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Establishing Boundaries to Maximize Business Success, Personal Happiness

It’s the beginning of 2024, and independent creators continue to redefine industry success through unprecedented earnings and growing mainstream recognition. This has opened up exciting new opportunities for many — but it has also attracted the attention of myriad service providers and would-be collaborators eager to capitalize on the thriving adult market and creators’ hard-won fan bases.

Given this influx, it’s crucial to protect yourself both personally and professionally, by establishing and maintaining boundaries. It can be immensely motivating to be in demand, and when new ventures seem to offer a fast track to a whole new tier of success, weighing your options can feel overwhelming. However, when considering new partnerships such as management relationships or collaborations with mainstream businesses, it is essential to proceed with clarity and caution.

Our industry is exploding with potential and opportunities for creators to succeed.

Rock Solid Contracts

Creators should require that their contracts outline expectations, compensation structures and the extent of their involvement. Thorough contract review by legal professionals who specialize in the industry can help creators understand exactly what kind of agreements they are entering into.

Know Whom You’re Dealing With

Conduct due diligence on all potential collaborators, to ensure that their values and goals align with your own. Personal references are essential. Inquire within your network! Ask not only about how lucrative the work relationship is/was, but also about work and communication styles. Does the person or company with whom you are negotiating a new business relationship have a record of respecting and upholding professional conduct, or have there been instances where they attempted to blur those lines?

Protecting Your Brand

Establishing what type of content you are agreeing to produce and how much control you will retain over the process and the final product is essential in order to preserve creative integrity. This means understanding your brand identity and being prepared to defend it. Even an experience as casual as a guest spot on a podcast should prompt creators to consider how they are being portrayed or presented. Setting clear boundaries in these areas is paramount for safeguarding your image, professional reputation and brand viability.

Protecting Your Safety

Fans and followers today are seeking a feeling of personal connection with their favorite creators, and the industry has reshaped itself to accommodate that demand. This shift has contributed to a massive realignment in power dynamics, granting individual creators much more importance and autonomy. However, it has also blurred the lines between public and private, giving rise to new types of parasocial relationships that are intrinsically tricky to define and negotiate within traditional parameters. This necessitates extra caution around matters of privacy and personal safety.

When entering into any kind of partnership, therefore, you as a creator must be vigilant about making sure that any person or external entity with access to your image or personal information will handle those things according to strictly defined limits that account for your personal privacy and safety.

Work/Life Balance

Maintaining a compassionate balance between professional success and personal well-being is crucial. Creators should be vigilant about protecting their mental and emotional health by setting limits on work hours and having a support system in place. It’s equally important for any mainstream businesses with which you partner to respect these boundaries and prioritize the well-being of the creators they collaborate with. Addressing and agreeing to these boundaries upfront and in written form gives creators the opportunity to reference these terms should they later feel that the agreed-upon standards are being violated.

Our industry is exploding with potential and opportunities for creators to succeed. Just as important as achieving success, however, is being ready to handle it in a way that honors your goals, standards and limits. There are practical ways to address all of these issues, as long as creators insist on clarity, transparency and open communication. There is always room for negotiation, but only you know what things are not negotiable. Establishing those boundaries in your own mind and in your business dealings will enable you to set terms that protect your brand, autonomy, safety and personal well-being.

Laura Desiree is an NYC-based content creator, podcast host and lead brand strategist for sex work marketing firm PS: Group. A former presenter and producer of the web series NakedNews.com, she now leads independent productions with the mission of abolishing sex work stigma and prioritizing pleasure. She can be followed @TheLauraDesiree on X.com, @lauraxdesiree on Instagram and OnlyFans.com/lauradesireevip.

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