Business sense, budgeting, and tax savings
As a cam model, you're essentially a self employed businessperson. Along with all of the freedoms of being your own boss also comes the responsibility of handling your financials, advertisement and marketing, reputation, and scheduling your time.
- Time Management & Scheduling
Time management is always an issue of concern for cam models as there is neither manager nor employer standing over the model's shoulder setting a timed schedule or pushing the model to keep on task. Instead, all of this is the model's responsibility. With this knowledge, scheduling becomes a key focus for cam modeling.
Schedules should be considered for day to day work as well as weekends, holidays, vacations, illness, shark week, etc. Setting up a day to day schedule of how long to sleep, when to wake, eating and prepping meals, complete daily chores around home, shower, working out, running errands, shopping, take care of everything not cam related, when and how long to cam each day, time to spend with friend(s), pet(s) and/or family, and anything else should be considered in scheduling.
If a model prefers to cam in evenings or late at night, it should be decided if being up all day and camming at the end of the day is best or waking late in the day, working on cam early in the “day” and having the night and early morning hours to do everything else that's needed is best. Some models prefer to adhere to a schedule closer to what is a normal work schedule and will wake, eat and get ready, work on cam for X hours, then log and continue on with their “day”, more closely mimicking a normal 9-5 business day schedule. Others will wake at a normal early morning time and have all day to complete any tasks needed off cam.
Deciding if a model will adhere to a strict day to day cam schedule or follow more of an “at will” schedule is a personal decision but members/regulars will find it easier to follow a normalized schedule with consistent day to day cam times. Whether or not a model decides to keep a consistent schedule or not on cam, it is advisable to post a anticipated cam times schedule on a profile or personal site or social media to advise members when you will be online. After all, members who don't know the schedule cant be expected to show up and tip.
- Off-Cam Work & Preparations
A cam model's work is rarely finished when the cam is off. Off-cam work and preparations is a broad, open ended section of scheduling that is for anything necessary but not considered on cam time. Therefore, an important part of scheduling is to consider all of a model's off-cam work.
Off-cam work typically includes the time it takes to get ready for cam (putting on make-up, room set-up, etc) as well as the time it takes to clean up after camming (removing make-up, putting the cam room back together, etc). It also typically includes checking cam related e-mails and posting to cam related social media accounts.
Off- cam work may also include if a model chooses to participate in clip site sales; planning, recording, editing, uploading, and maintaining clip store(s) can be a large consumer of time off cam. Planning, updating, and maintaining a personal or membership site is another large consumer of time that will need to be considered if the model decides to have one.
- Professionalism On Cam
Cam models are self employed and are therefore responsible for all aspects of budgeting.
- Initial Investment
An initial investment of a solid PC, webcam and/or digital camera for recording, lighting and a suitable high speed internet connection should be essentials. Typically, these things are the only investment recommended to get started as a webcam model.
- Other Expenses
Clothing/costumes, toys, props for shows, and supplies for any raffles/contests are typically other items a cam model may have to budget for. A model may also invest into advertising and/or marketing. Among the first items to budget for, it is recommended to make sure you have the best webcam available, a strong PC/laptop, high speed internet and fantastic lighting. Although these items are noted under "Initial Investment", it is important to have the best equipment if a model decides to take cam modeling very seriously.
Some models also choose to sell items. For example, panties and/or posters. It is important to budget accordingly, considering the cost of the item you are selling, the cost of shipping, the cost of fuel to travel to and from the post office, etc.
- Health Insurance
Health insurance is required in some form for many models. This expense should be planned and budgeted for.
Setting aside a portion of all earnings towards saving for retirement is essential, as cam modeling does not include any form of retirement of 401K benefits. Therefore, it is important to set aside savings for your retirement. It may seem like a long ways away now but it is important to plan ahead for the future. Some models may even retire out of the industry sooner than a vanilla job, if that model relies heavily on youth. This makes retirement savings even more important. The general among many communities is to set aside 10% of pre-tax income each pay period towards retirement.
- Financial Advising
Hiring a financial adviser/planner with a strong background is highly recommended. Many can be found with good recommendations without gouging the model in pricing. Some Advisory firms are even charging flat month to month fees now instead of a portion of profits from investments. Many advisers are also well versed in investments in the stock market, which will also help with retirement savings.
- General Savings & Goals
Budgeting and saving for future goals and/or plans (a nice home, pet, car, savings for a family, a dream vacation, wedding, etc) should be worked into a model's savings plan as well. All of this, when well planned, can also act as a buffer for the inevitable weeks when pay on cam is slow. Camming can be very profitable but should always be considered as inconsistent. Planning well for all eventualities and securities can help a model avoid any dire financial situations.
Taxes are not taken directly from a cam model's paycheck as an independent contractor. Therefore, cam models typically owe money to the IRS. It is very important to budget and plan accordingly for this expense.
Models should expect to be liable for up to 30-35% of their taxable income each year. It is also very important to keep very accurate and up to date records of all work related purchases for tax purposes. Everything related to working on cam should be tracked and receipts kept to turn in to a CPA for tax deductions. The most advised strategy for tax preparation is setting aside ~30% of every pay check into a tax savings account and do not touch it. This account will go towards paying tax debt. Taxes should be totted up and submitted each quarter to stay on task with it.
Hiring a very good CPA is highly recommended for ensuring taxes are handled correctly. A CPA can also help with what items are acceptable to write off. Search for one who has a strong recommendation, preferably from within the cam community. Above all else, anyone working on cam does not want to fall in the IRS's bad graces. It's a fast route to misery. Some cam models will incorporate with an LLC or S-corp to help with tax savings. Speak with your CPA about what is best for your individual case.
Contributor to this Page
Special thank you to Princess Mika for writing this page.