Updated: May 30
Have you been thinking about starting an OnlyFans account? Or are you looking to grow your following? This may be the post for you! Imagine being able to talk to dozens and dozens of OnlyFans creators to be able to pick their brains about how they operate their business. What works. What didn't. How they got started. What they've learned. What a resource that would be!
Well, over the past few years, that's exactly what I've done. As a top womens photograper in NJ I've been lucky enough to have the opportunity.
I'm not certain... but I probably started seeing my first clients mentioning OnlyFans in late 2018 or early 2019. I wasn't exactly sure what it was all about at first, and after receiving inquiries about creating content for the service I decided to take a closer look.
Fast forward a few years, and I've become somewhat of an expert on the platform after working with dozens and dozens of creators-- from new to experienced-- and with small to quite large followings. I've seen what works... and what doesn't. I've talked with many women about how they've learned to maximize the platform.
None of this was ever planned. 😂 Over the past few years I've been fortunate to be able to interact with these creators, and gather all this knowledge and wound up sharing it with those who wanted to listen. Many of my client OnlyFans sessions now seem to also involve some degree of coaching and planning as well as content creation.
Curious about learning some of these tips? I bet. As any creator would tell you, though, you certainly don't give away your most exclusive content for free! (Or cheap!) Right? Lesson #1 learned. 😂😂 --Don't worry, there's plenty of great info below.
Think about it, though. People are willing to spend way more on a Ferrari than a used Hyundai, right? Why? There is an entire marketing strategy behind the branding and pricing. ...And why so many people yeeearrrnnnn to have that Ferrari. Are you going to be the Ferrari or the used Hyundai?
Now is the time to decide!
Let's take a look at some of the common questions regarding getting started...
Do you need a fancy photographer to be successful on OnlyFans?
Yes...and no. Here's the bottom line... OnlyFans is about providing a steady stream of content to your subscribers. Fancy photographers, like me 😂, come at a fancy price that may not be in the budget of many who are just getting started. Filling your feed with nothing but pro images can get really expensive... and you may not receive an immediate return on that investment. You don't need fancy-schmancy pro images to get started... or grow subscribers.
That being said there is certainly a case for working with pro photographers to level up your content. Getting a great cover image, alone, may be worth the expense. You don't get a second change to make a first impression. On the OF platform you are competing with thousands of women and you may only get a split second for someone to decide if they will click through and check out your account... or not. If your cover image is not up to snuff... you may be losing out... BIG.
If your account is new, and you don't have many subscribers, spending a lot of money on pro photography content that is not really reaching a wide audience may not always be a great initial investment-- especially if you are working with limited resources. Your great photos are only been seen by a few eyeballs, and you won't be really getting a big return on money spent. You don't have enough paying eyeballs yet to recoup what your are going to spend.
I always tell people don't go rushing in to spending a lot of money on content when getting started. Your cell phone takes great photos, and starting off with some cute selfies is not a mistake and will be the most cost effective way to get your account off the ground.
Once you are established and can benefit from a set of pro images, it can certainly be a worthwhile investment.
But wait... what about my Instagram account? Aren't pro images good for promoting my OnlyFans there?
Again, yes... or maybe no. Many women who are creating OnlyFans accounts use Instagram to help promote and drive traffic to their accounts. How many followers do you have on your Instagram? Are you creating a new one just to promote your OnlyFans?
Some women create new Instagram accounts solely to promote their OnlyFans accounts to separate their "private Insta" from their "OnlyFans Insta." If you are making a new Instagram just to promote your account... you know it takes a lot of work to grow a following on Instagram! For a new account with little to no followers it may not be worth the initial expense of paying for pro images-- to share on an account with little to no following.
If you have an established account with thousands or tens of thousands of followers pro images can help take you to the next level and may be worth the cost.
Wait... I see women on Instagram who I know have OF accounts that seem to post tons of pro images AND they literally have hundreds of thousands of followers... that's what I want!!! No?
Well, odds are those accounts didn't start off using exclusively pro content.
There are indeed women on Instagram that have grown accounts to hundreds of thousands... or millions of followers that seem to post lots of highly edited and curated content: Accounts like Alexa Collins, Abby Dowse, or Skylar Simpson among many others boast large followings and display lots of high quality work... but that's not the sole reason they are successful--
As your account grows to 100,000's of Instagram followers, you may create relationships with top photographers in your area who may want to work with you... because of who you are! Lots of top photographers will work with Instagram social influencers and models because they are good vehicles to promote their brands. Models with large followings, in turn, want to work with the best photographers to help them look their best. As your account grows, you'll start to move up the food chain.
When you're starting from zero it may not be so simple.
The little secret here is that these women share something in common: they work hard. They are posting new content every day. I really don't know how some women can keep that up... it's exhausting! 😂 But they do! Hair...makeup...outfits... day after day after day. These women are indeed hard workers and that is a big reason why those accounts grow... not necessarily just because of pro images.
As a photographer, it may oddly sound like I'm trying to talk people out of getting professional photography...but that's not the case at all! What I'm saying is that if your accounts are brand new... you may not get an immediate return on that spend in terms of likes, subscribers, etc., to justify paying for an expensive (which usually mean talented) photographer. If you have a good budget... go for it. It's not going to hurt.
Perhaps a better way to look at it is this... Instead of your OnlyFans career, let's say you work up one morning and decided to be a pro golfer. You know absolutely nothing about golf... Would you say that running out to the local sporting goods shop and getting the most expensive golf clubs is going to immediately make you a good golfer? Um, no. There's a bit more to it than that. Likewise, getting a bunch of pro images isn't going to make you immediately successful. There's a bunch of daily hard work involved. Great photography is a part of successful account, but not the only reason for success.
Should I charge a large monthly OnlyFans subscription fee?
Well, no. It's not that important. What's best is a low, or even better yet no monthly subscription fee. Seems a bit counter-intuitive, huh?
The higher your monthly subscription fee...the fewer subscribers you'll have. Would you rather have 30,000 free subscribers seeing your content or just 30 subscribers paying $29.99 per month?
And what's the point of all this OnlyFans stuff if it isn't to grow subs??? But wait, Mike, I'm in the for the money, how do I make money then if I don't charge my subscribers? Good question. It's because the real cheese 🧀 doesn't come from subscriptions... and this is one topic I cover with the women working with me to help them know how to score big with subscribers.
If I post lingerie photos on Instagram will it take away from my OF subs?
Excellent question. Many women that work with me walk away with amazing photos and they are not sure if they should save them for their OF, or use them on Insta. The truth is it doesn't matter. You can post them on both!
Do I really need to create "extreme" content to be successful on OnlyFans?
Nope. Let's face it... for years I've had women contact me and think they need to do something "wild" or "edgy" or "erotic" to grow subscribers and make more money. What does any of that really mean? Those terms are relative, and one person's "erotic" may very well be another's "tame." As a channel gets more "extreme"-- it doesn't mean it makes more money. There is no correlation.
The most important thing is being genuine and being yourself. If you are naturally flirty... just be flirty. If you are naturally just super-cute... just be cute. 😀 If you are naturally a bit more sexual, do it up. Being something you aren't doesn't really help you long term.
Not only that, there are lots of audiences. Knowing how audiences are segmented and in what audience the biggest chunk of men lie is important...wouldn't you think? Do you know what that audience is?
--AND if you aren't haven't fun with your OnlyFans, odds are you won't have great success. If you aren't having fun interacting with your fans they will pick up on it. If you aren't posting regularly, you won't have great retention... and it's a lot harder to get a new subscriber than it is to keep an existing one.
OF COURSE, the men and women paying to see your subscriber or locked content are expecting to see more than what they are seeing for free or on your Insta.... You have to create the expectations and set them clearly on your account. Let's face it, most locked content contains some form of nudity or sexual activity... and I don't think that's much of a surprise to women getting involved in OF these days... but the most successful accounts may not be as extreme as you think.
Nudity is EVERYWHERE on the internet... for free(!) Why would people pay for OnlyFans?
Now we're getting to the heart of the issue... and the answer is it's not just about seeing bewbs... there's one small and simple thing women running large and successful accounts know and DO. Bewbs may be what gets the men and women (and yes, women love bewbs, too) in the door, but the secret to KEEPING them around and making money is a painfully simple thing that is totally overlooked by many. This simple action takes a little time and effort... but doing it is the key to success.
Want to know what this is? 😏 It's a method I teach all my clients... and it works.
Another reason they pay is...well... they're men. They are programmed at the factory to respond to certain visual cues. That and simple human curiosity will cause them to buy...buy...buy... given the right reasons... Do you know these right reasons?
Should I create video content?
Yass! Videos are a monster money maker. The thing about video content is that it can be tricky to do by yourself and look good. You can film simple short "selfie" videos at arms length, but the truth is its a little tricky to try to hold a phone steady in your hand while doing an "undressing" or "try on" video.
Having video professionally created can be a costly endeavor, and as I mentioned earlier with pro photos, may not be really worth it for people just starting out. That being said, once you get your account rolling, creating professionally shot and edited short 10 - 15 minute videos can be a cash cow.
Videos are often solo, a collaboration with a co-OnlyFans creator, or even with a boyfriend/partner.
Solo videos are probably the most prevalent. They can be from simple "undressing" or "sexy writhing" videos (as I call them 🤷) of you rolling around in bed, to steamy masturbation shorts.
One thing about OnlyFans is that people are always looking to grow their subscribers... and a great way to do that is through collaboration. More on this in a bit...
Do you have a boyfriend/husband/partner who's OK being on your account? It's not unusual to have them take part in your videos in some way.
The bottom line is videos are a great tool. I have personally created videos with creators that have earned them thousands of dollars... in a week.
Should I be collaborating with other OF creators?
Sure! One great way to be to introduced into an entire new group of potential subscribers is to hop on someone else's feed. People are always looking for new content, so it's typically a mutually beneficial situation.
You may have a BFF who is already on OF. Teaming up with her to post some photos of you, or even do some photos together is a great way to have both creators reach new potential subscribers. Additionally, if you are doing pro photos/videos, there may be some savings booking the session with her concurrently.
Reaching out to other creators in your area is also a good way to reach a new audience, as well. I wouldn't necessarily go jumping in bed with another OF creator you just met a day or so ago... but if you can build a relationship with someone from your area and you seem to both get along... why not?
I've had previous clients do this... and I love it because I get a potentially new client, as well (hey.. its business 😏.)
One thing to be careful of here is to be sure that you and your new OF friend have a chat beforehand to discuss your plans. That way everyone is on the same page with the same expectations-- and all are comfortable with the plan. Collabs are great... but you don't want to get yourself in a situation where it turns out she expects to be creating material that would make you uncomfortable... or doing stuff that isn't exactly your style. Shooting some silly girl-girl poses may be one thing... but if your new OF friend is expecting something a bit more hardcore, this may create an uncomfortable situation.
I have one long time client that was offered a collab and asked me if I be interested in doing photos/videos of the two of them. She was excited about the opportunity as the woman asking was a long time veteran with lots of followers and likes. I asked her to send me the womans OF account link, and a few nights later I was reviewing it, and in the account description was a list of kinds of content taking place... which were not exactly in my long times client's wheelhouse. I pointed this out to her. Even though it may have been exciting to get the opportunity to earn some new subs... in this case it may not have been a great match "style-wise" if this more extreme style content was the expectation. The last thing you want is to find yourself in a situation that suddenly takes a turn you were not anticipating...
In another example, one of my clients was offered a collab with another OF'er who had many times the subscribers of my client-- again, an exciting opportunity to grow! They chatted a bit and my client was fine doing photo/videos with the other woman-- and was looking forward to it! --And that is what they discussed. It turns out, though, that much of the OF'ers content also involved her boyfriend. In this case its not what was discussed that was the issue...but what was omitted. The OF'er planned on having her boyfriend along for the session-- because "he's always there" and in the room when she makes content. And "her boyfriend may get excited and may want to join in... we make content together all the time....it's no big deal." It was a big deal to my client. Hooking up with a cute chick, yes, but my client had no interest in making content with another man involved... needless to say getting fucked by a lingering boyfriend because just "oh well, that's what we usually do..."
Collabs are a great tool, but do your collab homework. Find out what type of content your potential collab partner typically makes... and ask the right questions. Choosing your collab partners wisely can be a great add to grow account.
How is this material used? Collab material can, and is mostly, used as "special content" and can be a big payday so that's why so many people do it.
Is it easy to make money on OnlyFans?
Probably the biggest misconception most women have is that it is easy. You'll create an account... then *BOOM* success. ...If it only was like that! As I mentioned earlier, success on OnlyFans is a function of effort. Successful accounts (especially new accounts) are posting regularly... if not daily. Interacting with their clients daily. Posting on their Instagram daily.
At first your OF career is exciting and new. Four months in-- taking a photo of your boobs isn't quite the same thrill as it was at the start. It just turns into... work. The key is putting that same enthusiasm into your posts in month six, seven and eight as you did in week one. Being determined to sit down and do your hair and makeup on a day when you don't really feel like it... and taking those photos.
And here's the real un-PC part of all of it... Can anyone make money doing it? Well, let me put it this way-- It's easier if you are a 23 year-old who is fit, cute, has perfect boobs, and loves being on social media all day. Much easier. That's just life...
When I'm approached by women twice that age (and I don't ask my clients how old they are... ) whose had 3 kids, doesn't regularly spend eight hours a day with a cell phone in her face on social media, and hasn't seen the inside of a gym in decades... if maybe ever... and suddenly thinks OnlyFans may be an easy option because her MLM career hasn't really panned out... Well, that's a scenario with a much tougher path to success-- and that's just the reality of it.
Is there such a thing as OF burnout?
Yes. As I mentioned earlier... this is work. Repetitive work. It's fun to get hair & makeup done and set off to your first few photo shoots. The excitement of this wears off pretty quickly, however. Your social media career revolves around constantly producing new content...and posting daily. It's a job.
--And once you have subscribers, or are earning money, there can be a bunch of pressure to constantly produce new content-- especially if this becomes a primary source of revenue. There's rent, car payments, food, utilities...etc. That money needs to keep on coming... how does that happen?? Making more content.
When women come in to see me I often check their social media to see how frequently they post online.. and their level of interaction. If you are a non-poster, or the type of person that may upload a photo or two a month-- OF may not be for you! You need a constant flow. There are some who just enjoy this activity and do it every day regardless. Some are really good at turning it into a work routine and posting regularly out of obligation-- but they are still posting. Think of it like going to the gym: Everyone has that initial inspiration to go on New Years... but are you still hitting the gym a few days a week a month or two later?
I tell people to try doing this exercise for two weeks...and see how you do. Can you keep posting 1-2 times per day for two weeks, or so? You may be a natural.
Burnout is also caused by other factors. There are only so many bra sets you can photograph yourself in. Coming up with new ideas/photos for your subscribers begins to get more challenging. How many times did I wear that blue set? You'll start to lose track...and at some point really not care.
Additionally, it can become demoralizing when you are doing special work to create a set of photos or videos... and they go unpurchased. You can't force people to buy!
What to do? Well, initially pace yourself. Keep a slow and steady pace that works for you. More importantly, take a break if you need to. Step away and recharge your batteries.
Something else that can help is batching your content... read below.
How do I batch OnlyFans Content?
As the name suggests, batching content is creating enough content to use over a period of time all at once. Don't feel like doing makeup and taking photos every day? Well, what most women do is create their "photo day," or "photo week."
For example, every Tuesday & Wednesday become "Content Days." Or-- the first week of every month is "Content Week," where do you all your photos, outfits, etc... and get that part of the work out of the way so you can enjoy the rest of your week/month.
This won't do away with posting or upkeep of your social media... but you can use the photos you've created during for "Content Days" to post throughout the rest of your week/month.
This method also may help alleviate the burnout.
What should I charge for my locked messages / DMs? How often should I post them?
That's the million dollar question, huh! The reality is this is where many come up short. Many women underestimate their "worth" and lose out on a lot of extra money.
What's the right amount? This really depends on a lot of other things. One way you can approach it is-- how much to you want to make? Is your OF account just a part-time thing? Are you only looking to earn a few bucks for a vacation? Do you plan on it being your primary income? How much do you feel you're worth? How often do you plan on mass DMing your subs?
The basic shortfall here is most women getting into OnlyFans don't really understand business, and more or less are just "guessing" on what to charge for their content, or even worse-- "Well, I charged $XX for that locked DM because that's what I saw other women charging."
Well, that's a bad strategy. I don't even know where to begin when I hear that.
It's a bit more complicated than this, but a real basic way to approach it is to do a quick exercise and figure out how much money you want to make each month-- and work backwards. This formula can be constantly in flux as you grow and have more subscribers and men paying for your locked DMs.
Also... on the pure marketing side of it... something that costs more has the implication that it is more special/valuable and "worth" more. There is some psychology going on here, as well.
How often should you post? The more the better. Every day? Every other day? There isn't a simple answer to this, either, as it is tied into the paragraphs above and depends on a lot of factors.
Are you on Only Fans? I may want to work with you!
Yes! I'm at Michael Cassidy. OnlyFans isn't exactly "photographer friendly" platform, however. In my case even creating an account was a big headache! During the approval process my inbox was filled with denial emails accusing me of posting "3rd party content" before I ever even had an account approved! 😂
I simply wanted to create an account to support some of my clients...now friends... who are on the platform. My emails to the service to find out why I was being accused of "stealing" content resulted in confusing emails that boiled down to "well, you're a photographer you're going to be posting content that isn't yours...." and "we suggest you remove any connection to your photography..." which really makes no sense...
That debacle aside, I do not use the platform to post my work.
So, is it necessarily bad? Heck no! The first time you have a $10,000 month you'll see there are a lot tougher ways you can be making money. The first time your locked post brings in $1000 it will certainly have you in a celebratory mode.
The key is to have a sound plan to maximize your growth and earnings during your time on the platform... all the while having fun while doing it.