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What OnlyFans teaches us about Finance and Money

It’s actually an important financial case study.

words by: Matt Peng
Mar 18, 2021

While OnlyFans may have numerous amounts of artists, celebrities and famous personalities on its platform, the fact remains that it’s a side hustle – even main hustle – for a lot of industry professionals, influencers and more commonly, sex workers (both amateur and professional). Whether or not that was the intention of the platform upon creation doesn’t matter, because today we’re not talking about the type of content, but instead on the financial lessons a platform like OnlyFans (OF) teaches us.


OnlyFans is a subscription-based service. Whether or not the content creators decide to give you that content for free or not is up to them – most of the time they charge you a monthly fee. This is the part that’s important to breakdown from a financial standpoint. A subscription-based revenue model helps the content creator generate compound wealth – which means it doesn’t grow in the a straight line, but exponentially in a curve upwards.


Breaking it down simply, if you charge $9.99/month and have 100 subscribers, you make $999/month (assuming all the subscribers are paying). Your income will grow as long as your subscribers grow. Assuming by the end of your first year you have 1,000 subscribers and all of them are still paying $9.99/month, you’re making $9,990/month.


OnlyFans actually has a built-in tool that helps you set and reach goals too. On the “How it Works” page, they break down realistically how much you can make per month based off your following and monthly subscription fee. This estimate accounts for only 1-5% of your subscribers actually paying so you have make way more than their estimates if you have a larger percentage of your followers subscribing. The calculation also doesn’t take into account tips. If you want to get even more complex, you can create different subscription tiers, essentially rewarding your paying customers with more exclusive and sought after content for a higher price. OnlyFans actually breaks down a lot of this in their “10 Things to Do When You Sign Up to OnlyFans” blog post.


It’s true that OF is one of newest platform to use this model to teach us a valuable and viable hustle, but they aren’t the only ones – see what I did there? Subscription model businesses exist everywhere and you probably used one during the pandemic without even thinking about it – that’s right, I’m talking about Netflix (if you’re the unlucky one that actually pays for it and not the friends that just leech). Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Roku and Crunchyroll charge you monthly fees that you probably don’t even remember anymore, and that shows success in this kind of business thinking. If you game, services like PSN and Xbox Live also use this model, again when’s the last time you cared about paying $59.99/year to get online and trash talk? Even shopping services have adopted this model with the likes of Amazon Prime leading the way and monthly clothing subscription services like Trunk Club and Menlo Club following suit.


The grooming industry actually exploded with this business model too over the last decade. With offerings from Birchbox, Harry’s, Dollar Shave Club, The Beard Club, Bespoke Post, Bevel, Manscaped and more, they’re leading the charge in men’s grooming and wellness. So if you’re a young entrepreneur trying to figure out your side hustle, and possibly a main hustle, think about the benefits of a subscription-based business model. If you can grew that following of consumers large enough, you’ll be set. Just don’t forget to share the secret sauce with your circle so everyone can come up together.