Indie Pornstars and Camming Models: The Guide to Succeeding in a Saturated and Thriving Market
Models in the indie adult community have many added pressures that other adult industry workers don’t have to deal with. Indie workers have the responsibility of managing and promoting themselves, as well as handling their own finances, making “executive” decisions and calls that an agent or company would otherwise do in the mainstream porn scene, and creating their own schedule. While no “road to success” is paved with the same stones, there are key concepts that stretch across almost every success story that can help indie cam models and content creators succeed in a market that is currently saturated with content, performers, and customers.
Work for Sites that Work for You!
Our first fundamental is working for sites that work for you! To different models, this means different things. It changes depending on what your personal priorities are as a performer. Some performers prioritize site traffic, others prioritize payout percentage, and some prefer good and consistent site support. Obviously, the best possibility is a combination of all of your priorities as a performer. Your main goal should be finding sites that work towards your needs since you are paying them a percentage, and only working on sites that work for you (give you the most bang for your buck!) Alternatively, you can combine a lot of sites that individually meet certain needs and combine to meet all of the things you need. Do not give your hard earned money to sites that don’t provide you with some sort of benefit, the percentage a site takes should cover your needs including things like: site support, technical support for the site interface, problem solving guides or a FAQ of some sort, easy to use payment processing for customers, easy navigation for content management, easy user interface for customers, covering chargebacks, helping maintain your safety (DMCA services, ability to block abusive members, consequences for abusive models, etc.) Create a list of what you need in a site, the bare minimum of what you need, then add features that are negotiable. Structure your top used sites based off of that list and go from there. The happier you are with the site that you use, the happier you will be to promote and utilize their platform. A happy performer means better odds of making more money, and a better business-to-business relationship with your websites.
Investments: Time and Money
Knowing when and where to invest your time and money is an important skill in the indie industry. You do not get paid for wasted time, so you will want to budget your time towards things that are tried and tested for you. This involves a growth period where you will experiment and learn what your niche is, and once you find what works you will want to invest a majority of your time into doing that. You will then use additional “side project” time to try out new things in our forever evolving industry, and if you find more things that work you will add them into your “it works” majority time. This will more than likely not remain completely consistent over long stretches of time since sites change, customers change, and your personal interests will change. Making sure to milk all of the money you can out of things while they work is an important skill in the indie industry, as well as knowing when to move on and stop “beating a dead horse.”
Monetary investments can be a huge stress factor in the adult industry because most things that performers will find themselves investing in can be very expensive. Some common expenses for indie models include: locations to produce content, lighting, cameras, phone, computer, high speed internet, webcams, beauty products, clothing, sex toys, and more! If you are a newbie starting out, the price of getting that all set up can be daunting. As an established model it can still be just as daunting due to the passage of time and your equipment breaking or becoming outdated. There are many ways to handle monetary investments, including specific monthly budgets you create based on a percentage of your monthly income or a simple set limit you stick to no matter how much you earn. The way you handle your investments will vary based on personal preference, but it is important to have an investment method. Getting excited about a project and investing $100 into it when it only returns $50 isn’t smart business, plan ahead for situations like this and invest in what you know will make money. Additionally you can try crowdfunding for upgrades, new toys, new tech, etc. Customers and fans like to be part of projects like that and will often contribute if you offer additional incentives!
Promoting yourself is the biggest responsibility for an indie adult performer. You are your own boss and with that comes the responsibility of being your own hype man. You need to learn how to promote yourself! Promoting isn’t as simple as posting a nude photo or video and saying “pay me.” You will find better success with better promotion.
- Create Social Media FOR PORN: Create your profiles on Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok, etc. Anywhere that has algorithm based user suggestions is a great place to market yourself. Don’t just take your personal Twitter and declare yourself a pornstar and promote your porn on it, this is a danger to your safety as well as not a “professional” look.
- Learn to Master-Bait: A fish won’t bite an empty hook, it wants some substance. Similarly, if you aren’t posting promotional content with substance, no fish will bite your hook. Post previews with substance, good quality, and prove that you are worth the money customers will spend on you. You are not entitled to money for creating a clip, taking a picture of your toes, or because you are behind on your financial goals. You have to earn your sales by producing quality content and marketing that content in a way that exemplifies its quality. Create hype about yourself and create all of your posts with a specific goal or plan in mind (i.e. I want more sales on this so I am posting about it, I want viewers in my cam room so I am posting about it, I want my fans to feel personally connected to me so I am sharing this quirky quote, etc.) Your posts should “bait” customers into interacting with you, and even if the fish doesn’t bite the hook (make you money) you also get the potential of a nibble, them liking the taste, and coming back later.
- Think Like Your Market: Does your market want to see a low quality photo of you with 7 filters overlaid onto it? Will that make them trust the quality of your content? Are the keywords and identifers you are using for yourself and your content helpful to convert viewers to buyers? Is your quirky nickname for yourself “sexy” and conversion worthy or is it funny and relatable or is it making people not want to interact with you? Think like your audience, for most of us: it’s horny people. Add spice to your posts, sexify your content, and make it conversion worthy. Your customers follow your social media because they want an escape from their daily blahs and bothers, you’ll have happier customers that’ll stick by you longer if you aren’t causing them stress. Sure, a damsel in distress might be an approach some guys like for a little bit, but over time you will lose customers because they’ll either: feel like they can’t help any more, find another performer who doesn’t stress them out, or they’ll feel used. Avoid that!
- Be Consistent: Consistency is what will make a lot of customers interested in your content, they want someone that they know is putting out new content, getting on cam regularly, etc. A lot of customers will use social media to gauge how active you are so it is important to use your social media to let customers know when you come out with something new, when you’re getting on cam, when you’re active and taking private shows, etc. Some customers won’t take the initiative to “pop in” and check!
Promotion / Marketing Resources:
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An important part of success in the indie industry is consistency! Having a consistent camming schedule, consistent video uploads, and consistent posts to social media and fan club sites will help customers to be frequently reminded that you are active and that they have the chance to purchase content or shows from you. It is also important to be consistent behind the scenes, not just when it comes to creating content. Keeping your websites up to date, checking your emails, communicating with customers, and having a stable place where people know they can check for updates and contact you is important. We highly recommend creating your own website to meet these needs, although social media can also act as a simple and free alternative.
Building a brand for yourself will help you have a recognizable and memorable impact on consumers. Knowing your niche and marketing that niche will provide a sense of consistency to consumers and when they enjoy the product that you produce they will continue to come back. Trying out new things to add to your brand is okay, but know when to ditch new ideas if it starts to negatively impact your brand by scaring off customers. Having a recognizable brand will also help you stand out from other models and differentiate your content and cam shows from the highly saturated market.
Flexibility and Diversity
It is important to be flexible in the industry because it never sleeps. Don’t work yourself to death, but have an open method for customers to get in contact with you 24/7 whether it be social media, a contact form on a personal website, or private messaging of some sort. You can open yourself up to more opportunities this way and schedule ahead with customers if you’re busy at the moment they contact you.
Be flexible with the sites that you use, and use multiple sites whenever you can! Opening yourself up to different sites will bring you different traffic. Especially with clips, post to as many places as you are able to that have internal traffic. Try to compile a diverse library of clips so you can become connected with different audiences, this will result in more custom clip requests and more sales on similar content that you already have.
Produce things in good quality! Most mobile phones these days record and shoot in clear HD quality, which is the current industry standard. If your content is good quality then it is more likely to get attention. Consumers want to feel like they are getting their moneys worth with their purchases, and part of that includes providing a good high quality piece of content / photo / cam show.
The quality of your interactions with your customers is also important. If a customer has a memorable experience with you where you were kind, understanding, and met their needs then they are more likely to return. Don’t limit yourself to one interaction with your customer, plan ahead and drop hints that you’d like to see the customer again and that you are enjoying providing the show or clip for them. Sending out messages after clip purchases to thank them and let them know you have suggestions of similar videos if they liked the one they purchased can help establish a good quality connection.
Setting Reachable Goals
Having goals is important but if you set your sights too high you can end up with a major case of burn out. Set goals that you can reach so you can be proud of yourself, for example: if you log on cam with a monetary goal you may find yourself frustrated if you aren’t hitting certain numbers, instead try setting a time goal so you stay online and available to make any potential money. Money / earnings can be unpredictable, but time usually isn’t. Set goals that you have the ability to control.
Networking is an important part of the indie industry. Network with other models in your field and cross promote. Network with the sites that you work for so they will openly communicate with you, you may find yourself getting a higher level of help / respect from the site. Always view your interactions as business-to-business interactions. Performers can find themselves getting caught up in the “humanity of being a cam model” but at the end of the day we are all one-man-bands that need to behave like a business.
The industry never sleeps, it never stops, and it always changes. As new technology emerges, new trends start. New sites launch and some catch fire and become staples in the community, sites can seemingly vanish with no warning, payout processors can completely shut down without notice. In the indie industry you will be constantly adapting to change, new ways to promote and market yourself, new ways to find and communicate with customers, and more. Be open to adapting and don’t get stuck in “one way” or you may find yourself aging out of the industry. A huge part of success in the indie industry is the willingness to learn new things and give them a try.
Ready to get started in the indie adult industry?
Check out our resources to get started with your adult industry career today!
Camming Sites Hiring Webcam Models: Compare Cam Sites!
Adult Clip Sites: Sell Homemade / Amateur Porn
Guide: Become A Phone Sex Operator (Sites Hiring PSOs)
Adult Performers: Sites For Running A Fanclub