The online diary of a gay courtesan.

Category — Career Advice

Finally!!

For quite a long time I have been agonizing about the possibility of returning to video work to show potential clients the muscle mass I’ve finally gained after all these years. I mean I was really stressing myself out about the possibility of it all turning into yet another big shit storm, if I were to be cast. I don’t remember how many times I have written about how unhappy shooting porn makes me, but tonight I finally made a decision: I’m continuing forward without considering it as an option. It’s not, practically speaking, any change at all. I haven’t been in scenes since 2012, and I have been very recalcitrant about even submitting applications. But now, after yet another round of being jerked off by wishy washy people who think they have some kind of power in my life, I have decided that I need to finally close this door. I never enjoyed doing porn, I absolutely loath interacting with the ranting trolls on the porn blogs, I am uncomfortable with the additional scrutiny that would be placed upon my appearance by said trolls, and the pay for video work is total shit. Not to mention how many of the models I can’t stand as people and who I might have had to work with… So why do it? Because I added all this lovely muscle to my frame, and I wanted to get it known quickly and efficiently. Look, you have to use the industry as much as it uses you. Remember that. Always.

I feel a real sense of relief. I suddenly had an opportunity to shoot, but (as always) the porn dicks couldn’t get their shit together enough to actually commit to the date or not. Look, that maybe-kinda-sorta unprofessional horse shit works for the drugged out twinks who still live with their mamas, but I have a life and a schedule. I need to make concrete plans, and the chaos behind the scenes in porn is just foolish. Honestly, I don’t know how any of these companies don’t fold under the weight of their own incompetence.

I have had the sense for some time that I am blacklisted anyway. So it doesn’t matter how much muscle I add. It doesn’t matter how healthy I am. It doesn’t matter how reliable I am. I will always be the “difficult” faggot who wrote “that blog article.” Why is this crap even still coming up four years later??? It doesn’t help that my work at Anteros Media from 2011 – 2012 was a scathing criticism of the industry. And it doesn’t help that I am completely transparent about what I think is wrong with porn, which is everything. So, no love lost, right? They don’t want to work me, and sure as shit haven’t wanted to work with them. My escorting practice is thriving as well as it always has, so I have been looking for a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

Okay. Wow. Whew! I feel better. So, I guess what I will need to do going forward is stop updating my Twitter feed (I just deleted the app from my devices), focus on getting some new stills professionally done, and consider adding videos to my RentMen ad. That will have to suffice. I could add some videos to XTube, or something similar. Anything to get my image updated. I’m so sick of my 2009 – 2012 videos defining what people think I look like. So, I will get this rebranding done on my own, more slowly and on a smaller scale. That’s fine: It also means I can do it without the rabid howler monkeys around the globe throwing their festering balls of shit at me via my Twitter account. I created that account to connect with my porn following, but there’s been no new scenes to promote in forever, so why allow that direct line into my personal life? No more crazies!! Go away! GOD!

That last backlash a couple weeks ago about the surprise vagina really was the beginning of the end, in terms of my being willing to interact with large audiences of people. I was being accused of being a proponent of ex-gay conversion therapy. People were saying I was allied with the Texas Republican Caucus. Many of these fucking pricks even accused me of being the cause of bullying and gay suicide. WHATEVER! I had to take stock and consider whether or not everything was working as I’d intended. But then when I had dates to shoot new material and it fell apart, because I’m too much like the type of models this company already casts??? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA Especially when most of their models look and act like hungry children with cliché tattoos and dirty mops for haircuts? I think not. Bye Felicia. Bye bitch. Put your crack pipe down, and have a donut on your way out. Oh, and if you are here expecting me to approve your hateful comment, you can take your First Amendment rights and shove them up your ass. This is *my* blog, and I want only happy shit here. Understood? Good.

So, anyone looking for career advice about going into porn: Don’t.

That’s my advice.

July 14, 2014   4 Comments

Risk & Reward

(Note: Do not play the bets listed in Spinning the Wheel – they are far, far, far too complex to manage in real life [though they worked beautifully on the iPad app], and the outside bets weigh down your wins [though they also mitigate your losses]. Keep it simple!!)

I used to say that I don’t gamble, because I never win. That isn’t true at all. Without meaning to be arrogant, I have won the genetic lottery: I’m a healthy, attractive, intelligent, white man. The privilege society affords me for all these traits I had nothing to do with is palpable. The only parts of the equation I lost out on were being straight, Christian, and wealthy (but in all fairness, those “losses” are mitigated by the fact that I won the lottery that allowed me to be middle class born in a place and time when sexuality and religion matter less, and where there are many opportunities to advance and/or make money on one’s own). So, all in all, it isn’t true that I never win, because (as I just demonstrated) I win quite frequently (and often at a large enough scale that it offsets multiple “losses”).

What is the point I am making? That everything in life is a gamble. My friend Ron is trying to become a professional gambler, and he wants to become proficient at Roulette; however, his losses keep overwhelming his wins for the simple fact that he won’t take big enough risks to counterbalance his losses. He is more afraid of multiple medium sized risks than he is motivated by a few large payouts. And yet he took a risk getting married (he’s gay), he took a risk going into insurance sales (but that paid off, and he was one of the best salesmen in the country for his company), he took a risk getting divorced (he has been out for ~20 years now), he took a risk leaving insurance to do massage (though he is a genius therapist with a naturally healing touch), and he takes a risk every time he books a client (they could, conceivably, ALL cancel and/or flake – my experience in late December 2013 – mid January 2014 proves that out). The same is true for me: I took a risk majoring in dance (but I was still chosen in 1998 AND 1999 to attend UCLA – I was one of 10 selected from a pool of 300 applicants for 1998, but I turned them down; however, in 1999 I decided to try again, I was one out of six chosen from a pool of 500 applicants, and that was based on the previous year’s audition – I am the only person that I know of in the history of the UCLA dance program to get accepted twice for one application); I took a risk being an educator (knowing that I dislike children in general, yet still excelled at it); I took a risk on clubs, porn, and escorting…

And all of it has paid off.

To say I don’t gamble, because I don’t win is preposterous. I win with such alacrity that I have always taken it for granted. How foolish of me. At any rate, I have picked up on Ron’s interest in roulette. I love games. I am not a genius at it, but I enjoy chess and other games of strategy. I also have learned a new appreciation for games of chance. The skill in these games is made from the stuff of your personality. Some people are risk averse, and these conservative people are necessary for balance (but left to their own devices nothing would ever grow or change); however, some people are risk resilient, and these liberal people are necessary for dynamism (but left to their own devices nothing would ever stabilize or establish). Chaos and Order, yes? If you are going to gamble, be honest about the type of personality you have, and then try to mitigate your risks (you can’t ever abolish them… such is the nature of life). The only way to avoid all risk is to avoid all activity (risk = life?).

So, back to Ron. He keeps changing his roulette bet around, chasing after a trend that simply doesn’t exist. There are 38 numbers, and any one of them will come up on each spin. The advantage is always to the house. The edge isn’t. The edge is different from the advantage: You might presume that betting red/black is a 50/50 gamble, and that you and the house both have a 50% advantage. But you would be wrong. The numbers 0 and 00 are green, and they don’t pay out on red/black, even/odd, high/low, etc. This is the edge: Because there are 36 red/black numbers, that portion of the board is a 50/50 gamble; however, when you add in 0/00, suddenly you have only a 47% chance of winning an “even” bet. THAT is the edge the house has built in. Ron hasn’t looked at the edges, only the advantages, and he won’t play with bets large enough to matter when his rare wins offset his common losses. I think I have found a bet that works (for me).

It works after thousands of attempts on my roulette app. It worked when I tried it in person this week. I played at a small scale, but the odds don’t change in roulette. You get back a multiple of whatever you put it, and the odds are always the same. So, here is what I have discovered (again, do not use my bets from Spinning the Wheel):

You should play with 10% of your available bank (e.g. $100). You should place 10 bets in the center of 10 numbers (you can include 0 and/or 00 if you wish, but they don’t pay out more or come up with more or less frequency). Each bet on each number should be the same amount, ergo each bet is 1% of your available bank (e.g. $100 bank = $10 total wagers per spin = $1 per number). This is the math: By placing 10 bets you have a 26% chance of winning. That’s “reliably” one win in four spins, but notice that although the house has a nearly 75% advantage, on the 25% advantage you have, there is a 1% edge in your favor. THAT is what matters: Knowing that you can win with enough consistency for it to be worth the trouble, you can play and rest at increment. Remember that a single bet pays 35-to-1 in roulette (Note: Avoid split, corner, street, and column/dozens bets… yes, they win more frequently, but they pay out less, and therefore you lose your edge). This means that every three losses are offset by a win (e.g. 3 losing bets = -$30; 1 winning bet = +$35; yield = $5). Remember also that you can expect statistically over time to win one time in four bets… This is convenient: Loss, loss, loss, win = small profit. Do not go beyond 10 bets, or you will encounter the law of diminishing returns: 11 bets is a 29% chance (note that the house has a 4% edge on your “one third” chance of winning, but you have a 4% edge on your “one fourth” chance of winning). Eleven bets no longer works: 11 bets = $11 but a win is still only $35. You do NOT have a one-in-three chance of winning, and when you do win your margin will be smaller (e.g. 3 losing bets = -$33; 1 winning bet = +$35; yield = $2). With 12 bets at a 32% chance (you still do NOT have a one-in-three chance, the house retains a 1% edge on your “third”) it’s even worse (e.g losing 3 bets = -$36; 1 win = +$35; yield = -$1). Too few bets gives you a huge margin when you win, but you will have far more losses before a win, and that means a lot of time to get to the same place as 10 bets (e.g. 5 bets takes twice as long to get to the same wins/losses as 10 bets). Beyond that, the rest is multiples.

This is what I have learned: Start with $100 that you can afford to lose. You don’t care if it goes away, but if it were to grow, that would be lovely. Play with $10 per spin, $1 per number (pick 10 numbers you like and stick to them – don’t chase the ball… sit still and let it come to you. I have chosen 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 18, 28, and 29). Play this until your bank is $200 (Note: You don’t have to place a bet every time the dealer spins the wheel… Take frequent breaks. Jump in and out, rather than playing every single spin). When your bank reaches $200, play $20 per spin and $2 per number. Continue in this manner. In real life I built up to playing with a $500 bank, $50 per spin, $5 per number. At home on my iPad app, I have worked this pattern all the way up to a $100,000 bank, $10,000 per spin, and $1,000 per number. The odds don’t change, the risks don’t change, the rewards don’t change. All that changes is the scale. If you can keep that in mind (and know when to start and stop playing), then (when luck is on your side) you can win.

And that, altogether, is a very valuable life lesson.

April 26, 2014   4 Comments

2009/2014, Then/Now

This first pic (click to enlarge it) was taken in 2006, only six weeks after leaving my last boyfriend. I was 30 years old, weighed 120 pounds, and had 7-8% body fat. I was starving. I guess you can see that though. From 2002 until 2009 I was stuck at this weight, because of the malnutrition, stress, and unhappiness I was experiencing (often from my own bad and/or naïve choices). I will explain all that in the next few paragraphs. The only good that came from that time is that I somehow survived it without killing anyone (including myself) and without declaring bankruptcy. This pic was for a theatrical production, hence the dramatic hair and makeup.

Five years ago (nearly to the day today), I did my first porn scene. I figured it would be a good idea to take stock and see some then/now pics and to reflect on how much everything has evolved in that time. I will share a few of the pics I submitted in March/April 2009 to get the job to do the scene in mid-April 2009, as well as a couple stills from that first solo project. Then I’ll share some pics I took five minutes ago…

In this first collage from 2009 (click it to enlarge) I was 32 years old, weighed 130 pounds, and had 8% body fat. I was still dancing 40 – 60 hours per week at that point. I was bulking up a tad somehow doing P90X, but my diet, although improved, was still terrible. I didn’t have time to make food (because I was working part time jobs during the week while dancing in Charlotte on week nights, then driving all over the South to dance  in clubs on the weekends), so I often got by on protein shakes. I ended up in the hospital three separate times from 2007 – 2009 for exhaustion and malnutrition. I remember driving all over Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, and DC to perform. I was JAMMING in all the clubs, and in retrospect I don’t know how I had so much explosive, endless energy while running on food and sleep deprivation fueled by intense anxiety. While performing, I was generally having a fabulous time spinning, twirling, falling, and flipping. But I was also still burdened with the fraud debt I had gotten from my last boyfriend. At that point I was living with two female roommates (who were awesome people, by the way), and trying to figure out how not to grind myself into dust from all the dancing, driving, skipped meals, and financial duress. My heart was closed. I was afraid of people and love.

This was during the peak of the Great Recession, and the clubs were faltering. Lots of desperate people who were freshly jobless saturated an already crowded dance scene, and the tipping patrons had been decimated. Those were some pretty bleak times. Not to mention I was still contending with a combination of anorexia and dysmorphic disorder. I really don’t miss that chaotic argument inside my head. From any moment to another I was in danger of gaining or losing weight. It was a labyrinthine, psychotic morass. But my family was still intact at least. Grampa was still alive; Mom, Gramma, and my sister were getting along very well; my uncles were nowhere to be seen; and Dad hadn’t yet had his multiple strokes. I had just come up with the idea that would evolve into Anteros Media (an idea which grew immediately out of my unsatisfactory experience with these first two porn scenes). It was such a creatively dynamic time. From 2010 – 2012 I did about 20 more scenes for other houses before shifting gears to shoot about 80 for my own company (nearly 10 of which I was in). I focused on escorting and fitness in 2013.

It is 2014, and now I am 37 years old, I weigh 165 pounds, and I am at 12% body fat. I took the pics in this second collage today, only a short while ago (click the tumbnail to the right to enlarge it). I had gone through a process of trying to gain mass from 2010 until 2012 that left me with an unseemly amount of body fat. I cannot look at pics/footage of myself from this time frame – I looked (to me) like a shapeless mass of lard. I had successfully evicted the anorexic voice, but the dysmorphic one remains. That’s an improvement, but there is still internal work for me to do. I spent the entirety of 2013 trying to lean down by religiously performing High Intensity Interval Training. My aerobic capacity improved, and my body fat went down, but there came a point where I simply couldn’t get any leaner. I learned it was because of the mass gaining eating schedule I was on: Six meals spread throughout the day is great for gaining weight, but terrible for losing body fat. At the end of 2013 I kept working out hard, started an intermittent fasting eating schedule, and had cool sculpting performed (I don’t recommend it: After four months it is reversing itself, and the additional leanness I achieved was expensive, subtle, and temporary. I am utterly disappointed.).

Putting on weight quickly like what I did from 2010 – 2012 is called doing a dirty bulk, wherein you eat a great deal (and often) to gain mass while lifting heavier weights, but much of the new mass isn’t lean, and has to be shed later to reveal the muscle gains. I was a wreck in some ways: I had purposefully tapered nearly all the dancing out of my life, because I was terrified I would burn off all my muscle gains from the crazy amount of cardio I was doing (plus I was having a lot of arguments with my dance partner, I was exhausted from working so much to pay off the fraud debt, and I was getting bitter about being the person who had to pay for everything for the dance company). So I went without my primary form of creative expression in order to focus on fitness. So be it. No regrets. I am interested in doing one-man shows again. If I continue dancing/performing at all, it will be by myself again.

At any rate, I got my own apartment, which is lovely. I am very happy, and I am still friends with my former roommates (who both have husbands and kids now). I paid off my fraud debt, and got Lasik surgery. I paid off one car and then traded it in (after driving the poor creature to death) for a new one. I have savings. My financial situation is much improved (and so is the general economic situation for many people around the country). But my family has fallen apart. Grampa passed away, my uncles showed up to undermine the relationship between Mom and Gramma (who now do not speak to each other… EVER), and my sister and Gramma are estranged once again. Dad has had multiple strokes, and although he is much better than he was initially, he will never regain his full capacities. So improvement, stability, and growth in one part of my life is offset by chaos where once there was a smidge of order. But all of that is outside my ability to control or alter, so I have to do what I can for me (which is generally to just stay out of all of it). I married myself, and decided that if the opportunity for love presented itself, I wouldn’t reject it automatically on general principle. Dating has been a disappointment, but my vows to myself helped me to guiltlessly make the choices that were best for me.

Anteros Media occupied most of my energy and attention from Summer 2011 until Winter 2013. It was magic. I got to work with some brilliant friends/collaborators/sponsors, some enchanting models, and some delightful experiments in gay adult video. We made some really stunning work, and I am very proud of it. I wish the world could have seen it; however, I never could figure out how to effectively deliver the material to an audience. I overestimated how motivated audiences were to pay for what we made, and I underestimated how ridiculously complex the porn machine is in the background. I am trying not to be discouraged that yet another one of my gorgeous babies has been stillborn. My ideas are so… fucking genius. Sorry, I’m not going to be humble in this: I’m smart, and I have amazing ideas. I don’t always do well with delivery, but the idea, the execution, and the purpose will be flawless… I wish I had connected with some individual/organization/group that could have helped with insight about getting our art (and our scenes at Anteros Media were exquisite little gems) presented better. But the scenes still exist, so perhaps one day they will find a life and an audience? I think they were far too far ahead of their time, to be frank. We were so disruptive on so many levels that I don’t think people knew what to do with us. We were a round peg that could not fit in a square hole.

Today I submitted pics to do scenes again (click the thumbnail at left to enlarge it). That is why I am posting this entry today: It’s rather like a cycle that has come back around to its beginning. This time I am not looking to go into porn to escape from financial duress, to make the world better, or to learn how it all works. Honestly, I couldn’t give less of a shit anymore. Today I just want to update the image of myself that is floating around on the intrawebzes. I am financially comfortable. I don’t care about saving anyone from their self-destructive behavior. I don’t care about exploitation in the industry. I know how it works, both in front of and behind the cameras. I just want to refine my visual branding. All that other noise is no longer my concern. I did what I could do, and it didn’t amount to anything.

So, this time I go into doing scenes with realistic expectations. I’m not a porn activist anymore. I don’t care if you do bareback – if you’re that stupid and stubborn, then you kinda deserve whatever you get. Fuck off. I don’t care if you’re 18 and getting paid $100 for a scene. I don’t care anymore if the houses do this, that, or the other. I have to look out for myself this time. I won’t give complex interviews or answer provocative questions. No one cares. It turns out that it is just porn after all. I’m just a model (if anyone wants to work with me – I may have burned too many bridges the first time around). You’re just someone who wants to cum for free in 30 seconds. Whatever.

For better or worse, I am more concerned now about doing the most I can with the time remaining to me in this career (I estimate I have another 5-7 years in me, 10 if I feel like stretching it that far). I am more interested in buying a 5- to 20-acre plot of land in/near the Blue Ridge Mountains, commissioning a tiny house, living off the grid, and finding peace in self-sufficiency away from the expectations of anonymous people. I’m getting very tired very quickly of everything I do having to revolve around what I look like. I am concerned about my own future stability, evolution, and transition. In 2009 I was still an idealist who wanted everything he did to have meaning that would improve everything for everyone everywhere. Now I care only for my clients, my friends, my family, and myself. I know that’s selfish, and for the first time in my life I’m completely okay with that. Perhaps if I’d looked out for myself better over these years I could have avoided many of the pitfalls and problems I encountered (or in many instances created for myself).

So I’ll say it one last time, and then I’m done: Do only the porn that uses condoms, make all your choices from empowerment not desperation, stick to your values, and ALWAYS remember gratitude.

April 17, 2014   8 Comments

HOOK: M&G and Classes

Hey, fellow escorts and adult entertainers: HOOK-Online (@HOOK_ONLINE on Twitter) is an organization that seeks to provide support, education, community, and care to M4M sex workers. It is the site for which I wrote an article about the value of client reviews (which I also reposted on my blog). Hawk Kinkade (@HawkKinkade on Twitter), the person who has been running the organization for years, has been disseminating helpful articles and is always looking for male escorts and sex workers to contribute to the articles, classes, presentations, and live chats the site sponsors. There is also an ongoing Meet & Greet in New York City being established, in addition to the classes offered through Hook’s education series, Rent U. Recent topics have included “The Affordable Care Act for Sex Workers” and “BDSM Fun(damentals).” There is a great deal of information available through the site; however, if you are going to be in New York City, consider contacting Hook to see if there are any events, classes, or group discussions happening during your visit. Please note that the Meet & Greet events require pre-registration through the leadership panel that organizes them, and that these particular social events are for escorts only. I have known Hawk since 1999, and I can verify that he is good people, and that he surrounds himself with other good people.

April 8, 2014   No Comments

Part 8 of 13: Economics

Return to “Establishing a Career in Adult Entertainment: Index”

There are three concepts I want to discuss here: Supply and Demand, Diversification, and Budgeting/Savings. As I have said many times before: Try to take the longer view. You may have days on end with no income. That could add up to a bad week, but don’t assume that to be the case. Rather, try to look at months, quarters, and years instead. This keeps the days and weeks less fretful, if you see you are on target for the month. If you have prepared for down cycles, you will be better positioned to get through them to the next up cycle.

Supply and Demand

This is a very complex topic, and at best I can offer only guidelines and broad brushstrokes. But here are some concepts to consider:

  • How many escorts are in the area where you want to live/visit? I prefer to look first at areas that have ~15 – ~75 escorts when I ad up the unique entries from Rentboy, Rentmen, and M4Rn. Too few escorts implies there is no demand, too many implies there is too much competition (depending on the size of the city in question). But this doesn’t work 100% of the time. Some areas with very few escorts are starved for supply and can be very profitable for the few escorts who are brave enough to go off the beaten path. Some areas in the Goldilocks Zone are already over-saturated. Some areas with huge numbers of escorts can actually support them all (e.g. NYC, San Francisco, etc.). The range I listed above is a guide line. Place a feeler ad and try to be more educated about the response level of local client base.
  • What are other escorts charging? If you see people listed as escorts who are charging massage therapist fees (which tend to be 1/3 – 1/2 escort fees), then something is amiss, especially if the pics show a top caliber dude. Either the escorts in the area have undermined themselves by trying to compete with each other on pricing (and have lowered the quality of the experience for everyone involved), or else they may be listing a fee just to meet that then goes up from that base. Another possibility is that the clients in that area simply can’t or won’t pay what I consider a reasonable escorting fee. Whatever underlies a situation with remarkably low fees, reconsider whether or not the area in question will be supportive. Again: Try a feeler ad. See if people balk at your fee. Get educated about the clients and their perception of value.
  • What is the overhead for the area? Some places cost more than others, but you cannot presume the big cities are always more expensive. For example, I can get very low prices for flights to some big cities where the hotels cost more. This means trips to big cities can cost just as much as visits to smaller places with cheaper hotels but higher priced flights. For example, I can fly from Charlotte to New York City round trip for somewhere between $150 – $250, and I have a friend who has a place where I can stay for free. This means that New York City is an extremely low cost trip for me, but when I checked on Austin, TX the flight alone was $800 (but the hotel was only $150 for three nights, if that is any consolation). Learn as much as you can about the cost of a trip and compare that to what you think you can generate while you are in the area.

Remember: Do your research before going to a new area by first putting out a feeler ad. See what kind of response you get. Keep the contact info for the people who reply. If your initial poke yields only tepid response, hold off. You can try again in the future, and you will already have some people to notify next time you want to try again. In the end, everything is a gamble!!

Diversification

I have not done an entry in this series in a very long time. I think that may have been for a reason. For so long I was doing so well that I think I was getting arrogant. But right now I can plainly see why it was good for me to have created a cash cushion. I am currently at what I hope is the end of a down cycle that started in November 2013 and went all the way across to February 2014 and possibly March 2014. The nature of accidents and the unknown is that they cannot be anticipated usually, and that is what happened to me. In November 2013 I accidentally planned the wrong weekend off for Thanksgiving. A silly mistake until I realized I would have to take half of November off as a result. My bad! But December, despite being half devoured by time off for Yule and New Year, looked great on the books. I had lots of appointments scheduled throughout the month… until a massive flu season wiped out my entire month as people cancelled for illness. Okay, January 2014 comes, and I’m ready to go. Two unimpressive months, and I need to make up some lost ground. And I would have, except winter weather undermined my trip to NYC, I unknowingly scheduled myself to be in DC during a kink/fetish festival, and then had to perform at the Asheville Fringe Festival. Three weekends lost. I barely got the money for February together in time, which meant I went into February without any head start for March. And then the winter weather caused more cancellations in February, I had to eat more non-refundable plane tickets, and through it all I was very close to having to tap into savings. At this point I still have not done so, but the ice I stand on is splintering… Every time it looks like spring will appear, winter beats it back down and sends me more complications.

I have been lucky in that I keep barely managing to make what I need each month to cover my costs; however, I do have some peace of mind knowing that I have a buffer. This winter has taught me a valuable lesson: I desperately need to diversify my cities, so that I have a client base in areas that experience mild winters. All my current cities have the potential for rotten winter weather.

This is a process I have delayed implementing for a couple years, much to my regret now. I was at the Philadelphia airport the day Hurricane Sandy came ashore there. It was an abject fiasco. Sandy was my first lesson in diversification. At that time I had my ad only on Rentboy, and all my cities at that point were susceptible to hurricane damage. For weeks or months after Sandy I couldn’t go to my cities, because they were having so many problems after that storm, and I couldn’t let anyone know I was going anywhere else, because Rentboy’s server was down completely for a while during the storm surge in NYC, as well as intermittently for weeks after that. Because of Sandy I was forced to make two points of diversification: I added a few new cities to my roster (and a couple have become regular stomping grounds for me, except in winter), and I placed ads at Rentmen and Men4RentNow. Although it took something extreme to force me out of my comfort zone, the changes have profited me greatly. I had avoided making these changes until I was in crisis (such is the nature of change, yes?), and now Winter of 13/14 is going to force me to re-diversify my territory to minimize winter complications in the future.

Learn from my stubbornness: Diversify as much as possible. Not only in your escorting practice, but in all parts of your life. You will be safer and sounder for it. I got through this season only because I had the psychological comfort of my savings cushion. Thankfully, I haven’t had to touch it yet. I’ve resisted tapping it… but if I had needed to, I could have.

Budgeting/Savings

So, how do you build a savings cushion? By being organized! I suggest gradually building up a 3-month cushion at first, and taking it slowly up to a 6-month or even 12-month cushion. That means you have three, six, or 12 months’ worth of cash in case of illness, burn out, retirement, Hurricane Sandy, etc. If you need $2,500 per month to cover everything, then strive to keep $7,500 (3-month cushion), $15,000 (6-month cushion), or $30,000 (12-month cushion) in some form for your use during less lucrative times. Building savings can be a slow process, just like getting fit, so make a goal of setting aside $x every week or month until you have built up your cushion. Treat savings the way you do strength training, one short-term goal at a time that adds up to long-term success.

I prefer to know my itinerary before I ever show up in a city. Over the course of a week I am looking for 7 – 12 billable hours during trips away from home (and only 3-6 billable hours if I stay in Charlotte for the week). I need two billable hours to cover hotel and food; one or two to cover airplane fares; three to amass the money I need that week for living expenses; and then the difference goes toward savings, personal/creative projects, and/or spending money. This means that out of a maximum of 12 billable hours in a week (this is one way I avoid burnout!), a quarter of the money goes immediately back into my travel expense account, a quarter goes towards bills, and half goes to me. And THAT is how you divvy your money: Repay travel first, so that if you have a disappointing weekend you can afford to try again the next week. Put aside money to pay your bills next, so that you are not in a weakened financial position at home. But pay the business FIRST! (You can pay your bills late if need be! If you pay them first to be on time after a bad weekend, you won’t have the money to travel!) Finally, PAY YOURSELF. You would be wise to put some of what you have netted after business/bills into savings, some into investments, some into an emergency store of cash, and the rest into something nice for yourself (nice food, new clothes, travel, JEWELRY!!! hahaha). However you decide to pay yourself, be sure that you do so at every opportunity.

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March 6, 2014   No Comments