still be able to lift your words.

Fourth, stay alert. Use services like Copyscape (http://copyscape.com) or set up google alerts on some of your more distinctive phrases. DMCA is really the best place to register with because it holds the most sway with hosts, and has the best luck of getting a site taken offline or modified when your entreaties to the escort herself (or himself) have gone unrewarded. (You can learn a little more about DMCA here, http://brainz.org/dmca-takedown-101/ You can also google pieces of your text now and then—lots of girls do this—and see what turns up. As you develop a place in the community, other escorts will let you know when they see your work on someone else’s page. Respond to it! Go back and read the first rule if you start feeling fatigued by all the policing you have to do.

Fifth, recognize when it’s time for no more Ms. Nice Escort. I use a copyright consultant to keep an eye on all of my content because I believe it needs to be done but I don’t want to have to do it myself. Instead of emailing someone directly now, I usually just ask him to send a DMCA notice to their host. This costs extra money but it’s worth it to me. I don’t have any more patience or energy to spare on arguing with someone who’s stolen from me, so I just go straight to the big guns whenever possible.

Sixth, recognize when it’s time to let it go. Some offenders will have been lucky enough to set up shop with a belligerent or lackadaisical host who won’t respond to your notices, or she may have tweaked your own paragraphs just enough to claim that it’s all a big coincidence (even if you and I and everyone else with a brain can see differently.) People who take short cuts are not destined for much success. Rest easy in the fact that they won’t be able to deliver in person what your scintillating, personalized prose promised.

Or, depending on what exactly they’ve stolen, you might take a different view entirely. A few lines I wrote about welcoming clients with disability have been stolen verbatim so many times over the years that it’s practically become standard industry practice to include it on a site or ad. And that’s okay. Those little bits related to protocol aren’t what distinguishes your personality, anyway.

Keep in mind through all of this that no matter how frustrated you may be by the plagiarism, you’ve got an ace up your sleeve that the plagiarists don’t. You can always write more unique, beguiling passages that attract the type of clients you want. If you’ve done it once, you’ve got the intelligence and creativity to do it again. Odds are, your copycats will continue to be unoriginal and opportunistic, rounding up the back of the pack while looking to people like you to try to understand what creates success. They’re simply not real threats. Of the two of you, you’re the one with the upper hand.

Avery Moore: High-End Escort, Traveling Companion

Staying Under The Hotel Radar

Traveling isn’t easy when you’re escorting. It can take a physical toll, worse it can take an emotional toll. Being away from home and all your creature comforts is harder then you may think, especially if you travel for more then a few days at a time. The last thing you want is to be hassled by the front desk or hotel management for being a hooker. Here are some tips on ways to keep under the radar when working out of a hotel on tour.

1. Steal towels from the maids cart: You’re going to need extra towels, hotels are getting stingier with them all the time. Plus sometime clients hog and use up all your towels. You really don’t want to be calling the maid every day or even several times a day asking for extra towels. Thats a giant red flag and will get you pegged as a hooker straight off the bat. If you see the maids cart (and how can you miss it) causally and with out being noticed take a handful of towels back to your room and stow them in your closet. Put out one fresh towel for each client, don’t give them the option to use up all your towels.

2. If you need to ask the maid for towels, TIP HER: Sometimes you need towels and you just cant find that maids cart to nick them from (FYI: look on other floors too) You have no choice but to call housekeeping and ask for fresh towels. When the maid comes to your door with them, tip her! Hand her five bucks say thank you, be nice to her and smile. She will be more then happy to give you the towels and be more likely to just turn a blind eye as to why a single female traveler needs all these goddamn towels. She may even ask you in the hall next time she sees you if you need any towels or anything for your room. Win her over with cash.

3. Take out your own trash: The last thing you want to do is bring unneeded or unwanted attention to yourself with a trash can full if condom wrappers.  Take out your own trash. Usually theres a trash can somewhere by the ice machine. Scope it out so you know where it is and take out your own trash. The less suspicion on you the better

4. Scope out the alternative entrances:  Tell your clients how to get to your room without going by the front desk. You would think this was a no brainer but its not. Trust me they don’t wanna go by the front desk anyways so give them the alternative route. If there is no alternative route available, tell your clients how to directly walk to the elevators so they don’t have to ask anyone for directions. Sometimes the elevators are hidden and its better when they can walk though the lobby like they know where they are going.

5. Do not register your hotel room with your hooker number: Hotels have taken to using the Google if they are suspicious of you. Some hotels just do it as a mater of course on all single female guests. Do not register/rent your room with your working number, use your personal cell number or a google voice number you have reserved just for hotel rentals. You don’t want a nosy, snoopy manager to google your number and see your 100 ads for escorting. That will only get you tossed out, extorted for free service if the guy is a super creep, or worse they will call the cops and try to get you arrested. (FYI never talk to the cops)

6. Always tip housekeeping: This also would seems like a no brainer but yet it’s not. Tip your maids and tip them well. If you have your room made up every day, tip them every day. If you’re like me and rarely take advantage of maid service, then tip them at the end of your stay even if you think they didn’t do much. They did do something, they didn’t rat you out to management and some hotels offer bounties on that kinda thing. The maids will always know whats what in a hotel. They see who comes and goes, they see you opening your door to that weird overweight guy who looks nervous and out of place. They are the eyes and ears of the place, they know you’re working out of that room so buy their silence with cold hard cash.  Don’t get greedy and forget to tip your maids. Its the cost of doing business and Its worth every penny you spend.

 

Jenny DeMilo: Dominatrix, GFE Escort, Fetish Clip Producer, Phone Sex Operator and Hypno-Domme.

Dealing with Trolls While Camming – Part 2

If you haven’t read the first part of this little series, we covered some basic survival tips on how to keep your sanity when encountering scumbags, jerks and generally rude people when you cam. For the second part, I sent out some interview questions to a few chathosts that I think are interesting, fun and most importantly, good at what they do. I wanted to share their perspective on dodging the trolls. (I asked each host the same questions, and chose snippets from their answers. I encourage you to read each host’s full detailed response to ALL the questions by visiting the link after their quote for some REALLY good advice from seasoned pros.)

And now I’d like to introduce you to our fabulous interviewees!

 

The lovely Ava Doll, who cams for Streamate:

Ava Doll“It’s all about finding your own way to deal with people in your chat room who are rude or mean. I make it clear in my room, for instance, that I will tolerate people saying anything to me or about me in free chat (if I don’t cry or get upset and either laugh or talk dirty back to a troller, they either get bored and leave or buy one of my shows) but no one is allowed to criticize or judge another person’s fantasy in my chat. I secretly like when a new person comes into my room, calls me a whore and I either fire right back and say, “Good morning, asshole” or “Mmmmm…. god daddy, I love when you call me a whore” and more times than not, I have a new paying fan. I think I’m lucky when it comes to trolls because I already am a dirty talking, filthy cum whore who loves to beg for it, so it’s just natural for me.
If someone is making nasty comments about you, I like to remind them that this is the internet, there is something out there for everyone. If I’m not it, then I wish them all the best in finding whoever is.”

Read Ava Doll’s entire interview here:

 

The ever-handsome Boyhous, who currently cams for Cam4:

“You pretty much covered all the bases and I agree with the entire article. The analogy of a chat room being similar to a call center is dead on. It’s the same “customer service” principles but different environments. Call center Boyhousreps try to “turn the difficult ones around” or even think that “difficult people aren’t challenges..they’re opportunities”. Great! But that doesn’t usually work in a cam chat room. Best defense as stated is to ignore, block, and ban….or all the above reasons already mentioned.
… I don’t put up with ANY bullshit. Zero tolerance. No second chances. NONE. And the same applies for any disrespect to myself OR my fans during a show. I want a positive environment for everyone..a place to have fun and be comfortable. That means no annoyances. No distractions. When possible I’ll always try to have a room moderator to kick, silence, block, or ban those that can’t play fair. Unfortunately these idiots will always be there… and it’s impossible to rid them all. How can any broadcaster try to control them AND give a show at the same time? It’s impossible. It’s like playing Tetris trying to keep up with the amount of assholes. Room mods are GOLD for this reason. Then you’re able to focus your attention and energy where it should go.”

Read Boyhous’ entire interview here.

 

And the gorgeous Diamond James, another fantastic Streamate host:

Diamond James“… It depends on my mood whether I ban with no comment or choose to joke with the room about the troll. Either way, I always keep a smile on my face.  🙂
Trolls and rude people in general come with the territory of putting yourself out there on the internet. You just have to accept it and move past it. Being a cam girl or any other public figure requires a thick skin. If you don’t have a thick skin, camming may not be the best job for you. You must have inner self confidence and a good sense of self to be in this business. You must emotionally separate your persona from the real you, even if they are almost the same. The trolls will never go away but the more you ignore them, the less they will try and bother you.”

Read Diamond James’ entire interview here.

 

I was chatting with my favorite super sexy creature of the night, Jenn Vegas on twitter and she had this to say. (I didn’t officially interview her but her view was so fiery that I just had to include her quote!)

JenniferVegas“I have no shame in booting someone if they disrespect me and especially if they disrespect regulars. You will show me respect or you will see the door. That’s my suggestion just ban them with a smile on your face and move on.”
(She also noted that she has over 100 people on her banned list and says that she has no tolerance for bullshit in her room. Working as a Domme and a fetish provider on Streamate, she absolutely demands respect from her subjects, and she gets it!)

 

 

 

I loved getting feedback from other people that deal with the same kind of interesting folk that I do each day, it really solidified what I already felt to be true: that a good foundation of self confidence and self respect is key for anyone to be successful in this business and to dodge the trolls along the way. Whether you’re a camhost, phone sex operator, Domme or pornstar; know who you are and your worth, set boundaries (and stick to them) and do what feels right and feels good. You can’t go wrong with that, in my book.

I’d love to hear about your tips and tricks for dealing with cam trolls, leave ’em in the comments!

 

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

The Real Competition Is In The Mirror

There is a prevailing attitude in the sex industry that we need to view each other as competition. This is based on the model that there is a finite amount of customers, and therefore a finite amount of money to be had*. This creates a situation that if one sex worker is making money – it’s money that could have been ours. It puts us on separate teams as it were, and isolates us in this industry even further than we already are.

I think this model is bullshit.

I firmly believe that this system benefits everyone except us as sex workers. It makes people scared to share skills or resources. It gives customers the power to pit us against one another, and that can create dangerous and unhealthy situations. Resources are not finite. Customers are not in limited quantity. And we are not each others enemies (most of the time). One sex worker’s success is not taking money out of your wallet. No one is “stealing” clients from you. Your work secrets are probably not actually secrets. And there’s a lot to be happy about in that. Most of us operate within the model that this is a business of personality. Whether the persona you are presenting is genuine, contrived, or somewhere in between, it’s YOUR persona. No one else has it, because no one else can. No one on this earth sucks cock exactly like you do. No one else on cam has your laugh. No one makes the exact same orgasm screams. No one’s hand leaves the same imprint on your client’s ass when you spank them. Whatever field of this industry you work in – there is something about YOU that your clients connect with. It puts more responsibility on us. You’re the only one who can gain your own customers. And you’re the only one who can lose your customers. Frankly, clients rarely if ever see only one sex worker throughout their lives. And that’s ok. It can be good for us. Having a community network where we share information leads to easier sharing of clients. Or at the very least access to a wider base of clients. And that means more clients for everyone! Which means more money for everyone! We can’t build that if we only see each other as competitors.

In my experience working together actually leads to more business, more opportunities, and that which we all care about, more money. It leads to cross promotion, sharing of skills, openings for parties, events, or doubles sessions, and all in all a better working environment. It’s more fun. You get to share ideas and experiences. You can laugh together about the absurdities of the industry. And you get to have positive feelings about your colleagues instead of wallowing in the negativity that this industry can breed. That said – not everyone agrees with this. And there’s some cutthroat workers out there who will not take kindly to this collective working philosophy. Don’t waste your time or energy on them.

There is only one bitch I am in constant competition with – Me. I want to one-up my production value and income every day and every month. Frankly, I don’t give a damn about comparing myself to anyone else. It’s none of my business. Literally.

*I can’t speak to work environments like brothels or strip clubs where there are in fact a certain number of clients in one night. I’ve never worked in those environments, so I don’t want to make assumptions about that side of the industry. I would love to hear from people who have about competitive atmospheres though!

 

Lauren Kiley: Webcam Girl, Fetish Performer, Fetish Clip Producer, Former Escort, Activist, Dirty Girl Next Door.

Sage advice from bonifide whores