This is a work in progress based on the How-to Get Started as a Sexworker FAQ I wrote for the /r/sexworkers subreddit. I'll continue to add more subheadings here and hopefully build this into a useful resource.
When someone contacts you saying they represent an agency, assume that they are lying. Don't proceed until you've verified that they do in fact represent that agency. Eg ask for the website and then contact the agency on the number listed on the site and ask them to confirm that the person who contacted you is genuine. If they make some excuse why they don't have a website, it's a scam.
If you find an agency and you're thinking of applying, search for the name of the agency on reddit. Failing that, contact an established independent sexworker from that location. Eg someone who has their own website and social media with a lot of followers who's been around for many years. Ask them if they have heard of the agency and would they recommend it.
A legit agency makes their money from commissions. Usually 30% of the fee. So they would arrange the date, you meet the client, the client pays you cash. Then you pay the agency their commission afterwards.
If they try to get you to agree to anything that doesn't resemble the above. Eg they expect you to pay them their commission before the date occurs. Or they tell you the client pays the agency and then the agency pays you after the session, it's a scam.
The lower the average rates on an agency site compared to the average rate for that location for an independent the more likely it is that some kind of coercion or exploitation is involved if not outright trafficking.
If they want you to pay any registration fee or a monthly fee or any kind of payment at all, including payment for their photographer, it's a scam.
They might want you to use a photo set on your listing that you don't use elsewhere. But there should be the option to choose your own photographer.
In the UK, and as far as I know everywhere else, agencies wanting you to be exclusive to them would be the exception. Most agencies are happy for you to also advertise independently and with other agencies but will obviously not want you to give your direct number to clients they send you.
If they want to interview you, meet them somewhere public like a bar or café. Don't go anywhere in private. A legit agency won't ask you to get naked or do any kind of "audition" before they'll list you.
Camming and Selling Content
Thanks to /u/HereFortheFood954 for the following =
Getting started selling content on Reddit guide:
Getting started camming guide:
Getting started selling on Onlyfans guide - here are a few guides specifically for Onlyfans as that area of sex work seems to be one of the most popular asked about on this sub:
A master list of all the NSFW subreddits: https://reddit.com/r/ListOfSubreddits/w/nsfw?utm_source=share&utm_medium=android_app
For those wanting more information on stripping, check out r/stripper. Again, please read their sub rules before interacting, you must be a current dancer to post but you can read through the feed.
Last, for those that don't know what to charge for an online service, check out r/sexsells to see what the average price is for what you want to offer. No one can tell you what to charge for your services, that's up to you and the market.
My understanding of the most popular content selling site, Onlyfans, is that they do nothing to promote sellers so if you don't already have a large social media following of people who might want to pay for your content, then it's going to be very difficult to make any money on onlyfans. Also if they find out you are an escort, they'll ban you and steal any credits they owe you. I will never register there for this reason. If a company that profits from sexwork is openly and hypocritically anti sexwork, they're not getting a share of my income.
It's up to you which contact methods you prefer.
Some providers are happy to communicate via phonecall, txt/sms message, social media messages, whatsapp, telegram, signal, email and contact forms.
Other providers feel that one or more of these contact methods attracts too many timewasters and choose to limit their contact options.
The more contact options you offer, the more potential clients can reach you.
Fewer options, means fewer clients.
So if you are already reaching your financial targets, maybe remove a few of your least favourite contact methods.
Otherwise, I suggest, list them all. Then if someone contacts you and doesn't immediately get to the point about where and when they want to meet, send them a copy and paste message you have saved in your autoreplies or in your notes app telling them to go look at your website and come back when they're ready to book an appointment. Use the copy and paste to tell them exactly what info they need to send to book an appointment. How to screen. How to pay a deposit. And/or give them the option to pay you for a chat session and give them options how to pay you for chat.
eg. this is my copy and paste message =
Thanks for your message.
Please read my about page, rates etc and see my gallery on XXXX.XXX (my website).
When you're ready to book an appointment, please let me know which day and what time suits you and whether you would like an incall or outcall.
Then I'll ask you to send a £50 deposit.
Via UK bank transfer to my business account.
Sort code: XXXXXX Account number: XXXXXXX
Or, If you just want to chat, please send me £50 by bank transfer or cashapp or email me a £50 gift voucher for Selfridges or John Lewis and I'll chat to you for 20 minutes."
If you list a contact number, remember to include the country code. eg +1 for USA or +44 for UK. Not everyone who contacts you will be using a phone with the same country code as you.
If you only accept calls and sms and have no other contact options, you're losing a lot of business. Whatsapp is especially popular. Depending on which country you're in the majority of clients will want to use it and will not call or txt if you don't have it. Message apps like whatsapp do attract a lot of time wasters. I recommend using them but be quick to send a copy and paste, as I mentioned earlier.
The internal messaging forms on directories are often broken and if contact details are hidden behind buttons that need a captcha, sometimes these are either broken or require more effort than some clients can be bothered expending to reach you. I highly recommend not relying solely on these. If the directory lets you list your contact details in plain text, do it.
If you have a contact form on your website, make sure it works. And be aware that if that is the only contact option you offer, the majority of clients who click through to your contact page and see the contact form will immediately close the page and go look for someone else who is easier to get in contact with. A contact form is the best form of contact for deterring timewasters but it will also deter a lot of genuine clients.
Some do, some don't. A deposit could be anything up to about 50% of your rate. The advantage of asking for a deposit is that guys who have paid a deposit are much more likely to actually show up to their appointment. If they've paid a deposit and don't show up, at least you have some compensation for time you wasted getting ready and for holding that timeslot which another genuine client might have wanted. The disadvantage is that you might be perceived as a scammer. Especially if you've just started out and have only one or a few directory ads and no personal website or history of social media posts and reviews. Then it might look like you're catfishing using a fake ad just to pocket the deposits. An alternative to a deposit for an outcall is to make the client book and pay for a taxi to pick you up from your address and take you to theirs. And for incalls if they've booked a day or more in advance, if you message them on the morning of the day they're due to see you and ask "are you definitely coming to see me today?" the timewasters usually won't reply.
Which directories to use depends on your location. Searching the web for the words "escort directory" plus the name of your location will return a list of hundreds of directories but the top results are not necessarily the ones that will get you clients. Just because a directory appears to have a lot of escorts listed for your location, doesn't mean it's any good. It is common for new directories to scrape other directories and harvest pictures and bios of escorts to list on their directory long before any real escorts or clients start using their site.
I recommend you search the web for "independent escort" plus the name of your location and scroll down past all the directories until you find an independent escort who has their own website. Chances are, if that escort has managed to get their own site that high up in search results, they are well established and successful and have ads on the best directories for your location. Go to their site and copy and paste their mobile number into a new search. The directories that appear in that search are more likely to be the ones where you want to advertise. Especially if that escort has a paid ad on there. Copy and paste the names of those directories into a search of this subreddit and check what other sexworkers have said about it. If the directory seems to be well regarded, then post an ad there.
Face in, or face out
Some percentage of clients will only see escorts who show their faces in ads so blurring or cropping or altering your pics in some way to conceal your face will mean that you don't get those clients but it is absolutely possible to make a lot of money as an escort without showing your face in your ads. Whether you do or don't is your decision to make. Argument for = you'll get more clients. Argument against = once your face pics are on the internet, they could stay there forever and prove impossible to remove. Facial recognition and reverse image search technology is already highly advanced and in future who knows what this technology will be like.
If kissing or any other service makes you uncomfortable, you'll be better off in the long term not offering it. Forcing yourself to do something you hate isn't sustainable.
There is a market for male escorts, if you're ok with male clients. If you're straight and not ok with male clients, then no. Women clients do exist but they'll tend to choose the most professional looking male escort they can find. Someone with his own website, paid ads on plenty of reputable directories, frequently updated social media with a lot of followers, professionally taken and retouched pics, a long history of good reviews and a friends page with duo partners who also list him on their friends pages. If you don't see male clients, you'll never fit the description above so it's unlikely you'll ever get a woman client. Even after you've been seeing male clients for years and you establish a web presence like the one I described above, you'll still only see a few women clients per year. Nowhere near enough to earn a living. There just aren't that many women clients out there. Anywhere you can make an escort ad cheap or for free, you'll find thousands of "straight male escort" ads with a mirror selfie and/or a close-up shot of their cock, and a few lines of crude often misspelled and grammatically incorrect Borat style lines of text where that one ad is that guys entire web presence. I'd estimate that approximately none of those guys ever get one single paying client. But if you are gay, or bi or gay for pay and willing to work very hard all day every day on promoting yourself, then it's entirely possible to be successful as a male escort.
You don't need to be gay. Many male escorts consider themselves gay for pay rather than bi in that they're happy to have sex with men for money but wouldn't do so for free. Whether that's something you want to do or not is up to you.
In order to top you'll need to be able to get hard, stay hard and ideally cum when a client wants you to cum. I find a quarter, or even one eighth of a viagra an hour or half an hour before a job makes all of the above happen easily. The more pressure you're under, the less likely you are to be able to stay hard. So if you are not in a desperate situation financially, you have no addictions, debts, needy relatives etc and so you can either accept any given job, or not, then you'll probably find you can top. If you're addicted to drugs and desperate for the money, you probably won't be able to top.
Bottoming isn't for everyone but if you are going to bottom, I highly recommend douching before. Let me know if you'd like a guide to anal douching, I can send details but basically just water in via an anal douche or shower hose and push the water out into the toilet or down the shower drain, rinse and repeat as necessary until the water comes out clean. Water will open you up enough and you'll be more relaxed knowing you're not going to shit all over your client. Just use plenty of lube and start slow.
If you advertise as a male escort you're going to get a lot of requests for bareback. Always use condoms. Never bareback. Even if you're on PREP and/or the client says they're on PREP, there are plenty of STIs other than HIV that you don't want. Even if they offer a copy of a clear STI test. These infections all have window periods. Please don't take my word for this. I'm not a medical professional. Research via a reliable online source (eg in UK I use NHS website) talk to your GP or visit a sexual health clinic.
More info for getting started as a male escort = https://ozinlondon.co.uk/how-to-get-started-as-a-male-sexworker/
Money up front
Always get cash up front. You might also want to ask for a deposit prior to meeting.
Payments other than cash
I'm no expert on the ones USA sexworkers use but from other people's recommendations it looks like cashapp is popular. Also venmo. Some say PayPal but only if its sent as a gift with nothing sex work related in the comment and clients will see your real name. Beware of the possibility that clients could dispute a paypal payment and get their payment reversed. In UK I get regulars to pay me by bank transfer for fly me to you deposits. I take payments for video chat on WhatsApp and for custom made videos via Fortnum and Mason or John Lewis vouchers. I used to accept Amazon UK vouchers but they're not ideal as there's usually a delay of up to one day before I receive them and if its for an amazon voucher worth more than £50 their bank often blocks the transaction. Bitcoin or other crypto currency would seem like an ideal way to accept payments but in my experience, clients perceive this as too complicated. I'm in the process of figuring out how to set up woocommerce on my site so I can accept payments directly and a digitalocean space CDN to store my media and amazon cloud front for delivery.
There's a huge price range of professional photoshoots out there. You can get quite a cheap shoot eg from one of the coupon sites or apps and get them retouched via a crowdsourcing site like fiverr. Or pay thousands for a top photographer and rent a 5 star hotel suite for the shoot location. And everything in between.
Ring lights are also popular and not expensive. It's a tripod with a clip that will hold any phone and comes with a ring shaped light that can cast an adjustable light on you and they usually come with a Bluetooth remote that you can pair with your phone so you can take multiple pics in different poses without running backwards and forwards to press the camera button on a timer. If you look at other people's pics for ideas for poses and get some good poses and angles with good lighting and the camera held steady on the tripod you can get some decent pics that way especially with the top of the range new phones.
There are a lot of "photographers" who will contact you offering cheap, or free, photoshoots. Especially if they can see that you're new. I don't know anyone who's accepted one of these offers but I'm guessing if you did accept a free shoot from some guy with a camera calling himself a photographer, you'd most likely get a few poor shots taken from someone who has no idea what they're doing and something other than photography on their mind.
Nobody can tell you how much you should charge. You might want to charge ten times higher than the average rate for your area and only see one client per month. Or you might want to charge one tenth of the average rate and see a dozen guys per day. But step one is to at least figure out what the average rate for your area is. I recommend you start by finding popular directories as per the first faq above, then try to refine a search of that directory so you see results matching other escorts who appear similar to how you plan to promote yourself. Look at as many ads as possible, from a number of different directories, that are as similar as possible to your own intended escort persona, and figure out what the average rate is from there. One thing I would recommend is that you decide on rates you are happy with, list those rates on your ad and don't allow anyone to haggle. There is an alternate approach which is to not list rates and then negotiate with each guy who contacts you to try and set an appointment at a rate they are willing to pay. Even if this does generate more business, I think this is a good way to quickly burn out. Having people haggle with you is very unpleasant and the kind of guys who want to haggle are likely to be disrespectful in other ways. I would never operate my business this way and highly recommend listing your rates and sticking to them.
Ask them during a session if it's ok to contact them sometimes. If they say yes, save something in their contact name to remind you eg "Dave incall tie and tease ok to contact".
If they haven't agreed to receive messages from you, I recommend you don't message them. It's not discreet. Their wife or child or their boss could be looking over their shoulder.
** What Can I do to Keep My Regulars Coming Back More Often**
Save every client you meet as a contact on your phone. Install whatsapp, telegram and signal. Post a whatsapp status every day that a client would enjoy seeing. If they're a saved contact and they've saved you as a contact they can see your whatsapp statuses. This keeps regulars coming back more often.
If you think it's a worthwhile use of your time and they've agreed to receive messages from you, message them sometimes with something you saw or heard or did that reminds you of something they said or a pic or a link or a joke or whatever that you think they'd like. When they respond, steer the conversation toward getting them to set a day and time to see you again.
/u/PhoenixxVIP kindly agreed to have the r/heauxs Safety and Screening wiki posts linked here. If you'd like to know more about blacklists and databases, please message a moderator or someone with an escort flair and ask them via private message. If we can see from your post history that you are a sexworker most of us will happily share details of these screening resources. Otherwise we might ask you for some proof that you're a sexworker eg an email sent from your work mail so we can search to see if your ads come up. What we want to avoid is publicly sharing resources that could be used by those seeking to circumvent our security.
Securing your identity
My number one recommendation here is don't use the same device for work and personal. Buy a second mobile phone as a work phone and never use your work phone for anything personal / never use your personal phone for anything work related. If you add your clients to a contact list on your personal phone where you also have your friends and family listed as contacts then use that phone to register for work related site like directories, make work related social media accounts etc and then use that same phone to log in to personal sites and apps eg your personal facebook, it's just a matter of time before you get outed as an escort to your personal contacts. Social media apps like facebook especially like to access your contacts list and spy on what you're doing in other apps and on other sites. If you mix work and personal on one device, facebook, twitter, instagram etc will happily recommend your escort page as a friend for your family members.
Make a work email. I recommend protonmail. Never use your personal number or personal email to register for anything work related. You probably don't want your clients to be able to search the web for your number and find your real name, personal social media etc. You probably also don't want your friends and family to search the web for your number and find all your escort ads. If you use the same laptop for work and personal, at least use two browsers. I use chrome incognito plus ublock origin, privacy badger, decentraleyes and https everywhere plugins for work with proton vpn. And I use vivaldi for personal.
Beware of exif data and geotagging of photos. You should be able to switch off geotagging in your phone settings to avoid accidentally sharing the gps coordinates of your exact location and there are plenty of online, desktop and app tools for removing exif data from pics.
Consider using a VPN. I use proton VPN. Especially when using public unsecured WiFi eg in hotels. Also handy when on tour in places that block access to websites you need for work eg UAE and China.
Shadowbans on Social Media
It's best not to put a direct link to your website in your twitter or instagram bio or you're likely to get banned or shadowbanned. Safer to set up a link aggregator like linktree, put your website link and other links there and then add that link to your bios. Also best not to put any links in the text of tweets or instagram posts. As per https://twitter.com/sexworkceo/status/1644054625337724929 twitter treats all links it doesn't recognise as reputable news sources as spam and suppresses those tweets. I've been adding text overlay to my images using the image editor built into the gallery app on my phone to display links instead of sharing actual links in tweets. I'm still shadowbanned on twitter and instagram anyway.
Technical and Cyber Security resources for Sex Workers
This list https://heystacks.com/doc/718/technical-resources-for-sex-workers has some excellent resources. Do your own research before adopting any of the recommendations as some may be out of date eg they still have switter on there which unfortunately doesn't exist any more.
A timewaster is someone who contacts escorts pretending they're interested in booking an appointment who in fact has no intention of ever showing up to said appointment. They want you to entertain them for free on the phone or by exchanging messages or pictures. If someone contacts you and they get straight to the point about where and when they want to meet and they don't try to chat or ask for pictures, they're more likely to be genuine. If they don't mention a day, time or location and seem reluctant to discuss these details but excited about asking you for explicit details about yourself or your services, they're probably just wanking. In which case I recommend offering the option to pay for a chat session. eg "which day and what time would you like to see me? Do you want an incall or an outcall?" "or if you just want to chat please send $x and I'll chat to you for x minutes."
Sites claiming to facilitate sales of virginity are all scams as far as I know. Search the sexworkers subreddit for the word "virginity" to see other threads on the subject. If you mention any kind of youth or inexperience in an escort ad, especially virginity, you'll attract a variety of scumbags who do not have your best interests at heart. All manner of timewasters, hagglers, boundary pushers and much worse will see you as a vulnerable target.
Having your own personal website is the best way to promote yourself. It shows you're established, genuine and professional. It's cheap and easy to buy a domain name and hosting and build a site on a site builder eg wordpress. If you need help, there are plenty of skilled professionals you can pay to help you. I recommend you pay directly for your own domain name and hosting. Don't let a webmaster register your domain and hosting in their own name. Your website is going to be very precious to you and you'll want to own it and have freedom to edit it yourself, move the hosting, and do whatever you like without a webmaster holding your site to ransom. If you pay someone to help with your site and they prove to be unreliable or incompetent, you'll want to be able to discontinue paying them and find someone else to do the work instead. Much easier to do this if you own your domain and hosting. The best SEO to get your site to rise up in the search results is to post unique, quality content that people enjoy reading regularly on a blog page on your site using the kinds of keywords in the posts that people will search for when they want an escort like you.
Buy a domain name and hosting, install WordPress on your hosting and DIY Web design from templates or get help from web designers if necessary.
Your landing page needs to be appealing enough to capture the attention of a client instantly or the majority will bounce within a few seconds. Big sexy picture background and enticing tag line that makes it clear where you're located and how to contact you.
Your contact details need to be top and centre on your website where anyone can find them within one second of opening your page. Less contact details means less clients. eg if you only have a contact form and no number or email, that means fewer clients.
Call your rates page "rates", your contact page "contact", gallery, blog, reviews etc. If you call your rates "consideration" or some other code word, some percentage of clients will think hmm I'd like to meet her but I can't find her rates, and they'll bounce. Don't underestimate how short their attention span is or how obvious everything needs to be for them to find it.
Add a blog page to your site and post on it at least once a week writing unique content that your target audience will enjoy reading using keywords they'll use to find your site. Your location is your most important keyword. Use it in your site title, tag line, meta description, on every page of your site and in every blog post. And the word escort. Not courtesan or provider or muse or geisha or anything like that. Escort. That's what clients will search for in a search engine. Other key words will relate to whatever services you specialise in, anything defining about your look or style or personality that can be described in one word that a client might key into a search engine.
/u/madametoska has built a free website template on WordPress that’s prebuilt, as well as an SEO guide. https://ruby-moss-d82.notion.site/The-SWer-digital-kit-f8e9e29cf6dd49a0aefca106ee7d49ec