Let's talk finances! (Since we live in the United States, all monetary figures are in USD.)
Our pool of money came from generous donations through the GoFundMe we held last year as well as monthly Patreon payouts. Currently we have about $8,400 that we will continue saving for the time being.
Fiber Club expenses are minimal which has helped us save a good nest egg. On a monthly basis we pay $100-$300 for hosting fees as well as an email marketing platform. Yearly we pay for the domain names, a PO Box, and developer fees which is around $250.
Occasionally we will have one off expenses which include things like collaborations, software and courses. Since we started Fiber Club we have spent around $2,500 on one off expenses, but we have not paid any in the last six months.
Rommel and I have not spent any money on ourselves as we have other income we can cover our personal expenses with. We also have not used funds to formalize as a business because we have not yet released a product. (We expect to start this process soon as we get closer to releasing the app.)
We are truly grateful for everyone that has donated financially to this project. With these funds Rommel and I are able to work on Fiber Club without having to worry about finances to cover the project. We'll have a better idea of how much our monthly expenses will go up after we release the MVP.
Thoughts on Fiber Club as a company
When thinking of the type of company we want to build, we have been inspired by alternative company structures like Gumroad - a platform for creators to sell things online. They are fully asynchronous and without any full-time employees. Instead of endless meetings and cultivating a "family-like" culture, they have a singular goal to maximize creator profits.
While their particular model won't work for Fiber Club at this stage, the very structure of their company is deeply interesting. Gumroad raises basic questions of why we work and for how long? What is the purpose of our jobs and how much of it makes up our identities?
Fiber Club is an opportunity for Rommel and I to restructure our relationship with work. It's a chance for us to create a meaningful impact on a community while also maintaining a healthy work/life balance.
But Fiber Club is not just about us. Our vision is to create a sustainable and profitable alternative for those involved in the fiber industry. When thinking of ways to achieve this dream, the question I keep running into is this: How do you create a more equitable opportunity in a capitalistic structure?
We've kept a close eye on OnlyFans and their rise in the last year as a platform to sell and purchase original content. A large portion of their creators are sex workers that post NSFW (Not Safe For Work) videos and images. Their popularity skyrocketed because of the pandemic and lockdowns. With traditional sex work shut down and high levels of unemployment, OnlyFans promised an opportunity to make a lot of money quickly.
Although there are people making lots of money on OnlyFans, the vast majority of their creators do not. It is a highly competitive landscape that is ideal for creators that already have a big following. There is also an incredible amount of work that goes into creating content and engaging their subscribers to stay month after month so the break even point is quite high.
Assuming the top 10% of creators make 80% of the profit, how can we avoid a similar path for Fiber Club? What strategies could we implement that would shrink that income inequality? How do we share our success and uplift the community?
We're thinking through these types of questions and more as we examine other online platforms. Even though we don't have answers yet, we will figure it out as we go with your input. In the meantime, we will continue working on the MVP and getting it ready to launch. The next update will go out the week of November 22nd to discuss our progress.
Edit November 11th, 2021: Took out a biased statement regarding family-like work cultures.