I’ve Finished the Medium 90 Day Challenge
When I first found Medium in late May of this year, I honestly thought it was a suckers game.
What first brought me here was a story written by an old acquaintance that I was reading as a kindness.
He’d had big plans of success on the platform, plans that had fizzled into predictable nothing. Yet despite his failings, the platform itself looked enticing to me.
I liked the design, and really liked how easy it was to format a post to make it look good and easy to read. No need to fuss around with templates and get frustrated when that shade of pink you like looks red on the iPad version.
So I signed up for the Partner Program myself and decided to shoot for success the same way that he’d tried to.
But what does success look like?
I had no idea, but I’d found a writer that had started a few months before me.
Gillian Sisley had said in one of her earlier stories that she had set a goal for herself. Her goal looked like this —
Within 90 days she would:
- Write every single day
- Earn at least one ‘Top Writer’ badge
- Earn at least $50
I thought these goals looked fun and doable, so I decided to adopt her challenge for myself.
But, But, But…
I can hear them cry out,
Them being the well-meaning advisors that say we shouldn’t shoot for financial goals on Medium.
People often point out that shooting for money or pointless things such as ‘Top Writer’ badges is a path to madness, and they’re not entirely wrong.
Focusing solely on profit on Medium, especially right away is absolutely a path to madness that will end with rage quitting and angry feelings.
It will also probably end in a soup of self loathing and lowered self esteem.
So when people shoot down financial goals, they’re doing so from a place of love.
But what about setting reasonable financial goals as a managed way to stay motivated?
Hypothetically, if I were set a goal that Medium should pay my rent within 90 days – that would be a potentially dangerous goal. Especially if I were to quit my job to focus on achieving this goal.
However the goal of earning merely $50 isn’t going to do any damage. That amount of money that would only fund one night on the town. (In China it would fund a night on the town. In my home country of Australia it would fund one drink).
So with reasonable and healthy goals in mind, I began my quest.
First 30 days
In terms of viewership, I hit the ground running.
At the end of my first 30 days I had roughly 2.5 thousand views across all of my stories, and had managed to write every day.
The reason for my high viewership was my political articles that discussed important moments in time that were happening right at that second.
For example, I wrote a story covering the debate between Trish Regan and Liu Xin and posted it the same day the debate happened.
Trish Regan vs Liu Xin – Who Won?
The answer to who won the lowest key, highest drama debate of the year
I got over a hundred views within the first couple hours, celebration time right?
None of these views were bankable..
My first month had accidentally been spent attracting thousands of non-paying, completely un-bankable eyes.
I had focused on plugging all my stories on the right subreddits and all around the most political parts of the internet, but none of these eyes were Medium-subscribed eyes.
This meant that my viewpoints and writing style were being discussed off-platform, liked and disliked off-platform, all for free.
This was a steep lesson that I’d learned by the second month.
Second 30 days
The next month saw a steep decline in viewership, but a steep incline in on-platform engagement.
Within the first couple weeks of my second month, I was averaging 8 fans a day from a viewership that ended up being only 800 people for the entire month.
I was still writing everyday, but was now writing about travel, life experiences, emotional baggage, and cooking.
I gained my first ‘Top Writer’ badge for cooking this month, which was an incredibly happy day.
I don’t really believe that these badges make much of a difference, but it sure gave me a big boost of encouragement that kept me encouraged.
At the end of this month I earned my second badge in Food and started my beloved publication.
After seeing a need for a publication that serviced the aviation-geek niche, I decided to start The Mile High Club.
Working on this publication kept me writing more than ever, and collaborating with other writers had me marketing more than ever.
I felt responsible for ensuring the publication stayed as visible as possible to support both my and other writers work.
This had me advertising in more creative ways than I had ever thought to do before.
Third and final 30 days
The last 30 days have seen a great increase in attention for both me and the publication, and that attention has encouraged more writing and provoked more care taken with each story.
I now edit each story for a lot longer, and take more care in ensuring each one will represent the brand I’m trying to foster.
My viewership bounced back, without me having to get as political as I was before. I also started to use Reddit more productively (namely, by focusing on the Medium subreddit).
Here’s how my stats stand now on my 90th day.
I’m very happy with how everything has gone so far, and I continue to see Medium as a long game. A long game that slowly builds and pays off over time if you’re willing to work at it.
In terms of the goals
- I failed at the first goal. I’ve missed about 6 days since I began writing here 90 days ago
- I’ve earned three Top Writer badges. Cooking, Food and Travel
- I have exceeded my goal of $50
So I’ve finished with a 2/3 completion rate. I’m very happy with this result, and I’m not disappointed in myself for not nailing it 100%.
The whole point of writing in the first place is to relax myself and have a creative outlet. Once you start stressing yourself about your writing, you’ve defeated the point.
I haven’t actually got a plan for the next 90 days yet. I plan to keep doing what I’ve been doing and see what happens.
What about you? Are you working on a plan? If anyone has a plan they’re working with and would be willing to share, I’d love to hear about it.
I hope my first 90 days have served as an inspiration for you, and if you’re brand new to Medium let me just say Welcome!
I encourage you to use the same plan I’ve used (thanks again Gillian!) Because I think it’s fun, exciting and super doable.
But if you’ve got your own plan, by all means use that instead.
Just make sure that the writing stays fun, don’t get bogged down by stress or negativity. If you do, what’s the point? Once that’s happened you’ve just given yourself another job, one that pays a slave wage.
Keep having fun and keep creating. We’re all in this together.