You Are Failing on Medium Because of Your Expectations

Visual Freedom

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When I published my first story on Medium in August 2018, I had zero expectations. I didn’t expect anyone to see or read my stories, so I shared them without proofreading.

And the reality is that very few people saw and read my first 150 articles.

I’ve been halfheartedly publishing on Medium for 1.5 years before I decided to take it seriously and turn it into a major income source.

Eight months after that decision, I made more than $10,000 in a single month.

In addition to building a 6-figure income through my writing business, I also welcomed more than 100 students inside the Medium Writing Academy, created the most helpful Facebook group for Medium writers, and co-founded Write Your Future, an exclusive newsletter that helps you write better and make more money through your words.

Admittedly, I felt like an imposter in my first months of making thousands of dollars through my writing.

I genuinely enjoyed every second I spent writing and I poured my heart into every piece I published, but the success still felt surreal.

However, after gaining more than 20k followers in less than a year and supporting dozens of beginners to achieve similar results, I know that my results are no coincidence, but more than well-deserved.

Unlike most successful writers here, I didn’t have the first-mover advantage or great writing skills. On the contrary: Starting in January 2020, I’ve been pretty late to the party and my first articles on Medium are probably the worst I’ve seen on the platform.

And I’m convinced that one of the reasons for my fast growth and my impressive results is that I worked my ass off without expecting anything in return.

I was here, willing to do anything that was necessary, no matter how long it would take me to become a good writer and build an audience.

Most beginners on Medium do the contrary: They sign up, publish one or two posts, read about myths like “curation jail”, think that there’s a problem with the algorithm, and give up before they even start.

But here’s the truth:

You can’t expect the algorithm to work for you before doing the damn work

Would you ever expect someone to pay you for something you’re not good at?

Sounds ridiculous, right?

Yet, that’s exactly what 99% of all Medium writers do: They create a profile, publish a few crappy posts, and expect thousands of dollars to pour in.

Most beginners spend more time connecting their Stripe account and worrying about paying their taxes before publishing their first story.

Bad news: That’s not how it works.

Good news: You can turn your writing on Medium into a full-time job and make up to five figures per month if you know how to do it.

But the reality is that thousands of writers are trying to make money on Medium. If you want to be one of the few people who actually succeed, you need to do what the other 90% aren’t willing to do.

You need to write better stories than the majority, learn from people who figured out how the game works, and keep going for long enough.

As long as you don’t do these three things, you’ll end up being one of the 95% of people who make less than $100 per month here.

Genuine value over stats

As the founder of the Medium Writing Academy Facebook Group, I’m reading hundreds of posts and comments with questions of Medium writers every week.

And one thing that always breaks my heart is that so many writers waste endless hours on redundant activities.

I see people overanalyzing their stats even though they barely get views on their articles.

I see people getting discouraged because of rejections by publications.

And I see people who waste their time by asking redundant questions instead of doing a 2-minute Google search.

That might sound harsh, but here’s the reality: Instead of posting a question saying “How do I submit to Entrepreneurs Handbook?”, you could go on their submissions page and look it up.

By doing so, you’ll save your time but also the time of admins and moderators.

Long story in short: Stop obsessing over numbers, myths, and “growth hacks”. Instead, focus on creating articles that deliver genuine value to your readers.

If you don’t see your desired results yet, you’re likely failing to create great content.

Be so good we can’t ignore you

One more truth bomb: If your writing and your ideas are great, people won’t ignore you.

As long as your writing is mediocre and your ideas are basic, you’ll struggle to stand out from thousands of other writers.

If you, however, understand how to write engaging stories and give genuine value through your articles, you’ll be seen and appreciated.

Medium is a platform for readers. Almost half a million people pay $5 per month to read great stories here.

If these readers spend time on your stories, you’ll be rewarded with even more views. If you fail to create stories that resonate with the audience, you’ll find yourself in a doom loop of creating bad content that isn’t seen and read.

At some point, you need to put your ego aside and accept that you need to serve your audience instead of obsessing over your reputation, stats, or earnings.

Even if you want to share your stories and experiences, writing is a form of service. As long as you write for yourself, you’ll struggle to connect with an audience.

Last but not least

If you don’t see your desired results yet, you probably don’t have more than a few hours per day to spend on your writing.

Of course, it’s easier to make a living here if that’s the only thing you do, but the truth is that we all started writing here as an experiment.

When I published my first story in 2018, I’ve been finishing my studies and doing a full-time internship. Additionally, I had just founded a non-profit organization to host personal development workshops for school kids.

I got up at 5 AM to write before going to my internship and I wrote at 9 PM when I came back home after studying for my final exams. I wrote on weekends and during all holidays.

To be honest, I had no idea what I was doing and whether the effort would be worth it. And even though I had to make many sacrifices to build a 6-figure business at the age of 23, I don’t regret a second I spent writing, learning, and growing.

If I could choose again, I’d do the exact same thing and choose to hustle for my dreams over joining student parties.

I know that you’re busy too, but I also know that it’s possible to make time for your dreams.

So, do yourself a favor and make time for creating a life you genuinely enjoy.

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