Medium, as you may know, is a site that will pay writers to produce quality content for its paying members to read and enjoy. But just how difficult is it to make money on the site?
Signing up to get paid
To get paid by Medium directly, you’ll need to join the Medium Partner Program. Writers who are members of this program are eligible to earn money from their published, “metered” stories based on the performance of those stories.
But, to join the partner program, you’ll need to meet a few important eligibility requirements.
- You must have a minimum of 100 followers. If you currently have less, you’ll need to continue writing great content to attract followers.
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- You must have published at least one story on Medium within the past six months – and continue to publish at least once every six months to remain eligible.
- You must reside in a supported geographic region.
Once you meet all of the requirements, you’ll head over to the signup page to apply. Your application will be reviewed, and if you’re accepted, you’ll hear back within a few days.
If you’re rejected from the Medium Partner Program, there can be several reasons for that, so check out a few reasons why that might happen here: Rejected From The Medium Partner Program? This Might Be Why.
What can I write?
On Medium, you can write about nearly anything – so long as your content abides by Medium’s content rules of course, which is mostly just the common sense stuff.
I do recommend choosing and sticking at least close to a niche. That doesn’t mean that every story you write has to relate to that niche exactly. A one-off outlier here and there won’t hurt anything. But choosing and sticking with a niche will help you greatly in the long run as you develop your audience and attract the kinds of readers who want to read what you have to say. Just remember that doesn’t happen overnight, so be patient.
I’ve written a piece here on Side Hustle Road with 37 different niche ideas for Medium. There are plenty more, of course, and that post is by no means an exhaustive treatment of all of the possible options.
But think about the topics that interest you. What’s something that you could sit and talk about for hours? Is there a something you know a lot about that you could teach people? Could you distill the knowledge you’ve gained during your career into a stream of content?
Think about that.
But as far as what Medium accepts, the sky is pretty much the limit.
As you write more and more, you’ll begin to see which of your stories get more traffic than others and what topics or styles you should double down on. If, for example, you have 30 stories published and 10 of them are getting most of the views, write more content like those 10. You’ll learn as you go which types of stories do well for you and your audience – and when you do, create more like them.
How much can I earn on Medium?
There are people who make thousands of dollars per month on Medium.
I don’t want you to get off on the wrong foot thinking that you’re going to be making that much – at least for a long time. Personally, I’m making a few hundred bucks a month. In January of 2023, I made $469.08. My best month to date (as of this writing) was October of 2022 in which I made $599.49. My immediate goal is to beat that record.
So, you can earn quite a bit of money from Medium. No doubt. You absolutely can. I’m happy with what I’m earning on Medium, and I would like to see those earnings grow. But, I don’t want you to have any illusions that you’re going to be making thousands of bucks a month from the site – at least not for a very very long time.
I’ve found that some of my stories do pretty well and bring in way more than I expected for a single story.
Others don’t do so well and can be a bit disappointing.
So, note here that – yes – you can make some good money from Medium, but sometimes your stories will fall flat. Other times, they’ll surprise you.
How long does it take to start earning from Medium stories?
Once you meet the requirements for the Medium Partner Program, you can apply and then start earning as soon as your application is accepted. Earnings update daily. In my timezone, I see new earnings posted between 2 and 3AM. So I like to check each morning to see what I earned the previous day.
Now, keep in mind that just because you can start earning quickly, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to start earning a lot quickly. For a while, you might be earning a few bucks here and there and nowhere near what any reasonable person would consider job-quitting income. But over time, as you build up your audience, improve your writing skills and learn what your audience wants to read, you can reach a point at which you’re making some good money.
My first full month of being in the Medium Partner Program in 2022, I earned $81.47. Not bad – certainly more than I thought I would – but nothing to quit my job over. It wasn’t until three months later that I broke $100 and reached $407.66.
So the bottom line here is be patient. Understand that you’re not going to see hundreds of dollars roll in overnight, most likely. Give yourself time to generate high quality content that helps people and that provides value, and you’ll see your earnings and follower counts increase over time.
How long will that take for you? I can’t say. But it could be a matter of weeks or even a few months. Just remember that consistency is very important. Throw any notion of instant gratification out the window here.
General caveats about earnings
It’s critical to understand this about earning on Medium: while you certainly can make some good money there, it isn’t always fast and those earnings fluctuate over time. Some months will be way better than others. Some months, you might wonder what’s up.
In my time on Medium, I’ve read lots of success stories – people realizing just how simple it can be to earn a decent paycheck from Medium. And I’ve read lots of complaints about dips in views and earnings from time to time. I’ve seen and experienced both.
Yes, you can earn a good chunk of change on the site, but you also should expect that some months will be less exciting. One month you might earn $300. The next you might earn $150. And the next might be $350. That doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong, necessarily. It’s just a normal fluctuation.
So please don’t join the Medium Partner Program expecting that you’re going to be making something consistent. Depending on your niche and your work ethic, you might get close each month. Or you might see unexpected dips and mountains no matter what you do. It’s all part of the game.
Be prepared to stick with it for the long haul.
How difficult is making money on Medium?
Making money on Medium really is as simple as:
- Meeting the qualifications for the Medium Partner Program
- Writing high-quality content that provides value that will bring in readers
- Repeating step 2.
Now, yes, this is an oversimplified explanation, but I offer it because I don’t want you to overthink this. Writing on Medium and earning from your writing isn’t difficult. In fact, I would say it’s some of the easiest money I’ve ever made online.
I say that with a caveat: It takes time and it takes persistence.
Even if you were to join the Medium Partner Program today and write every day for the next 30 days, that doesn’t mean you’re going to be making job-quitting income for a very long time – if ever. I can’t (and won’t) promise that you’ll be making job-quitting levels of money from your Medium efforts because I don’t know how hard you’ll work or what topics you’ll write about.
But what I can tell you is that if you’re willing to apply yourself and learn what works – and what doesn’t – you’ll be positioning yourself very well to be successful.
Like I said in my last point above, there are dips and there are mountains in the stats. Understand that starting out, you won’t get many – if any – views for a very long time. Then they’ll start to trickle in. And as you get settled into Medium and start interacting with others and as Medium starts to show your content to potential readers across the site, you’ll see traffic pick up and your earnings increase as long as people are actually spending time to read what you have to say.
But at the end of the day, the best advice I can give you is this: Work hard. Be patient. Be consistent. Don’t quit too early.
You got this.