Many of us facetiously claim we're not far from making that move to the pole when we're down and out and when the funds aren't looking right. I've been one of those people, only except I've been deadass. And if I could dance or could find a club that would take me as I am (raw rhythmless talent), I would have no qualms about twerking my student loans off.
I've been drawn to the idea of sex work and sex workers since I was younger. I recall wanting to read books like Diary of an Unlikely Call Girl in high school and taking an interest in sex workers as the subject of class videography projects. I admire and envy their ability all at once. Mostly because the way they hustle has always been dazzling (refer to the second definition of dazzling in a swift Google search before speaking) to watch.
Truly, it's a hustle that's not for everybody. It's a career that requires you to constantly unpack and acknowledge what boundaries you may or may not have. Sex workers have a particular gumption that entrepreneurs in other industries can undoubtedly learn from.
In fact, here are 5 things we can learn from sex workers that can be applied to any and every industry or you could say, the 5 commandments of doing business.
So many of us entrepreneurs and even nine-to-fivers lower our value when it comes to putting a price on our product or negotiating our salaries, but I've noticed that many sex workers refuse to work for free. Not for nothing. At all times, they want to know where the cash at and they want it upfront. Stop lowballing yourself and get this money, unapologetically. Which ties into my next point...
Respect Thy Boundaries
We often lose boundaries that allow for work-life balance once we begin working for companies. We find ourselves doing more than we're comfortable with and far more than we're paid for, blurring the lines of expectation. I know that we, especially women of color, have been taught that we have to work twice as hard but f*ck that! Your job is your job and you're not being paid for anything more than that. Do what's in your job description and do it damn good, but as soon as they up the ante, it's time for them to up the paycheck. Stop allowing them to get free labor out of you.
Thou Shall Care For Self
I'm not so naive to think that every sex worker is afforded the time and overall resources that allow for proper self-care, but I have noticed that there are a number of them who do make time for self-care. Part of this is because their job requires a certain level of maintenance, which crosses over into the self-care department such as maintaining hair and nails. These are things that we sometimes forget to normalize in our lives, they become secondary when really this type of pampering should be made primary. That doesn't mean you have to go to the shop and splurge every time, but maybe you invest in that home spa so that you can budget your money and time for self-care.
Sex workers promote themselves using whatever platforms are readily available and they promote their work well. Sex sells and they play that to their advantage. Although, I'm not suggesting that everyone begin to promote their brand using sexuality and sensuality, you should definitely play up your strengths.
On Their Own Terms
They stay at the party as long as it pleases them (particularly for sex workers who aren't survival sex workers). They have an exit strategy, usually through other means of entrepreneurial endeavors. Meanwhile, we tend to, especially in 9-to-5 roles that we hate, overstay our welcome. We ask God to send us signs that it's time to get out the game when in actuality, we knew it was time to leave days, weeks, months ago. Listen to that feeling that tells you when it's time to exit stage left.
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