OnlyFans: more than just adult content

If you think this online subscription platform is just for porn, think again. It's being utilized by everyone from wellness coaches to comedians – not to mention those just sharing footage of their backyard birds.
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OnlyFans may have gained a reputation as a site for adult content since it was founded in 2016 by Tim Stokely, but the subscription platform has grown to be far more than that. An increasing proportion of the site's 1.5 million content creators don't sell sex at all, earning a combined $3 billion annually from subscribers to their profiles.

‘There's been a rise in mainstream content as people look for new ways to generate lost revenue during this unprecedented year,’ Tim said in 2020. This includes everyone from wellness coaches to comedians giving a glimpse behind the scenes as they prepare for gigs and professional chefs offering top recipes and tips.

Finding your niche

It's all part of the increasing move towards niches in the creator economy driven by platforms like Patreon. Celebrities such as Cardi B may be targeting their millions of fans who want to see what a pop star does all day, but others like Zoah Hedges-Stocks, a former journalist from Suffolk, UK, are aiming a little lower. 

‘I think I'm one of the only people doing this on OnlyFans,’ says Zoah, who runs the GreatTits British Wildlife Cam. The name is misleading: for $4.99 a month, Zoah's subscribers get wildlife footage of animals in her garden.

Micro income

Zoah set up an OnlyFans in November 2020 and her first subscribers were all friends. In January 2021, she went viral (by accident, due to her surname) during the GameStop saga, a stock market drama involving the video-game store. ‘At that point I switched my OnlyFans to free.’ Around 700 people signed up, which translated into 23 paying subscribers. She's considering using the income towards a pension.

‘These badgers and foxes and kind strangers on the internet may be looking after me in my old age.’

Sex sells

While Zoah only currently makes enough to pay for her phone bill, others are earning far more lucrative sums. Sex still sells on OnlyFans, as Kate Cryptid – not her real name – knows. The Canadian joined OnlyFans in January 2020; she's now in the top 8% of creators on the platform, posting explicit videos.

‘They've tried to push the idea that it's general creatives, but in day-to-day life I very rarely see anybody who's strictly posting vanilla content,’ says Kate. ‘It's always been: “This is the place I'm putting stuff the rest of the internet doesn't let me show you.”’

This article was first published in Courier's 100 Ways to Make a Living. To purchase a copy or become a subscriber, head to our webshop.

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