My Dissertation on Medium Writers, Their Processes and Motivations

By Wes Hicks on Unsplash


I’m currently in my final year of undergrad studying Business Enterprise at the University of Strathclyde. As with all penultimate year courses, my final year is accompanied by the dreaded ‘Dissertation’.

I’d heard about Dissertations before. The anxiety and panic surrounding them. The breakdowns are something you witness first-hand in the uni library. It’s not pretty.

For me, anxiety, panic and mental break-downs didn't sound appetising so i chose to focus my dissertation on something i’m genuinely interested in. Novel idea that, eh?

My Study

I wanted to learn more about Medium Writers (MW’s) and how the successful ones had managed to achieve financial freedom through this platform. More specifically, i wanted to focus on Medium Writers who’ve since expanded beyond the platform and make money through other avenues (courses, personal blogs, affiliate marketing etc).

Therefore, the focus of my study is about MW’s who are also Extreme Digital Entrepreneurs (those who offer fully digitised products).With the context set as the platform Medium and the subjects further identified as MW/EDE’s, what’s the focus of the study?

Well, as I mentioned, i wanted to learn more about how the successful ones managed to achieve financial freedom through the platform. The 2 areas i want to focus on specifically are: Entrepreneurial Motivation and Entrepreneurial Process (Specifically in the context of MW/EDE’s).


What motivates MW’s to begin writing on the platform and what keeps them producing content? This is what i want to find out.

There’s vast swathes of literature surrounding entrepreneurial motivation across academia and the internet. Some of the most prevalent are outlined below:

  1. Intrinsic/Extrinsic perspective — While many psychologists and social scientists suggest that entrepreneurs are motivated by intrinsic factors such as Need for Achievement (nAch), economists suggest that entrepreneurs are motivated by financial reward.
  2. Trait Theory — Everyone possesses particular traits that they exhibit and enact as their life progresses. Some individuals might be pre-disposed to independence and autonomy, thus are more likely to become entrepreneurs.
  3. Push/Pull Forces — MW’s are either pushed by negative circumstances such as COVID or unemployment or pulled by positive opportunities such as the reward of financial freedom and independent income.

Although there’s lots of literature surrounding entrepreneurial motivation, there’s little to nothing on the subject in the context of MWs.


This again suffers from the same ineptitudes as motivation in that next to none of the literature has been adapted to recent advancements in digital technology.

Simply put, the entrepreneurial process is all the functions and activities behind the creation of value. I’m just adapting this definition to suit the subject matter of MW’s.

I want to know the specifics of how a beginner MW becomes a successful MW. How often do they post? Do they work on a schedule? How often do they interact with others on the platform? Do they choose their topics in advance?

I’m intrigued as to how different MW’s approaches vary in their road to success and more importantly if there’s any commonalities that we can look to as guidance.

There’s a plethora of articles out there, especially on Medium, telling you how to become successful on the platform, but most remain vague in their descriptions.

Thus, i’m looking to shed light upon the practices of the MW’s you admire.


To gain a first hand understanding of process and motivation i’ve decided to take an ethnographic approach to studying the habits of these individuals. What that means is i’ll be immersing myself in the medium experience by writing everyday, interacting with others, improving my style and becoming a true contributor to the platform.

Hopefully, this first-hand experience combined with interviews of successful MW’s will lead to a greater conceptual understanding of these unique individuals.

All that being said, if you are reading this article, and you do write on the platform, i’d love to spend 30–40 minutes with you. Not only will it help me finish my dissertation (hopefully), but i’d also just love to have conversations during a time that’s so devoid of social interactions.

If you or anyone you know would be willing to participate, please contact me via the comments or at

As Always,

Yours Honestly,

Liam Lawson.




Writing to better understand my own thoughts.

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Liam Lawson

Liam Lawson

Writing to better understand my own thoughts.

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