My First 2 Cents on Medium

And Why They Changed It All

Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

Two weeks ago I started recording my work and sharing it on YouTube.

I've heard you could make some cents out of it, and I guessed it'd be worth giving it a try. If nothing worked, at least I'd be sharing some useful content with others and paying it back to the community.

That was until I realized you actually first need to gather 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watched hours. Just to start making ANY money on YouTube.

4k Hours Before Any YouTube Income

Seriously? 4k hours, what does that even mean? I've researched for two minutes — not that I was really interested— just to figure that it'd be the equivalent to watch Game of Thrones a little over 50 times.

50 times… Even for Game of Thrones, that's an unreasonable amount of time. Or, wait a minute, what if I gathered a group of 50 friends? Well, not even, because they'd have to watch the whole series. I might have convinced my ex to rewatch the whole series, but 50 friends, no way!

I just had no idea how, when, or even if, I'd achieve that milestone.

If I Only Knew

It's been more than 5 years that I sporadically post on Medium. Mainly about things that I've struggled with in real life, while programming, then realized it could be useful to someone else, so I took my time to document it and avoid wasting the time of fellow developers.

My posts even got some traction, the top one totaling ~20k views today.

I never really shared them though. Just like my StackOverflow, where I proudly accumulated over 7,000 points, I just kept my posts slowly coming over time, and Google made them useful to others via their organic search.

Until I Learned About The Medium Partner Program

Last week I was studying how to make money on YouTube, how to prepare a live-streaming, how to monetize over affiliate marketing, how to this, how to that, and I stumbled upon Zulie Rane. She describes herself as a Biology MSc Psychology nerd but, for me, she's the girl who live-shares her writing.

Before I noticed, I was giving her lots of my attention. I watch one, two, three videos. I read one, two, three blog posts. Followed her. Subscribe to her 5-day medium starter kit newsletter. She automated this series of 5-day emails where she helps you get started on Medium, though, as inpatient as I am, I just waited and went through the whole thing at once.

So there I go. After all the paperwork, Stripe integration, and all, my account is fully set and ready to start making money. So how to? How to make money?

Just Freaking Turn Your Meter On

And that's what I did. I went through all of my old posts and toggled them to activate monetization. That's it. You can do it right now to your account too! There are no minimal subscribers, no minimal views.

You're ready to monetize your writing.

But how long until I see the results?

So I get home from work the next day — well, COVID times, I was already at home today, but it's more dramatic if you picture me getting home after work— and the first thing I do, naturally, is to refresh my Medium income page.

And BIM! There it is. Dopamine flowing. My extrinsic motivation is there.

Extrinsic motivation refers to behavior that is driven by external rewards such as money, fame, grades, and praise. This type of motivation arises from outside the individual, as opposed to intrinsic motivation, which originates inside of the individual.

And It Changes It All

Creating a habit is not an easy thing. Too many people struggle to come up with different frameworks on how to introduce and stick to new habits. One of my favorite authors on that matter is James Clear, and if you didn't read his book Atomic Habits yet, you should definitely check it out.

He says that for a new habit to be formed you need to retro feed it with four different steps. The same goes for writing on Medium or going live on YouTube.

At first, you're looking for a cue. That could be a question from a friend or an online thread that inspired you to write about something useful to others.

Then you have the craving. That's when you feel like doing it. On Medium, for instance, the user interface makes it so pleasurable to write that I do feel the craving to jot down my ideas into the keyboard, just to see them showing up on the screen.

The response is, then, that I comfortably place my ass on my chair and start typing.

But where's the reward? On YouTube, at least, I couldn't find any. I would share my videos with my family and friends. They'd cheer me up. Ok, cool. But what more? It's hard to start to get noticed on YouTube.

If you think about how long it could take for you to reach the 4k hours, then that makes the process even more painful. And what happens when it's painful? Well, that's when you give up. You know you won't, until you do, and then it's too late. Most people are just like that. This monotone period where nothing happens. You get no reward. No stimulus. Just cue, craving, response. That's when the reward becomes so important.

The fact that Medium allows you this reward, as small as it is, is utterly game-changing! It made me now go shout to my friends and share that screenshot on Twitter. It also made me google 0.02 usd in brl and realize that I could actually be rich while living in Brazil. And, most importantly, it made me start typing this very article you're currently reading.

If you've enjoyed the read, follow me on Twitter. I generally document my passive income journey and share hot tips about React & Rails development.

Brazilian full-stack developer. Living and working in Paris. Sharing productivity hot tips for web development.

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