How does prostitution work?
I'm frequently bombarded by thinkers who have no intention of becoming doers, who want my advice with no intention of putting it into practice. In a community where sex work is nominally accepted as a legitimate way to make a living, asking for professional guidance is a lazy disguise for prurient interest, so lazy that the questioners themselves often don't consider the difference. When I started working as a prostitute, I dove right in without a clue about how to do it, calling classified listings in a free weekly until I found an agency that felt like a good fit and got hired. After finding my sea legs a few months later, I set out on my own as an independent escort. It's not an impossible business to figure out, but it's nice to have some guidance, so I tend to err on the side of generosity with the would-be pros who come to me for advice, giving them the full hooker-mama treatment. It snaps them into the reality of what sex work actually is, beyond what they want it to be, and as such is a useful education even if it's rarely put into practice.
The money myth
Why do you want to be a sex worker? If your answer is "I want fast money, " and it often is, turn back now. There's nothing inherently unhealthy about sex work, but there's something inherently delusional about get-rich-quick schemes, and if that's what you think you're getting into, it's not a healthy career move. You might make a pile of money tonight, but that doesn't mean you'll make a cent next week, and if you let the Benjamins get to your head you'll be broke more often than you think. Working in a dungeon or massage parlor means spending six hours a day streaming TV shows before you get an hour or two of actual work; whether you're making $75 or $250 a session, it breaks down to a whole lot of nothing per hour.
Wages aside, you probably won't like your job very much. You'll probably make unhealthy choices, like not using protection, not screening, meeting clients who gave you a bad vibe on the phone, or seeing more clients than you can handle.
If you want to be a sex worker because you enjoy work that's physically and intellectually engaging, you like meeting new people and sometimes touching them, you're an exhibitionist or you like to talk dirty or you just don't take sex very seriously, you might be getting somewhere.
You are your own boss
Sex workers need to know their boundaries and be willing to evaluate them, to know when to stand by them or change them when they're challenged. Whether you're working as a stripper or an escort or a webcam performer, you'll likely have an encounter that pushes at those boundaries. Know the difference between what you will do and what you prefer to do, what you won't do and what you prefer not to do. I have friends who give happy ending massages and don't let their clients touch them; I prefer clients who want to make out and get me off. As you consider your preferences, you might realize that working as a prostitute isn't for you, and another kind of sex work is just right. One woman I tutored told me she didn't want to be naked, dance, have any sexual contact with her clients, or see anyone else's genitals; she must have been willing to bend on the last part, because she ended up working as a domme. That, or she's cornered the market in forced chastity.
Working independently isn't for everyone. You often spend more hours screening clients, putting up ads, and answering calls than you do in session, and if you find that kind of work draining, you might prefer to work for an agency. Like any other profession, there are unscrupulous managers and jerks who will expect you to always be on call but will rarely give you work. There are others who will screen thoroughly, be considerate of your schedule, and introduce you to terrific clients. I started out working for one of the latter, but learned that I feel much safer and happier when I'm solely responsible for my screening and scheduling. I also prefer to take home all of my earnings after a session.