Money Talks is an xoNecole series where we talk candidly to real women about how they spend money, their relationship with money, and how they get it.
In this installment of Money Talks, xoNecole chats with Kayla Robinson - who also goes by the name of Sage The Flame - a 21-year-old full time adult content creator and erotic artist who is on track to saving five figures this year and breaking the negative stigmas against sex work and sexuality. Amid the pandemic, Kayla pivoted by taking her OnlyFans side hustle to full-time status following strip clubs closing. The adult content-friendly website has allowed her to take her financial destiny in her own hands and monetize her work as an erotic content creator.
"I've always been comfortable with nudity and interested in sexual expression so I had been selling my own nude content since I was 18 and decided to sign up on the platform after consulting with another sex worker and realizing it could optimize my ability to monetize my content in a more organized way," she explained.
Here's what the Baltimore-bred badass had to say about her life as a top erotic artist on OnlyFans, gifting her mother with nearly $40,000 cash, and what we should do to learn more about the sex industry.
"OnlyFans is a platform where you can monetize any type of content (similar to Patreon) but it's adult content friendly.
"People pay a monthly subscription fee and they can also pay to see additional content that is sent via DMs. OnlyFans takes 20% of all revenue including tips, which can be sent from any subscriber at any given time for any reason."
On multiple streams of income:
"At the moment, online adult content is my primary focus. Once I feel like I've really solidified that foundation, I'll be branching out. Stay tuned to see what's next."
On financial stability:
"Since I started in April 2019, it has always been a nice financial safety net to have. Now that I'm realizing how enjoyable the whole process is, I'm working on making it my main stream of income. It's currently allowing me to increase my financial stability by granting me the time to learn more about financial organization/literacy and also plant seeds for other streams of income to grow.
"For example, I can record enough content to last me 30 days. While that content is earning residual income within those 30 days, I can then start researching and upgrading my photography and videography skills and increase my knowledge and personal assets."
On being a spender or a saver:
"I'm on track to saving five figures this year, [so] I would say I'm a saver. I just thoroughly enjoy seeing money grow. What has helped me keep my savings plan on track is having an Excel spreadsheet with savings milestones. I list out everything I want to save for (short-term and long-term) and I'll include something fun and rewarding at the end of each milestone so that I greatly reduce the urge to get sidetracked and splurge. For example, once I reach the current milestone I'm working towards, I get to treat myself to new tattoos."
Courtesy of Kayla Robinson
"I just thoroughly enjoy seeing money grow. What has helped me keep my savings plan on track is having an Excel spreadsheet with savings milestones. I list out everything I want to save for (short-term and long-term) and I'll include something fun and rewarding at the end of each milestone so that I greatly reduce the urge to get sidetracked and splurge."
On the worst money-related decision she’s ever made:
"Ignoring my own intuition and over-valuing the opinions of others when it came to the vision of my business and execution of my ideas because I assumed that since I'm so young I probably don't know any better. Always trust your gut."
On overcoming financial lows:
"Right before I started stripping, my finances were actually a big stressor on me. My paycheck was very inconsistent. There was a period of time where I wasn't able to pay myself, outside of my OnlyFans side hustle, for nearly three weeks.
"For a period of time, I just tried to push through and really tried to make things improve. Then, I really analyzed the situation, did my best to release all the worst case scenarios that were floating around in my head, and ultimately realized I needed to make a big shift if I wanted my situation to change. I proceeded to consult a well-known stripper in Miami, weighed all my options, and eventually decided to buy my first pair of pleasers and execute."
On budget must-haves:
"Honestly I'm not a budget guru, I have a pretty simple Excel spreadsheet where I make sure to list everything (monthly and irregular expenses) and that works pretty well for me. But whatever you do, the absolute most important step is actually sticking to your plan as best as you possibly can!"
On her biggest splurge:
"So far in life, my biggest splurge has been gifting my beautiful mother $35,000 cash. My original plan was to buy her a baby Tesla but I figured she would appreciate having the agency over how to spend the money more so than a car and luckily, she allocated it wisely."
On unhealthy money mindsets and habits she had to let go of in order to prosper:
"Mapping out my goals is what really allowed me to finally start saving. Without having anything solid to work towards, I kept spending my money as quickly as I was making it. Also, I definitely had to unlearn the ideas that money was hard to get [or that] I was incapable of achieving financial abundance. And I had to learn that it's OK to reach out for help or advice whenever I need it. I would come up with ideas and execute things that would put me in positions of abundance. Circumstances started to align for the better."
Courtesy of Kayla Robinson
"I definitely had to unlearn the ideas that money was hard to get [or that] I was incapable of achieving financial abundance."
On promoting body positivity and increasing confidence:
"People who are paying for your content are usually always going to have a positive interest in you and will most likely positively affirm you if your content is good. OnlyFans has been helpful for me in that it affirms my work and my efforts. It makes it easier for me to express myself to paying supporters and it gives me an outlet and a safe space to document my sexual journey and showcase my erotic art which I really love. I don't think that OnlyFans is inherently helpful or harmful when it comes to confidence and body positivity though. It all depends on the person who is using it and how they are using it. When it comes to confidence, you could compare it to the strip club. On one hand, it can definitely make you feel sexy, powerful, and confident, while on the other hand you could get into the mental loop of comparing yourself to other girls and thinking about what you could be lacking and what you need to 'fix' about your appearance or you could end up relying too heavily on external validation.
"When it comes to body positivity, I think it has carved out a lane and created easier access to success and monetization for women of all body types and appearances. The success that these women are having as independent OnlyFans creators seems to be a manifestation of [sex worker inclusive] feminists and the body positive movement that was started by fat black women and their efforts to boost the conversation surrounding fatphobia. I am a conventionally attractive, light skinned, able bodied woman whose body type is already pretty well-affirmed through the lens of society so I don't think OnlyFans has done anything to change body positivity for people who look like me, although it seems to be boosting the conversation about sex work for the entire community as a whole which I'm happy to see."
On living her "hoe truths freely", as mentioned on Instagram:
"It's truly fantastic and freeing. Ever since becoming sexually active I've always had an interest and curiosity in sexuality but for a long time I kind of convinced myself that this was a background interest due to internalized whorepobia and fear of how I might be perceived if I intentionally pursued and expressed my interests out loud. I've allowed that interest and outward expression to organically grow over the years but ever since spending time reflecting in quarantine I've come to the realization that I am truly fascinated with sex. I am fascinated with the history of sex, the alchemy of sexual energy, the science of sex, sexual education, sexual pleasure, the expression of sexual energy, erotic art, etc. It's actually more of a foreground interest of mine and I'm happy to be able to align with my truths and grow from there."
For more of Kayla, follow her on Instagram.
Courtesy of Kayla Robinson