For one reason or another through friends and acquaintances, I'm often referred to help people interested in getting into the adult online entertainment industry. Because of this I have seen many people come into this industry with big dreams and big plans their eyes glowing brightly with the glitz and glam that our industry is often represented by. Unfortunately I've seen the vast majority of those people fail and have to go back to their previous job. This article summarizes some of the things I talk about when conversing with these newcomers, and in general the ones who took my advice to heart, had a much easier time of things and succeeded. There is nothing new or revolutionary in this article, most of it is common sense, but in my experience most common sense isn't common until you're told.
The mistake I've seen occur over and over again, despite my constant advice is people create porn for themselves. It's like opening an auto parts store and only selling parts for your own car. What I've found is that just like any other business, you need to see an opportunity, an untapped market, become a virtuoso in that field, and then exploit it. If you come into this business with the goal of getting blowjobs while you hold a camera, and expect to be a millionaire in a month...you're in for a nasty surprise.
Many would argue that the paysite model is dying...and in a sense, it's true. It's not what it used to be, for a vast multitude of reasons but I don't believe that it's dead, or will be anytime soon. One must simply take their own interests, find an untapped market and amalgamate them together. Ideally you want to find a niche or fetish that you yourself are into. Ultimately you'll produce better content if the stuff you're shooting and marketing is of interest to you and you're into the community behind it. If all you're into is sologirl masturbation, my suggestion is to get into something else.
Before You Jump in:
Do not jump into anything. Your perceptions about the adult industry are most likely wrong, and you need to learn about the business first. You need to understand that your start-up company with little to no cash flow and no traffic will likely not be able to compete against the top-dogs in this industry that command millions of visitors to their sites every month. Your ingenious POV blowjob site has been done ten thousand times before, by people who have the knowleadge, skill, and traffic/marketing to be able to make it a success. Look around and find fetishes that exist only in fictional literature, artwork, or message boards. Find that fetish that only has a few paysites or none at all dedicated to it. Learn about the fetish, the intricacies and psychology behind it understand it completely, and maybe even try and get into it yourself. Your customers will ultimately know if you're a fake or not and that will be a deciding factor in your success or failure. In short: know what you're getting into! Find the niche that has the highest interest/demand with the lowest amount of competition, and make sure it's something you can understand completely. Or be prepared to do it better, different, or somehow remarkable.
An interesting marketing seminar I saw a few years ago spoke about the word remarkable - able to be remarked upon. Water cooler talk is driven by remarkable topics. Your content needs to be remarkable, in one way or another. Figure it out before you start shooting it!
As this article is targeting the average Joe getting into the business, I won't talk about massive investment dollars, and investor returns. You are reading this because you are interested in taking your first steps, or have already and failed, and want to try again. One of the biggest mistakes I see people make when getting into the business is having high expectations. They expect their paysite to start earning thousands of dollars a day from the day it goes live. It just won't happen so don't expect it to. Expect the worse, and plan for it will you have enough money in the bank to sustain yourself during the grueling and low-profit first months of your new business? Will your dream die before it has a chance to live because you couldn't afford rent and food and have to get another job?
The online adult entertainment business is not what it used to be. There are a vast multitude of reasons as to why that is, and as many opinions as there are people in the industry but regardless, the fact remains...it is quite a bit more difficult to enter this industry and succeed than it used to be. Keep your expectations low and treat this business as you would any other. Don't be fooled by the glam and the glitz...it takes a tremendous amount of time, effort, money, blood, sweat and tears to make yourself a part of that glitz and glam it doesn't happen easily, and it doesn't happen quickly. The people that enjoy it today earned it the hard way, and you'll have to do so as well. In short: Plan in advance have options to work with, keep some capital aside to sustain yourself while your site develops and grows into something profitable keep your expectations low, but aim high.
Know Your Limitations:
Before you go buy a camera and register your company know what you can and cannot do beforehand. As a small business owner you will wear a tremendous number of hats on any given day. Are you proficient with Photoshop? Do you know how to use editing software like Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro? Are you familiar with HTML and PHP? Can you juggle a full work-load and simultaneously have a dozen conversations on ICQ (the adult industry's instant messenger of choice) about business proposals, server problems, link/traffic exchanges, or whatever may arise that day? These are just a few things most of us will do in a day.
Figure out what you can and can't do first. There are many steps that aren't seen until they come up when starting a paysite and maintaining it. Figure out what your skills are, and figure out if you can learn what you'll need to learn. If you're not proficient with technology, you'll have to outsource, which means your going to need to allocate funds to accomplish that. Plan in advance, so your not hitting unforeseen roadblocks. In Short: Realize your shortcomings, embrace your strengths, structure your company accordingly.
Note: If your skill set is severely lacking in either the content production side, or the technological side of things - a solid option is finding a partner. This brings up an entirely new set of problems. Are they trustworthy? Are they as hard working? Will you need to motivate yourself as well as them, on a daily basis? If you can find someone that suits you, and compliments your skillset - I highly recommend teaming up. Something as small as not being able to type quickly will determine how much work you get done on any given day. Find someone that is technologically proficient to be your "Webmaster" while you concentrate on making and delivering the best content possible - likewise if you get shy around naked people, and can't hold a camera steady - find someone who can, and compliment them with your technical skill set.
Learn how to Learn:
When I took computer sciences in college, there was a test that I'll remember until the day I die. The teacher had us open up Excel one day and gave us a paper that had a list of goals for this spreadsheet. None of us had ever really even opened Excel and we had no idea how to use it. The things she wanted the spreadsheet to do were pretty complex. She said Use the help file, google it, do whatever the heck it takes to get it done...Just figure it out. You have 1 hour. Then she left the room.
Needless to say, we were pretty stunned what kind of test is that? We didn't get any study time, no preperation at all and we had to come up with this crazy formula to drive this huge excel sheet, it was pretty crazy and we'd never encountered anything like that before. But to this day, every time I need to Just Figure it out I think of that test. If I have one skill it's the ability to learn how to learn, and I believe anyone that has had any success in this business has this skill. Nurture it, and you will have a much better experience in this industry.