23 Things I Wish I'd Known: #4: Ignore the Competition

At age 22, I started stripping. For the next fifteen years I worked off and on as a dominatrix, porn actress, and escort.

Now I’m 49.

Here are 23 things I know now that I wished I’d known then:

#4: Ignore the competition.

But, but, but…. I can hear you say. How can I compete if I don’t know what else is out there?

Let me ask you this: Have you ever been online? Then you know damned good and well what the rest of the world is up to. I used to waste hours and days scoping out my competitors’ ads and reviews, and all it ever did was eat away at my self-esteem. And as we've seen in this current political climate, bad behavior is rewarded with attention. Lots of people in the sex industry garner fans with outrageousness. Which is fine. But if you're someone who needs limits in order to do sex work safely and sanely, trying to compete with people who project no boundaries is not a good business model.

Focus on you. After all, your profile is the only one you have any control over, and the only one that will bring you any business. Obsessing over what others do distorts your values and intentions.

Figure out what you want your brand to project. Don’t do this at the computer; instead, sit in a quiet room without distractions. Spend some real time thinking about your pictures and website, what message you want your copy to convey. You offer something truly marvelous and unique: yourself. Don’t let the rest of the world make you lose sight of that fact, don’t start doing crazy stuff in order to stand out.

Now, I know it can be hard to avoid competitors’ content running through your social media feeds. Make a point of only following and friending people who inspire you, who make you feel good about yourself. Do not gorge on a steady diet of images that make you feel insecure. This goes for politics, news, and all the rest, as well. Have personal profiles if you want to keep up with what’s going on the world. For your professional SM? Keep it free of garbage, outrage, insult, and damage.

While you’re at it, do not read your reviews. I’m dead serious about this. Get a buddy, preferably your best friend, to read them for you, say, every three to six months. All you need to know is if they are mostly okay; instruct them to only alert you to a problem if something is truly out of bounds. Don’t ask about gory details, nothing that might throw you off your game.

Think about it—many athletes and actors never read their press, because they don’t want to be influenced by outside voices. You can do the same. Don’t let jerks get inside your head. Screw what everyone else is doing -- just do you.

I have tons more to say about maintaining your sanity while marketing yourself in my new book, Thriving in Sex Work: Heartfelt Advice for Staying Sane in the Sex Industry. The ebook is available everywhere ebooks are sold; the paperback is due out July 15th!

Until next time, be sweet to yourself-- xoxoxoxo Lola D.

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