I Have 2,000+ Followers on Medium and Only Make $30 a Month

Photo by Michael Longmire on Unsplash

I first joined Medium in 2013 when the platform was only starting to emerge. For me, it was honestly just fun to be able to publish somewhere that wasn’t on my own measly blog. It was nice to know that there was a larger potential for more people to actually read the things I wrote.

Eventually, I became a paid Medium member about two and a half years ago. This slightly changed my mindset because money was now factored into the equation.

At first, it didn’t necessarily change anything — it didn’t affect how I wrote, what I wrote about, or how often I published. Just knowing that I had the potential to make a few extra bucks was merely an added perk. That was up until I made my first “big bucks” on Medium — and when I say “big”, I mean over one hundred dollars.

Insight into my numbers

It was only a few short months after I became a paid Medium member when I saw my first nice spike in monthly payouts. For the most part, it was pretty steady for a little while (with the exception of late September through late November). And I was ecstatic to learn that making money on Medium wasn’t a myth.

But, as we know, the platform changed drastically over time.

We saw a lot of cannibalization from larger publications and it seemed like only well-known, more established Writers were getting a larger piece of the pie. Soon enough, my monthly payouts went from a “big bucks” to “barely enough to pay for my dry cleaning”

It was evident that this year wasn’t looked as promising — and that’s aside from the fact that it’s already been a pretty miserable year in general with COVID-19 happening.

Ever since that one hundred to two hundred dollar peak I saw in 2018, I’ve seen a significant and steady decrease. And now, I can’t quite figure out if it’s me or if it’s the platform.

Why is this important?

The reason why I’m sharing this information is because I want to be transparent with readers out there about the fact that even though I have a few good articles that have made decent a profit in the past — they haven’t necessarily sustained me up to this day.

I’m also sharing this information to let you know that the number of followers you have on Medium has absolutely no effect or correlation towards the success of your income on Medium — at least not in my case.

I’m sharing this because every time I read an article about a huge success story along the lines of, “I made $500 in my first month on Medium”, I get extremely discouraged and it makes me feel like a complete and utter failure.

If that’s how you’re feeling too, I want you to know you’re not alone.

The real numbers

Every month, we get results from Medium showing how well much other Medium Writers earned in that time period. For September, here were the stats:

  • 68.7% of writers or publications who wrote at least one story for members earned money.
  • 6.4% of active writers earned over $100.
  • $49,705.40 was the most earned by a writer, and $16,685.5 was the most earned for a single story.

After, seeing these numbers, you have to understand that if only six percent, SIX PERCENT, of the entire community earned over $100 last month, then you yourself are most likely going to see a disappointing number unless you’re in the top tier pool of Writers. Or if one of your articles managed to go viral.

So, the moral of the story is that the likelihood of most of us earning a steady income on Medium, though possible, is not common.

The numbers tell us the truth and the truth is that 93.6% of us paid members get less than $100 each month.

Again, just know that you’re not alone in this.

It’s something that I myself have to drill into my head and either accept or find a way to change it. If you choose to do the latter, I wish you my best of luck and I hope you break through that glass ceiling!

Writer, Runner, and Plant Mom based in Brooklyn, New York. I write about writing and life in general.

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