Contrary to popular belief, not all strippers are young, perfect looking women. In fact, strippers range in age from 18 all the way up into their 50s, and come in all different body types and shapes. If you've ever wanted to become a stripper but weren't sure if it was the right career for you, there are a few things to carefully consider before you make that decision.
Understand the Demands
Understand you will need to be physically fit.
It's a common misconception that you need to have a "perfect" body to become a stripper. In fact, strippers come in all different shapes, sizes, and body types. With that said, you will need to be physically fit to a certain degree to keep up with the demands of the job. Dancing is physically taxing. Add in a pair of very high heels and it gets even more difficult! Make sure you are prepared for the physical demands that stripping requires.
You don't necessarily have to possess any dancing experience or skills to start off. Watching some other girls perform to get an idea of what a good routine looks like is a good idea. Most clubs will require you to audition to see if you're good enough to dance there.
Realize the time you will need to put in.
At first, you may have to work every night to try and establish yourself and earn back money you have already invested to start. You will also have to adjust to working late into the night, which can really interfere with any daytime job you have and plan to keep if you pursue stripping.
Things won't happen overnight, especially when it comes to feeling comfortable on stage and while giving private dances. You will need some time to really decide if it's the right profession for you, and to see how well you can do with it.
Remember that staying sober will be important.
Many dancers fall victim to the allure and constant presence of alcohol and drugs inside strip clubs, and end up squandering their earnings on them. There is also danger involved with being intoxicated at work. You will need your wits about you if you plan to stay safe and be paid the amounts you're owed for things like private dances.
There are strippers who manage to have a few drinks on the job without getting drunk, or who use drugs occasionally but don't become addicts. Realize, though, that this is still risky behavior, and if you have an addictive personality, you might be more prone to developing alcoholism or drug addiction.
Decide if you can handle potential rejection.
Being a stripper isn't always full of people throwing cash at you. There will be some clients who don't find you attractive, or who might outright reject your advances. As a stripper, you will need to "sell" yourself to make your money, so being able to work like a salesperson is important, and salespeople need some thick skin to make it through.
Some patrons might be rude, as well. Just like any other job, you might have to deal with people who aren't especially nice or cheery, but as a stripper, you will be dealing with them in a much more vulnerable and intimate setting. Make sure you're prepared for that.
Remember you may face issues with co-workers.
As a dancer, your co-workers will be your competition, since you will all be essentially competing for the attention of the patrons inside the club to get tips and be asked for private dances. Don't expect close friendships with everyone you work with, and be prepared for the possibility that your co-workers may behave rudely towards you.
Consider that, for example, one of your co-workers might be willing to allow more physical contact during private dances, which might bring her more business than other dancers. Things like this can cause friction and tension among co-workers.
If you are stripping only short term to help with college tuition and you don't want the entire earth to know you're a stripper, remember, unless you tell them, only people who go to the club you work at will know. You can also use a stage name.
Preparing for the Initial Investment
Acquire a license.
Requirements are different in different areas, but you will most likely need to get a license to be an adult entertainer or exotic dancer. This license will cost you varying amounts in application and licensing fee. For example, the city of Denver, Colorado requires exotic dancers to get a business license, which runs about $175 with all total fees, and also requires a criminal background check.
The requirements for licensing will vary depending on where you live and where you're trying to work, so make sure you look into the requirements, if any, in your city and/or state.
Before going in for your initial audition, you'll want to have your outfit ready. It might be a good idea just to buy one at first, just until you have a job secured. There are many online shops that offer outfit sets, separates, and bikini options. Choose the style of outfit that fits your personality. For example, if you plan to dance to more upbeat pop or hip-hop songs, you might not want to put on all black and try an edgier look. Go for bright colors, sparkles, and sexy silhouettes. If you want to dance to rock music, go for that edgier look, with dark colors and chrome or metal accents.
These outfits can range in price from $30 - $100 for a complete set-with some exceptions that are cheaper and more expensive. Choose an outfit that fits your budget. Save the more expensive or fancy outfits for down the road when you're bringing in steady cash.
Depending on what kind of club you'll be dancing in, your outfit might cover more or less skin. For example, if you will be dancing at a club that allows full nudity, just topless nudity, or bikinis only, you will want to choose your outfit accordingly.
Purchase shoes. As a stripper, you won't be wearing sneakers on stage.
Strippers are known for their sky high heels, so you'll need to grab a pair of those. Don't put on a standard pair of black pumps, though. You'll want a heel of at least 4 inches. Buy a pair made for dancers. Think of those clear, see-through platforms you may have seen on dancers in movies. You can usually buy these shoes from the same shop where you purchased your outfit. Some online shops might offer deals on complete outfits, like discounted or free shipping, for example, so take advantage of that by buying everything in one place.
A good pair of high heels might cost you even more than your outfit, most likely somewhere between $60 and $200. Stick to the lower end of the price range for your first pair, and wait to buy more until you're making steady money. Consider buying a pair that might match with multiple outfits.
Pay the club fees.
Many clubs will actually charge dancers a nightly fee to work. Dancers are usually considered independent contractors, so you will essentially have to pay "rent" to work. The club's house fees will vary, based on the club you work at, as well as the night you work. For example, the fee on a weekend night might be higher than on a weeknight. Fees could range from $10 a night to $200 or more a night, depending on those previously mentioned factors
You'll also probably need to tip out your bouncers/security guards, the bartenders or servers (as they might send you clients), and even the DJ that played music for your set.
Living With Potential Consequences
Understand that people may judge you negatively.
Choosing to pursue a career in stripping or exotic dancing can certainly cause other people to cast you a negative look. Stripping isn't always seen as a worthy or moral way of making money, no matter how pure your intentions may be. Many people also have stereotypes and ideas about strippers in their mind that they will apply to you, even if you don't fit them at all. You will need to be prepared for how your job will negatively affect your reputation and even your personal relationships.
As a stripper, you may have trouble finding stable, lasting romantic relationships, as it might be difficult to find a partner who is okay with you being nude in front of others, or giving lap dances. If you are already in a relationship, you will want to talk things over with your partner and make sure your job won't negatively affect your relationship.
Recognize the potential negative psychological effects.
Since your pay will essentially be based on others finding you physically attractive, you might end up basing your own self worth or self esteem on your appearance, as well. Some strippers end up feeling negatively about themselves, or end up being highly critical of their appearances, which can be difficult and taxing. Consider whether or not you would be able to handle this kind of issue coming up if you take a job as a stripper.
On the other hand, some strippers find stripping to be especially liberating and a constant source of self-confidence. It all depends on your individual personality, and what kind of feelings you're prone to.
Realize that you may not make the money you expect.
Because you'll be fronting a good amount of cash right away for licensing, club fees, outfits and shoes, you might just barely be breaking even for the first few nights or even weeks. Tipping out the staff and paying nightly club fees can cause you to go home with almost nothing, while on another night you might still go home with a few hundred dollars. The money you make will be varying, at best, as you will be relying mostly on tips and clients paying for private dances.
The better salesperson you are, the better chance you might have at making better money. Private dances will likely earn you more money than tips from stage performances. In a private show, You generally set the rules. No one gets to touch you unless you give them permission. If you aren't comfortable with private dances, then stripping may not be for you.
Consider that you may have aggressive clients.
Unfortunately, some people who go to strip clubs believe that strippers are open for business-any kind of business. You may end up with clients who get very touchy or even aggressive during private dances. You will need to be able to stand up for yourself and set boundaries that you will stick to when it comes to those private services. You are never obligated to do anything you aren't comfortable with. Tip your bouncers well and make sure one is always nearby when you are dancing or giving private dances.
If any aspect of being a stripper makes you nervous or uncomfortable, you may want to stay away from it as a profession. You don't want to end up in a situation where you feel uncomfortable and aren't prepared to say no when you want or need to.
Remember that there may be drugs present.
Some of your co-workers or clients may use or sell drugs. This, of course, isn't guaranteed, but you should be prepared for the possibility. If you yourself are prone to drug abuse, you may want to avoid becoming a stripper, as the temptation to use might be higher. You also run the risk of becoming involved in illegal activities, especially if you use or buy drugs while at work.
Using drugs or being drunk while working as a stripper can make you vulnerable to sexual assault, or to being swindled out of money you're owed from private services. It's important to stay sober and alert while working, so you may want to avoid stripping if you aren't sure you can do that.
Remember that leaving the club at night can be dangerous.
Walking alone at night can be a risk at any time, but leaving a nightclub where people have been drinking is especially risky. You run the risk of being attacked, assaulted, or robbed, especially since people near the club will probably assume you're carrying cash on you. If possible, you'll always want to ask a bouncer or co-worker to walk you out to your car to ensure your safety.
When talking with potential clients, don't give out any personal information. This includes where you live, other places you might work, or even where you go to school if you're a student. Don't tell them if you have kids or if you're in a relationship. Keep those conversations light and simple.
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