A First Timer Guide to DomCon

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Maybe attending DomCon isn’t your first kink event ever, but if it’s your first time to DomCon then it will definitely be an experience unlike any other.

There are some distinct differences between DomCon (which is the first and only event specifically for the Professional Dominatrix community) and events that target only lifestyle kinksters (even if Pro’s attend those in a personal capacity.)

I’ve been attending DomCon since the very first year it launched, and have participated as an educator, a Professional Dominatrix, an MC, a Guest of Honor, a Board Member, an entrepreneur and now also as an author. Since I’ve had the opportunity to attend in such a wide variety of ways, I thought it might be helpful to share my perspective on how you can have your most successful first DomCon experience.

I’ve also included quotes from Domme’s who’ve attended DomCon, so big thanks to them for sharing their advice. If you have something to add, be sure to leave a comment with YOUR best DomCon tips in the comment section!

The Basics

Don’t forget to eat & sleep – It’s super easy for the whole week to go by without much self-care. So if you can have some healthy non-refrigerated snacks and water in your room that will help your health a lot. The hotel bar & restaurant get packed quickly at meal-times so don’t assume you’ll get a table as soon as you show up. Plan ahead for meals if possible and make a reservation.

Stay Hydrated! Latex + booze = dehydration disaster, so make sure you drink plenty of water.

If you don’t show your face online, pack plenty of masks that you enjoy wearing. DomCon has an open photography policy, so you can’t assume your privacy is being respected. If you’re in a public space such as the vending area or registration area you may end up in the background of other peoples photos. it’s your responsibility to protect yourself. Most people are attending to have lots of photo ops. It’s ok if you don’t want to show your face, but don’t expect others not to be taking photos.

Be cautious about staying in the same room as your submissive if you’ve never stayed together before. – The event is pretty intense and it can make it that much harder not to be able to escape from “being Mistress” if you share the room with your submissive. I’ve seen some relationships crash and burn over the course of three days because both Domme and sub weren’t prepared for being up in each others space all the time. The same is true of staying with Dominants that you don’t know, or don’t know well.

“Choose your roommates carefully, the saved $ isn’t worth it if they drive you crazy. –  Alice in Bondageland

Come early to attend the industry classes – They’re worth going to. They’re more casual, there’s a lot more time for quality networking and one-on-one time, and it’s a great chance to learn new skills.

“When you go to the industry classes you don’t have to dress to the nines. Come to learn and focus on that.” – Maitresse Renee

Bring some comfy clothes that fits your brand, so you don’t have to be in rubber/leather all the time. Since it’s a professional event and you’re likely to be surrounded by potential clients, you still want to make sure you’re looking polished and presentable. I’m just saying that doesn’t always have to mean fetish clothes.

Don’t get too drunk! It’s fun to be tipsy and have a good time and drink with your friends, but it’s not classy to be plastered every night or to be wasted all the time in front of clients. And definitely don’t do sessions or play when you’re drunk. You won’t be able to see boundaries clearly, any impact play will be sloppy and that all adds up to potentially dangerous scenes.

“Have fun but keep yourself in check: DomCon is supposed to be fun and some people find having a couple of drinks to relax and be more social helps but just be wary of overdoing it and making a bad first impression!” – Mistress Absolute

There’s likely to be a high level of overwhelm & the whole experience can feel intimidating even for the most confident woman. I understand wanting to get to ALLTHETHINGS but it’s ok to give yourself a break. There’s a lot of energy, parties, playing, shooting videos, staying up all night, etc. Make sure you get some downtime too, especially if you’re an introvert.

If you want to be a part of the Mistress photo, be there on time! If it’s important to you then Be. There. on. Time! It shockingly starts pretty close to when it’s supposed to, so if you show up late you might miss it altogether.

“The group photo is a test to see who can show up on time. Be there at 5 sharp or miss it.” – Alice in Bondageland

Plan ahead! – With everything going on, you’ll make the most of your weekend if you do some planning ahead of time. Take a look at the classes, vendors, who’s attending and special events happening during the weekend.

“Know your intent and why you are attending. If you’re coming to attend classes create a schedule before hand. If you’re coming to network with other professional Dominas, contact them ahead of time. If you’re coming to do sessions have them scheduled ahead of time, have a deposit or confirmation from each one so you know what you’re doing and at what time you’re doing it.” – Sadie Hawkins

Bring appropriate cover-ups to wear in public spaces. – the hotel is not obligated to treat you like a Queen or a Goddess or whatever. The rest of the hotel guests don’t need to see your boobs hanging out (wait and show them to all the perverts who will appreciate it!)

Seriously…

Respect the hotel staff and the other guests. – the hotel staff are not your submissives or slaves, speak to them respectfully. It’s really hard to find venue’s for kink events and DomCon has been with the same hotel for a decade. Don’t ruin that by being an asshole. Don’t lead your submissive on a leash around the lobby or restaurants, don’t go around practically naked even if you’re (barely) obeying the rules. It’s not hard to be thoughtful and considering others doesn’t make you weak, it makes you classy.

Shopping

If you see something you love & they only have one or two in stock, buy it! – A lot of the vendors bring one of a kind items so you might miss your chance if you don’t snap it up.

“Vendors do offer professional discounts but do not expect it because of who you are. They need to make a living as well!” – Mistress Simone

It’s a great chance for your subs to spoil you! – Of course you know that, but with some planning you can give lots of opportunities for subs to buy you goodies. Tell your clients & submissives ahead of time that you’re attending, check out the vendors on the website to see if there’s anything you love and use social media to signal boost by sharing pictures of what you desire with a link to pay.

Booking Sessions and Video Shoots

If you shoot video clips, DomCon is shared-content heaven – It’s rare and delightful to have so many world-class Domme’s in one place, so videos shoots have become a big part of the benefit of being at DomCon. Group video shoots (like gang-bangs & multi-Domme beat-downs, etc) are a lot of fun and if you have your own video equipment it’s pretty easy to shoot content spontaneously. But it’s not a bad idea to have at least a couple pre-scheduled shoots because people can be (understandably) a bit flaky last minute.

Sessions are an excellent way to pay for your trip, with plenty of potential clients who attend DomCon too – Other than ProDommes, DomCon is full of men who attend to MEET their favorite Dommes and have a chance to play with traveling professionals. Again, having a mix of pre-scheduled sessions as well as being open to spontaneous booking will make for the most profitable approach. Bring your own equipment, but there’s also occasionally women who bring BDSM furniture and might be willing to rent to you for more elaborate play.

Professional Networking

It’s fine to introduce yourself with your title to other Dommes’, but don’t expect them to call you that. You are not MY Goddess or Princess or Lady.

“Be prepared: Have some basic contact cards made up with your name and whatever contact details you feel comfortable giving to people; it is also handy to add a picture of yourself, if you can, so people can remember who you are when looking through the stacks of cards we all collect over the weekend.” – Mistress Absolute

You don’t have to be the most Alph-ist, Alpha in the room. – I’ll be honest, I think it’s incredible to see hundreds of strong, dominant women getting together and (mostly) getting along. Way to break those bullshit stereotypes ladies! But sometimes a Domme will drink her own Kool-Aid and forget that she’s not the only center-of-the-universe in town. There’s no need to be rude to your fellow Dommes or to try and stomp on others to make yourself look good. Because it will seriously backfire.

“If you have to cut others down in order to stand tall then you must not be very tall on your own.” – Princess Kali

We don’t need to be “Sisterhood of the Traveling Latex Pants” and sing kumbyah together or be besties with matching leather hairbows. But we can have a minimum basic level of respect for our peers & colleagues.

Not all submissives are YOUR submissive. Check that someone isn’t owned by another Dominant before starting to talk down to them and bossing them around. And frankly, even if a submissive is unattached that doesn’t mean you have any right to boss them around.

“Never assume. Keep your hands to yourself. No means no. Do NOT mistake politeness for submission.” – Jacqueline DuMonde

It’s not about pecking order, but there’s value in respecting the industry’s history. – I hate to break it to you my dear, but you didn’t invent professional domination. There are many, MANY women who have built this community in a world that wasn’t as accepting as it is now. Most especially if you’ve joined the ProDomme industry in the last 5 years, it’s helpful for you to understand that the women who came before you helped create the world that allows you to so freely pursue kink as a profession. No one is asking you to bow down or pay tribute/reverences for fucks sake, but it says a lot (positively) about a person when they recognize the contributions of others.

 

After DomCon

Con-Drop is a real thing, so look out for it. – “Con-drop” is the feeling after spending an exhilarating week, that you swing in the other direction and might feel depressed, or sad, or like you “dropped.” This is a great time to reach out to all these new connections to tap into the energy you felt at the event.

Networking is most effective if you follow up within 1-2 weeks. – It’s highly likely that you’ve made friends and potential business relationships, so don’t let them go to waste! Follow on social media, send a quick email just to get the conversations started and see how your network can grow with consistent communication.

“Once you’re home again take time to follow the ladies you connected with on Social Media. Say hi and keep building community online – let’s keep learning and supporting each other the rest of the year too!” – Mistress Servalan

Other Quotes

simonesmall“If you don’t know a fellow Domme in person go introduce yourself. While we all might know each other online, actually meeting one another is great for connections and networking. Be open to the differences in our styles and personalities. Also, patience when engaging in conversation with a group of us will gain you respect. Barreling into things like a bull in China shop will not.” – Mistress Simone

 

r0fKzwgP“Don’t be afraid of approaching another Mistress (despite how scared or nervous you may be). I personally think DomCon is one of the best venues meeting other Mistresses from all over the world, and where else will you be able to share and learn from so many well-established Female Domination professionals? Take advantage of the wealth of knowledge that is there. My first two years, I spent a lot of time hiding in the shadows because I was afraid of approaching a lot of people I followed online. I wish I ha come out of my shell sooner as it’s incredibly helpful and enriching to build these support networks as soon as possible! Almost everyone will be receptive so long as you are polite and respectful. With that in mind, do not think this is a game of “out-Domming” others as a way of proving your “Dommeliness” – that gets tiring real fast.” – Mistress An-Li

alicesmall“Best advice I ever got from someone ELSE at Domcon was from Irene Boss, “I would love to shoot videos with you, but I already have hundreds of movies where I’m exhausted looking and I don’t need one more… let’s wait until we are both fresh for the effort” – Alice in Bondageland – Bondage Mistress

 

elenasmall“Always wear heels, there are clients everywhere. You’re standing taller, you’re walking in a sexy way. Your feet will hurt, book a foot fetish session Saturday so you can make it to the Ball and through the weekend.” – Elena DeLuca

 

 

miadarquesmall“Just because you’re new now doesn’t mean that you’ll always be. Learn as much as you can…better yourself with the classes and demos. And just remember to be yourself, because this is a group of professionals that can smell bullshit a mile away, and if they don’t smell it at first someone eventually will.” – Mistress Mia Darque

 

servalanssmallerest“Try and leave the ego at home… You don’t need to prove yourself to anyone. No matter how well known/ beautiful/ experienced/ successful you are, someone else is probably more so! So just relax, be yourself and be open to learning from everyone. If you see something you don’t like or don’t agree with just ignore it. Every lady’s practice is different. – Accept that you will probably feel overwhelmed sometime and factor that in. Allow yourself some downtime if you need it. Watch TV in your room, grab a meal offsite, have a bath. It’s okay to skip things. – If you don’t know many people and are feeling shy make yourself known to a few of the ladies of the advisory board. They’re all super warm and friendly. You can also chat to any of the Guests of Honour.” – Mistress Servalan

sadiesmall“I personally create an itinerary prior to the event. And everyone in my household or that I am rooming or traveling with has the itinerary prior to DomCon.” – Sadie Hawkins

 

 

 

emily“Shut your mouth, open your eyes & ears.” – Mistress Emily

 

 

 

 

simonejustice” Be on the lookout for a mentor. The entire conference is an opportunity to find someone to help you learn about the ProDomme world so keep that in mind when you are meeting people, watching play in the dungeon, and participating in a class. A mentor can help you make connections, learn skills and avoid making the mistakes that they made early on. If you find someone, be sure to speak up and tell her you are hoping for some guidance. Most experienced players are happy to help newbies integrate into the ProDomme community.” – Simone Justice

absolutesmall“Before the event: I would advise anyone thinking of coming along for the first time to get involved in some of the social media beforehand if possible (twitter, fetlife etc) and get to know some of the names and faces….. and do message other attendees and introduce yourself. Don’t bombard the featured guests with questions via social media as most of us have very full inboxes and a simple ‘hello my name is x and I would love t intro myself to you at the x event’ is much more effective than pages of questions you may have…save those for conversation at the event!

Mixers are there to help YOU get know people just like you! Go to as many mixers as possible and don’t be afraid to speak to people, sure you may get some snooty responses from some people but I always find that snooty, dismissive people at these kind of events are actually just not confident and comfortable themselves. If you can make a few contacts and arrange to meet at some of the other events over the weekend it will make things much more fun for you  and the other people who are probably feeling just as ‘new’ as you! Don’t be too ‘clingy’ to one person in particular; although it’s great and tempting to make a one new best friend rather than spreading your wings but get out there and keep building those new contacts.

Keep in touch with people you met over the weekend. Send a quick friendly Fetlife message or email but don’t feel obliged to keep in contact with EVERYONE you meet and don’t feel offended if people don’t respond quickly or in some cases at all….. there are lots of people out there for you to meet and a huge variety of personalities out there so don’t expect to click or keep in contact with everyone out there.

Most Importantly: Have Fun, Be Yourself, Get Involved: and next year keep an eye out for the new people, remember what you wish you were told when you first arrived…… remember how you felt and go talk to the new people…. because you are only new once!” – Mistress Absolute

 

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Advice for Aspiring ProDommes

professional dominationAbout once a month, I get an email from someone asking if I take on apprentices or would be willing to train them. I respond to these emails often enough that it seems wise for me to write up a response here, so I can share it with the next person who emails me seeking advice.

  • Become active in local lifestyle organizations as a starting point for learning, building a kinky social network, and establishing credibility within the community. Don’t go trolling local groups looking for clients, though it’s certainly possible you may meet some in this manner. I began my professional Domme work somewhat by accident, because people saw me playing at a local venue and asked me to train them. After the fourth or fifth such inquiry, I realized that I was building a business. It’s important to note that I had been playing in my personal life for several years by that point, but my skill set as a nascent professional was quite limited.
  • ProDommes are 1/3 Domme, 1/3 therapist, 1/3 business owner. You must be skilled in all of these areas.
  • Be prepared to spend 80% of your work hours unpaid, behind the scenes: conducting correspondence with prospective clients, updating websites, building your business, and marketing yourself.
  • Dominance has to be a labor of love. If you aren’t truly involved in this as a lifestyle, you are merely a performer, and your clients will notice. I love what I do, and this makes all the difference. Passion for the craft of BDSM also translates into less stress and lower risk of burnout. I joke with my painslave that he is my best form of stress relief, since I’m always so much happier after our meetings.
  • If you are seeking big income, you will probably be disappointed. Quality equipment, private dungeon facilities in safe locations, health insurance, and national advertising are quite costly. It takes several years before your investments really pay off. In this economy, people have drastically reduced their discretionary spending. Even well-established Dommes are struggling these days, though they may not publicly admit it. Just look past the photo updates of fancy Louboutins and you’ll see women with no health insurance, sitting on stacks of unpaid student loans or overdue medical bills. (Disclaimer: I don’t have any unpaid student loans OR Louboutins.)
  • You will not get paid sick days, paid holidays off, or regular paychecks. If you are lucky, you may get delightful paid vacations with really fun kinky people.
  • Never sacrifice your personal safety or ethical limits for a client. It will erode your sanity, and it’s simply not worth it.
  • Everyone has different boundaries and interests in sessions. Figure out what yours are, stick to them consistently, and don’t apologize for them. I totally respect women who have very different tastes and ethics from mine; we simply have different opinions or different kinks. I could make a whole hell of a lot more money if I did some of the things other Dommes might do, but I either wouldn’t enjoy those activities or feel they cross legal lines that are a little fuzzy and potentially risky.
  • Be creative, but be consistent. Some of my clients have seen me on a regular basis for nearly a decade. Some of them have widely-ranging tastes, while others focus on only a few core kinks. Find a way to keep it fresh and interesting, but don’t be so scattered that you stray away from the energy that drew them to you in the first place.
  • Get a wide variety of training, on a diverse array of kinky subjects. As a professional, you don’t just need to be proficient in your own personal kinks, you need to be proficient in numerous areas of BDSM. Granted, there are some things that may be hard limits for you as a professional, and that’s totally okay. (Personally, I have no interest in toilet scenes or smoking.) However, the more breadth to your training history, the wider a net you can cast for prospective clients. I shudder to think back on the first few years I saw clients – I ran out of things to do with them after a handful of sessions! Don’t find yourself in that same situation. 😉
  • Training for me has come in many forms. Over the past fifteen years, I have read dozens of books on BDSM. I have attended probably a hundred workshops at lifestyle organizations all over the US and in the Caribbean. BDSM was the topic of my dissertation, which gave me an avenue to pursue kinky study from a different perspective. I learned my medical play techniques from a doctor, cross-dresser makeup techniques from a professional makeup artist, and I have a PhD in the social sciences which helps me understand how the human mind operates within our delightfully kinky culture. I never stop learning, which is a large piece of the fun for me. I suggest you consider a similar philosophy.

~ written by Lady Elizabeth

Enough To Make You Blush: Exploring Erotic Humiliation – a book

Front CoverPrincess Kali, the founder of KinkAcademy.com and famous former Dominatrix has just released her first book…

Enough To Make You Blush: Exploring Erotic Humiliation

It’s available in both paperback and Kindle Edition and you can even purchase an autographed copy here!

“Erotic humiliation goes far beyond the “Lick my boots!” stereotype. Princess Kali, a famous former Dominatrix and world-renowned Humiliatrix, throws open the dungeon doors to explore the complex desires that fuel this kind of psychological play for both dominants and submissives. Using both personal experience and extensive interviews she shares advice and detailed ideas for a broad range of embarrassing, humiliating, and degrading ways to enjoy consensual kinky fun. Also covered are important concepts such as communication, negotiation, consent, triggers, aftercare, and so much”

Reviews have all been 5 Stars!

“Erotic humiliation finally has a resource guide that every kinky person will want to own! Well-known presenter and Humiliatrix, Princess Kali, teaches you how to embrace the moments of embarrassment and pleasure to deepen scenes and relationships. Her candid and humorous true stories are the perfect compliment to the necessary safety information you must have to make erotic humiliation spark for you. She provides you with plenty of deliciously devious ideas, creative verbal assaults, subtle public play and hot displays of embarrassment and erotic shame that will leave you squirming in your seat. Enough to Make You Blush gives you a powerful item in your SM arsenal to bring your most secret ’embarrassing’ fantasies to life.”  — SubmissiveGuide.com / DominantGuide.com

“When I picked up Enough to Make You Blush I thought it was a book about what other people did. I finished it in one sitting and came away with a deeper understanding of my own kink as well as my partners. This is far more than a how-to manual. It shines a light on a misunderstood and underestimated part of the human psyche, and shows how erotic humiliation can actually bring people closer through trust, vulnerability, and strength. Whether you indulge in erotic humiliation or just want to understand kink better, you need to read this book.” — Graydancer, founder of RopeCast & RopeCraft

“An excellent treatment of an often-misunderstood topic. Highly recommended!” – Jay Wiseman, Author of SM 101: A Realistic Introduction

“A go-to guide on erotic humiliation and how to translate your most shameful fantasies into hot, respectful and consensual realities.” – Dr. Gloria Brame, author of Different Loving

“Kali is a brilliant kinkster and an excellent writer. Her stories are certainly entertaining and helpful. I strongly recommend getting this book!” – Fan on Fetlife

Click here to buy your paperback or Kindle Edition!

Financial Dominance: My Unpopular Opinion

HundredDollarBillI think financial dominance is putting the cart before the horse.  Novice dominants often fall prey to believing in their own “get rich quick” schemes, focusing too much on short-term satisfaction and short-lived gains.  I am lucky enough to have some very generous servants who love spoiling me.  However, that desire has emerged in response to a deep and meaningful D/s dynamic.  I find that when I put positive energy into my slaves, they put positive energy back into me.  For some, it’s financial; for others, it’s professional service (carpentry, dentistry, etc).  A truly service-oriented individual takes pleasure in making their dominant happy, in the ways that they are best suited to serve.  Money is only one type of gift, and dominants that focus too obsessively on financial rewards are often missing the bigger picture.

I do keep a current Wish List on Amazon, and over the years I’ve received hundreds of gifts off the list.  I’d say 75% of those gifts came from a small group of loyal devotees who I know personally.  I see these submissives on a regular basis, though perhaps not as often as we’d like, due to practical constraints such as distance, work, family, etc.  What of the remaining 25%?  Most have come from prospective clients, who wish to stand out among the herd of hopeful emails I receive each week.  They want me to know they are legitimate about compensating me for my time, and I always appreciate this gesture.  The gift doesn’t need to be large; I simply enjoy knowing someone has gone the extra mile to make a good first impression.  Finally, there have been a handful of gifts sent from individuals who admire my site and my photos, and simply want to say thanks with a little token.  To me, forcing someone to gift you something is often unnecessary micro-management.  Owning their minds enough that they can’t help but give?  Much more interesting!  I suggest aspiring financial dominants focus first on building a clientele of quality slaves, and the gifts and tributes will follow as a natural matter of course.

Sometimes, financial dominance serves a useful function in slave training.  When faced with slaves who have problems disciplining themselves financially (or in other areas), having to earmark a portion of their income to serve my needs can be helpful.  First, it operates as a traditional form of D/s tribute that allows slaves to subsume their needs/priorities to mine.  Second, it helps them get into the habit of budgeting and thinking about where their money goes each month.  Third, it creates a fresh channel for communication between partners.  Additional communication benefits D/s relationships just as it does vanilla relationships.

As an example from my own experience, my slave mylo requested permission to take care of one of my monthly bills a few years ago.  He was having some challenges sticking to his budget, and knowing that he would be responsible for one of my utilities gave him additional incentive to plan ahead.  If he failed himself and fell behind on his own bills, no major matter.  If he failed me, on the other hand, there would be painful consequences.  He handled the task beautifully every time I asked, as I expected he would.

Alternately, I have used financial penalties as a means of corrective discipline for poor behavior or not meeting goals.  For instance, slave kelly has struggled with weight loss for many years.  I put her on an exercise schedule three days a week.  There would be a small financial penalty (I think it was $20, but it’s been a few years so I may be forgetting) for each missed exercise session.  In her case, we saw great results some months, and mediocre compliance during other months.  I could have upped the ante and charged her more, but that would have been a selfish maneuver that I felt would be ineffective.  Instead, I opted for chastity training as the next level of discipline.  Much to my amusement, she lost an inch off her waistline before the custom chastity device even arrived in the mail!

Typical “findom” approaches may be effective in the short run, netting dominants handy cash gifts to fulfill their needs in the moment.  However, to incentivize slaves towards longer term financial servitude, there should be a deeper purpose behind their service.  For the slave who takes wealth for granted, envision creative ways to use financial restrictions as a means of punishment.  Make her go out of the way to fetch her own generic coffee, instead of having the secretary deliver gourmet brew.  Ask the slave with diet challenges to skip restaurant meals for a set number of days, and make organic meals at home.  Require the slave who gambles with friends to skip the poker table tonight, and donate that money to your favorite charity in your honor.  Instead of generic, mindless “wallet raping”, I would love to see more dominants use their influence towards something positive.

This article is written by Lady Elizabeth

Thoughts about DomCon Atlanta 2013

DomConAtlanta2013It’s been two weeks since I flew to Atlanta for the 10 year anniversary of DomCon – which has been busy with catching up on work, then moving to my permanent home in the Bay Area, and now catching up on work again! Some of this I wrote while at DomCon, up late the last night thinking about the event. Plus I’ve added other thoughts, now here you go, my wrap up of DomCon Atlanta 2013!

The 10 year anniversary of DomCon Atlanta was unique for me, for many reasons. There was a smaller attendance than usual, which may not have been the best for new comers, but for me it allowed the time and space to connect more deeply with women I’ve known for years.  I’ve been going to the DomCon events since the very first with just a few missed in the last decade. It’s a very special event, the only one geared mostly towards professionals AS WELL AS including lifestyle players.

After LA earlier this year I joined the board of advisors (which I’m very proud of!) which gave me yet another perspective on how this event runs and what it’s future is. Since there were a few struggles at this event, I’m particularly glad to have this extra view so that I can offer a more informed opinion on what went on.

In Atlanta, for the first time in the history of the event, a group of self identified ‘internet dommes’ attended, which I think is a great move forward in the evolution of the industry. But it wasn’t without some tensions, all changes include growing pains.

First of all I’d like to mention terminology. Because this event gave me a chance to take a good hard look at how semantics influences my own biases, and the words we use make a difference in how we experience each other.

“Internet Domme” is someone who primarily works online; through video clips, phone sessions and sites like Niteflirt or TalkSugar. There’s the possibility that ‘real time’ sessions also occur, but it isn’t necessarily the focus or is limited to a very specific few clients or personal submissives. Because most of the interaction is online, physical skills aren’t as required, the domination tends to be more psychological, if only by available logistics.

“Real Time Domme” refers to someone who does in-person sessions as the main component of their professional career. Typically using a personal or house dungeon the dominatrix sees clients face to face with the possibility of online interactions as well, including ‘homework’ and other communication.

But these terms are no longer entirely useful, relevant or accurate. ALL pro domes are required to have an online presence these days, and revenue streams such as videos or phone sessions can also be helpful for booking in-person clients. Also, internet domination IS ‘real time’ domination, or at least it is more often than I think it’s given credit for. Just because two people are not physically in the same room doesn’t make the domination/submission any less ‘real’.

Here’s the thing, we’re working in this weird dichotomy, in fact multiple dichotomies all trying to exist as once. We are lifestyle. We are professional. We are online. We are in person. We are trying to run businesses that are to a certain extent about balancing the need for customer retention with the reality of being a dominant woman making a career by being dominant.

Let’s face it, when you get a sizeable number of dominant-identifying women together there’s bound to be some drama (or as @Mistress_Emily so cleverly put it ‘twama’ since it was twitter based). But we don’t have to live with that. We don’t have to resign ourselves to it. That doesn’t mean that we all have to get together and love one another, kumbaya and all of that, but it CAN mean that we, as an industry of intelligent women decide that we’re going to have a basic level of respect for one another. If you attended the Mistress Tea on Sunday then you heard me say a little something along these lines and I hope you took it (and/or this) to heart.

There was a time when I was seen as a possible ‘pop-up domme’. When I discovered professional domination I threw myself into it full force. I was one of the less-than-a-dozen pro dommes who had websites (an internet domme from a decade ago J ) and the women that had already been playing at working for 5, 10, 20 years before I found the Scene weren’t sure what to make of me.

Even though ‘Old Guard’ is more of a myth than a reality, it becomes a reality when people believe in it hard enough. No matter how you want to contextualize it though, the industry is going through changes.

Please notice that I’m using the word industry. Community is a concept, industry is a fact.

I remember coming into the Scene and feeling like a new-comer, and yet also knowing that this was something I had been naturally doing all of my life.

This year, DomCon Atlanta felt particularly reunion like. It was the 10 year anniversary, and a great many attendees, myself included, have being involved since the beginning. I can absolutely see how that could be exclusionary, and that is unfortunate. While many of us were having a really connected time, our colleagues were experiencing that as feeling like outsiders. One of the best things about DomCon events is its ability to bring professionals of all kinky kinds together to network, learn, share and bond. That doesn’t mean that anyone is automatically entitled to be led by the hand through the event. It’s a two way street. It’s human nature to attempt to put a hierarchy in place, we literally all do it. So make a conscious effort to be the person that rises above that to reach out in equality. Maybe not entitled equality, but benefit-of-the-doubt equality.

We, individually and collectively are the ones who will determine what this event, and what our industry evolves into. Whether we like it or not, the internet is here to stay, and it’s been a kinky conduit in in many ways, both positive and negative.

We claim superiority, so let’s act like it.

DomCon LA 2014 is going to bigger, better & more organized than ever. There is an incredibly passionate & revitalized board intent on making that true. We want to hear what you have to say. Take initiative. Get involved. Have fun!

 

Should you book every session request you get?

13339280_sIt is much better to find clients that fit your tastes rather than just taking every session that comes along. Yes, you may take a few less sessions, but the ones you do take will be higher quality which makes it more likely that they’ll come back for future sessions. When you love your work, it shows, and like anytime in life when you combine a passion and a business plan you’ll put money in the bank and feel good about it.

 

I’ve always had my own private workspace and never worked in a house, so I can’t tell you how it’s done in a house. For me, having my own space was a necessity, but a costly one. It’s still better to only take sessions where you can (at least somewhat) enjoy the activity.

Why shouldn’t you take every session, and make as much money as possible? You may be asking. There are a few reasons:

1)      Clients can usually tell if you’re not actually into what you’re doing. There’s a spark in the eyes of a happy Dominatrix, and a bland one when it’s not exciting. So if you aren’t into Medical play, or you’re not very good with a single tail, or you don’t really understand erotic humiliation but you’ll try it anyway…..all of those would make horrible sessions for both you and your client. It’s good to try things to see if you like the activity, but if it turns out you don’t like it, then just leave it off your availability list.

2)      A lot of different interests can create one very long shopping list when it comes to equipment. It is not a good financial investment to purchase an extravagant violet wand kit, if you already know that electricity isn’t your thing, just so you can take a few more sessions.

3)      It’s very easy to get burned out by doing every session that comes your way. If you’re a “McDomme” (take sessions for under Tribute, serving as many clients as possible) then you will probably make a lump of cash (which maybe what you’re looking for) but it isn’t a long term situation.

For “pop-up” dommes looking for a ‘short-cut’

pop up domme(I was inspired by Sarah Sloane’s awesome post about why she thinks she’d be a lousy Pro-Domme to dig out this slightly snarky bit I posted on my Fetlife profile)

I receive many emails each month from women asking me to teach them how to be a pro-domme. These emails feature a variety of approaches, but few of them are good. So here’s a short, straightforward answer to most of your questions. Harsh? Perhaps.

Honest? Absolutely.

To start –

  • No, you cannot “swing by the dungeon so I can teach you a few things”
  • No, I will not “teach you how to get free money and shoes and stuff from guys”
  • No, I do not have time to make you my apprentice to teach you what I’ve spent over a decade learning. I don’t even know who you are. A message on FetLife does NOT make us friends.
  • No, I won’t invite you into MY sessions and make MY submissives pay you.
  • No, I’m not going to take a significant portion of time out of my absurdly busy schedule to train you. Being my apprentice is most likely more effort than you’re willing to put in.
  • No, I will not let you use my dungeon, neither for free nor for a fee. I will not take responsibility for any risks that you take in session. I have no idea whether or not you are safe.
  • No, this is not a good job for man-haters. If you have anger issues this is not the place to work it out. Dealing with client/submissives deepest desires & taboo topics is a responsibility. Be mindful of the power you’re playing with.

Also –

  • Yes, it is going to cost you money to learn and to set up shop. Doesn’t pretty much every OTHER job require some sort of education and doesn’t that education cost money? This is no different.
  • Yes, this can be an incredibly rewarding career, but don’t ever think of it as free and easy money. It’s not.
  • Yes, this can be a very dangerous job. A major part of success is being able to screen for creeps, time-wasters, and wankers. This is a separate yet equally important art and skill.
  • Yes, you can make excellent money doing this, but don’t forget to figure all of the communication, preparation, and clean up into that high ‘rate per hour’. It becomes less impressive than you might think.
  • Yes, being a professional dominatrix has legal concerns. Massachusetts is a lousy place for this sort of thing. Be aware of the ACTUAL legal issues and local laws. Do research. Get a lawyer.
  • Yes, most “anyone” can call themselves a Professional Dominatrix, but only those who treat Domination and Fetish Exploration as an art and skill will do it really well. This is the secret to a lasting career. Love what you do and take it seriously.
  • Yes, I DO take this job very seriously. If you don’t, then we likely won’t get along.

I will be adding to this as other points come up. I understand that some people might find this post offensive, or rude, or any number of other things. I accept that.

I am a strong supporter of women finding their inner Dominants and being safe in the adult industry. However I have moved on from the idea that it is my responsibility to assist every female who wants me to teach them. I offer a great deal to the community and assist in mentoring many individuals and couples that I know personally. I am proud to help those people refine their skills and learn new ones. That does not mean that I am obligated to personally take time to instruct every single person who thinks they want to become a pro-domme. There is a very high turn-over in this industry and I believe that’s because many women get into it for the wrong reasons and then proceed to set themselves up in a very unprofessional way.

I am proud to be a professional dominatrix, and made a great deal of effort to stay at the top of my trade. So don’t take it personally when I don’t answer your flippant email about “not wanting to have a real job, haha” And I won’t take it personally that you sent such a doltish email to me in the first place.

K, thanks bye!

5 Quick Tips for Success as a Pro Domme

checked box to do list1) Be who you are, not who you think others want you to be. Leave room for your own growth, don’t brand yourself into a corner.

2) DON’T get Domme-ites, which means that you believe everyone, not just your clients, should bow down before your greatness. Don’t believe your own hype and recognize that you are a regular person who happens to have the opportunity to be the center of the universe sometimes, and get paid for it.

3) Communication is the key to success in all aspects of life, and this industry is no different. Don’t say one thing and mean another. Be clear in your advertising, what you will and won’t do. Don’t play games that will likely put you in a compromising situation.

4) Save money! Don’t let the high hourly wage go to your head, and remember, the time you spend in session isn’t the only time you’re working. When you include time spent on advertising and communicating with potential clients, plus the set up and break down of sessions, the ‘per hour’ rate gets smaller. Still high in the grand scheme of things, but not the flat rate you get ‘for’ the session.

5) Present yourself professionally and then BE professional. Don’t be a flake. Don’t be rude to people. Take your business seriously and it can bring you a lot of fun, joy and money.

Should you be independent or work in a house dungeon?

When trying to decide what the right arrangement for you, basically there are three ways you can set yourself up.

Independent

This usually means that you have your own space, do all of your own advertising, screen your own clients, arrange your own security measures and then do the sessions. Essentially you’re a one-stop shop for getting clients in the door. This can be particularly attractive if you’re looking at Pro-Domming as a career rather than ‘just’ a way to make money on a short term basis. But it also lays ALL of the responsibilities on your shoulders. I was an independent Domme for my entire career and I can honestly say (as other Dommes have echoed) that it’s all the logistic management that’s exhausting. The sessions are the fun parts. But dealing with email and phone communication, in person interviews if you’re doing those, advertising and marketing yourself….all of those activities can, and do, create burn-out. Plus you have all the over-head of setting up your own space. For me, it was the only way to go, although it was the hardest. Being in Boston there wasn’t any ‘house dungeons’ I wanted to join and being a bit of a control freak, I wanted to make all my own decisions about my experience as a pro-domme.

Independent that rents space from House Dungeons/Other Indies

This is kind of the best of both worlds, depending on how you can get it set up. In this situation you can likely set your own hours and screen/choose your own clients. But you might also be able to advertise on the House website which will possibly bring in more potential clients, although the clients booked ‘through’ the house might have different rules and costs than if you were strictly renting space for your own sessions.

Another option is being a traveling Domme and visiting other Independent Domme’s (which seems a particularly popular option these days) which means you both advertise each other and have the possibility of doing solo or Double Domme sessions.

House Dungeon Domme

This depends entirely on where you live, IF there are House Dungeons at all, and what their requirements are. Do NOT think that just because you want to be a pro-domme that you are guaranteed a spot on a House Dungeon roster. You have to fit what they’re looking for, come with your own skills or be willing to be trained, and treat it more like a regular job where you show up for a set number of hours and take the sessions they book for you. Sometimes the House will have fetish outfits you can wear so you don’t have to buy your own (although a lot don’t provide clothing, just toys.)

This is the safest option though, since they will be in charge of creating a dungeon space, will take on the cost of advertising, and provides a safe space where you’ll likely never be required to be alone with clients. You also get the benefit of group branding (being part of an established brand of the Dungeon) which can help you become more well known. One of the best benefits though is the training that’s usually provided to teach you the many hands-on skills required for this industry (such as bondage, fetish play and impact play.)

Introduction Post

Professional Domination should be treated, in many ways, like any other self-employment. If you use your passion to build a solid business, you will be rewarded on multiple levels.

There’s a tremendous amount of money to be made in this industry while still setting your own boundaries and mostly setting your own schedule.

Business books can be used in this industry as well. Since the Professional Domination industry is rather niche, you’ll have to learn how to look for the useful information in traditional business books that you can apply to your own career.

Treat this like a business and be ethical and being a ProDomme can be profitable, interesting and fun. If you treat your business (like any business) with respect, then it will be a reliable source of income.

Being self-employed in any industry is difficult, you have to self-motivate not only to do the ‘maintenance work’ for your business but also find time to grow and improve (and take time off, which is really important). Decide early on what kind of professional situation you’re looking for and genuinely which would suit you.