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The Big Payoffs Won’t Come From Medium

  • 10 min read

It’s not an easy place to make money but it can definitely open doors to other opportunities, says Medium’s new CEO.

Oftentimes people who join the publishing platform Medium think they can earn money quickly and easily.

Medium’s new CEO Tony Stubblebine has a clear opinion on that.

In his latest interview with Top Writer and YouTuber Zulie Rane, Tony and Zulie agree that the big payoffs aren’t going to come from Medium.

“It's not our job to give full-time income”, Tony shares.

Medium’s main goal is to make its subscribers happy.

Medium is not an employer for writers. It’s a publishing platform.

Therefore, Medium does not pay us. Its customers pay us with their reading time.

Recap: 3 Ways to make Money through Medium

For those of you who might not be familiar with Medium’s business model, here’s a little recap:

#1 Reading time

Reading time is the actual amount of time people spent actively reading your story.

On the Story Stats page, you can see…

the ‘lifetime member reading time’ = the total amount of time Medium members spent reading your story in the selected time period

example of Member reading time since Medium changed

#2 Referred Members

You can refer a monthly or annual Medium Membership to someone.

From a referred member you can earn around $2.

You can access your individual referral link via:


This is what the referral box looks like once link embedded:

Referred members come and go.

However, you can earn recurring income from it.

8% of my Medium income is generated by referrals.

#3 Tip jar

You can get tipped by your readers.

Make sure to activate the tipping feature in beta.

  • Settings_Audience development_Manage tipping

How To Scale Your Income Long-Term

Besides the three options on how to make money short-term through Medium, there are long-term opportunities when writing on Medium too.

In his interview with Zulie, Medium’s new CEO names a few:

BASIC gratification short-term:

  • You can give back, for instance, and share your knowledge to educate others just for the sake of serving others.
  • You can build a reputation, for instance, by becoming an expert in a specific topic.
  • You can build credibility and trust, for instance, by sharing your expertise and adding value to the lives of others.
  • You can support your business, for instance by linking to your website, product, or service you’re selling.

ADVANCED gratification long-term:

  • You can build a portfolio, for instance, attract freelance clients through your writing.

“(…) and then other opportunities might show up”, said Tony.

🚀Future Opportunities to Grow a Business Around Your Part-Time Writing

If the gratifications mentioned above aren’t enough for you as a (part-time) creator … here are others:

#1 Book Deal

In his latest interview with Amar from Entrepreneur’s Handbook, Tony highlighted some unknown opportunities.

For (part-time) online writers who want to build a digital online business or empire from home, for instance,

“a book publisher is going to come. (…) He’s going to give you a book deal and then other opportunities are going to come your way. (…)”

Tony Stubblebine, closed business deals because people had one of his books on their shelves.

Tony wrote two books, one of them with a top-tier publisher:

🌟WOW-worthy book deal examples:

You might think:

“Tony, book deals? Really?”

Well, I know of two Medium writers whose posts went wild. They turned their viral hits into a book:

BONUS tip: Friday, September 9, there was “Medium in Conversation” with Douglas on Twitter. You can listen to the replay using this link!

#2 Self-publishing

Besides getting book deals from publishers (which isn’t that easy, as we know), you have the opportunity to self-publish an ebook as an indie (=independent publisher).

🌟WOW-worthy independent publisher examples:

Side note: I love indie developers in the gaming industry and indie writers. I know a lot of successful ones from Germany who later got a book deal from their favorite publishers!

Tony always says:

“Write with a book in mind!”

If you’re now on fire and want to publish your first indie book, here’s a How-To for Gumroad:

#3 Consulting

Once you’ve established yourself as an expert in a specific topic on Medium, you could offer coaching calls.

From my experience, this opportunity will come naturally because people will ask you for help and advice.

As one of the most successful business podcasters of all time John Lee Dumas says:

“Your best mentor is currently somebody who is where you want to be one year from now.”

You’re relevant when you just did what others are about to do.

So you only have to be one step ahead of the majority of the population in a subject in order to teach it.

🌟WOW-worthy examples from consultants

  • My student Drashti Shroff, for instance, offers consultations on starting a side hustle (on Medium) and making money online.

If you’re on fire now and also want 1–1 consultations with clients:

  • share your email address in your bio so that people can contact you
  • offer your services on LinkedIn
  • start a Gumroad shop with “Consultations”
  • start a Podia site where you offer “Coaching Sessions”

Due to my very tight schedule as a working mom, I offer 4 slots per month for coaching.

If you have more time, you could do more.

#4 Freelance writing:

If you’re frustrated about what Medium pays you now, Tony shares:

“(…) you could go and get a job, … be a staff writer”

🌟 WOW-worthy testimonials

Okay, he is an online writing rockstar but I really love him.

As shared in his book, Nicolas Cole once started writing his Medium posts as if they were articles published in the Inc Magazin.

Based on this smart strategy, he got a job there (but quit pretty soon again to be his own boss again).

I also got job offers via LinkedIn. Although I used to be a journalist and I love writing, at the moment, it’s not my goal to be approached by media outlets outside of Medium.

If it’s one of your goals, here are my tips…

  • make sure to get published in Medium’s Top 10 publications so that you can say: I got featured in Mind Cafe, Start it up, Mental Health…
  • use writing on Medium to find and share your own voice. People will offer you jobs based on your voice.
  • personal branding is so important online. Otherwise, people will forget you from one day to another. Open your own publication, build your own community, and start your own column… do whatever you think is important to get a freelance job
  • share your contact details in your bio (!) so that people can contact you —yes, it’s so easy — and maybe even write “Open for work”

#5 Online Courses

I love online courses.

I love to share what I know and am passionate about with others.

That’s why I put everything I learned about my home, Medium, in a cohort-based online course.

🌟Are you on fire and want to create an online course to go beyond writing?🌟

Sure thing! I’d love to guide you.

Together with my hubby Patrick God, online course instructor with around 80,000 students around the world, and YouTuber, I offer The Online Course Lab in September 2022.

Join other Medium writers who want to create an online course, inside our program. Click here for more and join the fun.

We’ll take the mystery out of creating online courses — fluff-free, short, simple, and sweet 😀

INSIGHTS: Earning report Kristina God

made in Canva with free Medium logo

Medium is my home. It’s the platform I try to master every day and I share what I’ve learned with the community for free.

I’m a part-time (!) content creator and I love this persona.

That’s why people call me “the Medium Goddess” and “Short Form Goddess”.

I always have to giggle when they do. (I’m writing this in my yoga pants, it’s already dark outside, I just put my little boy to bed and my eyes are drooping from the exhausting but colorful day I had. haha)

I focused on this *ONE* platform and on sharing educational content.

  • After 10 months, I’ve offered *Consultations*.
  • After 11 months, I started my own *Boot Camp* and wrote *Workbooks*.

Everything I do is based on my wish to become “a person of value” to this community and beyond.

Here’s how much I earn with this strategy as a part-time writer (with a toddler in the house):

  • Medium — ≈ $1,000 + p.m.
  • Consultations —≈ $200 — $400 p.m. based on my time for live sessions
  • Online Courses — ≈$1,000–$1,500 p.m. based on my time for live sessions

What’s missing?

Yes, a (free) ebook.

Not only for my students but for everyone who wants to crack the game of online writing on Medium.

It’s coming soon! Follow me for more.

Final Takeaways

As Tony agreed with Zulie, the big payoffs won’t come from Medium directly.

But Medium can be your #1 platform.

Your foundation.

🚀Your space center where your online business rocket can launch to fly into the endless creator universe.🚀


Ready for take-off?

I’m curious. What do you think about going beyond Medium?

© Kristina God

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