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If you’re asking the question, “can I make money on Medium?” Well, the answer is “yes.”
I have made some money on my journey, and March 2021 ended up being my most profitable month so far.
I first started taking Medium a little more seriously in 2018, when I learned about their partner program. And, as I kept writing, sure enough, one of my pieces was curated (the one and only piece I’ve ever had curated). That helped me generate a little bit of Starbucks money.
Unfortunately, that’s when I took my eyes off Medium for a while. I honestly couldn’t tell what the fuss was about. My stories didn’t get that much traffic, and the money I made never amounted to more than a fancy fruity iced tea.
I made my return last year in July and have been publishing daily ever since, sometimes multiple times per day. I went from a little over 100 stories to over 400 stories.
And now, instead of one fancy fruity iced tea, I can buy three with the money I make! Wow!
So, when I see others say you can make $50 in your first month, yeah, I suppose that’s true. But I haven’t seen it myself, and I’m not sure it would be wise to set your expectations that high either.
When I see the same people say you can earn $1,000 in six months… Uh, maybe let off the engines there, buddy. Unless your intention is to discourage new writers before they even get started.
Yes, of course it’s possible. You might get there. But you could also be setting yourself up for massive disappointment.
My Writing Journey
When I talk about this stuff, some people look at me like I’ve got three eyes, so let me share with you some of my journey. I didn’t start writing yesterday, and I don’t fancy myself an “instant writer,” just so we’re clear.
I’m not saying I’m the best writer in the world. But with thousands of articles online, dozens of eBooks, and five books, I didn’t just wake up one day and say, “I’m going to be a Medium Rockstar.”
I first started making content for the web in 1997. As I started branching out into music, I jumped on the blogging bandwagon. That was about 2005. Even as my music career was progressing, I continued to write, and I started writing on a variety of topics, including blogging, personal development, video games, movies, music, and guitar.
2011 was the first year I started taking all this blogging business a little more seriously, as I invested in a startup, and worked as their blogger/digital marketer.
When the startup failed to launch, they put a halt on marketing efforts, but even while all that was going on, I was podcasting and blogging on my own platform. But I needed to start making more money, so I reached out to a friend of a friend who had a ghostwriting service. That’s when writing officially became a staple in my life.
Because of the contacts I made in the music industry, I ended up getting approached with contract writer gigs, and eventually, staff writing opportunities too.
Meanwhile, my ghostwriting efforts were also going well, and if they were ever approached with clients who wanted more than just blog posts (e.g., pre-interview writeups, audio interviews, lead magnets, etc.) I became their go-to guy.
Today, I have five books (three became best-sellers). I’ve honestly forgotten how many eBooks I’ve written and given away or sold.
People here sometimes talk about earning $4,000+ in writing. That’s honestly easy. It’s never been that hard for me. I’m looking to scale well beyond that. I don’t know whether Medium is going to be the answer though.
I’m Not Bitter
All this might sound bitter. But it’s not that. Slow your role! I showed up today, didn’t I? And I’ll show up again tomorrow. At the very, very least, you’ll see me keep showing up daily until August 2021. But I might keep adding stories long after that.
I’ve honestly stopped paying attention to my stats. The only numbers I look at now are the number of stories and responses I’ve posted, and I occasionally check in to see how much money I’ve earned.
I’m not discouraged or frustrated either. Sure, I’ve felt that at times, but I remain cautiously optimistic about the possibilities.
I just think we should be more mindful about setting expectations. Everyone’s Medium journey is going to be different. Some will exceed your wildest expectations. Others, like me, will earn just enough to buy a few fancy fruity iced teas per month after hundreds of stories published daily.
Someone new to Medium doesn’t have the knowledge of someone who’s been here for longer. They don’t have connections. They don’t know about publications. They don’t know how to keep growing their following. They don’t know what to write, or how to put together amazing headlines.
All you $150 a month people do. You have a strategy. You know how to execute it. You know how to get attention on your stories.
I’m not saying one can’t learn all that fast. But they’d need to know where to look to even find that information.
Again, I’m preaching at myself as much as anyone else.
I see the value in Medium, and that’s why I’m here. I see possibilities, and that’s why I keep going.
I’m a little puzzled by the $150 per month and $1,000 in six months people, but maybe I’ll start to figure that out. I can’t say I have yet.
I think for fresh meat, a more realistic trajectory is…
You will make no money in the first three to six months of publishing daily. Then you will start to grow your Starbucks fund in the next three to six months. And then, you might start to reach mid to high two figures in the next three to six months. After a full year, things could start to get a lot better.
You never know when you might explode, of course. But you can’t count on that.
Basically, enjoy the journey, and try not to get too caught up in the money milestones. Put the blinders on and do the work.