Indeed. I've been writing on Medium for several years, and the most I made in one year was about $12. I know there are readers out there who enjoy my writing. They just don't pay attention to Medium. Or they don't find enough of value on Medium to want to pay for membership. Or they already have way too much to read.
I've slowed down my participation here recently because of illness, and I'm getting old and tired. So I write when I have a thought I believe to be worth sharing whether or not there are enough members reading my work.
I know there are ways to promote that I haven't tried. But I am tired and ill and my age is catching up to me.
And I've already tried some of the options for promotion.
Just by-the-by, I am a retired professor whose courses have included various forms of writing. So it's not like I don't know the "how to." I've just never been one to try focusing on "salable" work. At 73 I have something to say, and I'll say it whether or not I make money at it. I live poor on social security, but I also have learned to value things less and people more.