Medium Will Help Me Earn a Six-Figure Income This Year

There are two ways you could say the same thing.

Photo by BRUNO CERVERA on Unsplash

I have two circles: writers and online entrepreneurs.

It turns out that I run in circles where there is no middle ground. I mean, there is, but most people struggle to see it.

Either you are visible. An influencer. A name. A bestseller. A millionaire.

Or you’re nobody.

Either you’re rich or you’re poor.

Either you’re viral or you’re a wannabe loser.

But the thing is, that’s all bullshit.

You probably don’t know me. I mean, if you’re reading this maybe you do. You might be on my email list, which is why you’re reading this at all. You might have heard about me somewhere — I’ve been doing this for three years.

I blog on Medium every day, after all.

But I’m not a big shot. I’m not a superstar, rising star, or shining star.

I’m a totally normal middle-aged soccer mom who happens to have two passions that combine to make me kind of good at this whole making money online thing.

My passions are writing and teaching. And I used those two things to build a community and a business that supports my family.

Maybe if my website was slicker, I’d be even more successful. I don’t know. I don’t really care. I do know that without a slick website, I earned a solid middle-class income last year. And the year before.

(No really, though, my website is not slick. Go look. I mostly blog here on Medium.)

Someone told me something once that’s stuck with me.

He said that once I’m at a place where I’m comfortable I can stay there, or I go all in on a big push forward — but that I’d have to make sure that’s what I really wanted.

It turns out that I’m happy with slow growth that gives me time to write my own novels and still help Ninja Writers learn how to write theirs.

I want you to know something, though.

If you have the heart of a teacher and you’re passionate about something that even a smallish segment of the world wants to learn how to do, you can make a living online.

If you’re about to tell me that you don’t have anything to teach I’ll have two responses for you.

Either you’re wrong and you do have something to teach, you just don’t realize it yet, or you need to first get busy LEARNING how to do something you can teach someone else.

Let’s break that down a little. You can do this two ways.

Figure out what you’re already good at.

Everyone is good at something. If you’re an adult, there is something you’ve spent time mastering. It’s entirely possible that you’ve just gotten so good at it that it comes easy — so easy that it’s hard for you to see that it comes hard to anyone else.

I’m going to use my husband as an example here.

(Kevin has zero interest in teaching and even if I held his hand all the way through it, would never want to make money online. He can barely stomach me doing it — he’s way more comfortable with a nice, steady paycheck.)

Kevin is 50-years-old. He’s had the same job (not with the same company, but he’s done the same work) since he was 21-years-old. So nearly 30 years. He’s also had a primary hobby for even longer than that, closer to 40 years.

He’s a craps dealer — first in Atlantic City, then in Las Vegas, then in Reno.

And he loves pinball.

When I put it that way, I bet you can see that if he also had a burning desire to make some money online he could start a website either about gambling or about pinball — two things he could figure out a way to teach online.

If we dig a little deeper, I can tell you that he could find success writing about Generation X or finding your people when you’re in your 40s or living with a creative spouse who can’t stand having the kind of work that brings in a nice, steady paycheck.

His parents both have dementia. His dad was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and his mother likely will be in the near future as well. They both live with us. He could write about the fear that I know he must feel, knowing that he is so genetically prone to dementia. He could write about our crazy (awesome, but craaazy) household — if he wanted to.

Kevin would describe himself to you as ‘just normal.’ But just like everyone else who has a few decades behind him, he’s got life experiences that could translate into an online income.

To make this work: Sit down with a notebook and a couple of hours of uninterrupted time and really think about yourself and your life.

What are you good at? What do you wish you were good at? What are you interested in? What is interesting about you?

For this section, you’re most interested in what you’re good at and what’s interesting about you. Think about things that are easy for you, that other people struggle with. Think about the things you choose to do with your free time. When you day dream at work, what are you thinking about? When you work at work, what are you doing?

Those are your things. You don’t need a million people who are interested in them. Since you’re special, but not an actual snowflake, there are other people who are into the same things you are. And some of them will be interested in learning from you.

Learn something you can teach.

I met a woman named Cassidy at a conference a couple of years ago. She was the keynote speaker. She runs a blog called Succulents and Sunshine.

Here’s a little bit from her blog’s About page:

My adventure with succulents began when I planted three small ones on the window sill of my basement apartment. In less than a year, I’d propagated all three of those plants — and bought a whole lot more, growing into a total of more than 100 succulents!

She didn’t already know how to be a succulent guru. She learned how. And then she taught what she learned.

Here’s a secret for you: you only need to be a few steps ahead of someone else to have something to teach.

To make this work: Figure out something you can get super excited about. Go back to the lists from the last section and take a look at the things you wish you were good at and the things you’re interested in.

Pick something. Even if it’s something you know nothing at all about. Take a year and just do it. Learn it. Seek out people who can teach you. Read the books. Take the classes. Experiment. Fuck up. Get things right.

Record it all. Share the process. When you’re a few steps ahead of a base beginner, start teaching. There will be people who were just like you a few months ago, interested but not not sure where to start. Those are the people you can teach.

If I can make a decent living online, so can you. So there.

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

Shaunta Grimes is a writer and teacher. She lives in Reno with her husband, three superstar kids, and a yellow rescue dog named Maybelline Scout. She’s on Twitter @shauntagrimes and is the original Ninja Writer.