Many online workers live with chronic health issues. The flexibility of the online workspace means that it can fit around our lifestyles better than many other kinds of work. This has definitely been a standout for me, as someone with very complex health issues who cannot work in a traditional workplace.
However, one thing we all grapple with while doing this work is how working out how much personal information we should share with the public. Some worry that showing this vulnerability could be detrimental to their brand and business.
Let me share with you how being open about my health issues helped me. Also, here are some things you will want to consider before doing this yourself.
Customers Want a Personal Experience
Customers expect a personalized experience, but they also want a personal one. This means creating a relationship with your customers and clients that is professional but also helps them feel connected to you.
One of the ways we connect with others is by sharing personal details and stories about ourselves. Personal details that can increase connection with your customers is by sharing your health issues. It gives them insight into our daily lives and creates a connection which can result in increased support for your great work!
There are some models who are working under complete fantasy personas, for either creative or safety reasons, but most of us work with stage personas which are a mixture of real and fantasy elements. It is your choice which real elements to include in your persona, which will help increase connection with your fans. For some models, their health dominates their life and online work is a reprieve from being seen as a sick person. Therefore, it is something they don’t want to share, and that is totally valid too.
Giving Yourself Breathing Space
For me, sharing my health issues helps when I need to change my cam schedule or negotiate with my customers about deadlines (eg for customs). With my customers and fans knowing about my health challenges, it accomplishes two things.
First of all, it helps with negotiating with customers because sometimes the delivery dates or times I am available live can blow out BIG TIME. Because people know I can end up in hospital or be incapacitated due to my health, it makes negotiations easier.
By keeping your customers informed as to why there may be delays, this also keeps you in good standing with them. Don’t forget — customers talk to each other and if someone has had a bad experience with you, you can be sure it will be shared with others. People can be a lot more forgiving and also extremely supportive if a deadline was missed due to a chronic health issue. Building goodwill is a must for us!
Being an Advocate
Speaking of building goodwill and promoting understanding, sharing your personal health issues can have the ripple on effect of helping other models.
Unfortunately, there is still stigma around those with chronic health issues and disability, where people don’t consider us sexy or desirable, which is obviously the furthest from the truth! People will often say things like “but you don’t look sick,” which is such a devaluing thing to say to someone who is chronically ill. It gives me the opportunity then to explain about invisible illnesses and how lots of people they know may be living with them, but they may not know.
Making it more normalized in our industry helps other models too. We all want to feel safe and accepted in our skins, and I think that leading by example can help everyone.
Rem Sequence is an Australian adult content creator, blogger and internationally published alt model. She has a background in psychology, philosophy and political science and has worked in health and sex education, youth work and trauma counseling for almost two decades. Contact Sequence via firstname.lastname@example.org and visit her on Twitter at @remsequence.
Background header image via Unsplash here.