I'll start with a confession: for a few years, yours truly was the queen of time off. Working just enough to afford a long term vacation- I'm talking months- and then leaving town until all my accounts flatlined just to start all over again. I would show back up in town a few days before the round of bills that would put me in the red, and then start blitzkrieging until everything was paid off again. And then there would be some extra cash... and then enough for a flight and a trip...
You get the point.
And even though now my approach to work attendance is absolutely different, those trips have been some of the best times of my life. I wouldn't trade them for all the tea in China, and I believe that if you are seeking experiences or immediate needs from dancing, no article on the internet is going to change your mind.
However: what I've learned since then, and the thesis of this article, is that when dancing goes from a hobby or a side-gig to a well-managed career, it gives you the opportunity to make amazing experiences not just for today and tomorrow, but for every part of your life.
And the biggest tell of how serious you are about dancing is by taking a look at your calendar. It's simple; if you call yourself a dancer but you are only working one or two days a week, you are not a full-time, professional dancer. Because when you are a full time, professional dancer, you treat you it like a business, not a job.
You can quit a job. You can be late to a job. You can goof off at your job, because you're working for someone else. And if you're a dancer, working a job means you're putting your club and your management as the arbiter of your needs.
A business is something different. A business is your own, and it grows or fails based on your actions. A business can expand, shift into different avenues, and still continue to support you. And if you are a business, you cannot be late. You have to schedule your time and priorities to support the business instead of yourself. You have to be patient, and hardworking, and make sacrifices that employees are not willing to make.
So, how do you get on the path from working as an employee to treating dancing as your business?
Let's start with how you invest your most valuable asset: time.
You've probably already made the connection that when you're at work, time is your only currency. You're paid by the song (3-4 minutes), or by the time. So every hour you're on the floor that you're not bringing in income feels like you are wasting time. However, and here's the important part; your time does not end at the door of the strip club. The clock always keeps running.
If that sounds annoying or off-base, please stick with me. This is not a critique of dancers that choose to spend their time however they see fit. It's your time. It's your money, and it's your life. No one gets to make you change anything.
But if you're already looking to change, to grow and to get better, the key is in your time. Time is the only level playing field you have with everyone else around you. The highest earning CEO in the world has the same 24 hours as you in the day. The most beautiful Victoria's Secret Angel has the same 7 days every week to accomplish her goals that you do. And every dancer at your club is competing against the same exact clock 365 days a year.
So why do some dancers show up, make substantially more than you every night, and still manage to come back and do it again every night of the week? What do they know that you don't? It all comes down to how they handle their time at work, and their time outside of work.
While there are hundreds of ways to make your shift run more efficiently (most of the content on this site addresses strategies for doing this), here I only want to cover how long you're actually spending at work. This is because the amount of time you actually spend at the club will influence your earnings more than any other strategy or tip.
It's this simple:
if you're not there, you can't be picked by a customer to make money.
If you're not there, you can't improve your pitches to customers and improve how you dance and sell.
And if you're not there, you can't mind your business.
To make the importance of working as much as you can, let's run through a scenario. To simplify, we'll assume that your money stays constant no matter how many days you work in a week, although to be clear it is always more likely that you'll make more money if you spend more time at work.
Working More or Less: Two Scenarios
Let's say you work 3 days per week and make 1,000 every one of those nights, for the sake of simple math.
Now let's say you work 6 days a week, and make 500 each of those nights.
In theory, those both leave you at 3,000 per week.
But let's look at this example more closely. If you have 4 days without work, it means you have 4 days to find new ways of spending money. Daily costs, small expenditures here and there, and just enough time to get distracted from your long term goals will mean you're spending far more on a week where you work less days. On top of that, you realistically have the potential to earn more just by going in on more days. If you're already making 1,000 per shift, adding even one more shift in a week could drastically improve your income at the end of the year.
3000 x 50 working weeks in a year= $150,000
4000x 50 working weeks in a year= $200,000
Pretty huge difference! And I know those are some pretty high weekly numbers, but the point isn't the number, but the difference in income relative to what you already make now. For example, if you make $200 per shift, that still would mean a $16,000 difference over a year, just for picking up a few more hours each week.
But the biggest cost of missing work is actually hidden, and it usually doesn't show up until much later. The biggest cost of working less is the amount of hours you miss out on when you're building expertise. Whether you chose dancing or it chose you, it's likely that you don't plan on ending your career here. If you have goals to start a business, to retire early, or to go on to a totally different career path, then you have to take dancing seriously so that you're building skills you'll use later on.
Everyone who will compete with you in sales, marketing, real estate, cosmetology, clothing design, and generally being a boss lady in general is currently getting experience. They may be in school, at an internship, or at a job, but they likely are spending at least 40 hours every week improving their skills. They're out there learning about sales, customer relations, accounting, money management, and getting better every day.
When it comes time to compete with these people on an even playing field, you can either be the one that worked 20 hours a week and didn't learn any of the lessons of dancing or of selling, or the one that has consistently outworked and outearned all of your competition. Before taking the next night off, it may be valuable to ask: which one of these would you rather be?