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.
Early year, I started receiving a variety of questions relating to entrepreneurship and business. So, I started answering them on my blog. If people were asking for it, then there must be a demand for it, or so I thought.
And with this article, I felt I was able to answer the questions thoroughly and concisely.
It’s not about how good ideas are. It’s about how well you execute against them.
This is true, and there’s no value in just being an idea person. At the same time, ideas can foster inspiration. And that can lead to breakthroughs in your work. So, you can’t underestimate the value of ideas. Just remember to store them or use them. Otherwise, they’re of little use.
I do quite a bit of reading, and one of the ideas I was beginning to explore early year was publishing my book notes. Based on how this piece turned out, it makes me think I should do it more.
Killing Marketing was an interesting read. Mainly because I didn’t find much value in it until I reached the middle chapters. Which makes me glad that I started speeding through the introductory chapters to get to the better ones.
First Step to Building Excitement for Your Music Release – Issuing the Release
This post was an outgrowth of my interest in project management. And even though I’m not sure all musicians understand just how useful and powerful issuing their release is, if they want to learn the ins and outs, there’s always this article.
How to Make Viral TikTok Videos to Build Your Music Career
This was another timely piece aimed at musicians. Since the live music industry was (and continues to be) affected by COVID-19, I felt it important to highlight tactics musicians could action to grow their music career, even in 2020.
Beginner’s Guide to Affiliate Marketing for Musicians
SYSTEM stands for “Save Your Self Time Energy and Money.” It’s a reality artists often aren’t too quick to embrace, but if they do, they’ll find themselves with more time, energy, and money to work on the things they care most about.
After my podcast interview with Jack Forman of BiCoastal Productions, I put together this piece to highlight his and my perspective on getting a booking agent. It’s mostly written with musicians in mind, but even if you’re a dancer, actor, public speaker or otherwise, you will find this valuable.
I’m sure I’m not the only one that is sometimes stopped by the prospect of building a team. I’m a Sigma male through and through, and that goes a long way towards explaining my lone wolf tendencies. But I know I’m not alone.
This piece got quite a bit of traffic throughout 2020, and I think it’s a great tool for discovering where you might be stopped in collaboration and working with others.
This article will probably live on as an underrated, “oh that’s so obvious” kind of resource. But I still believe 100% it was divinely inspired. Spirit showed me what I didn’t understand about success. And I continue to return to these pillars when I feel lost.
The mere mention of Spotify lights up musicians everywhere. And the fascination has a lot to do with widely publicized success stories (rare) and algorithmic exploitation (Spotify will be putting an end to that soon, if they haven’t already).
But getting playlisted is still worthwhile, and in this guide, I share some unconventional, outside the box techniques.
As creatives and creators, we tend to make ourselves look as good as we possibly can. We sugarcoat the past and glorify the present. Which is almost always coming from how we listen to others and wanting to look good or avoid looking bad.
I still contend that you can be successful in your chosen industry or niche by being fully authentic and genuine. There’s no need to constantly remind yourself of a horrific past, and the future is whatever you want it to be.
As noted earlier, Medium is a core part of how I’m building engagement right now. And in late October/early November, I started to see huge growth in traffic to my Medium articles. While this sudden surge didn’t last, I have held steady at about double the traffic I had before it happened.
So, in this article, I talk about several things you can do to grow your Medium traffic faster.
Now, in some ways this is the opposite of what I just said about posting more often. But the truth of the matter is that this is more a lesson in curating your social media feeds (a topic I promised to elaborate on in the future) than anything.
The best funnel builder, in my opinion, is the one that allows you to build an all-in-one website, membership site, course platform, forum, and more. Have a read through this article to find out what that is.
The mirror principle is always at work. It’s the idea that our outer world is always a reflection of our inner world. Understanding this at a deeper level allows you to navigate life’s challenges with greater ease.
Something virtually every creative wants to know. Maybe some of my tips will help?
When I started rebuilding my website in 2020, I had no idea what it would grow into. But as I started gaining clarity and momentum, it became more obvious. And you can see from the about page as well as the projects page that I’ve been able to fill in the blanks along the way.
I’m excited for what 2021 holds, and the ways in which the site will continue to grow.
Which article was your favorite? What would you like to read more about?
Let me know in the comments.
Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.
I’m not saying it’s necessarily easier to get traffic to your website. It takes some serious work either way.
But if there’s one thing I can say for sure, it’s that you’ll retain full control over your website, its content, how you position the elements, and everything else. You won’t get banned or deleted either.
Plus, if you’re trying to attract clients, I can promise you that you’re going to look far more professional and credible if you have a website at a custom domain name.
I would never send a prospective client to my Facebook page. They’re going to get lost amid all the noise and needlessly cluttered layout (though I would use Facebook to make contacts and drive traffic to my website).
Finally, your website can – and should – act as your portfolio.
If no one knows who you are, then it doesn’t matter how pretty your website is. You’re not going to get any work.
Every bit of work you put into your website is worth it, because you can document your journey, track your progress, and share samples of your work. That said, you still need to build awareness.
As I was beginning work as a contract blogger/digital marketer for a music industry startup in 2012, I started interacting with all the brands, bloggers, and podcasters publishing music business related content.
I left comments on blogs and social media posts everywhere I went. Before I knew it, I’d built quite a bit of awareness among blog and site owners, with whom I also built relationships.
I started trading guest posts. I was invited onto podcasts. And long-term, I even got hired on by one of the site owners as a staff writer.
This is also how I ended up building connections in the ghostwriting realm. Basically, one contact kept leading to another.
The more you use social media with professional networking in mind, the more you’ll be able to connect with others – and see results.
She’s right. But I would argue that you don’t necessarily need to be “professional.” You just need to add value. And that’s done by leaving thoughtful and insightful comments on other people’s posts and keeping conversations going.
Also remember – even if it is nerve wracking, you can reach out to your entire network letting them know that you’ve started up your side hustle and you’re available to work.
Step #3 – Know the Landscape
So, you’ve built your website and you’ve started interacting on social media.
Although it might take longer if you’re not tech savvy, you should be able to do all this over the course of a weekend. I’m not saying your website will be fully fleshed out in that time, but you can have a nice-looking site with some basic content up and running in a few hours.
But what else can we do to set ourselves up for success?
While steps one and two are the crux of it, there is one more thing we can do to start filling our pipeline with work.
Well, if you didn’t already know, there are dozens if not hundreds of sites where you can list your services and actively seek out work.
If you’re thinking about blogging professionally, for example, you can find new opportunities on the ProBlogger Job Board popping up all the time.
Here are a few other places worth knowing about:
Upwork: A few years ago, Elance and oDesk combined and became Upwork, a place where freelancers can go to find work. I have had good success with Upwork, and so have other well-known marketers like Brian Dean.
Freelancer: Freelancer is a lot like Upwork, except that freelancers bid on projects and talent seekers can hire (or buy from) whoever they feel is best for the job.
Fiverr: A directory where service providers can list and offer their low-cost services. It used to be that all service providers charged $5 (thus Fiverr), but these days they are charging more based on their skill level and add-ons.
Funnel Rolodex: If you’re well-acquainted with any aspect of building a funnel, be it copywriting, graphic design, video production or otherwise, you might have success listing your services on Funnel Rolodex as well.
Side Hustle, Final Thoughts
Starting a side hustle need not be complicated. And there’s a good chance you can get paid for something you love, or at the very least enjoy.