Friday, August 5, 2011

Thoughts on Rates

I did not follow one of the best pieces of advice I ever got when I was first starting out: you're new, so you can afford to play with your rates, so keep raising them by $0.10/min every two weeks or so until you find your sweet spot.

Instead, after a month at $0.99/min ($0.55/min to me) to build feedback, I jumped to $1.49/min ($0.90/min to me). It was a smashing success. The 63% raise more than compensated for the callers who quit me. I felt justified at having bypassed the slow, painful rate creep.

Perhaps counter-intuitively, I lost many of my very short callers (under-10-minute average), fewer people insisted that I send them free minutes before they'd try me out, and I found more callers willing to talk for longer. It was fantastic. I was on cloud nine.

And then, a month after that, I disastrously tried to raise my rates again to $1.99/min ($1.25/min to me), at the same time as I was traveling, and also while setting up an invite-only VIP line that stayed at $1.49/min. I confused my callers, knocked my listings out of their top-page spots, and lost the momentum I had with people leaving me feedback. It was a horrible, terrible mess.

So I tucked my tail between my legs, salvaged the points I had made on my VIP line by switching it to an open line, rolled back all my prices to $1.49/min, and promised not to jack with my rates again for at least three months. That was 10 months ago, and the rates on Smart Fun Galiana haven't budged since then.

In the meantime, I created Ms Galiana and Hypno Galiana and toyed with their rates a bit, but I gave up on them when I realized I was unhappy with the way the listings were written. Unfortunately, that was also about the time we had to move, so they got lost in the shuffle for a while. But they're climbing back. They'll find their own ways in the world, I feel sure of it.

(pssst... I'll let you in on a secret: for a brief time, I also opened a purposefully mysterious listing with no pictures of my face, and I had a British accent and I charged $2.99/min. But when the few people who called that line insisted on knowing more about me personally, I hated the pressure of having to choose between lying to them or continuing to play bad cop and say no. Plus, it was nerve-wracking to switch personas like that in the space of 10 seconds as Madge told me which character was getting the call. But I'm not gonna lie, the British accent was super fun. Don't tell anybody, okay?)

My motivation for reconsidering my rates is that many callers have told me I am selling myself short because of my intelligence and creativity. I am acutely aware of my shortcomings, which makes me want to leave my rates low, but also aware that I may be leaving money on the table, which is silly.

Also, now that I am under a bit less financial pressure than I was, a few weeks of "oops well that didn't go as I'd hoped" is more acceptable now than it used to be. Don't get me wrong, the cash I'm making now is going toward non-luxuries like car insurance and vet bills, and my Amazon gift cards replenish my dog treats more often than they provide lipsticks or lingerie, but I am responsible for a smaller percentage of our overall spending.

Ugh, I need to take a break from explaining my financials for a while, and yet I keep feeling the need to do so. Here, this should help: We're nowhere near rich, we have too much debt, we have no savings yet (although we're working on it now), and I still need to work to pay some bills. There. I said it. Now then... Dear whatever part of me needed to keep explaining my finances: Please hush now, for at least a month, okay? Oooooookay.

Back to rates: I have set the rates on my Ms Galiana listings at $2.25/min ($1.44/min to me), which I expect to attract a few callers over time. And after I re-write my Hypno Galiana listings, those will be set at $1.95/min($1.23/min to me). Those rates reflect the relative expenditures of my energy to do those types of calls, in general. Obviously, some submissive calls are draining and some domme calls are refreshing, but in general, I expend more energy leading than I do following.

When Ms Galiana and/or Hypno Galiana take off enough for me to start feeling resentful of taking calls on Smart Fun Galiana, I will start raising those rates by $0.05 / minute every two or three weeks until it feels like the three accounts are balancing themselves out properly.

I will also be logging in to other sites to take calls, and starting those at a minimum of $2/min (announcements forthcoming soon about where else I am listed).

My uninformed guess is that it will take 3 months before I start raising Smart Fun Galiana rates, and I will end up with: Ms Galiana $2.25 - Hypno Galiana $1.95 - Smart Fun Galiana $1.75.

For the sake of gratitude and nostalgia, I will keep a wandering $1.49 line, and I'll keep the blog updated to let you know which one it is. The idea is: there will always be at least one listing where I could use more points or good feedback or a better ranking, so I can direct fiscally savvy blog readers to call me there for a lower rate, and everyone is theoretically happy.

Plus, let's be honest: if you're reading the blog, I like you better, and you deserve it.

So the first step in all this very-slow-moving process was to open Ms Galiana at $2.25/min. Done.

The second step is to raise the rate on my Smart Fun Galiana listings under the Mistresses and Femme Dommes categories. Also done.

The third step is to finish my Hypno Galiana re-write. Mmmmm.... not so much with the done on that yet. But at least I'm mulling it. That's a start, right?

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