Setting one’s own schedule can be one of the very best things about camming, but flexibility can cut both ways. It is imperative to guard our calendar as jealously as our money — because it’s impossible to thrive without enough work or with no time left for anything else.
It might be easy to think of camming as only the hours spent online, but the job requires many unpaid hours for success. Every cammer should have a rough sense of their true hourly wage, one that takes into account all their behind-the-scenes labor. I encourage you to perform regular efficiency audits, and the New Year holiday is an excellent time to review the past year.
The first step is to get some insight into what our time is actually worth.
Here’s a simple formula to calculate your true hourly rate. First, determine what you earned in the past year and divide by 12. That’s your average monthly earnings.
Then, tally up the number of hours per month spent:
On cam: _______
Pre-cam prep (showering, applying make-up, preparing work space, etc.): _______
Post-cam chores (laundry, tidying workplace, cleaning toys, etc.): _______
Advertising, SEO, maintaining website, social media: _______
Work-related communications: _______
Keeping workplace clean: _______
Bookkeeping and tax preparation: _______
Shopping for work-related supplies: _______
You might also include your time spent on personal care that you’d do even if you weren’t camming, but that support your business:
Grooming (hair, nails, skin, etc.): _______
Working out: _______
Tally up your work hours, and divide that number into your monthly earnings. That’s your true hourly rate.
Let’s stop for a moment to let that number sink in. Does it surprise you? Is it encouraging? Disheartening? What would your hourly rate ideally be?
The next step is to look for ways to trim your work hours by getting more efficient, in effect, giving yourself an hourly raise.
The goal for any thriving business is to cut down on unpleasant or time-consuming tasks, freeing us up to do what we do best. Look over your list of camming chores and jot a few words down about how each task makes you feel. Rank your chores from your favorite to your least favorite.
— Keep a time diary for the next two weeks to get a clearer sense of just how much time you actually spend on each aspect of your business.
— Determine the ideal amount of time for each task.
— Strategize how to work more efficiently, such as:
- Combining tasks
- Creating cut-and-paste responses for frequently-asked questions
- Paying or bartering with someone to do the tasks you like least
Consistency, Reliability, and Transparency
Camming is a service, so we always have to keep the client’s experience in mind. Good fans reward consistency and dependability with loyalty.
Why? Look at it this way: a fan has a twinkle in their eye, and you come to mind. They want to learn your availability quickly and easily, but disappointment diminishes their joy. Speed bumps mean they might head elsewhere or be in a foul mood when they finally do track you down.
Remove all barriers to access by:
— Setting a regular schedule
— Posting hours of availability
— Prompt communication
Of course, sometimes life interrupts the best-laid plans. We gain credibility when we take responsibility when we can’t keep our word. Make every effort to let your fans know right away, acknowledge the inconvenience and apologize.
But what if a regular schedule just isn’t possible right now? For those of us juggling multiple responsibilities, or with neurotransmitters that make the world move a little too fast, consistency can be a real struggle. We may feel ashamed or frustrated for not doing what we think we should.
The antidote to inconsistency is clear communication. Fans are people too. Keeping them in the loop means they don’t have to take your unavailability personally. Some suggestions:
— When you’re offline for more than a day or so, post on your website and tweet when you’ll be available again.
— Put an automatic reply on your contact form: “Your email is very important to me. However, I have an ever-changing schedule due to travel/school/family. If you don’t hear back from me in three days, feel free to follow up.”
— Create a copy-and-paste reply for texts or DMs: “Thank you for your message. Expect a response within 48 hours.”
Treating fans like they have a life goes a long way towards attracting a fan base that treats you the same. Success on cam means earning what you need, however you define it, along with time to lead the life you please — all excellent professional goals for the New Year!
Until next time, be sweet to yourself.
Lola Davina is a longtime veteran of the sex industry and author of Thriving in Sex Work: Sex Work and Money, her followup to the formative Thriving in Sex Work: Heartfelt Advice for Staying Sane in the Sex Industry. You can get the audio version of Sex Work and Money via Awesound here. Contact Davina at Lola.Davina@ynotcam.com and visit her on Twitter at @Lola_Davina.
Image of Lola Davina courtesy Pat Mazzera.