Here’s my two cents:
Like you said, if you are writing to make a living, why not go for it anyway. Then there’s the other thing… how much does one make from medium anyway? I’m sure you’ve got to be crazy popular, and if you, I think then you can make a decent side income…
Here’s the thing. You will never have the whole world reading your stories. Let’s say you’re not behind the paywall, would that mean every single person will read your content? NO!
Let’s say you ARE behind the paywall. What then? Of course there will be some who won’t read you content, but there are others who will!
At the end of the day, you will always have readers. But not ALL the readers, no matter whichever method you choose, partner program or not.
Those who cannot afford to pay to read your articles, well it’s sad, but here will always be others who will write free content. So that’s OK.
Those who can afford it but still won’t pay, well, I don’t much care whether or not these people read my article or not.
And the ones who pay, well, they are doing a good job, and supporting writers and I appreciate them.
The rest really depends on you, and whichever you do, it’s just fine.