What is it like to make money as a webcam model? Anonymous answers frequently asked questions about the ins and outs of video chatting for a living.
My Experience as a Cam Model
I’ve worked in the adult entertainment industry for three years. In that time I’ve done phone sex, erotic modeling and photography, a very brief stripping gig, and various craigslist gigs. I’ve had non-xxx oriented jobs that ended up feeling more like sex work, and I’ve had xxx jobs that made me feel more like an accountant.
I recently became a cam model and so far I’ve enjoyed it quite a bit. One of my talents is being a great listener and a mirror for others to explore their fantasies and fears; I’m a natural introverted extrovert (Sun in Leo, Moon in Virgo), and I grew up on the internet. All of these things combined seem to make me an excellent candidate for cam modeling. It’s not my dream job, but it has allowed me a better lifestyle while I establish a more fulfilling career for myself. If you’re interested in making a little extra cash and are comfortable in front of a camera, this might be a great side gig for you. To help you figure out if you should consider cam modeling, I’ve answered some basic questions people usually ask me about my job.
How does it work? How much do you actually make? What is your schedule like?
Let me start by saying that I’m in my late 20s and have a natural, “girl next door” kind of look and can shape-shift into lots of different personalities depending on who I’m speaking with. So what I make is reflected by this, although I haven’t been able to pinpoint a look/quality/body type that is a definite money maker on these sites.
Basically, I have brief conversations with people that center around music or my looks that then turn into a peep show and/or masturbation session. You can do whatever you want in your shows though. Last night I took a shower and listened to bird sounds and made 100 dollars. The night before I went all out with my outfit and makeup and only made 20 dollars in an hour. Another weekend the shows could be the same and payout completely different. All kinds of ladies with all kinds of bodies and personality types make and don’t make money on these sites. It just depends on how you work the audience – sometimes people want to see you in your sweat pants with pimples. Anyone can do anything and most likely there’s someone who’s into it.
When I first started, I was making about 20 dollars an hour. At the time, I thought it was quite a lot, although I quickly realized how draining the work was. Now I’ve grown an audience and make about 50 dollars an hour. That’s just in tips alone!
Most people use the cam sites to sell other items as well – videos, photo albums, panties, chocolates, mixes, raffle tickets, toys … You can sell anything. I also have an Amazon wishlist where people can purchase gifts for me, and it has been cleared out once already. They usually want to buy lingerie and see me wear it. I’ve had people buy me toys, vitamins, records, and at this point I have enough gift cards to buy a drone.
The site I work for allows me to work whenever I want, for however long I want. I can get online for 5 minutes if I want or stay on for 24 hours. It seems like some models live their entire life on cam – it blows my mind. I can usually stay on for about 4 hours before I need a break, but if I’m making good money I forget about time completely. Sometimes I’m not on camera, and just chatting with people through the site (they usually tip me for that).
What does a typical show look like?
There are no typical shows. Go to a camsite and channel-surf the shows and you’ll see what I mean. It’s definitely centered around masturbation, but not all models are nude. I’ve seen women get tipped to do the following non-nude activities: read a book, smoke, chat with clients about anything, karaoke, give a knitting lesson, play poker, kundalini yoga, wear a bunny suit and refuse to talk unless tipped, and have incredibly large breasts. You might think “That sounds fun and easy!” But making money like that is somewhat rare and often it requires you to have more of a relationship with your clients. This is emotional labor and not as easy as it sounds, but it can be fun and rewarding.
My shows vary depending on my mood and interests. I make more money playing music and DJing in these chat rooms then I’ve ever made playing in a venue, but I am naked when doing it as a cam model. I usually listen to music that makes me feel sexy and just exist. I could be sitting and talking, dancing, stripping, cooking, or in the shower. Sometimes it feels like I’m getting paid to be a goddess, sometimes I feel like a counselor, and sometimes I feel like a total money slut. It’s all true. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
How many people are watching you at once? Do you see the people who are watching you?
Three hundred is the most I’ve ever had and that’s when I was fully nude and cumming in a public chat room. That is rare, and because it’s likely that someone is recording me I make sure I am paid well before I do things like that. Usually my audience is around 20–100 people, depending on what I’m doing. Some girls have 4000 people and some only a few. Just because you have a lot of people in your room doesn’t mean you’re making a lot of money. You can have one high tipper in your room and make great money. I’ve seen women just typing with computer glow on their face, not saying a word, and have 2,000 people in their room. I’ve seen a woman do a sexy as fuck strip tease with pole tricks and everything with 20 people in her room. I haven’t figured out the algorithm yet. It’s a complete mystery to me.
If you want, you can see the people who are watching you, but you don’t have to. I personally like seeing who I’m talking to. I also charge them $2 to open and view their camera. Usually I’m seeing only their cock, rarely do they show me their face.
Is the cam industry less racist than other adult industries?
You might assume that since camming is mediated by the internet, it’s less racist than other adult industries. I’ve heard models say things like “The internet doesn’t discriminate against age, race/ethnicity, or gender. That’s the great thing about camming!” Well, since I’m white, I’ve never cammed as a POC or even talked with a POC about their experience camming, but I do notice that 95 percent of the top models on the site I work on are white. I don’t believe anyone who says that this realm of the industry is exempt from racism. I’ve also heard that white models enjoy the luxury of not having to get nude or hardcore as quickly and usually make more money than their fellow POC models. But I’ve also seen documentaries and YouTube videos by POC models who really enjoy their job (duh). It’s not that different from a strip club – if you have what it takes, you’re going to make money. I work by myself in my bedroom and I’m fairly new, I don’t yet have a very in-depth perspective on this.
What are some of the risks?
As with any job in the adult entertainment industry, working as a cam model means that you run the risk of being publicly exposed. The most common thing that happens is that people record your room and sell it to third-party websites. There’s no way to get around that; I just keep that it in mind when I establish my rates and negotiate the things I will and won’t do in my shows.
I personally feel like the more open I am about what I do IRL, the more support I receive from my community. Knowing that I have the support of my friends also means that I’m less vulnerable to blackmail by the people I interact with. I’m lucky though, I belong to a community that is sex positive, I have lawyer friends, and an open-minded family.There’s a risk that someone will become obsessed with you and stalk you – that’s everyone’s worst nightmare. But how often does it happen? I’m not sure. The New York Times did an article about cam model Miss_Lollipop. She’s had exemplary experiences of the extremes of the industry. She’s also pretty hard core when it comes to camming.
Does working as a cam model affect or cheapen your romantic relationships IRL?
Not in my experience but I met my partner after I began camming, so my job was just part of the package. They had never been to a camsite before meeting me but they have enjoyed coming into my chat room and tipping. But this obviously depends on the nature of your relationship and what boundaries you’ve established with the people in your life. I do shows with other models that involves us being physical; this does not affect my relationship with my primary partner – we barely even talk about it aside from STD testing. I love being with women, so it’s not like I’m just intimate for money, but I probably wouldn’t get down with models unless I was getting paid. I’m a hygiene freak so casual sex isn’t really my thing; even though our show may look like casual sex, it isn’t actually that casual since everyone has to get tested every time before intimacy happens. When people are throwing down a lot of money to watch it’s just more of an incentive.
What’s the best site to work for? How do money and taxes work?
That depends. Lots of models are registered on multiple sites. It’s suggested that you stream on one site at a time but with programs like Manycam it’s possible to be on many sites at once. If you do, you have to run multiple chat rooms at the same time and there’s usually a lot of lagging. I like just being in one room. There are lots of cam sites: Streamate, Chaturbate, Myfreecams, and many, many more.
Usually viewers go to these sites, purchase coins or tokens which can be used in the rooms to tip, pay for private shows, or buy merchandise. From that money, you and the site do a percentage split. I have some clients I did not meet through the site that just pay me directly but be warned: PayPal discriminates against sex workers! So, you’ll have to figure out some creative way to receive payments whilst remaining anonymous. Getting paid from a site is usually your safest and best bet. If a model develops a solid clientele, they can start their own site and keep all of the money for themselves. But usually a model needs the traffic provided by a host site. Many sites offer direct deposit, money wire transfer, or mailed check. I personally do direct deposit because that’s the fastest. This happens on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis depending on the site.
The sucky part is taxes. You’re considered an independent contractor, so put 15 percent of all your paychecks in a savings account because at the end of the year that’s all going to the IRS. Most tax preparers charge you extra to file as 1099MISC.
What do I need to begin?
Your healthy body and mind, a nice HD camera, a computer, a good wifi connection, solid people in your life, and impressive personal boundaries. The rest largely depends on the nature of your show.
Okay hustler, hope this helps! Go make that $$$ – but whatever you do, stay true!