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The business side of sex work: How to be an entrepreneur in the industry

Sex work needs hundreds of skills.

From being financially literate to making business decisions, many aspects of the job are often overlooked. While sex workers offer unforgettable sexy experiences, they’re also business professionals.

To thrive in the industry, it’s important to own each area. However, learning business skills without prior experience can be tough. Today, we’re focusing on how sex workers can boost their business skills and become pro-entrepreneurs. 

Grab your notebook, and let’s dive in!

How are sex workers entrepreneurs?

If you’re new to the sex industry, you might not view sex workers as entrepreneurs. However, they are more business-minded than you’d expect.

Think of it this way. Sex workers are salespeople, marketers, finance managers, and service providers. How many other professionals can confidently complete these roles? Not many…

Most sex workers book their own jobs, set their own rates, and arrange their own finances. Plus, they handle social media marketing and client relations. These skills make them entrepreneurs and skilled business owners.

How has the business of the sex industry changed over time?

Though the sex work industry has been around for centuries, it’s always changing.

However, we can track the changes through a business lens. For example, today we have porn, cam services, and Only Fans-like websites. These technological advancements allow sex workers to take control of their image and audience online. In the past, porn was controlled by executive producers and directors, but today many of the stars are in the lead.

Sex workers are also able to make sales with clients. Before the internet, there was no way to purchase items online. But today, sex workers can make extra cash from selling sexual items online. This often includes underwear and socks, and these profits can make up a large number of earnings.

Alongside these new technological income streams, sex workers can use digital marketing techniques to promote their services. Many sex workers are social media savvy and use typical online sales techniques to push their services.

Much of the advancement is thanks to technology, and sex workers have adapted their entrepreneurial skill sets to fit this world.

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What are the main business challenges for sex workers?

No business comes without challenges. Like other industries, the sex work industry also has common business issues.

Common business challenges for sex workers include:

    • Losing work when internet servers are down. If there’s a power cut or technical difficulties, sex workers are unable to book gigs online. This could lead to a loss of revenue and a dip in client engagement
    • Cash flow issues during quiet periods. All business owners face the problem of quiet and busy periods. Sex workers must manage their finances to keep them afloat during quiet times
    • Customer retention. Like all businesses, sex workers want their clients to return more than once. Enticing customers to make repeat payments is a problem many sex workers must navigate
    • Setting prices. Setting your prices as a sex worker should reflect your value and the current market rates

What legalities should sex workers know?

Sex workers should always know the legalities of escorting/porn/sex work in their region. These rules and regulations change from place to place, so staying on top of local rulings will protect you.

Sex workers might also want to create client terms and conditions to protect themselves. This document should include payment terms, the scope of services on offer, client obligations, and their rights.

When in doubt, choose a sex work-friendly lawyer to work with. This will remove any potential stigma or judgement from legal processes.

Are there ethical considerations to make?

If you’re creating an escorting business and looking to hire others, you must make some ethical considerations.

You should treat your employees as you would want to be treated — including paying them a living wage, protecting their safety, and taking their concerns seriously.

Aspects of sex work can be dangerous, so looking after yourself and your team is the most important part of the business.

The best marketing strategies for sex workers

The best marketing strategies for sex workers depend on where you find clients.

Social media marketing is a must if you’re using a platform like Only Fans. Clients opt for these services often because of the profiles they find on Instagram or Twitter. Working on your presence and building a cohesive aesthetic is a great way to attract more traffic.

Additionally, providing clear and pleasant communication is a great marketing strategy many ignore. For example, if you’re providing incoherent messages and putting no effort into client relations, you’re less likely to book the client. If you’re clear, friendly, and even flirty, you’re more likely to end up with a lifelong client.

The most successful sex work business models

The most successful sex work business models look different depending on the sex worker’s strengths. Ultimately, focusing on your strongest areas will always bring you the most success.

However, sex workers who utilise different platforms and income streams often do better than those who stick to one method. This gets your name out across different niches and allows you to catch clients in different areas.

Some sex workers also like to “niche down”. This refers to choosing a kink or fetish and using this as your main selling point. For example, if you’re good at BDSM, you might want to rebrand yourself as an expert. Only do this if you really enjoy it, though! You don’t want to get stuck in a field you dislike.

Strategies sex workers can use to stay competitive

While other sex workers make up your community, you still compete against them for cash and clients.

Staying competitive is a must, especially if you have certain financial goals. The top tips for staying competitive include:

  • Frequently assessing the prices/rates your competitors are using
  • Staying up to date with trends is especially important if you’re using social media for marketing
  • Producing 10/10 content, and this includes using good cameras and set design
  • Dedicating time each week for competitor research
  • Reading feedback on your services
  • Taking time for self-care so you can come back refreshed and ready to work

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Different revenue sources sex workers can focus on

Broadening your revenue sources is a great way to take the stress off one revenue stream. However, don’t rush into this process. Take time to set each revenue stream up and spend time making each the best it can be.

Popular revenue streams for sex workers include:

Not all revenue sources will work for all sex workers, and it’s always best to pick ones that genuinely appeal to you. After all, you don’t want to invest time and effort into jobs you don’t like.

The takeaway

Sex workers are business people with an abundance of skills. Whether marketing their services or producing high-quality content, sex workers have endless talents.

If you’re just starting or looking to refresh your business, list your skills and use your strengths to boost your business. Let us know if we’ve missed anything.

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