Hey Good-lookin’: Read this before hookin’!
In my last article on this topic, I discussed some of the more serious considerations you need to take when getting into the business of escorting. Make no mistake, those are all essential things to keep in mind, especially your safety. But there’s a real fun side to escorting, so let’s get to some of the other important things to consider when venturing into this lifestyle.
Agency or Independent?
I got my start with a reputable agency in Toronto, but quickly went to being an independent escort in a year, which I find much more fulfilling. There were some benefits I enjoyed as an agency girl, such as free photos, transportation between appointments, and marketing. I learned a TON about how the business works, and overall it was a very positive experience for me. It definitely helped me get my feet wet. The downsides were that I only took home about 60% of the fee, and clients were rarely screened. Some agencies can play games where they have favorites and will only recommend those specific escorts to inquiring clientele. And many agency clients have a specific “type” so if you’re not that type, you may have a harder time booking appointments. If you’re going to work with an agency, find a collective that will support you and help grow your business, rather than one that is really just there to make money off your ass (literally).
Being an independent has a ton of upside. You’re fully in control of your business, you can (hopefully) screen clients, you can set your own rates, and you keep 100% of the money you make. But you’ll also have to front the start-up costs of your business such as paying for advertising, getting photos done, and building a website. You’ll also need to provide your own transportation to appointments, which can mean a lot of Ubers if you don’t own a car.
If you’re brand new to the escort scene, you can certainly make your way as an independent; see if you can find a mentor in the community who can show you the ropes (hint: email me!).
Creating a persona is an important part of an escorts’ business and will play a role in the type of client they attract. If you want to market yourself as a fun, down-to-earth gal who’s big on leisure, expect to get clients who are more laid back. If you market yourself as a glam diva, clients might come to you with high expectations. There’s absolutely no requirements for you to market yourself in a specific way; you do you! My advice is to choose a persona that you can maintain and that reflects some part of your personality you want to show off. I’d shy away from a persona completely different to how you normally behave because in the long run it will be difficult to maintain and clients can tell when you’re faking everything. For example, if you’re normally an outgoing person and you try to act quiet and demure with clients, it might be difficult to keep up in the long run… or not! Everyone’s different. This has just been my experience.
As part of your image, you’ll need a name and some other info about yourself that you’re comfortable divulging. Again, these don’t need to be full-truths about your personal life. Perhaps you’re into animals; you can talk about your dog but don’t need to give its name. Or maybe you’re into fitness; you can talk about your workout without naming the gym. How much information you divulge is entirely up to you and it’s tricky to maintain a balance between real and fantasy. You might find it helpful to write your persona down and give yourself some characteristics that you can refer back to as needed.
As an independent escort you’ll need to advertise your services, otherwise how will someone find you? Depending on where you live, marketing may be easy or incredibly difficult. In Canada, we have a number of platforms to choose from, but the US is more limited particularly since SESTA was put into law. Some platforms (Eros, P411, many UK sites) require you submit a valid government ID to be listed, while others don’t (Slixa, message boards). Many of us are very weary of providing any of these platforms our personal information because some of them have been raided by law enforcement, resulting in a ton of people being banned from entering the US. If you’re particularly concerned with this, stay away from platforms requiring you to upload your information.
Your Online Presence
Twitter is the de-facto place for escorts and client to hang. As mentioned in my last article, creating a twitter profile is a great way to build community and reach potential clients. I personally love twitter; it gives me a voice, lets me show my personality, and is a free marketing tool. Clients will often flock to twitter to learn about escorts, and it’s used by both agency and independent sex workers.
Another online platform is Switter, which has about 100k members since launching just a few months ago! Switter is a sex-worker friendly social media platform hosted on Mastodon, and while I don’t really use it (I can only keep up with one platform), I hear great things about it.
You will absolutely need a website if you’re going the indy route, because it demonstrates your professionalism. It doesn’t need to be complicated, and you can even build one yourself. I suggest going offshore for hosting and domain registration, so you don’t run the risk of violating the Terms of Service of a North American provider (who can then shut down your site). Some great hosting sites are IT Itch and Orange Website. And you can pay for both of these with Bitcoin, protecting your identity! (What? You don’t have bitcoin yet? Girl, get on over there and get some!)
Your website should have tasteful, well-done photos, and information about you, your rates, etiquette, and a way to contact you. Avoid tons of text; people won’t read it. Stick to the essentials and keep it concise. You should be able to get a template-driven site put together for a few hundred bucks, max, but if you’re going a fully customized route you can expect to pay a fair bit more.
Great photos are your selling point, so don’t skimp out on these. Find a great industry-recommended photographer in your area. If one doesn’t exist, try searching for boudoir photographers, which are becoming easier to find. You can tell them you want photos without your face (if that’s your choice), so they should be able to guide you on posing for it. A reputable photographer is not going to solicit you, so if you start getting emails from guys going “I want to shoot you and build my portfolio”, run! I’ve had the unfortunate experience of shooting with an unknown guy, and then it took months of harassing him publicly for me to get any copies of the photos. Who knows where the rest are now.
As far as style and wardrobe in your photos, that’s entirely up to you. I tend to do mostly lingerie style shoots, although I do have a few floating around with me eating burgers and bacon (mmm). Pick outfits that make you feel sexy and that you’re comfortable and happy posing in, because posing is hard work!
Beware of “agencies” or groups trying to do the work for you
These days it seems every asshole with a dick is coming on board to “help” escorts with their business. Just look at the number of ICO start-ups coming out on the backs of sex workers’ efforts. I recently got into a bit of a spat on Twitter with a 24-year-old guy who claims to be an expert in web development and online marketing for the adult industry (mind you, he didn’t have his own site up). He’d been cold-emailing providers with aggressive marketing tactics and I called him out on his bullshit. Point being there are all sorts of people who are going to try to take advantage of you, so beware.
Honestly, there’s no one single way you need to look as an escort. There are SO many body types and looks out there, to pigeonhole yourself into someone else’s fantasy is doing you a serious injustice! Work with what you have. Own your body and your look because you are amazing! Don’t ever think that because you don’t look a certain way, or you’re not a certain age, that you aren’t the right fit for this work.
I do advise some general principles to be followed regardless of your look:
- Hygiene is critical. This is where you’ll need to be picky and ensure you’re fresh and clean for all your appointments. Grooming is up to you and your comfort level, although some clients may request certain ‘features’, so you need to be mindful of that (but that doesn’t mean your obligated to honour their requests).
- You don’t need designer brands. There are plenty of frugal alternatives for clothes, lingerie and shoes. Find items you like that fit you well (nothing worse than too-high heels, tight pants you can barely squeeze into, or a top that hangs off you like a tent in the worst way). Take care of your things so they stay in good shape. You don’t want to run into an appointment with holes in your knickers, after all. And buy items that fit the type of appointments you will be going to. For example, if you advertise as a luxury travel companion, you’re going to need to look the part and may need to splurge on a few things. If you get a booking for a dinner date, you’ll want something appropriate to wear for clothing and shoes. You get the idea.
You know how I hate writing summaries, but here’s the short version.
- Choose a persona and image that you’re comfortable and happy with.
- Develop a great online presence.
- Beware of scammers.
Are you a sex worker who’s new to the scene and want advice? Or an experienced escort who just wants to shoot the breeze? Shoot me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on twitter at @lafemmeisobel.
Connect with me online!
Twitter — @lafemmeisobel
Website — http://elitetorontoescort.com
Email — email@example.com