Lola Davina is a longtime veteran of the sex industry and author of the upcoming Thriving in Sex Work: Heartfelt Advice for Staying Sane in the Sex Industry, a self-help book for sex workers.
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Hi Sexy —
This month, I’m talking about time management, a challenge for anyone who is self-employed. If you’re camming in order to save up for a Caribbean cruise, it’s fine to cam only when you feel like it. But if you’re doing it for tuition or rent or to support your family, then you need to take it seriously.
I said it last month, and I’ll say it again: In order to make real money camming, you have to treat it like a real job. This means managing your time wisely. Many things in this business are out of your control, but time is one thing over which you have true power. Time-management determines three incredibly important things: how much money you make, how consistently you make it, and whether or not you burn out.
Scheduling and consistency
One tough thing about setting a schedule and sticking to it is there is never any guarantee you’re going to get good clients or make good money. It’s a crapshoot.
However, keep in mind there’s an ocean of cam performers out there and a ton of flaky behavior. Simply sticking to your posted hours puts you way ahead of much of the competition. Doing what you say you’ll do sends a tremendously powerful signal of integrity, and that attracts a loyal clientele.
Think about it from a client’s perspective. If they feel enough connection to wait for you, and then you’re not available when you say you’ll be? That’s like breaking a date. Most clients will move on to somebody else and won’t look back.
Honoring your scheduled hours means you are treating your business seriously, and that can go a long way toward helping ride out the rough periods when business is slow. It means saying: “There will be busy days and slow days at this job, but as long as I put my hours in, I’m doing everything I can do to succeed.” I can’t stress enough how important this mindset is. Without the mindset, it becomes all too easy to log off whenever you feel bored or discouraged. I recommend writing down your goals, to remind yourself of what is truly important to you when the job gets tough.
Additionally, good time-management means tracking your activity. Don’t rely on your gut to tell you when your busy times are. It’s too easy to fall into the trap when you have one outstanding shift on a Wednesday night to think that’s always going to be your best night. Know your numbers and schedule your shifts accordingly.
Some of us need practice managing our time wisely; for others, the real issue is motivation. We know what we should be doing — we just find it too easy not to do it.
It helps if you can know which mindset is your best motivator. Is there another performer out there whom you want to emulate? A little healthy competition can help you try harder and aim higher. Or perhaps you have a friend you can check in with on a regular basis to keep you on track. Pretend they’re your imaginary boss; someone you don’t want to disappoint. Maybe you do best when you have a goal to inspire you — a trip, tuition, a certain amount of money sitting in the bank.
What do these mindsets have in common? They keep you focused on an external goal, rather then counting down the minutes of each shift, to determine your success and keep you going during rough patches.
Mental health days
Finally, we can’t talk about time-management without mentioning those times when the job feels like a grind and we feel gross and depressed.
Every good boss knows the importance of mental health days. Every now and then, we just have to call in unmotivated. Tell yourself: “I’m taking today off because I feel like crap. But tomorrow I’m going to wake up rested and refreshed, ready to get back to work.” Post on your website for your regular clients when you will next be available, and then honor it.
Taking care of yourself when you need to, and then getting right back to work after a break, is how you let both you and the world know you take the job seriously. It’s the very best recipe for avoiding burnout.
Until next time, be sweet to yourself.
Image of Lola Davina courtesy Pat Mazzera.