Editor’s Note: With the expensive cost of college, sometimes people need to explore additional ways to make money. Jessica* turned to camming. Camming is the act of interacting online via webcam to an audience in order to make money. Camming can be implied as both sexual and nonsexual, though most camming sites are explicitly sexual. Jessica talked with Fresh U about how she became a cam girl and how she is using it to pay for college. This interview is edited for length and clarity.
I graduated high school early: in January of this year. I didn’t really have a good GPA because I didn’t really apply myself — I didn’t really have a good home situation. During high school, I worked at a local pizza place where I experienced sexual harassment from fellow employees. When this harassment was reported, I was asked to work at another location and, of course, I took it. The owner offered me higher pay and I became the manager there while I was still in high school. I worked 55 hours a week on average and was being paid around $9.25-$9.50 an hour. When I graduated in January, though, I found myself struggling with my mental illness, preexisting medical problems and the stress of my new job with my verbally abusive boss. I walked out of the restaurant in June, planning on institutionalizing myself.
I had a bit of savings on the side so I went to go visit my friend in Oregon. At this point, it was hard for me to go back to work without the financial help of my parents and the fact that I was essentially homeless. I wanted to save up money to pay for community college, but I was struggling just to feed myself. That’s when I began looking into camming.
I recently turned eighteen in August and as I was looking into camming, I realized just how much some of these girls make. I researched what they were required to do, the different kinds of treatment they received from viewers and the types of websites they worked on. I decided that there were some sites that I didn’t want to work on and ultimately settled with the website that I cam on now.
The site I work on has basic rules to protect models. For instance, I can ban anyone from a chat room. It really is in the model’s favor — models make 60 percent of the revenue collected by the site and can terminate their contract at any time. Though I was nervous to give it a try, it all sounded pretty good and fun and I figured that I might as well try it out.
After finishing my paperwork and having it all processed, I was able to begin camming. My first time was crazy. I knew I had to have good lighting, so I used my roommate’s basement and waited until everyone went to work to begin camming. It was totally nerve wracking. When I get nervous I just talk a lot, and I think that was part of my appeal. I would not shut up for the whole three hours. I only had like 400 or 500 people at my peak on my first day, but everyone in the chat room was talking to me and welcoming me to the site. I had no idea I was such a hit then, and most of what I was doing was talking! Of course I was wearing something slightly revealing, but most of my audience was staying for my personality and just talking to me, which was cool.
In my first hour, I made $200. I was so thrilled.
Everyone on the site was (and is) super supportive. There’s a community on the site — there are people who have been there for ten years. And instantly I had models messaging me saying, “I see you’re new on the site, let me help you. Here are some tips.” The audience is super supportive too. I’ve had some people become regulars already. I’ve felt very accepted in the community.
After my first time and experience with the community, I began to think, “Where can I go from here?” I plan to set my own hours and work every-other day. I want each day of the week to have its own segment so that no one will get bored. I started thinking of ideas like erotic readings on Saturdays or “Bathtub Tuesdays” or “Fetish Fridays.” Right now, my partner and I have been working together. She will watch me camming and every ten minutes writes down what I’m doing, how many people are watching and what we’re talking about.
I’ve noted the prime time for views and tipping. I’ve noticed that at dinner time on weekdays no people tip. And tipping with tokens is how I make money. People buy tokens at about $220 for ten tokens, and then models charge tokens for certain tasks. When models are charging 30 tokens for a song change or five tokens for a sip of water, the money can really add up. Part of the sexuality and power, for the viewers, is in just controlling the model. It’s not all sexual, but when it is, models are usually making bank.
Models are able to conduct group or private shows that people have to pay to view. Private shows are one-on-one and cost about 80 tokens a minute. Nudity is pretty much assumed for private and group shows. I was nervous for my first private show because of how different it was. Instead of viewing 500 people as one entity, it was just one person. I made the most money out of that private show, though.
As of writing this, in total, I’ve made about $3,000 in the five times I’ve cammed. Camming for three hours at a time, I’ve only worked about 15 hours, and made $3,000. It’s been completely flooring, and I absolutely plan on doing this for much longer in the future.
You see, the whole reason I was working so much before was so I could save up to afford some classes at my community college. So now, of course, I will continue saving for school. My plan is to enroll for spring semester, or maybe even start with some online classes soon. My whole purpose in life is to learn, and that’s what I’ve always wanted to do — that’s what I’m good at. One person may be good at engineering or something specific like that, and though I may not have a specific talent, I’m good at picking up talents and learning things.
I have basic knowledge of a lot of things instead of a deep knowledge of a few things. It seems like all of my small, silly skills have come together to form a very good thing. These skills are helping me with camming. For example, I can create HTML, which will come in handy when I have to design my camming profile. I’m also trying to learn about stocks so I can invest and make more money that’s more dependable. It’s all finally coming together for something useful — a career that can contribute to my education, my future.
Overall, I’m just really happy I decided to give camming a try. From my experience, camming has been completely empowering. I don’t have to be submissive, and I’m making more money now than I have ever before. This is a viable career option for me, and I wouldn’t want anyone to think otherwise. I’m finally making a living from camming, and it’s what is going to help me go to college.
Lead Image Credit: Donald Tong via Pexels
*Names have been changed for privacy.