Short Answer: Depends. Here’s the long answer . . .

Shaunta Grimes
Jul 12 · 6 min read

This is going to be kind of a long answer to a short question.

There is no easy (or ethical) way for me to say that you can get to a decent part-time income on Medium within a certain amount of time, because so much of it depends on things like:

  • How much experience do you have as a writer?
  • How much time are you willing to put into it?
  • How many times will you write per week?
  • Do you already have an audience you can drive to your posts?
  • Are you willing to put the time into learning how to use Medium effectively?

But I’m going to do my best to give you some kind of an idea.

The most important metric on Medium is ‘fans.’

Fans are the unique number of paying Medium members who clap for your post. (Similar to liking on other social media platforms.) Those members have paid $5 per month to Medium and Medium distributes their $5 to the writers they clap for.

The number of views or reads or claps means close to nothing outside of vanity metrics.

I average 175 to 200 fans per day, which results in an income that averages just under $1000 per week.

That’s good news, because it means that you don’t have to have thousands of fans to earn a full-time income on Medium. Getting to about $1000 per month on Medium requires somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 to 75 fans per day.

If you stay focused on that metric, you’ll be able to measure how close you’re getting to your goal.

Here are my current 30 day stats:

According to the info that Medium sends to Partnership members every month, only 7 percent of ALL Medium writers earn more than $100. Only a little more than half of all Partnership members write at least one post in any month.

I don’t think that it’s anything special that lets me earn more. I’m not getting any extra love from Medium, for instance.

In other words, what I’m doing is something you can recreate.

A) I write every day.

B) I have my own publications on Medium, which let me reach out to followers via email with their ‘letters’ feature.

C) I work really, really hard on building my email list, so that I have people to drive to my posts.

D) I’ve learned how to write posts that Medium will curate (which means they share my posts with people who are likely to want to read them.)

Here’s my Medium journey.

I started writing on Medium in 2016. About a year ago, I started writing on here pretty much exclusively, instead of on my own website.

I came into Medium with an email list and a Facebook community already in place. This is a pretty big deal, because I’m able to drive my own traffic to my posts.

I estimate that about one third of my Medium traffic comes from followers that I direct to my posts myself. Keep that in mind when you’re looking at my stats below.

As far as Medium income is concerned, the most important traffic I drive myself is the traffic that comes from posting in my own publications and sending letters to the readers who follow them. Those people are familiar with Medium and how to interact with a post (i.e. clapping) and they’re more likely to be a paying member than readers who are, for instance, on my email list or following my Facebook group.

In November last year I made $182 dollars in risidual pay from old posts. I moved cross-country that month and wrote very close to nothing new.

In mid-December I learned that a friend was earning $750 a week on Medium and was floored. I wanted to see if I could do that, too. So I really dug in and made a commitment to write on Medium every single day for a year.

You can see what I’ve earned since then here:

It took me from November until January to get to where I was earning $1000 a month and I very quickly doubled and then tripled that by March.

I went a little crazy and at one point was writing three or four posts a day. You can see that reflected in my two pay checks that were close to $5000.

I slowed down in April because I had a deadline with my publisher and I was starting to go a little crazy trying to produce that much content everyday.

I was pleasantly surprised that in that time I’d figured out how to write posts that Medium was more likely to distribute to their readers — so my income fell, but not by too much compared to how much less I was writing.

How long will it take you to get to $1000 a month on Medium?

Here’s my take on it, which you should take with a grain of salt.

The most important things are:

  • If you don’t already have an audience (an email list and/or social media platform) then expect it to take a little longer to grow on Medium.
  • Your growth will increase more rapidly if you start building an email list right now.
  • Learning how to use Medium effectively matters a lot.

Here’s my prediction: If you write a high-quality post most every day for three months I think it’s possible could get to $1000 per month income, even if you don’t have a following already when you start.

You can reach that point more quickly if you’ve got an email list or social media following or both already.

It will likely take you longer if you write less or you need more time to figure out how to use Medium.

But, Shaunta . . . I’ve been writing on Medium way more than three months and I’m not anywhere near $1000 a month.

I hear you.

This might help:

A) Remember what I said about a grain of salt. There are so many variables that I can’t really give a definitive answer to the question of how long it will take you to start earning real money here.

B) What are you writing about? There are topics that do extremely well on Medium and there are topics that don’t. Pay attention to what your readers are responding to and write more of that.

C) Are you remembering that writing isn’t for you? Put your readers first. Even a personal essay should have a take away for your reader and not be only about you. Those are the kinds of posts that readers interact with, which helps you to gain a wider audience.

D) How’s your formatting? Make sure you posts have a solid headline. Learn some very basic SEO so that you can write the kind of titles that capture reader attention. Use a lot of white space and subheads to make your posts look professional.

E) Are you being curated? Focus some of your attention on learning how to write the kind of posts that Medium will distribute to its readers.

F) Are you writing consistently? Writing every day or nearly every day is your best bet for building up to a decent income on Medium.

G) Are you building an audience? You should have your own publication that readers can follow. And an email list. And you should be reaching out to those dedicated readers regularly.

H) Are you self-promoting? Make sure you’re sharing your posts on your social media platforms — even if it’s just your personal Facebook or Twitter feeds.

Octavia Butler said that habit and continued learning are more important than talent. Persistence is key.

What that means is this: Keep writing. Write consistently. Turn it into a daily habit. And keep learning. When you learn something new about Medium or about how to build your writing business, apply it.

Here’s my secret weapon for sticking with whatever your thing is.

Shaunta Grimes is a writer and teacher. She is an out-of-place Nevadan living in Northwestern PA with her husband, three superstar kids, two dementia patients, a good friend, Alfred the cat, and a yellow rescue dog named Maybelline Scout. She’s on Twitter @shauntagrimes and is the author of Viral Nation and Rebel Nation and the upcoming novel The Astonishing Maybe. She is the original Ninja Writer.

The Write Brain

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Shaunta Grimes

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The Write Brain

Posts about productivity, business, and systems for right-brained creatives. Ideas aren’t enough. We actually have to do the things!

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