Monday, May 28, 2012


I've been asked a lot of questions about being a Phone Sex Operator, so I thought I'd pull together a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Enjoy!

What does PSO stand for?

Phone Sex Operator, which I've been since July 2010.

Why did you become a Phone Sex Operator?

I was a theater major (1988-1992), who became a self-taught learn-on-the-job programmer/data analyst/tech consultant/business analyst/IT manager (1995-2009), then I came down with a mysterious neurological vertigo that makes me feel drunk all the time and prevents me from managing geeks (2009-present).

When I found a medicine that balanced my brain chemistry enough to allow me to talk on the phone, answer emails, and write blog entries now and then, I realized I had the skills to try being a phone whore, so I tried it, I love it SO MUCH I CAN'T STAND IT, and I'm still doing it!

Why did you choose NiteFlirt (and MyPhoneSite, which I started doing later)?

I researched phone sex companies by doing something brilliant like googling "phone sex jobs", and talked with my friend who had done (which works the same way does in terms of starting up). Here's what I found:

- The Basics : NiteFlirt, MyPhoneSite, VIPWithMe, TalkSugar, and a few other similar sites are essentially platforms for independent PSOs (I'll lump them all together as "NiteFlirt" or "NF" for the rest of this post, but I probably mean all of them unless I specify otherwise), so you set up your own ads (listings), and you don't report to anybody. When you work with a phone sex company like LDW Group or one of the 800 numbers in the back of porn mags (which I'll call "a company" or "companies"), they set up your listing for you, and you report to someone.

- Schedule : Many companies require 40 hours a week, or for you to maintain a set schedule. I am incapable of committing to any type of regular schedule (see vertigo above), so that disqualified most of them for me. NiteFlirt lets you log in and out as you wish. Typically, the more time you're available, the better you do.

- Traffic : Companies drive their own traffic by putting out ads, etc, but some of them also require you to drive traffic by participating in chat rooms, blogging, or other activities. You should be able to quickly build a full shift of calls with a company. NiteFlirt specifically has tremendous traffic (in the top 100 adult sites on Alexa - by far the highest of any phone-sex-focused website), but also has thousands of active providers, so the competition is fierce. Many independent PSOs choose to help drive traffic by having blogs, twitter, taking out ads, etc, but you don't have to. I've heard anecdotally that many people take three to six months to build a full shift of calls, and even then, it's much less steady and much less of a sure thing than with companies.

- Time-to-income ratio : Many independents (NiteFlirt, etc) spend 2-4 hours being available for calls for every hour they spend actually on a phone call getting paid. From what I understand of companies (although I've never worked for one), it's more like 1 hour of available for each hour of talk, and that improves as you build regular favorites.

- Pay Rate : On NiteFlirt, you set your own rate and make 60-65% of the rate you set. Other independent sites go as high as 70%. The exact NF formula is: (YourRate - 0.20/min) * 70%. So if your rate is $0.99/min, you'll get $0.55/min and if your rate is $1.49/min, you'll get $0.90/min, and if your rate is $1.99/min, you'll get $1.25/min. Companies typically pay 30-70 cents per minute of talk time.

The most I made in a week was $1,700, and my rate was $0.99/min at the time - but I was available about 80 hours that week, and that included tributes (like tips, and you get to keep 70%) and Amazon gift cards (which I count as income). However, most weeks when I'm available at least 50 hours, I usually make between $600-$1000. The less I'm available, the less predictable my income. I know women who make more, and women who make less. Your mileage WILL CERTAINLY vary. For planning purposes, I guesstimate an average of $20/hour when I'm available.

- Taxes : Independent sites DO NOT take out taxes, so you have to send in self-employment taxes quarterly (if you're in the US). I don't know about companies.

- Pay Schedule : NiteFlirt wins this one hands down: if you set up direct deposit, they sweep your earnings out of your account EVERY DAY and send them to your bank, where they are usually directly deposited about a week later, depending on your bank and other logistics -- that rocks. Most independents and companies pay one or two times per month, although some more frequently.

- Getting Customers : The easiest way to build customers as an independent is to start cheap -- if you're $0.99/min you will get calls once your listing is started. The irrational thing about getting your listing started on NiteFlirt is that you don't show up in searches until you have at least 2 points (you get points by having a 15-minute call or from someone leaving you feedback). So, to get your listing started without breaking any rules (because you are NOT allowed to call yourself or leave your own feedback), your best bet is to have a friend or lover make an account and call you (spend at least $2 so s/he's allowed to leave feedback), and then leave feedback. If you have a couple of willing friends, then "seed" your account this way up to 10 or 20 points - after that, the calls will come in on their own. Yes, this is ethically questionable, but as long as there isn't a way to search for new listings, it's the best way to work around a broken system.

If you're above $0.99/min then you'll just have to wait - one of the top providers on NiteFlirt started a listing at $2.49/minute on a whim (she was unemployed, but a lifestyle Mistress in real life), and left herself logged in for three months, totally forgetting about it, but remembered when the first call came in, and she got lucky and that guy stayed on with her for two hours and sent her tributes and helped rocket her to the top of the listings, where it's easier for people to find you.

Twitter, blog, ads, chat, skype -- your mileage may vary on those. Some people swear by each of them, some people got nothing from each of them.

If you're with a company, they should be driving calls to you, or telling you what to do to drive calls.

Either way, as an independent or with a company, your best way to get customers is to make your existing callers happy so they return. Repeat customers are the easiest, by far far far far far. I can't stress that enough: the easiest way to get phone calls is to please the callers you get.

- Availability : If you're independent, the best way to drive more calls is to be available more often. If you're available at the same time most days, guys start building you into their habitual routines, which is how to make good money. You can't log in for a different 10 hours each week and expect to be busy. Consistency and availability are your friends.

- Multiple Characters : Some PSOs create multiple characters, where each character has a different look and feel. If you're using your own pictures, wigs and outfits and camera angles can do wonders, as can colors and fonts and word choices on your listings. If you're buying someone else's pictures (also called "content") then you can just buy a different set. Since I've never bought content, I'm no help there, but I understand most PSOs guard their content sources as if it were the arc of the covenant... It's very difficult to find models that nobody else is using.

I did, however, create another character using suggestive pictures of my eyes / lips / decolletage, and I had a different speech pattern and a fictional back story for her. Logistically, I found it dizzying (literally) to be logged into multiple characters at once, because you have about 20 seconds from the time you pick up the phone to when the phone call starts to log out of your other characters. But it is clearly true that creating more characters, and having your listings on multiple services, drives more traffic. In the end, I can't do it well - I feel guilty and awkward about keeping details straight on a fictional persona, and I find the logistics stressful when I'm logged into multiple services or multiple characters.

I know some industry people might be shocked or angry that I put this information on a public blog, because it reveals the "industry secret" that sometimes the pictures on a listing are not the actual pictures of the person you're talking with. However, I'm okay sharing it because (a) it's not a well-kept secret (b) not everyone uses content - I know lots of providers who use their own pictures (c) the PSOs who use content pictures often have good reasons to do so, like having school-aged children at home and a crazy ex-husband who would sue for custody if they were discovered, (d) it's clear that many providers using content pictures are amazing at their jobs as well as doing the right thing to protect their family, and finally (e) phone sex, to me, is best when two people are mutually experiencing the energy of a fantasy, and I think that is primarily about the connection - you can have amazing phone sex with someone while picturing their voice coming from someone else's body. So it doesn't matter to me, and I know it doesn't matter to a lot of phone sex callers.

Other Thoughts

- Creepers and Safety : Yes, you'll get creepy calls, but I've talked with over 1,000 men, and I've only blocked 5. Other PSOs have much higher ratios, but still, most callers are genuinely nice people. Your phone number and your identity is protected by the service, so they can only find you if you give them enough information to find you (from your blog, twitter, what you say). Your phone number is protected because they call the service and then the service calls you, but there is no way for either of you to see the other person's number.

- Video : The highest per-minute rates are usually for women who are willing to do videos or go on camera by the minute instead of just over the phone. But obviously, one of the appeals of being a PSO is that you can be anonymous, so if you need to be anonymous, you absolutely can make it to the front page of NiteFlirt by using someone else's pictures... in fact, on any given day, probably at least one person has.

- My Blog : I have blogged ridiculous amounts about being a PSO. If you look at the Categories and click PSO and its subcategories, you'll get more complicated thoughts, and be able to see how my ideas have evolved over time.

More Questions?

I actually kinda love talking about this, so feel free to comment if you have more questions, and I'll try to incorporate the more common ones I may have missed by editing this post.

The truth is, I love to help new PSOs, and help people who are considering becoming PSOs, when I can. Other people helped me when I first started. It's good karma!

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