- Founder/CEO of Pandora Modeling (Since 2010). A management agency for adult video chat performers. Starting from nothing, this company has grown to be a powerhouse in the industry. It's been my greatest work, my first love, my first hit, and my obsession for all these years. Now, we work with hundreds of performers at the company, collectively earning millions of dollars per year. I am still the main operator at the company, this is what I am doing every day.
- Author | Freedom Evolved (intermittent)
I've always been an entrepreneur I think. I did all the usual things as a kid. Selling candy (age 9-11), selling burnt CDs (age 11-14), selling rubber bracelets during the Livestrong craze of '06. In high school I made decent money playing online poker.
In the closing months of high school I was planning to attend Michigan State as a pre-med major because that seemed like a sensible way out of poverty at the time. Some part of me knew that was less the path I wanted and more the path others suggested for me. About a month before graduation a teacher asked me randomly at school if I was free to watch their kids that evening (and said they'd pay me). I accepted. The teacher lived in a pretty nice house on a lake. Beyond being a teacher, he sold real estate in the summertime. The kids were almost obnoxiously well-behaved and didn't need any attention from me so I was mostly free to watch TV. On TV I saw a few episodes of Flip This House and my matriculation to Michigan State ended abruptly.
I knew that path was more the path that I needed than the respectable traditional path other people were suggesting for me. I decided I had to make my own way.
So a few months later, exactly one week after my high school graduation ceremony which coincided with my 18th birthday, I moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan and got a place on my own to begin the next phase of my entrepreneurial journey.
That summer I painted houses from my step mom and interned for free at a real estate investment company in Grand Rapids (they said no about 20 times before I managed to get in). In exchange for spending 8 hours a day manually updating Microsoft Access databases I got to sit silently and observe the inner workings of a real business (I'd never had a job before). Towards the end of the summer, I got to go on a few house assessments with them and learn how they estimate deals and make investment decisions.
I somewhat reluctantly ended the internship to start my first semester at Grand Rapids Community College. This was the fall of 2008. By the time the next summer rolled around, the world had changed (economic crisis). This was felt particularly hard in the Michigan real estate market. I went to visit the company the next summer to discuss working there officially and found that out of an office of about a dozen, managing a portfolio of millions of dollars in the form of several dozen properties the summer before; two remained. The owner and one other fella. The company had been totally destroyed in 9 months.
I started another internship, still unpaid. In summer 2, I'd take the thoroughly modern marketing strategies the company was using for lead generation and turn it into a package for other real estate professionals. Then I'd cold call real estate brokers around West Michigan to set appointments to give demonstrations.
The pitch was pretty simple. "Hi. We've got this marketing strategy that works really well. Once setup, it's pretty simple. If you want, we'll come teach your whole office how to do it. Our upsell is that we'll set it up for you for a fee. But no exaggeration, we're going to tell you what every piece is and how it works in the demonstration."
And that was true. I think the asking price for us setting it up was like $500 or something. Which meant setting up a simple squeeze page (a landing page designed to convert leads). A few templates for posting properties on Craigslist and a few other accounts. It took about 2-3 hours of work for us to do it, but probably would have taken someone who didn't know what they were doing 2-3 days and they might have missed a few things.
Setting the appointments was pretty easy. I knew I needed cold-calling experience for some important reason from the success books I'd been reading and here it was. I even made a few of the in-person sales presentations myself and closed deals.
It was a good product and no one asked for a refund. A lot of people called in the weeks after it was setup to thank us profusely because they were getting more leads than they ever had.
In the first summer, I'd learned how a business operated under rather ideal conditions. And I'd gotten a grasp for the fundamentals of a business environment. In the second summer, I learned how to design a product from scratch and get people to pay for it. I learned how to network and joint venture. I learned how to sell. I left after the second summer knowing that I wouldn't return for a third, I'd gotten the education I needed.
In the winter of my second year in college, the economy still in free fall, I'd first hear about the magical world of "camming" through a friend of a friend. I told the friend it was most certainly a scam and that he should be careful. But after we learned of a few other social acquaintances who were doing it and making some money, it became a no-brainer. The potential to make $10/hr, on my computer, doing literally anything, was freedom. And for a while, I was able to make ends meet as a webcam model. Realistically, I made $3-5/hr (I was a chubby 240 lbs at 5'10 with bad teeth and acne). Most days I made nothing, but every now and then I was pulled in a few books. Still, grinding super hard I was able to make $500-700/month. Which was enough to keep the lights on.
All of my friends that tried it did better. They were all far more attractive and good-looking. I knew my ultimate path didn't lie in front of the camera. So, building on what I'd learned. I reached out to the guy that ran the company and asked if I could work with him. He said no. I asked a few more times, still no. Eventually, he said yes.
That relationship would last for about 8 months before ending unpleasantly. Basically, i was working as an agent underneath his company, recruiting models, and earning a commission from them. 8 months in, I had found a few dozen people and was pulling in nearly $1,000/month for myself. I'd moved to North Carolina and the future was bright. Then, he concocted a reason to fire me and stole all of those clients and I was at zero.
Not just zero though. I'd used every idea I had in those 8 months, pursued every opportunity, and gotten everyone I knew that was interested signed up. I couldn't restart. I didn't have anymore friends.
I was in a pretty dark place. The truth was that that guy was a sleaze and I should have seen that coming (he started dating a girl that was in my studio and they didn't think it necessary for me to earn a commission from her anymore, but why take just a piece?) When I looked around the rest of that industry I saw the same type of company. Solo operator, shadowy, probably sleaze.
That made me angry and sad. What camming represented to me and a lot of my friends was a way out. There was never, and you really need to take this at face value, NEVER any hesitation about the sexual nature of the work. Even for me and my slightly douchey jock friends. "We can make money jacking off? Fuck yea dude where do I sign?" was the epitome of our enlightenment then. We thought it was the coolest thing ever, and it was. The people we met on the site were cool, interesting, and important to us. We started to see and experience a whole world that we never knew about and other people were eager to pay for it.
To have the pure, beautiful thing spoiled by unethical administrators was blasphemy.
So that was the impetus to me starting Pandora Modeling. What if I wasn't a scumbag? What if I ran a company in that space, the same way the real estate company I worked at operated? What if I treated it like any of my role models would treat it if they were to start a porn company? Work hard, behave ethically, put the best interests of the models above my own, be the best option for anyone that wants to do this kind of work?
I thought that if I could manage that, it'd be successful, and it was. Since 2010, it's been my full-time work. if I'm lucky, it will continue to be.
That concludes my well rounded resume. I've poured everything I have into one thing for years and made it work through sheer determination and perseverance. I'm probably the world's foremost expert on adult video chat and I aspire to be the industry's chief evangelist.
I'd like to do other cool things in the future too, we'll see. What if no one will like me because I worked in porn?
Personal Bio: Well-Heeled Cosmopolitan Bon Vivant.
Currently, I live in Bangkok, Thailand, but I'm on the road traveling a lot. I have an apartment in Bangkok to keep my stuff and I sleep here when in town, it's where I call home now. Thailand was the first place I traveled to outside of the US all the way back in 2012. I fell in love with it and made trips back regularly, but always being based in the US. At the beginning of 2017 I decided to give it a go for longer and chose Bangkok as my home base. I've never been so pleased for so long with a place to live.
I've been to a lot of places and I'm eager to go to more. If you want to give me a tour of where you live, let me know.