Elizabeth Swan

Why I became rubbish at self promotion

By Elizabeth Swan on

When I first started promoting my domination business back in 2013 I was good at advertising, marketing and all that jazz designed to draw the customer in. Pictures pictures blog repeat. It worked as I was busy. I had an unusual dungeon that was under a car park near Baker Street. I was there for two years, sometimes seeing three clients a day and often working seven days a week. Though of course I needed to because the rent was high (the landlord knew what I was doing so ‘adjusted’ the rent accordingly).

One day the NCP above me got wise to my visitors. I would see official looking jobsworths with clipboards taking photos of my CCTV and the entrance I and my clients used got padlocked which left no alternative than to walk through the car park. Time to go.

My next place was a beautiful flat that was in W1. I was there for less than a year. There was a neighbour who didn’t work and spent all her time spying on the road from her balcony. There were anonymous letters sent about rubbish being put out on the wrong day and then came a letter from the council saying there had been a report that the place was being used as a brothel. Time to leave again. With each move I have invested time and money into decorating and kitting out my place. This time I lost my deposit as well...even though this landlord again knew what I did and asked for discounted sessions. I also had a few less clients because there was now another red headed Elizabeth on Baker Street. A man had found her a place to work from and suggested her work name...and I had been surprised to find that it was the same man who I had turned down a few years previously when he had approached me offering to market me and take over my website. Sex work is awash with men like this. They see the money that women make and think it is their right to take some of it themselves. And when the woman gets wise they move on to another.

Twice bitten I didn’t want to take on a new dungeon. So I started to work from a hotel and rent by the hour dungeons. I stored all my big kit whilst I decided what I was going to do next. Next came around six months later. There was a place in Soho where a domme was moving out. Great location and there was some kit already there that belonged to yet another landlord. So I moved my smaller kit in and off I went. However I wasn’t told that the owner of the house wanted it back (my landlord knew when I handed over my deposit). So four months later after marketing, blogging, settling in... and I was out on my ear again...again, minus my deposit. Three years later I am still waiting for it. I sent a legal letter this time but received nothing back and I believe the man has moved. I don’t know where to.

Each blow you dust yourself down and start again. But enough was enough. That was it for me. I will never ever have another landlord. Which means either buy in London (an impossible feat) or buy out of London.

That was my thinking when Covid came along. And then fucking hell what an absolute nightmare for our industry it was. I said to a fellow domme back in March that war would be better for us and she knows what I mean now. Remote working, track and trace are just a few of the reasons that we have lost clients. Of course we have to be responsible. I stopped seeing all my vulnerable clients in March and when the first lockdown was over I would have a week in between sessions. Some women won’t have been as responsible...but if I was back in my first two dungeons paying 2k a month I can’t say what I would have done. Plus lots of women have children to feed. You do what you have to to look after those you love.

My accountant suggested I sell content but videos (the fact I call them videos show how far along I am with technology!) and constant ‘look at me’ content are not my style. Plus I don’t show my face. But Christ the women that are selling content on ‘Only Fans’ I have so much admiration for. The marketing they put in is phenomenal.

I will adapt to a point but I won’t do something that doesn’t interest me. So what does a domme who can’t session and won’t sell content do?

She loses motivation. Watches Netflix. Paints all her furniture.

My writing stagnated as well. The first week of lockdown my play was supposed to go into production at a London theatre. Theatre of course is fucked at the moment and will be until social distance is no longer a thing that we have to do.

So I was in limbo. Having worked since I was fourteen I am not used to taking it easy.

Then some of my clients who had offered to put money into my bank account and I had declined (unless it was to be used for sessions in the future), started making suggestions. And slowly I started to work again. One man has had a story every two weeks since June, two have had weekly phone calls, others asked for orgasm control emails, others for tasks. Men were missing their dose of masochism as much as I missed the sadism. And in writing stories and setting tasks I started to feel like Elizabeth Swan again. I started advertising my personalised kink stories and from that I decided to offer my stories on Patreon. I took the time to redo my website and became healthier than I have ever been.

I thank the men who supported me. They gave me the boost I needed to get back on the horse. I probably would have given up domination and found a different job if a few hadn’t intervened.

Boys, check in on your domme. There will be many thinking like I have. That in an industry where we get so many knocks Covid has been the final straw. As to the ‘clients’ who would email and moan about their finances, or the one who dropped me after seven years although I had spent a weekend a month at his. Well they are gone from my thoughts and my life. Covid certainly separated the wheat from the chaff.

I am going to start posting again boys. Pictures and blogs. And next year after the vaccine I am going to get another dungeon. But this time I shall buy it so I can’t be evicted. It will be somewhere in the West Midlands. And it will be fucking fabulous. X

Elizabeth Swan