How much have you made in your best month at Medium?
If you are among the 6% who make over $100 a month, then there is nothing for you here. But if you are in the other 94%, this article is for you.
I have read with interest posts on social media about how much people are making writing for Medium. It surprises me when I see all the posts where people are complaining that they only made five dollars, or a buck eighty-seven or whatever the number happens to be.
I’ve also written several articles about my success on Medium, and the responses I get are in a similar vein along with the inevitable, how do you do it? In my first month, I made $22. I wasn’t expecting much, so that was okay, but obviously, I wanted better. Then, when I got responses from people about how great that was and how did I do so well, I was confused.
So, I did a little research, and that’s when I discovered the statistic about how 94% of writers on Medium make less than $100 a month. I moved beyond shocked into incredulous. I was expecting to hit the $100 mark in two months. Was I in the wrong place? No, people here made thousands off of one article and cleared ten times that much each month.
Then, I remembered another site that had similar results. This was back before websites, even before the Internet. It was a place called Klondike.
According to Wikipedia:
Of the estimated 30,000 to 40,000 people who reached Dawson City during the gold rush, only around 15,000 to 20,000 finally became prospectors. Of these, no more than 4,000 struck gold, and only a few hundred became rich.
A few hundred out of 30,000. Those odds were even worse than Medium. But I think those few hundred that left Alaska with enough gold to make them rich and the people clearing five figures a month at Medium pretty much did the same thing.
They showed up, and they worked their asses off.
Of course, knowing what they were doing helped as well. And it helps here. You have to understand how to write. You would think that goes without saying, but trust me, I have read articles here that demonstrate the opposite.
But, let’s assume you know how to write. You published a bunch of articles and waited. And you earned $1.50. So, you posted a bunch of more pieces. And you made $1.50. What went wrong? Well, pretty much everything, but mostly, you didn’t learn from your mistakes.
If you are panning for gold in a river and all you get is gravel, do you keep panning in the same place or do you move? Or maybe you’re the type that would lay their pan down by the river, take a nap, then check to see if any gold had jumped into the pan.
Apparently, my $22 for the first month was pretty good. I didn’t think so. By the end of February, I had about 50 articles on Medium. To me, fifty cents a pop wasn’t going to cut it. So, before I did anything else, I went back and looked at each one of those articles. Which ones made money and which ones didn’t. What was wrong with the ones that didn’t make money? I examined my work and compared it to others on Medium.
Then I packed up my shit and moved up the river.
And in my second month, I made $50 and in the third cleared $100 and never looked back.
So, if you aren’t making any money here month after month, here’s a clue. Stop doing the same thing and expecting different results. Some people call that insanity. I just call it stupid.
I know you think your essays are brilliant, but nobody else does. So, you have to decide why you are writing. If you are writing to amuse yourself, keep at it.
Just don’t check your stats and don’t even bother clicking on that link that says, “Show Me the Money.”
If your goal is to make less than $100 a month, it’s not easy, but it’s doable. Just follow these three tips I have gathered from accounts that make less than $100 every month.
This is the easiest way not to make any money. Just don’t write. Publish half a dozen articles and then sit back and wait for the money to roll in.
Undoubtedly, your brilliance will eventually get recognized. Ernest Hemingway didn’t write fifty pieces a month. Well, I got news for you; you ain’t Hemingway. If you want to earn money here, you have to write. A lot. And keep writing. If I was going to settle for $100 a month (spoiler alert, I’m not), you only need $2 each from fifty articles.
But here’s a couple of things you may not have thought of. First, one or two of those fifty are going to earn a hell of a lot more than $2. Which ones? How the hell should I know. And here’s the kicker, the thing that most people don’t realize. Most of those $2 articles will earn $2 next month and the month after. Do the math. Hint: You need to understand exponents to get this one right.
Most of my articles earn more than $2 a month. Some of them, a lot more. Of course, some of them don’t make anything. Not many, but some. But all of that adds up. I now have well over 300 articles on Medium, and most of them do pretty well. And if I only had my top ten, I’d still be doing okay. If only I knew in advance which ones those would be. I don’t. Neither do you. Write. A lot.
Those guys that got rich at Klondike? They probably got up around lunch, panned until their arms got tired, and then took a nap, right? No. They worked dawn to dark every day. Every. Damn. Day. And that’s what you have to do. Writers write. I write every day. I publish every day. You don’t have to do that to make money here. Of course, you don’t have to make money here.
But whatever you do, you have to do it consistently. Build on your body of work. And keep building on it. Learn as you go, but keep writing. Practice makes permanent. Part of what will make you successful here is a loyal following. I know. I have one. And they are fantastic. They keep me going when I feel like quitting.
You can build a following too, but you have to give them something to follow. You have to be consistent. If you publish twenty articles in your first week, you will pick up a few followers. But then if you sit back and do nothing for a month, they will go away. They won’t click on your work because they don’t remember who you are.
You can read a lot here about how to attract readers. Headlines and images and all that. And you need to do all that. But every follower you get, you have to earn. And keep earning their trust in your work. And to do that, you have to be consistent. Consistent in what you write and how often.
Keep Doing What You Are Doing
This is the one that astounds me. I will be on Facebook, checking out one of the Medium groups, and someone will complain that the money isn’t getting any better. So, I go check out their work. And find they are doing the same thing month after month. It didn’t work last month, but maybe it will this month.
Did you ever walk into a room and flip the light switch and nothing happened? Of course, you have. And almost certainly, you flipped it off and back on again. Just in case. Of course, it didn’t work any better the second time. Then what did you do? You solved the problem. Changed a bulb, or flipped a breaker. Maybe you put a penny in where the burned-out fuse was.
But here’s what you didn’t do. You didn’t stand there, flipping the switch off an on over and over, expecting the light to suddenly come on.
So, why are you doing that here? Put in a new light bulb. Pick up your shit and move upriver. It ain’t’ working.
There’s gold in them thar hills. And there’s money to be made at Medium. But it’s not going to jump out of the river into your pocket. You’re going to have to get your feet wet. You’re going to have to slosh a ton of mud around in your pan just to get one nugget.
But once you get that nugget, you will know how to get another one.