If you’re the type of person who ever thinks about starting your own business, or being a freelancer, or turning your passion or hobby or interest into your career, chances are fairly high that you’re also a risk-taker. Eschewing the traditional “9-5, work for someone else, take home a paycheck and build up a retirement account” takes a certain amount of guts and a certain amount of utter craziness, and the amount of each will vary from time to time. But trust us when we tell you, going it on your own is not for the faint of heart.
However, particularly if the freelancing or business you’re thinking of jumping into involves sex or the adult industry in any way, there are certain precautions you should take before making the big leap. But how do you know what you don’t know?
Many people begin searches for what laws or rules may apply to their business on the great equalizer, the Internet, and more specifically, through a Google® search. Chances are if you begin to type any search you can possibly think of, someone will have conducted it before you, and there will be at least a few thousand pages of results. But after that, how do you separate the proverbial ‘fact’ from the proverbial ‘crap’?
With SEO campaigns and armchair experts, along with the wide disparity in the visual appeal of different sites, it’s very hard to know who to trust, but some good general guidelines would likely read as follows (in order of importance): Federal laws on Federal websites, state laws on official state websites, local laws and ordinances on city/village/township websites, and only after you’ve exhausted these sites should you consult private websites run by organizations or service providers. Also, to help wade through the many laws, rules and regulations you’re going to encounter, keep in mind that laws dealing with sexually oriented matters will likely be grouped and described with words such as “adult” “obscenity” “sexually-oriented” “nudity” or “pornography”. Even if what you’re doing doesn’t technically fit into one of these categories, it’s good to check all of these in your searches, as government organizations who make these classifications are often more zealous with their inclusion of matters than ordinary folks might be.
Once you’ve completed your Internet searching of actual sources, you’ll definitely want to speak to some people in your area of the world (as well as those doing something similar regardless of place if what you are planning to do will be primarily online) to see what, if anything you’ve missed. They will likely be able to share some anecdotal information that is generally impossible to find in official rules, but that will be the gems that will often help keep you out of trouble. Maybe the law in your area technically allows topless events in certain venues, but someone who has actually hosted one may be able to tell you that the authorities in your area have less than stellar opinions of certain of those venues and you’d have a far smoother event or business if you avoided those places. This industry knowledge in valuable in any niche business, but it is vital for sex related work. Now is not the time to be shy or worry that you will step on someone’s toes, just acknowledge that you are asking them for a large favor, offer to pay for their consultation time, and assure them that your business does not intend to compete directly with theirs (or, if yours might, maybe skip this step, but then definitely offer to pay for a consultation).
Hopefully following these rules for finding information will keep you from relying on “what someone’s brother’s aunt” said was certainly the rule that would apply to your situation. And don’t let all this talk of researching risk and rules deter you from the fact that you’re a risk-taker! You CAN do this, and there are lots of folks out there who want and need the business or services you’re going to create. So get out and there!