By Minnie St. Claire
If you’ve paid any attention to media when they run a story about being a webcam model, you might have noticed that there are about zero people of color being recognized, let alone being interviewed.
Because of the lack of media representation of people of color doing this line of work, it does have some of us wondering if there is even space for us in this lucrative industry. Some even wonder if it’s possible for us to be successful, and unfortunately the answer often comes back to “Yes, but…”
Some of us already know, yes, we can make money with hard work. Also, yes, we can live the life of our dreams from it; but if we want any type of praise or recognition, we have to work our asses off ten times harder, super literally.
What’s Being Said
There are bunch of theories out there that try to suggest that “typically” men are not buying sexual services from women of color. Clearly I don’t believe that, but I am going to be honest with you. There were times in my working career when people would use that as a total mindfuck brainwash. At my weakest moments, I did sometimes believe it.
In fact, the whole industry has a bunch of theories of why people aren’t making money. I think it comes from a scarcity mindset and not thinking in abundance.
I first heard about thinking in abundance when I started to branch out and learn more from other communities in the online content creator space. The short version of the abundance mindset is that there is plenty of pie for everyone to get a piece — even seconds, thirds or more if you like. People who tend to think in abundance only see scarcity as a way to inspire people to take action or make a decision.
If you want to know more about the Scarcity Mindset vs. Abundance Mindset, I suggest visiting my cute internet marketer friend Stefan James’ blog on the subject.
— Minnie St Claire (@OnlyMinnieXxX) September 19, 2017
The Complexity of being a Woman of Color on Cam
Sophia St. James shared some thoughts with me via DM:
I feel like being a POC cam model can be a catch 22. On one hand you are seen as a fetish, novelty, or experience. So you get those who are ready to spend money on you because of that fetish. The whole, “Ohhh I’ve never been with a black girl before” thing can really work in your favor. But then you also have those who see black as a fetish that they aren’t into. “Oh, she’s pretty but not my type,” and yes, that can go for any woman, but historically it’s pertaining to women of color.
There is a saying by Andrew Murphy: “You are confined only by the walls you build for yourself.” Sometimes those walls are built by other people, and we shouldn’t feel trapped into keeping those walls up. The dynamic Sophia describes here is real, but allowing this to be limiting is a trap too.
When it comes to this type of thinking, you can make yourself feel trapped. Playing this story constantly in your head can really lead to some serious sabotage. When I started to shift my thinking and focus on the areas I know I am really good at, that thinking vanishes. What also helped me make sure that that type of thinking never returned was surrounding myself in other interests and hobbies.
— Minnie St Claire (@OnlyMinnieXxX) December 24, 2016
The Key to Cam Success: Keep at It and Learn your Game
With a growing number of people becoming internet celebrities and internet famous — to be honest, I am not really sure what “internet famous” is – it’s easy to get discouraged. Here are some steps to take to move you towards establishing your goals online.
Define who you are
Ask yourself… Who are you? What is life all about for you? What do you stand for? What lights you up? Why are you in this business? This is where you define who you are as a whole person, and this is not just about being a woman of color. (I know, it’s completely against everything most of us culturally have grown up with.)
It might feel difficult, but the plus side is that there is a constant growing number of communities online and offline that have more people of color in attendance. From bloggers, youtubers, and even gamers, we are getting creative on making our presence known.
What you might not know about me is that I am a gamer. Growing up, I was often worried about being the only girl in the computer summer camp. I was so worried about finding someone who looked like me that I sometimes didn’t enjoy just being around people who shared the same interest as me.
Here are some videos that talk more about branding and just being as a person of color in these online spaces:
- Roberto Blake on how to build your personal brand without being fake.
- Black Girl Gamers: Do They Exist?
- Twitch Unity: Are There Black Streamers?
Define your perfect customers
You certainly want to become a magnet, but no one is magnetic to everyone. My whole 10+ years career has been based on being someone’s “favourite” — or, magnetic to a few key people. It’s the difference between quality and quantity.
It might be tempting to focus on quantity, or number of fans you have; however, it actually only takes a small amount of quality fans, customers and clients to bring you praise, recognition and money.
Imagine having a loyal fan base that is there for you every time you are available and also is there to defend you, to buy any product or service you’re offering or just share the social media posts you make. This community is far more powerful than Twitter noise that just wants something for free or to be insulting.
This is how you build and grow your influence and your impact. It’s called the “1,000 True Fans” theory. Here’s the full article, and there’s a great video below.
Build your online home
Let’s get this clear. Contrary to what many people may think, your online home is not your social media. It’s also certainly not any particular camsite or content-on-demand, phone sex or texting site you are listed on. These platforms and outlets are simply rented space — and the rent is pretty cheap, which can be appealing.
Your online home is actually you putting in some money and making the investment of owning your own web domain. It doesn’t have to be a website you build and maintain. You can set up a domain and have it redirected to any URL you want people to visit — a camsite you prefer or your favorite social media even. But owning your own piece of internet real estate that’s connected to your brand and business is key, especially as you build your career and the property value for that domain goes up in value.
Ideally though, you want your domain name being pointed to a blog. Most popular blogs out there are using WordPress, a paid install script version that typically comes with most web hosting packages. This is not to get confused with going to wordpress.com and getting a free account. That too is rented space and not friendly to the type of content that is about making money online.
Having a blog has become the primary stock in building your internet real estate, which leads to building your online empire. When you establish your home on the internet, you have the power to bring people into your world. Here are some examples I like:
Build your marketing strategy
The key thing about building your marketing strategy is that it should really focus first on who you are and what your expertise is. In my view, using your heritage to define you in your marketing really should only be used if you want to make sure you are attracting people who are looking for that preference.
Creating a successful career as a cam model of color is actually about taking all of your gifts, your personality and sometimes even your quirks and putting them together to attract what you want. It’s more of using your infinite overall power than defining yourself on the basis of boxes that just don’t fit.
Image via Sigurd Decroos.