Woonona woman Tahlia Roza has a reality check for young women thinking of starting up an anonymous OnlyFans account in a bid to get rich quick: it doesn't work that way. The online subscription service - in which fans pay creators for their photos, videos and livestreams - boasts around 130 million users and two million creators who have collectively earned $7 billion, according to the company. But the sticky truth is a large majority of Roza's fellow creators are subsidising their explicit content with escort work, have lost disapproving family and friends along the way, or are treated like trash by some men. "I feel like a lot of girls start OnlyFans thinking they're going to make a million dollars and they don't realise it's actually a full-time job and you really have to hustle at it if you want to make more than $5 a month," the 35-year-old said. "They also don't realise that putting their face out there doing explicit content can come back to bite them in the arse, like trying to find rentals and trying to date or have relationships can be really difficult. "There's a lot of stigma attached - you cop disrespect and judgement from your friends, your family and random strangers that don't even know you. "A lot of people think, 'oh, you know, I just won't show my face or I'll just do feet pics', but people will always find out. "My advice is always: If you have any doubts, don't do it. But if you're confident and you can wake up and look yourself in the mirror in the morning and go, 'I'm comfortable with who I am as a person and what I do', If you've got thick skin and you can handle that, all props to you." For Roza, who spent a mostly miserable six years working in retail, the "freedom and empowerment" of being her own boss outweighs the challenges attached to her line of work. "I have an ABN and I'm running my own business. I'm my own boss, essentially the rule maker, you know: no one tells me what to do," Roza said. "I can sleep in or go to bed whenever I want or hang out with friends or if I have a good night on OnlyFans, I can take a month off and go on holidays, so there's a lot of things that I see as perks." Read more: 'We moved away from Wollongong and don't regret it' Roza made her debut on OnlyFans not long after a triumphant post-divorce vacation to Hawaii about three-and-a-half years ago. The trip served up a steamy holiday fling and the once painfully shy thirty-something returned home a brand new woman. "I had all this confidence and I had to do something with it," she said. "I was single, so I was on all the dating platforms, and I found a lot of guys would ask for photos and I was sending free photos. "And it was kind of a light bulb moment where I realised, 'why am I sending these guys photos for free when I could be making money off of it? What am I doing?" Roza has put in long hours building her brand, which she describes as "girl next door gets freaky on camera", to the point where she can now support herself. On any given day, she's planning themed lingerie shoots (right now it's all about Barbie), scheduling sexual collaborations with fellow creators, filming, editing, uploading and promoting. "When I first started doing OnlyFans, the content I was producing was very amateur," she said. "Just with practice and over time, my standard has gotten way better, to the point now where I can confidently film a sex scene myself on my camera." Roza has never felt any shame about working in the adult industry and, wary of giving anyone power over her, was open and honest about the fact she was doing OnlyFans from the start. "I kind of doxxed myself and I made sure to tell everybody what I was doing so I could never have anybody blackmail me or manipulate me and try to use that as leverage on me," she said. After overcoming her initial shock, her mother gave her full blessing and a word of caution: be safe and always look out for yourself. "I said to mum, 'I've got this, it's fine'," Roza said. It wasn't the immediately lucrative career she, like so many others, had hoped for, but after a slow build, Roza now has 159 fans and has made enough money to buy herself a used car and rent a place in the expensive northern suburbs. Fans pay a monthly subscription fee and can also pay extra to unlock pay-per-view videos, with creators receiving 80 per cent of their earnings and the remaining 20 per cent going to the company. But Tahlia says it's only a privileged few who can live on subscription revenue alone. "A lot of the girls I know that do online adult work also have to dip their toe into the in-person adult work industry just to supplement their incomes because it turns out that OnlyFans is not a million-dollar industry," she said. "Unless you're working another job as well as doing OnlyFans, you do not make enough to survive, so all these girls out there saying they're making all this money, there's a lot of 'fake it till you make it' going on." To her delight, Roza's OnlyFans profile recently led to magazine work with a Sydney-based men's magazine. "There's nothing more that I love than getting in front of the camera and taking some really cool, artistic photos - that's where I find I get my enjoyment from it," she said. "I was never the popular pretty girl at high school or anything like that. I was just the random, everyday girl that no-one really took any notice of. Read more: Illawarra teen workers chewed up and spat out "So now that I'm actually getting published in magazines and things like that, that's been massive for my confidence because I can look at myself and be like, wow, okay. Like, I've accomplished this." On the flip side, Roza has had to develop a thick skin to deal with the misogyny and moralising she cops from both men and women. "What I hate about it is the sense of entitlement these guys have when they message you," she said. "Because of what I do for work, they somehow seem to think that I'm a cheap whore. I get messages all the time from mostly men offering to volunteer their services. "And I explain to them that you've actually got to be a verified creator and you've got to have a recent negative STI test result. Just because you're a guy with a penis doesn't mean that the girl wants to work with you, you know. "But some guys are lovely and that's what makes me enjoy my job. It's the lovely guys." Roza has had family and friends distance themselves from her, something she says is a common experience for women in her industry. "When something goes down, it's always like, 'oh, you're disgusting, you filthy whore. "But before that they're quite happy to live vicariously through you and they want to hear all your little stories about your [collaborations] and what you get up to in this photo shoot. "I don't need anybody's approval. I'm a 35-year-old woman and I don't need permission from anyone in my life to do what I'm doing." Roza plans to keep doing OnlyFans until she's 40, or for as long as it's profitable. "The way I see it is, I've got at least another five years left in me," she said. "In saying that, you're only as old as you feel and I've seen some older chicks on OnlyFans and they're having the time of their lives." "I got a message the other day from a random fan. I'd just been grocery shopping and he basically said, 'I saw you in the shops today. You looked so hot and I was kind of like, 'Oh, okay. I wish I'd known who the hell you were.' "But it's all part and parcel of it. And if I was trying to be secretive about it, that ship sailed a long time ago." "I find if you're open with it and you tell everybody exactly what it is you do and what your intentions are, that's the best way to go about it. "Most guys think the idea of dating an OnlyFans chick sounds amazing until they start dating you and realise that you're actually too busy doing your OnlyFans stuff and they tend to get quite jealous over that. "I'm quite happy to wait until I find someone that accepts me for doing what I do. Like, I'll sit here by myself and watch horror movies at 3am with my cat because he doesn't judge me and he's not going to sit here and annoy me. "Instead, I've got 147 boyfriends on OnlyFans and I've got a choice: I can chat to them if I feel like it." "There's a lot of networking that goes on that involves organising collabs [collaborations] and keeping each other informed. "I'm in a group chat with a bunch of girls who I actually went to a three-day collab thing back in February, and I consider these girls my friends. "Without the networking side of it and without having the support from those girls, it is really lonely and it can be really hard to do it by yourself. So having a network of girls who keep each other informed and keep each other safe is so important." Reading this on mobile web? Download our news app. It's faster, easier to read and we'll send you alerts for breaking news as it happens. Download in the Apple Store or Google Play.