The life of a stripper can be thrilling but unpredictable. It takes more than just a sexy body and talented dance skills to become a successful stripper. But with a little time, research, and know-how, you can make a steady income dancing for those dollars.
In this ultimate guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the stripping industry and how to succeed. In the end, you can make an informed decision about whether or not this is the career path for you.
It’s all in the name. Sort of. The term “exotic dancer” is a fancier, more refined way of describing a stripper. Both professions involve sensual dancing, flirting, and provocative clothing (or lack thereof). In some circles, exotic dancers are considered the more upscale version of strippers. Others explain that strippers simply do that – take their clothes off for money. Whereas exotic dancers focus more on the entertainment and fantasy aspect. They are selling an entire erotic experience rather than just shaking their moneymakers. Belly dancers and dancers from other countries are also referred to as “exotic” dancers. In fact, some exotic performers don’t even take their clothes off.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on how to become a stripper. This is a profession that goes by many other names including striptease artist, burlesque queen, lap dancer, and peeler.
If stripping were easy, everyone would do it. There are a few basic attributes you’ll need to succeed in this adult industry.
You don’t have to be a talkative person with a big personality. Plenty of strippers rely on body language and charismatic dance moves to make a living. One thing you do need is confidence. You can’t be shy, reserved, or bashful about taking your clothes off. The majority of successful strippers are confident in their own skin and skilled at excluding sexual energy. Your customers will feed off of you, which means the more engaged and high-energy you are, the more excited they’ll get about your performance and, more importantly, the bigger they’ll tip you!
Being physically fit shouldn’t be confused with being skinny. Strippers come in all shapes and sizes, with plenty of customers looking for plus-size dancers. While you don’t need to be skinny or have a perfect body to be a stripper, you do need a certain level of physical endurance. Stripping is hard work and a physically strenuous job. If you’ve ever seen a stripper hanging from or sliding down a pole, you know what we’re talking about. You also need to move around in tight-fitting costumes and uncomfortable footwear. Most strippers have decent bodies and attractive faces.
One attribute many strippers have is hard to define. They just have that certain something that club owners and customers are looking for. This is an attribute that you can’t teach or manufacture. You either have it or you don’t. The good news is that most club owners or other strippers can help you figure out what your “X” factor is and how to play it up. Once you hone in on this unique feature, you’ll discover newfound confidence and the potential to become a more captivating performer.
Despite popular belief, being a stripper is less about actual dancing and more about moving in a seductive and sexy way. Most strippers move around the stage with a sexy strut, showing off their bodies and interacting with customers. Little time is spent actually dancing. You don’t even necessarily need to know how to use a stripper pole. Basic moves like twirling around the pole or wrapping your leg around it are usually enough to get the crowd going and encourage them to start throwing dollar bills your way. That’s not to say that many experienced strippers don’t take pole dancing classes to improve their skills and add more moves to their arsenal.
More than a sexy body and a few dance moves, being a successful stripper is about having a charismatic personality. When people visit a strip club they’re looking for more than just sexy performers. They want to feel desirable. They want to engage in some innocent flirting and feel special – if even for a few moments. That means you need to have a warm, approachable personality, good communication skills, and a friendly demeanor. What you say to customers and how you interact with them are just as important as your looks and dance performance. Some strippers go as far as to claim that a winning personality is even more important than a sexy body when becoming a successful striptease artist.
Unfortunately, stripping is a young person’s game with the average dancer being between the ages of 18 and 30. That’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of successful strippers over the age of 30 but your opportunities start to decrease as you age. There is an audience for mature strippers, however, dancers aged 40 and over sometimes struggle to keep up with the physical demands of the job.
As with any job, you need to understand the requirements before getting started. You also need to be honest with yourself about whether or not you can perform them to the best of your ability. While being a stripper is synonymous with taking your clothes off, this is only one aspect of the job. Each club has its own requirements and job descriptions for its dancers. These may include, but aren’t limited to, the following:
Remember, stripping is more about moving seductively than being a skilled or trained dancer. You do, however, need to be adaptable since clubs play a variety of different types of music including R&B, hip-hop, and Latin and may require different forms of choreography. Some clubs also host group dance routines or performances that require you to work with others to learn a choreographed routine. Simulated sex shows and “Sex and Shower” shows are popular in European countries and may require some basic acting skills as well.
When you’re not on the stage performing, you may be asked to “work the room”. This involves talking with customers, propositioning them for private dances or lap dances, and having intimate conversations. This is where your charismatic personality comes into play. Strippers need to maintain a certain level of positive energy in the club as well. Strip clubs are designed to offer a party atmosphere at all times, which means high energy and fun. It’s often the strippers’ job to keep the party going and in most cases, the alcohol drinks flowing.
Not all strip clubs are treated equally. And this is a good thing! It means you can find a club atmosphere that suits your personality, talents, and comfort level. Here are some of the most popular types of strip clubs for you to consider.
A gentleman’s club is a nicer way of saying a strip club. It’s the most basic and popular place for you to get your start as a stripper. It usually consists of a bar, tables, and a dance floor with one or more stripper poles. Some gentleman’s clubs have VIP or private rooms for exclusive shows and lap dances. A gentleman’s club can be anything from a back-street bar with poor lighting and seedy customers to a luxury club with a bouncer, professional LED lighting, and sexy decor. Strippers at these types of clubs are usually hired as independent contractors which means instead of collecting a salary, you’ll earn tips and some commission. In this way, you’re in complete control of how much (or how little) you make based on how hard you “work the room” and how charismatic you are. It’s also important to note that while some clubs allow dancers to become fully nude on stage, others are topless only, with dancers wearing underwear or panties at all times. Be sure that you’re comfortable with the individual club’s rules and requirements before signing on.
Not all strippers work in a club. Plenty of professional striptease artists will travel to different locations and parties as on-call dancers. Popular private events include bachelor parties, milestone birthdays, and retirement parties. Some clubs will outsource their strippers for private parties and split the money for the job, with the dancer keeping all of the tips. These private shows sometimes include more erotic performances including burlesque shows, belly dancing, and other themes. Strippers may be required to act, dance, or perform more creative acts than simply taking their clothes off. This is another reason many strippers learn new skills to become more versatile performers.
It’s no surprise that the rise of technology has also led to the creation of online stripping, also known as cam stripping. Cam models are wildly popular on subscription sites like OnlyFans and often involve one-on-one interactions or live video feeds. Models will do everything from ASMR to masturbating on camera, or you guessed it, stripping!
Online striptease performances are convenient, safe, and private for both strippers and viewers. The client can make special requests and view the performance from the privacy and comfort of their home. Cam strippers feel more comfortable and safe in their own homes as well. They can do everything they normally would in person, on camera. The main difference is that the customer can’t physically touch you (more on this later), which is preferred by some strippers. If you choose to go the cam model route, be sure to get paid in advance to avoid getting scammed.
Now that you know a little bit more about what’s required of you as a stripper, including job descriptions and opportunities, let’s discuss a few more aspects of the industry that may sway your decision.
Let’s face it. As with most professions in the adult or sex industry, strippers get a bad rap. If you decide to follow this career path you need to grow a thick skin and be prepared for the backlash from others. This includes everyone from your family and friends to future partners and even people outside the club. Some close-minded individuals still consider strippers dirty, sluts, or even prostitutes. Even if you have never performed a single lap dance or private show in your life, some people will assume you sell sex for money. You need to be a strong, self-aware, and confident person to be a stripper and survive the potential negative feedback from others.
While most strip clubs have strict rules against customers and clients physically touching dancers, it does happen. Too much booze combined with poor judgment and the intoxicating environment can lead some clients to get overzealous and eager. While this behavior isn’t allowed or accepted, you need to expect it. Most clubs have very tight security in place to handle these types of situations. If you are touched in an unsolicited manner, try to remain calm and let the club owner or security officers know. Don’t handle the situation yourself. You may act out in a way that damages your reputation.
Interactions inside the club aren’t the only ones you need to think about. It’s not easy for some people to be in a romantic relationship with a stripper. Your significant other may feel insecure or jealous over your profession of choice. If you decide to pursue this career, you need to accept the fact that it may impact both your current and future romantic relationships. Many strippers claim their job negatively impacts their sex life. Due to the sexual nature of dancing half-naked for money, many strippers also lack sexual interest or enthusiasm at the end of the day. This can cause turmoil in your romantic relationship and a significant dip in intimacy.
While your health should always be a top priority, this is especially true when becoming a stripper. Your physical appearance plays an important role in your success. That means you need to practice self-care including eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of physical activity, and avoiding dangerous behaviors. Some clubs forbid their dancers to engage in risky hobbies including physical sports that may result in injury. You need to preserve the health and appearance of both your face and body. But making your health a priority isn’t all hard work. It also means pampering yourself with facials, and massages, getting your haircut and colored, getting manicures and pedicures, and investing in quality make-up and skincare products.
Not every stripper makes enough money to live off of. In fact, many strippers also hold a second job. If you’re considering going into this industry, you need a backup plan. This can come in the form of a second job or a substantial savings plan. As an independent contractor, you’ll also need to pay for your own medical benefits and taxes. Getting your finances in order before becoming a stripper is important since this profession, unlike others, has a shelf life. As mentioned previously, stripping is a viable option for adults under the age of 30. Once you reach a point where you can’t physically perform the job anymore, you’ll need other options for making money and a safety net to fall back on.
Speaking of money, this is the biggest question most people have about becoming a stripper. How much money can you reasonably make? Unfortunately, the answer varies significantly and is based on numerous factors from where you live and work to your popularity and the services you offer. Even the most successful strippers have “off” nights where they end up owing the club more money than they take home. It’s this uncertainty that makes becoming a stripper a challenging career choice. But that’s not to say you can’t make between a few hundred to a few thousand dollars a night!
Most strip clubs operate the same way. Dancers don’t collect a wage or salary and rely solely on tips for their income. In some areas, strippers actually have to pay the club owners to perform in their venue. Strippers are independent contractors which means you might work at several clubs at a time without being a permanent fixture at any one spot. This is part of what makes stripping so unpredictable.
Your best bet for making big money as a stripper is to choose the right type of clubs to work in. Seedy or small bars off the beaten path significantly limit how much money you can make. High-end, glitzy, clubs located in big cities and on prominent streets bring in significantly more customers and income for their dancers. They also have VIP rooms and offer bottle service and other perks that attract high-paying clients. These high rollers are more likely to fill your G-string with 100s rather than 1s.
The physical location where you work is one thing. Your spot on the line-up of dancers is the second most important factor when it comes to making money as a stripper. New hires are usually given slower time slots like during the day or early evening. This helps you get used to the routine and customers before performing during peak hours. Over time, and once you prove yourself, you can earn top spots like Friday and Saturday nights which equate to bigger payouts. Depending on the club, its location, and the level of clientele, strippers can make anywhere from $50 to $100 on a very slow night to as much as $2,000 on a good night.
Cam models and online strippers can set their own rates and make almost as much as strippers working in a club.
This is a common practice in gentleman’s clubs. Similar to how waitresses in a restaurant “tip out” to the bartenders and bussers, strippers in a club are expected to share their tips with other workers that facilitate their work. This includes bartenders, bouncers, managers, and the DJ. Some strippers don’t feel that tipping out is fair. After all, you’re the one dancing all night and bringing in the money. However, it’s often the bartenders and waitresses who recommend certain strippers for private dances and VIP showings, which is where the big money is made. Tipping out to your coworkers could result in steadier, more lucrative work in the future.
Many strip clubs promote a culture of inclusivity, almost like a family, with employees all looking out for one another. Tipping out is just one way to show this unity. While there’s no set rule for how much strippers should share with their colleagues, 20% seems to be the most common and reasonable amount.
Most strippers thrive on tips, which is why knowing how to earn big money is a key factor in your success. In addition to choosing a high-end club and securing a prime time slot for your performance, there are other ways to increase your nightly income.
Don’t be surprised if your favorite clients try to take your relationship outside the club. It’s never a good idea to share your personal information including your phone number, address, or even email address. Instead, use online platforms like OnlyFans, Snapchat, and other social media pages to communicate with your clients if you choose to do so. Some customers will be more than willing to pay extra for one-on-one time with you outside of work. And no, we aren’t talking about prostitution. Flirtatious conversations, nude photos, videos, and even escort services can all earn you additional income on top of your earnings as a stripper.
When it comes to making money inside the club, be sure your regulars know exactly what days, nights, and times you’ll be working so they never miss a show. Share information about any other events or parties you’ll be at where they can attend. You can also offer your services at your customer’s next private event.
While creating a certain character and persona is important as a stripper, it’s equally important to be versatile. Don’t be afraid to change your outfit, costume, makeup, and hairstyle throughout the evening. Experiment with different looks and characters to see what customers respond to best. If you notice an increase in tips when you perform in a certain costume or incorporate specific dance moves in your routine, rely on these for additional income. Learning to read the room is another important component. Take note of the room’s energy and what customers are responding to most.
Even on slow nights, you need to be on your game. That means making your presence known on the floor, regardless of how empty the club is or how tired you are. For starters, it’s your job to entertain customers at all times. This is especially true if the club is low on energy. Use your charismatic personality to liven things up and increase the room’s energy and interest. By being attentive to customers, management may reward you with a better spot in the line-up.
Although history teaches us not to put all of our eggs in one basket, there are benefits to working at a single club when you’re just starting off. Loyalty is the number one reason. By showing a club owner you’re committed to their venue, they’ll be more willing to invest their time, effort, and money in you as well. Managers will appreciate your allegiance and are more likely to pair you with their best, highest-paying clients. By working at one club, you can also start attracting regulars. These are customers that come to your club specifically to see you and usually pay more for this luxury.
One thing many strippers don’t realize is that it’s okay to ask for tips. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to do this. You don’t want to be pushy or pounce on every customer the minute they walk in the door. Let them get a drink at the bar first and settle into their seat before approaching them. Offer them a private show in the VIP room or lap dance. If they decline, you can still ask for a tip in a creative way. Lean close to the guest, showing your cleavage and asking if they want to slip something inside your costume. Chances are, they’ll be more than happy to oblige. During this interaction, you can also get to know them on a more personal level by asking their name and sharing yours. This increases the chance that they’ll become a regular and look for you during their next visit.
By now, you should have a pretty good idea of what it takes to be a stripper and if it sounds like something you can handle. If the answer is yes, here are some tips to get you started.
The best-case scenario would be to get hired at a high-end strip club in a well-known area that attracts high-paying clientele. But you won’t know if a club is a right fit for you without doing a little research beforehand. Start by choosing clubs that are within a certain distance from your home. How far are you willing to travel? A high-end club far from home might be a better option than a dive bar around the corner. Then, head online and read reviews about the clubs from both clients and workers. All businesses will get both negative and positive reviews so be sure to comb through the results to get a better idea of the club’s reputation. Your next step is to call the clubs you're most interested in and find out if they’re hiring. If you’re lucky, you’ll be invited in for an interview followed by an audition.
Before you head down for your interview and audition, you have several things to get in order. Especially if you’ve never performed as a stripper before. While first impressions are important during any job interview, this is especially true if you want to be a stripper. The club owner or manager will be looking at your physical appearance first including everything from your hair and makeup to your clothes, shoes, and body type.
You’ll be expected to prepare a dance routine with at least two songs. Practice your routine and choreography carefully before show-time to ensure you come off as confident and in control instead of flustered and disorganized. Be sure to follow the club’s rules in terms of nudity and invest time and money in high-quality costumes and accessories. Some managers will also ask you to perform for a live audience on an amateur night or during open auditions. You need to be prepared for whatever the club owners ask of you but should never do anything you’re not comfortable with. Unlike other job interviews where you may have to wait days or weeks for an answer, most strip club managers will let you know on the spot whether or not you’ve got the job. If the answer is no, thank them politely and move on to the next audition. If it’s a yes, you may be invited to spend the night and perform for a live crowd so be sure to bring a list of prepared songs and performances.
Speaking of your costume, you need to focus on all the details of your costume and appearance. Check with the club but most venues will let you wear whatever you want since you won’t be wearing it for long! This includes everything from character costumes like a naughty nurse or school girl to sexy lingerie or something simple like pasties and a thong. Avoid clothing with complicated zippers, buttons, or straps that are difficult to get out of. Fumbling with your outfit on stage isn’t sexy and will take away from your performance. Your shoes are especially important since in some cases, this may be the last thing you’re wearing! Your feet are also in the direct eye line of your customer. Opt for sexy stilettos, strappy heels, or high boots. Clients with foot fetishes will be especially interested in your footwear. Similar to costumes that are easy to get off, your footwear should also be comfortable to avoid trips, falls, and embarrassment.
You also need to think about your hair and make-up. One thing to keep in mind is that most clubs have bright, hot lights on stage. Waterproof makeup can better withstand body heat and sweat after a long night of dancing. Opt for strong, bold shades of eyeshadow and blush that brighten up your face against the harsh lights that tend to wash you out. You can also add some sparkle and sheen but do so sparingly to keep a classy look. Choose a hairstyle that can hold up against your dance moves, hair tossing, sweating, and gyrating. High ponytails and buns are popular options. Wigs are another popular option and allow you to take on whatever persona you want.
You’ve got the look and the dance moves, now you need a captivating stage name to help create a memorable brand. Most strippers use stage names to protect their identity and privacy. Before you choose a stage name, think about what it says about you. You want a name that embodies your personality and is playful and memorable without being too cheesy. It should be short but detailed and unique from other dancers in the same club or even clubs in the local area to avoid confusion.
In time, your name will also become your brand. It’ll be how people recognize you, how you promote yourself on social media, and within the local adult community. You want your stripper name to be synonymous with sex appeal and your must-see performances. Becoming a successful stripper is often about selling your character and persona. You can also use this same stripper name if you pursue a career in cam stripping online, making it easy for your loyal fans to find and follow you.
There you have it! Our ultimate guide to becoming a stripper in 2022. If you have the right personality, endurance, and work ethic, the stripper stage might be the perfect place for you. That or cam stripping online from the comfort of your home. Just remember, this career choice does have a shelf life and places a lot of importance on your physical appearance. While the demands of being a stripper aren’t for everyone, with the right attitude and planning, you could become a top-earning performer in your local area, online, and beyond.
Browse our blog for more unconventional ways of making money and capitalizing on your sex appeal.