Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Is OnlyFans Having A Negative Effect On The Cannabis Labor Market?

The reality is that with sites like Patreon, Fansly and JustForFans, there are multiple avenues available to people willing to earn a living by showing off to strangers.

The labor crunch has been problematic for industries across the board recently. The struggle to find good employees has been so tough that even recreational cannabis dispensaries are having a challenging time finding employees. And who wouldn’t enjoy legally selling weed for a living!?

While working in the cannabis industry comes with its own culture that’s hard to find in a conventional career path, it’s always hard to beat working for yourself. 

Nowadays, the path to entrepreneurship has never been more accessible for people who prioritize the freedom of controlling their own time and labor, over the structure a traditional 9-to-5 job can provide. Influencers, and content creators of all types have all played a role in redefining what constitutes a worthwhile career in the year 2021. What that means for industries that rely on a traditional workforce remains to be seen. Even though the recreational cannabis industry is still in its infancy, it’s already suffering from a labor crisis that appears to have no end in sight. 

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Although the labor crisis doesn’t appear to be showing signs of slowing down, one Washington state cannabis retailer, who wishes to rename anonymous, recently told us that it would, and for good reason, too. He shared that among his staff, 10-20% of his workers had pages on the popular subscription-based site OnlyFans. Although OnlyFans considers itself a platform for creators of all types, the site has developed a reputation for its high-concentration of adult-content creators. The popularity of the site was only fueled by the pandemic, helping it amass over 130 million users and 2 million creators.

In August, the site made the decision to ban adult content in hopes of improving scalability. This decision led the cannabis retailer to believe that the decision might entice some of his workers who left the business in exchange for OnlyFans subscribers to return to work. And he is far from the only business owner suffering from a tight labor market. A recent report revealed that as of August, there are more than 10 million open jobs nationwide, which is the most ever. Additionally, there’s over a million more vacant jobs than there are unemployed individuals.

RELATED: Weed, Booze, Sex And Other Consumer Trends Likely To Continue In 2021

Those labor numbers lead to business owners like our cannabis friend searching for months on end to fill open positions. The cost of hiring workers has increased for 40% of business owners, too. Considering those factors, it’s easy to assume that the retailer was more than relieved when he caught wind of the OnlyFans decision to move away from explicit content since he’s in real need of good employees. 

For certain employees, the prospect of being able to make enough income to support an easy-going lifestyle complete with all the perks like vacations, outdoor adventure and nights out on the town they can handle in exchange for some naughty pics and vids is too good to pass up. That’s why when the cannabis retailer found out about the decision OnlyFans made to walk back their plans to ban adult-content, he knew he had no chance of getting his old employees back.

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Photo by Timothy Dykes via Unsplash

For example, we spoke to one OnlyFans creator who began making content for her subscribers roughly five to six months before the pandemic began. We’ll call her Sasha for privacy’s sake. She says she started creating content on OnlyFans because she wanted to live a little bit of a more luxurious lifestyle than she was used to living, and wasn’t being paid what she desired at her current job.

The fact that she’s able to sustain her lifestyle in one of the most prominent areas in Seattle one of the most expensive metros in the country leads us to believe she was able to secure the supplemental income she was after. Making matters even easier for her is the fact that she has the full support from her family.

“People in my life have come from the entertainment industry, and sex work themselves, so I don’t get questioned in a negative way,” she says. In fact, she told us that her mom bought her a ring light to help her start filming, which helped to bring her start-up costs down. Sasha says starting an OnlyFans account can be a timely, cost consuming venture.

“[OnlyFans creators] have to put in 10 to 20 hours of work. It’s a lot of talking to people,” she explained. Aside from a ring light, another part of her start-up costs were wardrobe updates to fulfill niche requests like “baking a cake in a cute little outfit” or posing  in a WonderWoman outfit. As someone with experience working in male-dominated industries, she has no problem putting her foot down and making her boundaries clear with her subscribers.

“I don’t do anything with anyone else, mine is just me, mostly topless smoking in my bedroom,” she says. “I don’t offer any XXX and I’m comfortable telling people that.”

Photo by Oleg Elkov/Getty Images

One of the reasons she gets those requests and puts a fast halt on them, she believes, is due to the wide and increasingly growing availability of porn. Actually, that’s also part of the reason she says she’s “in the process” of pivoting away from OnlyFans.

“OnlyFans has become so overly saturated, so many people price their subscriptions for so low that people can buy what they want for a lot cheaper than I offer,” she says. Regardless of how oversaturated it is, she still manages to pull in $500-$800 a month fulfilling the niche content demands of her subscribers.

 RELATED: Weed, Booze, Sex And Other Consumer Trends Likely To Continue In 2021

As far as the Onlyfans decision to ban adult content goes, she had one reaction: She saw it coming. “From a business standpoint it makes a lot of sense,” she says. “If they want to make money [by] having a platform grow, they need to eliminate explicit content if they want an app. Deferring to the web platform could be detracting from adding more users.” 

Even though she clearly understood the business ramifications behind the decision to ban adult content, she says the decision still broke her heart as a sex-worker as did the decision to take 20% of income from sex-workers who rely on those funds for survival.

The decision by OnlyFans to reverse the ban on adult content still won’t stop Sasha’s plans for what she describes as “a slow fizzle out” from the platform. Right now she says she only posts the link to her OnlyFans profile on social media platforms during “late nights” on her instagram story. 

While she enjoys keeping her OnlyFans content restricted to a group of loyal subs who eagerly await seeing her take topless bong rips every month, she says she may consider joining another platform that’s a hit with adult content makers called Patreon. 

The reality is that with sites like Patreon, Fansly and JustForFans, there are multiple avenues available to people willing to earn a living by showing off to strangers. With that in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising to see retailers like our friend in the cannabis industry continuing to struggle with staffing shortages for the foreseeable future. The question is, how many others will leave the traditional workforce and join them?


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