How I Made a $12,000 Article on Medium

Make a career on Medium — here’s how.

Isaiah McCall
Yard Couch
Published in
6 min readJun 14, 2022

--

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Making money on Medium can be tough. In fact, when I first started out I made around $12 a month. Not exactly life-changing money, but it helped pay for my coffee.

Meanwhile, today my first article crossed the five-figure mark and I’ve been able to quit my day job entirely.

Before we get into it, I typically hate articles about earnings and avoid them entirely, but I’m making an exception today because I want to show you that it is possible to make a living through writing on this platform.

Here’s what you need to know if you want to make a career out of writing on Medium.

Write Like it’s Stand-up Comedy

“Audience participation.”

It’s the first thing I learned as a stand-up comedian that took me to the next level. Before that, I would go on stage, make little eye contact, and speak my lines to myself like I was writing in a diary.

It didn’t work. Even if the material was good I would bomb because the audience wasn’t involved. They were just sitting there waiting for me to finish so they could leave.

As a writer, you need to treat your readers the same way. The work isn’t for you — even if it feels cathartic to express yourself — it’s for your audience.

This means —

  • Don’t expect every personal story to connect with your readers. Unless you’re Hunter S. Thompson or Maya Angelou, many of your stories of personal struggle probably won’t interest anyone but your mom. This is especially true if your story-telling skills are lacking.
  • Don’t write obscure topics and expect them to perform well. There’s an art to writing about a niche, but I’ll get to that in a second.
  • And remember that your average reader doesn’t care about you. I know that sounds harsh but it’s true. I learned this from a magician named Ken Weber, your audience cares about your work, not so much about you individually. If I go on a comedy stage and apologize about being sick or being tired, I’m only sabotaging my performance. The work is what stands out. The job of the artist is to make everything…

--

--

Isaiah McCall
Yard Couch