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OnlyFans creator: What you need to know

Written by Sophia Merzbach, creative writer and content producer
Updated on
Read in 5 minutes

The online portal OnlyFans is conquering the social media world and, after YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, is considered one of the most influential platforms for anyone who wants to be an influencer. Many celebrities are now also represented with their own accounts, whether musicians, athletes, or actors.

However, OnlyFans is probably best known for its image as a platform for adult content. In this article, we explain how you can become a creator on OnlyFans and what you need to know, particularly about taxes.

What is OnlyFans?

OnlyFans is a social network like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok & Co. However, the platform works a little differently: you can create a free account, but to view content, especially pictures, videos, and live streams, you have to pay for them directly or take out a paid subscription.

This is not a streaming subscription for the platform (as with Netflix & Co.), the paid subscription runs directly through the individual creators.

  • Users specifically choose which content they want to pay for.
  • They then can follow and contact the respective creators.

The portal is used by creators or celebrities, for example, who release exclusive content for a fee using the subscription function or paywall. This content is intended exclusively for OnlyFans users and is not published on other platforms (possibly even free of charge).

This is not revolutionary at first. This payment model is also used on portals such as Patreon, Twitch or the newsletter service Substack, where creators can offer certain content for a fee.

Adult content drives growth for OnlyFans

In the media, OnlyFans is primarily discussed as a “nudity platform” („Nackig-Plattform“ – Bild Zeitung). The reason: a large proportion of the published content comes from models, porn actors, and sex workers who offer explicit images and videos. Celebrities also jumped on the bandwagon and showed more nudity on the platform than anywhere else. Content that would get banned on other platforms like Instagram or YouTube, for example.

💡Info: In summer 2021, the platform announced that it would no longer allow pornographic content. However, this statement was withdrawn a few days later following user protests. Therefore, everything is still allowed on OnlyFans (except criminal acts!).

Originally, the focus was not on explicit content. OnlyFans was founded in London in 2016 by brothers Tim and Thomas Stokely, who wanted to give artists a new opportunity to provide fans with exclusive content. The principle of “content for payment” already ensured monetization back then. In 2018, Leonid Radvinsky, the man behind the erotic platform “MyFreeCams”, acquired a majority stake in OnlyFans, whereupon the company’s activities were also geared more towards adult content.

The reorientation of content, but also the involvement of stars such as DJ Khaled, rapper Cardi B and former Disney starlet Bella Thorne (“Famous in Love”) and, last but not least, the coronavirus pandemic gave the website an enormous boost in popularity.

  • 2019: 13.5 million users
  • 2020: 24 million users
  • 2021: 188 million users
  • 2023: 323.5 million users
  • Number of creators: over 2 million

How can I earn money with OnlyFans?

Unlike other social media platforms, most content on OnlyFans can be paid directly. The requirement for this is that you create an account and register as a creator. To do this, you must confirm your identity and have your age verified. This is because only people aged 18 and over are allowed to publish content. A rather funny side note: you have to take a selfie of yourself and your ID.

Once you have created your profile, you can start publishing pictures, videos, or texts about yourself. You have three options for generating income from this:

  • Pay-per-view: You determine what users of the platform have to pay for a video or image of yours before they are granted access. Typical prices are between 10 and 50 dollars per image or video.
  • Subscription: You set a monthly amount that subscribers have to pay to access special content. The minimum is around 5 dollars, the maximum is 50 dollars. The average subscription fee is 10 dollars.
  • Tip: Your followers can give you an additional tip in chats or live streams. The minimum is 5 dollars, the maximum 100 dollars. Creators often offer a reward in return, such as a special picture or a personalized video.

OnlyFans only accepts credit cards as payment methods. The approved providers are: Visa/Mastercard, Discover and Maestro (via debit card). PayPal, for example, has not been supported for some time.

OnlyFans pays out within the next 7 days. This is comparatively fast: in some countries, creators have to wait up to 30 days to receive their money. The amounts are transferred directly to your credit card.

OnlyFans: What is the monthly income?

The more videos or images you offer and the more followers you have, the higher your income will be. However, as with other influencer activities, creating, posting, and keeping in touch with fans is a tough business. If you want to be successful, you have to upload content regularly and keep your followers happy with interesting posts.

It is difficult to say how high the monthly earnings on OnlyFans are. The information circulating on the Internet that even newcomers can earn between 1,000 and 2,500 euros per month is difficult to verify. However, there is a lot of money in the market: between September 2021 and September 2022, the platform’s turnover amounted to 4.8 billion euros. OnlyFans keeps 20 percent of this, while the remaining 80 percent is distributed to the creators.

The right strategy for success with OnlyFans

To earn money in a consistent way, however, you cannot avoid a long-term social media strategy. This means:

  • You have to create an appealing profile (including meaningful profile text and profile picture) and update it regularly.
  • You need to create new content regularly. The more followers you want that pay, the more frequently you should post to justify the subscription fees. Many creators publish new videos or images every day.
  • You don’t have to present yourself naked. There are now no limits to the content and your creativity on OnlyFans: from nude content to crochet sessions to gaming live streams and fitness workouts, anything is possible.
  • You also need to be active on other platforms such as Instagram, Twitter or Telegram to make yourself better known and attract new followers to OnlyFans. For example, you can create teasers or share previews of exclusive content.

With a larger number of followers, you can also start selling merchandising products via OnlyFans. The portal cooperates with the social selling platform Spring for this purpose. This allows you to integrate a “store” into your channel where you can sell everything from stickers, T-shirts, and sweaters to backpacks with your logo.

OnlyFans: Do I have to register a Gewerbe (trade)?

As an OnlyFans creator, you are self-employed in Germany. Because you earn money with the content and especially because you intend to make a profit (this is even more true if you sell merch products). So in most cases you have to register a Gewerbe and your self-employment with the tax authorities.

But don’t worry, it’s not that complicated. In any case, you should fill out the so-called Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung. It’s an online form that informs the Finanzamt about your self-employment. In it, you provide all the information about your activity and estimated earnings via OnlyFans (and other platforms) so that the Finanzamt can classify you accordingly.

💡If you work on OnlyFans as an artist or teacher (e.g. as a fitness or nutrition coach), you may be able to classify yourself as a freelancer. In this case, you are exempt from Gewerbesteuer (trade tax). However, the final decision whether you are a freelancer or Gewerbe is always made by your local Finanzamt.

Are you looking for the Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung?

Do you want to register as self-employed? Fill in the official Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung for free and submit it directly to the Finanzamt

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OnlyFans: What taxes are due as a creator?

If your income is over 24,500 euros per year, you have to pay Gewerbesteuer (trade tax). If you earn less, you are exempt from this tax. If your annual turnover exceeds 22,000 euros, you are also subject for VAT. If your income in the previous year is below the limit of 22,000 euros and you earn less than 50,000 euros in the current year, you can make use of the Kleinunternehmerregelung (small business regulation). In this case, you do not have to pay trade tax or VAT.

💡If you are looking for a solution to do your bookkeeping and taxes, try Accountable! The software and app were designed for self-employed people in Germany, who don’t have great tax knowledge. It’s available in English and our tax coaches provide personal support anytime! Test now for free!

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Sophia Merzbach, creative writer and content producer
Sophia Merzbach, creative writer and content producer

Sophia loves literature and writing. She's happy to have joined the Accountable team and is becoming a pro on all things tax related.
In her free time you will find her in a boulder gym, studying Italian or discovering the streets of her new hometown Berlin.

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