It is quite simple really. The price of steem is only $1.30 +/- the cents. So if you put in at least 20k worth in bitcoin you can build you account from there. You can even pay yourself by upvoting your posts. I have even found a client over there who pays me in steem dollars. He can afford to pay me a lot because he makes an average of 200+ Dollars a post.
Basically invest in steem power to grow your voting power. Then upvote posts including your own to increase curation awards.