Making money on Medium is so easy even I can do it, but it’s not instant. How long it takes depends on several factors.
As a general rule, you can start making money on Medium as soon as you are accepted into the Medium Partner Program, but it can take time to meet the program requirements and you can expect to wait a few months before you’re making decent money.
Let’s dive into that a bit more, and hopefully it will make more sense.
You need to be in the Medium Partner Program
In order to earn money from Medium, you need to be in the Medium Program. This program allows Medium writers to set their stories as “metered” and eligible to earn money based on the amount of time paying members spend reading their content.
To join the Partner Program, you need to meet all of its requirements:
- You must have at least one story published.
- You need to be a paying Medium member.
- You need to publish at least once every six months to stay active and keep earning.
- You must be in an eligible country. (As of August 2023, eligible countries include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States.)
It takes time to get followers
The biggest hurdle most people face getting into the Medium Partner Program is the 100 follower requirement. I know many people hate this requirement, but it makes a lot of good sense when you think about it.
Note: Medium has removed the 100 follower requirement as of August 1st, 2023. Read more here: Medium Partner Program August 2023 Changes
That said, you can’t reasonably expect to get your 100 followers overnight, and you shouldn’t believe anyone who tells you differently.
It took me just under two weeks to get to my 100. Some people may be able to get there faster and some will take more time. There are lots of variables in play here.
But what I’ve found helps is a combination of the following:
- Writing great-quality content that people want to read. If your content sucks, then you can’t reasonably expect to get followers. Think about it. If you came across someone writing terrible content, would you want to follow him? Probably not.
- Commenting on other writers’ content. This helps to get your name out there, and it also offers encouragement to other writers who appreciate the engagement on their content.
- Responding to comments on your own stories. When people stop by to comment on your content, take a moment to thank them for their responses. When you get a reply from a troll, handle it nicely.
How long it takes you to get to your 100 followers depends on lots of factors. It might happen quickly, or it might take a few weeks – or longer – depending on your effort level and content.
Having 100 followers doesn’t guarantee you’ll earn
Once you get to 100 followers, you can join the Medium Partner Program, but that doesn’t guarantee that you’ll start earning right away. There’s more to the picture.
Just because you post something on Medium doesn’t mean that you’ll get the kind of traffic that will lead to it earning much – if anything.
I have some stories on Medium that are earning me essentially nothing. Occasionally they’ll earn me a cent here and there, but nothing more. Clearly nothing to write home about.
Don’t assume that just because you’re in the Partner Program and you’ve published a few articles that you’ll be rolling in the dough.
Even if you’re in the Partner Program, you might still earn nothing if your content isn’t being read. So it’s important to write the kind of content that people will actually want to spend time reading. And understand that it takes time to start getting views and that there are several reasons why you might not be getting views on Medium.
How stories earn money on Medium
In order to make money from your content on Medium, your stories need to be read. You’re paid based on the amount of time paying Medium members spend reading what you’ve written.
If, for example, Medium members spend 10 hours reading what I’ve written, I earn less than I would if they had spent 30 hours reading my articles.
You’re not paid more just because you have more content published.
You could have 10 stories published each getting about 1 hour of read time or you could have 2 published each getting about 5 hours of read time.
10 stories x 1 hour each = 10 hours
2 stories x 5 hours each = 10 hours
Publishing more content – more good content – increases the odds that you’ll accumulate some decent read time over all. But I have found that some of my stories have earned quite a bit while others have earned nothing.
It takes time to earn decent money
I joined the Medium Partner Program in May of 2022. By the time I joined, there were only a few days left in the month, so I only earned $6.51.
My first full month, I earned $81.47. The next, $62.48. Then $99.46. And it wasn’t until the next month that I hit $407.66.
It wasn’t until my fourth full month in the Partner Program that I broke $100. And while $407.66 is a nice payday, it’s certainly not job-quitting income yet.
My hope is that over the next few months, I’ll get over $500 per month, and then my next target will be $1000 per month. I don’t know how long that will take me to reach, but I do know that it’s not instant.
The point I’d like to get across here, however, is that it may take time for you to start earning anything significant from Medium, and some people only earn a few bucks per month even after writing on the platform for a while for one reason or another.
Setting realistic expectations for earning
The amount of time it takes before you start making money on Medium depends on lots of variables. You need to be in the Medium partner program, and you need to be writing the kind of content that people want to read.
I can’t and won’t guarantee you that you can join the Partner Program and start making a bunch of money right away because I don’t know what kind of content you’ll be writing, how often you’ll post, or whether or not you’ll be interacting with others on the site. What I can do is lay out what I think is a reasonable set of expectations.
- Give yourself time to build an audience. Be patient and work on connecting with other members on the site. It took me just under two weeks to reach 100 followers, but it might take you more or less time depending on your niche and how much you write.
- Write the kind of content that people will want to spend time reading. Remember that it’s read time that matters most – not views. So focus on writing articles that people will actually want to spend time reading – not just click and clicking away from. This should happen from day one.
- Pay attention to your stats and write more on the topics that do well. I’ve learned to watch my stories’ stats and learn what kinds of content do well for me. Certain topics or subtopics tend to earn me more than others, and if I know which are best for my audience, I can hopefully replicate that success by writing more articles on the same subject.
- Actively read and respond to other writers’ content. Doing this helps to get your name out there and helps to encourage other writers – some of whom will, in turn, read and respond to your content.
Because there are so many factors and variables at play, no one can tell you with absolute certainty how long it will take you to start making money from Medium.
Medium is certainly no get-rich-quick scheme.
But assuming you’re writing great content consistently, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to hope to be making a bit of money within the first few months. That may not be job quitting income, of course, but a few bucks is a few bucks, right?