I'll set the scene for you: a broke college student who needs to put food on the table, with a schedule so swamped that it's hard to set aside hours outside of classes, schoolwork, internships and campus work studies to work a part-time job while at school.
Would love to quickly say: believe me, we tried getting those jobs, but even meager four hour shifts is a lot of time out of the day if you're super busy always.
Anyways, fast forward past some agonizing over my bank account, deep research and talking to my friends who are cam models, and I decided to make an account on a cam site and become a cam model.
"What's a cam model?" you might be asking. A cam model is essentially somebody who gets naked on cam for money, and depending on the "donation" (as they're called), will do various things on the cam. As I've said before about other forms of sex work, not really a big deal.
On most cam sites, a model will go live in a big chatroom, be on cam and talk to viewers and perform when they've made their donations. There is typically a list of set prices for different things, and many models are very clear on their boundaries, though they are sometimes open to off-list requests if things are within those boundaries.
The website that I initially registered for was different, being very one-on-one. You would message or chat with people solo, and do only private cam shows for an agreed upon price per minute and time. You could also easily sell pics and videos. It really was a good deal. For reasons I will disclose later, I chose to leave the website and register elsewhere on a site with the big chatroom style.
As I crawled my way towards the finishing line of undergrad, I decided to quit camming and snooped about for freelance work (that's another story for another day), and I probably won't ever go back. The money was great, and I didn't hate the work itself, but it just wasn't for me and I wasn't happy to go live on the site anymore.
However, I did learn some really interesting things about the camming world, about life in general and even about myself while being a cam girl:
People love to waste your time and/or try to rip you off.
If I had gotten a dollar (or some tokens) for every time somebody said they'd pay me for something (it is a general rule to pay the cam model before they do anything for you) and then vanished, I'd never have to work again in my life.
There's plenty of people on those sites who are general time-wasters, which makes little sense to me when they're already agreeing to pay somebody, but whateverrrrr.
Some users of these sites will also absolutely read your prices and try to haggle with you. Every so often I'd be a little lenient if they really seemed like they'd come back to buy more (proceed with caution due to above), but most of the time you just gotta put your foot down and say, "These are my prices, and they are not changing."
That person will probably not buy, but there's always somebody out there who will.
It was definitely super annoying though, and on the first website I was on, other models began selling content for so cheap that nobody was willing to pay prices that were even slightly higher, so I ended up leaving and moving on to the second site (people thinking a dollar a minute for a ten minute show is a good offer are out of their minds).
People are gross.
Nobody who will be paying you on that site is into vanilla stuff. I will tell you that right now. Nobody. Not even a little bit.
This all makes sense, and it isn't like nobody knows this, but it can totally be startling to a new model who may not have begun to fathom the depths of depravity lurking on those sites. Obviously you can state boundaries, but there are people looking for some wild content on there.
Nothing is off-limits as long as it is within the site's rules (because the sites do indeed have their own regulated boundaries, thank god).
An example: I once had to record a video of myself peeing. Just peeing, nothing more. It was definitely weird but I was like, "Money is money" while totally wondering why people are paying for that.
I won't get too graphic, but people will ask for unconventional use of toys, things that can substitute as toys, lingerie or things totally wilder than can be said even on here (geez). You either just gotta step up and pretend you enjoy it for that cash, or quickly and firmly set the boundary. Needless to say, you learn about what makes you uncomfortable fast.
People are annoying.
Like in all service jobs, you must be nice to the customer (with a little more leniency since you're in charge here, hotshot), and that gets difficult. Between the people who are just downright rude (I'll get to them later) and the people who for some reason are trying to wife you up and/or meet up in real life (NOTE: DO NOT DO THIS, NOT EVER), sometimes you'll go online and just be thinking "you are damn annoying" the entire time.
For some reason, they all think they're perfect gentlemen (or gentlewomen) on there.
Unfortunately, customers like nice people, so you have to slather on your biggest smile and play nice. Somebody's messaged you five times in a row asking if you're online?
Hi, how are you? Someone keeps pestering you to meet up and be their "plaything"? As great as that sounds, you don't do meet-ups, sorry! Someone relentlessly sexting you on there and you aren't into it? Ooh, you're bad, I want to...
Gotta brush up on your acting skills here.
Regulars are amazing.
With all that being said, juxtaposed to annoying, gross time-wasters are people who can't give you enough money. I wish this was a problem I had all of the time (but with no work in return for said cash).
These people are the best. Usually they're very sweet, respectful and want to throw money at you because they think you're hot and/or want to see you do stuff they like. They also, like... talk to you about stuff and actually care? It's wild.
Always proceed with caution, naturally, but accept that ego boost, baby, they'll make you feel like a million bucks (and hopefully give you lots of money to start working towards having a million).
You must be devoted to your craft and have a thick skin.
Another part of the reason I ended up leaving the cam world was that I ended up not really having the heart for it. To be successful on there (as in, make salary income on there), you have to be devoted. You have to be designing pro pages, bundling up content and doing whatever you can to make money and keep people coming back.
Sex work is way harder than most people realize, like, all facets of it. You have to actually try, and I ended up so annoyed and disillusioned that I was over it.
Part of this is because you have to have thick, thick skin to be on there. I'm not really the type of person to take things strangers say to heart too often, but there's totally the occasional person on there who will harass you. Everybody is hiding behind a mask of anonymity: the customer and especially you yourself (stage names and fake locations, people!), so naturally, humans say, "I can be a total garbage can and get away with it."
I didn't really want to be told about people's fantasies of assault against me, or about anything that was blatantly not OK to say to another person. It only happened twice in my six-month run, but it was twice too many times.
I am much more confident now.
I've spent a lot of time dwelling on the negatives of camming, but I learned a lot about myself through it. Aside from being more comfortable with myself, I've seen how it's changed how I function in the real world, too. I was a push-over before, but now I'm not as meek, I'm less willing to be pushed around, will put my foot down more and I just feel more confident overall.
A lot of the negative things I've noted here are super distorted versions of real-life situations too (minus any sexual factors, probably). When aren't people trying to waste your time or rip you off? When aren't people annoying? You should probably work hard at your job, and having a thick skin is kind of necessary in this day and age.
By learning how to deal with the extremes on cam sites, I feel way more up to handling the much, much, much tamer real life scenarios.
Being a cam model may not have ended up being for me, but I don't regret a thing.