For a lot of content creators, it’s nothing new to post their online work for free.
What’s their reason for doing so? Either they are building their work portfolio, offering artwork samples, expressing the desire to help others, or just simply sharing their passions to relevant online communities.
Regardless of personal reasons, it’s great to allow your audience to support you for what you do by giving an option where they can give a small donation. Think of it as a well-deserved tip jar— but the catch is, it’s done virtually.
Here’s where Ko-fi comes into the picture. Sip your cup of coffee and read on, as this article will further explain how you can make money on the platform.
What is Ko-fi?
Ko-fi is an easy way to fund your passions and even other expenses. The online service enables your fans and supporters to give you money as a way to support your craft.
You might have heard of similar platforms where online creators can earn some money for their content, such as Patreon.
Ko-fi, however, adheres to the line “Buy me a Coffee” with small monetary donations ranging along the usual prices of a cup of commercial coffee.
“Coffee” serves as a friendly metaphor and a nice way of giving and receiving financial support online. The payment you receive goes straight to your account, so it’s entirely up to you on how you spend it.
How to Make Money on Ko-fi
First, you must set up a Ko-fi account and connect it to your Paypal, so your supporters can effortlessly donate money through a click of a button.
Contrary to a paywall or a monthly subscription service which is common among other platforms like OnlyFans, Ko-fi allows for a one-time payment. Anyone can donate a small amount to your account and donating is completely optional.
It’s an easy way to let your fans show their appreciation. Besides, Ko-fi allows for those fans who cannot afford a monthly subscription fee to express their support to their favorite content creators. Remember that any donation, no matter the amount, can go a long way.
The thing is, you have to work hard on the promotion part. You cannot expect to earn money just by signing up on the platform. Keep in mind that you have to gather your fans first, and let them know they can financially support your craft through Ko-fi.
Tips and Tricks for Creators
You might be thinking of starting a Ko-fi account at this point. But before you click that sign up button, here are some things you might want to take note of:
1. Introduce yourself well
Make the most out of Ko-fi by introducing yourself in your bio. Start by explaining who you are, what you create, and why should people support you. It would also help if you state what you intend to do with the money you receive to establish trust among your supporters.
If you’re comfortable with the idea, upload some images to your gallery. It’s always better to establish some sort of connection with the people who intend to support you in your passion.
2. Specify a relevant goal at more than 0% funded
It would be ideal to set a goal relevant to what you create. For instance, if you’re a digital artist, your goal might be a new drawing tablet. Or if you’re a photographer, you can specify your intended goal as: camera lens.
Set your goal beyond 0 to show your supporters you have some money towards achieving what you desire.
3. Promote your Ko-fi and ask for support
If you’re keen on getting a great amount of financial support from your fans, it’s only fitting to let them know about your page and what you intend to do with the support you receive.
Beginners might find this stage rather tricky, especially if you haven’t built a solid following yet. You can ask your close friends, family members, or fans to be the first ones to give you the starting support you need.
Gratitude is an attractive trait in Ko-fi. Don’t forget to personally thank your supporters and fans!
4. Give small rewards
Think of what you can give to your fans in return if they support your page.
If you’re barely starting out, you can craft a genuine & heartfelt message in your auto-reply message settings. Who knows? It might brighten their day getting such a sweet little email after giving you a donation as a form of support.
After a while, you can also offer rewards like a free download link of a personalized wallpaper or an invitation link to your official Discord server.
5. Make your Ko-fi link visible
Similar to the third tip, it’s better if you attach your Ko-fi link on your social media bios. Your fans on other platforms might be seeking a way to support you and by making your page easier to find, they might be called to give you a donation with just a click.
At the end of each content you upload, you can also opt to redirect your fans to your Ko-fi page. For example: if you’re a YouTuber, ask your viewers to support your content through a donation at the end of each video.
What is Ko-fi Gold?
Ko-fi Gold is the platform’s premium service set at a monthly normal price of $9, which comes with perks for every content creator. For instance, Gold members earn 336% more (on average) compared to free pages.
You can also avail of the launch price at $6 a month. And if you pay yearly, the monthly amount can be reduced to only $4.50.
Ko-fi does not take a portion cut of your donations and ads aren’t shown. If you upgrade to Gold, you are also helping to improve the platform and you can unlock other ways to earn more & customize your page as you desire.
Here are some ways to increase your income as a Gold member:
- Fans can support you with monthly donations
- You can give exclusive rewards for supporters
- Sell commissions
- Adjust the price from $1-$100
As for page customization perks:
- You can change coffee to tea, pizza, beer
- Claim your exclusive 5 letter username
- Choose a color for your page to whatever you like
Ko-fi Free vs Ko-fi Gold: In a Glimpse
The platform’s normal plan is free. Here’s what you can expect with a free account:
- 0% fee (forever)
- Showcase your work
Meanwhile, the premium Gold service allows you to support the community and get fun extras in return:
- Comes with everything you can enjoy in Free
- Support the community and get a Gold badge
- Sell Commissions
- Offer Subscriptions
- High-resolution downloads
- Offer exclusive content
- Adjust the price of donations
- Change the coffee option
- Shorter Ko-fi username
- Integrate Analytics
Before you consider an upgrade, make sure you’ve got your priorities in check. Review the premium perks above and see if it’s worth paying for or settling for a free account is enough.
Why Choose Ko-fi?
For cosplayer, model, and streamer Anca, Ko-fi is a great platform to get donations and financial support from her fans. We asked her a couple of questions regarding her opinion on Ko-fi:
How is Ko-fi different from Patreon and OnlyFans which are what other models/cosplayers commonly use?
“I haven’t used onlyfans yet. With Ko-fi, this is just like a tip jar, since you’re not required to put up a content every month, like Patreon.”
As a model, how do you make money on Ko-fi?
“All of my previous sets are being sold off through Ko-fi and there’s always the option to request exclusive sets from there.”
What made you decide to use Ko-fi? What advantages does Ko-fi offer to cosplayers or models like you?
“Ko-fi doesn’t require much task and responsibilities and it’s easy to use unlike Patreon where there are a couple of steps before you can fully set up your account.”
What are some disadvantages in using Ko-fi?
“It’s stricter with rules, especially the NSFW rule when posting photos.”
What are the usual content you offer as a cosplayer/model on Ko-fi?
“Like I said, all previous sets are sold off through Ko-fi and I also offer selfie sets for those who can’t afford the HQ sets and custom made implied videoclips/FS etc.”
Anca typically prints her cosplay photos and sells them on her social media pages. Occasionally, she also meets her buyers during events to give them the prints in person.
And as was mentioned above in the tips and tricks part, Anca makes sure to promote her Ko-fi link on her Facebook (About) page where it’s visible to her 59,303 followers as of writing.
If you’re a content creator with an established following, this might be a great time to start funding your passions on Ko-fi. Most definitely, your fans would be more than happy to support your craft.
But if you’re a beginner who wants to explore Ko-fi and make money on the platform from scratch, fret not! There’s hope for you of course. Start by determining what type of content can you offer best: may it be modelling, cosplay, art, or photography.
Once you begin to post your online content on a regular basis, chances are you’d grow an audience after a while. Take this chance to promote your Ko-fi page link and enable your followers to fund your passion. Seize the day, aspiring online influencers.