Welcome to Megan Barton-Hanson’s new VICE UK column, covering all things to do with sex, relationships and self-love during one of the strangest eras of the 21st century. Read the previous column here.
A lot of my work is spent running OnlyFans. Going through DMs, uploading new content, editing pictures – it’s a much bigger undertaking than most people would probably think.
I actually had OnlyFans before I went on Love Island, but I took down my account before going in the villa. When I came out, I really missed OnlyFans and the community on there, but I was nervous about returning to it as it has a controversial reputation. Even though I’d started talking openly about my belief that women should do what they want with their bodies, there was still a part of me that felt like I’d be judged if I got back on OnlyFans. And that felt hypocritical. So last year I re-joined, and I’m loving it!
I knew I could create a successful OnlyFans account because I had a large following, but there is still a lot of work that goes into the page and into keeping those subscribers re-subscribing. As a lifer on the app, here’s some tips on how to make and maintain a successful OnlyFans.
KNOW YOUR BOUNDARIES AND ESTABLISH THEM FROM THE START
You could spend literally hours replying to someone in your messages explaining why you're not going to go shoot to a different level (such as topless), and you’re not gaining anything out of that. It’s much easier to state the level you're comfortable shooting with upfront in your bio. Then, when people send messages such as ‘I’m paying a premium to follow you on OnlyFans when I could see fully nude and many more girls for half the price!’ – you can refer people back to your bio, which states you’re only doing topless, and that can end the conversation. That way you’re not wasting time going back and forth with Mr. Pushy for ages.
People who pay for a service will always try to push the boundaries. Some creators end up promising things to pushy subscribers, such as promises of posting or sending more explicit photos to them later down the line. You can end up digging yourself into a hole. Boundaries are so important – you have to make them clear and concise from the beginning. And if someone keeps pushing it, and even offering you more and more money to try to change your mind, I would just block them. You're not tied to these people, so don't feel like you owe them anything. You can always get new subscribers.
MAKE A DAY OF IT
I really enjoy getting dressed up, doing my makeup and hair and wearing cute clothes and lingerie – and I think that’s the main thing. You’ve got to enjoy it. The moment it starts becoming a chore, you know it’ll be a slippery slope. Every time I shoot I feel so sassy and so glamorous. I know a lot of people who have struggled with body confidence in the past and since doing OnlyFans, they now feel beautiful and it makes them happy.
I like to make a day of it, if I can. Often, I get a hair stylist, a stylist, a location – and I think that enjoyment really does translate. If it’s a chore and you’re just there looking gormless with your tits out, people probably aren’t going to want to subscribe!
REPLY TO FANS AS MUCH AS YOU CAN, ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE JUST STARTING OUT
What people get wrong about OnlyFans is that some of these subscribers don't just want to look at your content. They want some sort of personal connection. So it's great to reply and spend that time with your fans. I’d recommend keeping a time limit in mind so you'll know when to wrap it up if the conversation is getting too in-depth. Should you want to, you can also charge for messages, so if someone does want a full-on conversation you can gently remind them that you will start to charge for messages. If you are have a fairly small number of subscribers, I’d suggest replying to everyone to help keep them re-subscribing.
As time goes on, you can get into more of a routine with it. DMs are super time consuming, but I’m aware that people subscribe to my OnlyFans because there's more chance of me reaching them and messaging them back than there is on Instagram, where I've got millions of followers. And we want to get people re-subscribing! So set yourself some targets. I try to upload new content four times a week, and I reply to DMs twice a week for around two hours at a time.
NEVER GIVE UP PERSONAL INFORMATION
I have heard so many stories about girls starting a new OnlyFans account. Guys would ask for PayPal details and promise to transfer some money. The guy would transfer the money, and these girls would do whatever is asked in exchange – but then the guy would reverse the payment. So it is good to watch out for stuff like that. Stick to your boundaries and don't let money or pressure tempt you to adjust them for anyone. Also if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
BE PREPARED FOR THE EMOTIONAL LABOUR
I don't speak as much on OnlyFans as I did when I was webcamming, but even back then I remember talking to guys about their hobbies, music and films. We’d be speaking over video so that we could hear each other, and he’d play his music and I’d play mine. It is easy to assume that private chats on OnlyFans can be seedy, but some people just want to chat like friends, which I enjoy much more unsurprisingly!
Ultimately it is a form of social media, only the content is paid for and much more intimate and exclusive than sites like Instagram. People are still looking for interaction and are paying to not only see your content, but to get to know you as a person. So it is good to factor in time for that, because that’s how you’re going to be most successful.
REACH OUT TO OTHER CREATORS AND COLLABORATE
If you’re just starting out and you don’t know anyone else on there, try to reach out to other creators via OnlyFans or search through social media hashtags for people you get good vibes from. Then you can start shared groups with creators who have similar and bigger followings. You can work together to earn money, so finding creators whose content you like and who you might want to collaborate with is so useful – you can do collective shoots, whilst promoting each other’s pages and drawing inspiration from each other. I’ve found such a great, real sense of a community on the page, which is unlike any other social media site I’ve experienced.
IF YOU’RE NOT FEELING GREAT, DON’T BE AFRAID TO SHARE THAT WITH YOUR FANS
If you are struggling with content for whatever reason, try to show them some insight into how you're feeling. You can just go live and suggest something unusual for you such as doing yoga – you can encourage them to do yoga with you! This helps create a broad range of content that can add value to your page and help fans get to know you.
I’ve been a bit quiet on my OnlyFans lately because there have been a lot of negative headlines about me, so I literally posted about that and talked to them how I would my friends. Like, ‘sorry I’ve been quiet guys, not feeling great, all the negative comments about me using OnlyFans is draining. Hope you’re all good, we’ll catch up soon – I’ve got new images for you tomorrow.’ It’s good to just keep subscribers in the loop – just like YouTube. These subscribers are human just like me. They enjoy feeling they have more of a connection with you and they know you as a person, so you can be as honest and open as you feel comfortable with.
At the end of the day, they're subscribing because they're invested in you and your life. It really is a package deal!