"We’ve seen several ladies actually withdraw from friends and family over time. Some providers just can’t deal with the fact that they are unable to discuss the in's & outs of the business with their loved ones" Executive Luxuries - Claire & Terri
1. Lack of Boundaries
Being a provider can be an alienating business, especially if your friends and family are unaware of your occupation. Maintaining privacy and keeping your work and personal life separate can be challenging.
"Like a drug addict struggling through withdrawals a provider who becomes isolated suddenly finds herself sharing personal information with clients that should be kept private"
This is a dangerous predicament. We’ve all heard stories about the provider stressed out over a former client who showed up at her home, threatening to tell her family, or worse, appeared at her child’s school. This wouldn’t be a factor if she never revealed her personal life to her client in the first place. Defining a healthy (we said healthy, not perfect) personal life lends to a well-rounded, more emotionally secure person, an intensely appealing disposition to clients.
When you create your persona (your work character) include a background. Create a story that you can add and take away from that gives your working persona more depth but doesn’t endanger your “real” life. I know ladies who are obsessed with soap operas and use part of a character’s storyline to build their personas.
"At the end of the day your client doesn’t really care that your son got an ‘A’ on his spelling quiz"
He doesn’t want to see the video clip of your puppy in a tutu, and he doesn’t want to hear that your boyfriend/husband/girlfriend doesn’t value you as a person. His whole purpose of being there is to focus on HIM.
We advise our clients to use separate phones for work. Do not use your personal cell or landline. There’s no reason to ever email a client from your personal email. Email is also a great substitute for taking calls. Executive Luxuries assists our ladies in converting their clients from phone to email. The only time a client is given the providers number is after he’s been screened and has booked an appointment.
Executive Luxuries – Claire & Terri
"Raising rates is a sign of success, not desperation. It always reflects well on you" Amanda Brooks
2. Not Charging Enough
If you are unhappy with the quality of your clientele or teetering on the edge of burnout you probably need to raise your rates. Even a small increase could change your target market or slow down the volume enough so that you can enjoy your life and your work.
Raising your rates could make the difference between working to make money verses enjoying your work as part of a better life.
The difference in clientele is remarkable when you jump from charging $200/hr to $300/hr.
The difference between $300/hr or $500/hr isn't so remarkable in most cities. Taking your location into consideration is important as well. Will raising your hourly rate be enough to make a difference? Or will you make the leap toward requiring a two- or three-hour minimum? Mathematically, there is no difference between charging $300/hr or $600/2hrs but it will dramatically change your clientele and the overall mood of your appointments.
If you do decide to give yourself a raise, support the increase by refreshing your website and advertisement text. Proofread and edit like a grammar teacher! Investing in new, professional-quality photos will help sell your new rate better than anything else. Amanda Brooks
"A lot of these Women give in too easily to the pressure of showing their faces and risk the threat of long term damage to their private lives, families and friends" Tamara G
3. Showing Face
These are hard, economic times we live in and there are many women who go public – e.g., show face in photos - because they feel they won't make any money unless they do. Many feel that it’s expected of them to expose their identities. A large number are impressionable, young women who naively choose the wrong way to go.
Ladies, think twice before you decide to show your face.
"It is Quite Possible That Your Photos are Actually Working Against You and Stifling Your Business" Meeshee
4. Mediocre Photos
Many women know that they need new photos and yet don’t do anything about it. They talk of slow business and lack of quality clientele. Even if you feel that you can’t afford it, set aside earnings every time you work until you’ve saved up enough money to invest in a professional photo shoot. Make it your mantra to get those new photos.
"I have heard from many clients whose business increased shortly after they posted their new photos. Good photos just work. It’s that simple"
Examine your photos. Notice the color balance. Too yellow? Too blue? Too much glare? Are they sharp or blurry? Notice your figure. Are your curves in all the wrong places? Or are your assets smiling back at you? Go online or to a bookstore and peruse sensual photos of women in magazines. Study images that look similar to you in height, weight and style and that appeal to you. Compare those images to yours. Notice any differences? Now go home and rummage through your lingerie drawer. If you don’t have any, get creative. Find some scarves, hats, jewelry, silky sheets or stockings.
Think about what postures and angles flatter you most. Practice in front of the mirror, carefully studying your body’s best angles and most attractive facial expressions (if you show face). If tummy isn’t your strong point, stretch out. Don’t crunch up. If booty isn’t as bubbly as you’d like, focus on silhouettes or curves without focusing straight on. For more on getting to know yourself for self-portraits, go here. Don’t get down about your figure or the fact that you really want professional photos. You are about to take your own photos without a professional photographer around to instruct you on what to do. So you must get to know yourself, your strong points and your weak points. We all have them. Grab your camera or borrow one from a friend.
Prop up your camera on a tabletop if you don’t have a tripod and take some simple photos, first making sure that you are at the proper level with your camera. You’ll have to do a little measuring and eye balling. Shoot in natural light as relying upon lamps or house lights will create an unnatural, yellow or blue glow in your photos. Don’t overdo it with fancy postures and don’t try to look like a movie star. Keep it simple. You will probably have to take a lot of photos since this is a trial and error process and you’re not a pro. Practice patience. Have a friend critique your photos, remembering that you can crop or adjust light and contrast on your computer in something like Microsoft Office Paint or Picture Manager.
"How do you think self-made, successful entrepreneurs make it? They have to start somewhere. And usually they start from scratch"
If you keep at it, you’ll get some decent photos and maybe even some really good ones. You might not be Annie Liebowitz but you will end up with better photos than the ones you have now. Once your new photos are posted and your clientele begins to increase you will be in a stronger position to put money aside for professional photos. If you have the determination, you will succeed. Meeshee
"Any small business owner will tell you that you must invest in your business" Executive Luxuries - Claire & Terri
5. Unwilling to Invest in Their Business
Even if you started out as a provider with cell phone photos, no website and handling your own bookings don’t be afraid to upgrade your advertising & marketing to reflect the level of experience you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
As a provider, one of the best things you can do to free up your time to focus on yourself, your clients and the bigger picture is to hire a trusted assistant/booker to become your ‘lady in waiting’.
An assistant will help maximize your time by working behind the scenes scheduling new appointments while you’re already in one. Most times an assistant will actually start working before your first appointment of the day and finish working well after your last appointment of the evening. She will take care of your marketing & advertising and manage all the research necessary to keep you on top of your game. Not all assistants/bookers are created equal. Do you homework when hiring an assistant.
Maintaining a good website is absolutely one of the largest and most important investments any provider will make during her career. Make sure it is simple, uncluttered, man friendly and provides all the information that a potential client will need and nothing more. Many ladies create websites that suit their personal taste while forgetting that the website wasn’t built to entice her, it was built to entice him. Many details are to be considered when building a website and hiring a webmaster.
Become tech friendly. The internet is your medium through which to reach your target market. Know how to use your computer. Get familiar with the rules & guidelines on the forums and websites on which you advertise. Every provider should be using a smart phone. Maximize its use to juggle your busy schedule from any location. Executive Luxuries – Claire & Terri