There are many variables to consider. The price of Steem affects how many active users are curating, actively posting, and either selling off Steem , or buying more.
I've had users who support me with auto's start powering down, and watched my votes start decreasing. I've seen the opposite effect happen as well.
The amount of time you put into the blockchain will significantly increase or decrease your income flow.
Your manners will definitely affect your growth.
Your aptitude, and creative thinking skills are a very big factor. Figuring out unique ways to earn Steem on the blockchain can earn you MASSIVE income in no time. Look at the steemmonsters project for example.. Creative thinking + aptitude.
Certain methods can be employed to increase growth, like using bid bots, or buying SBI shares, Stake based bots, projects like qurator. The list goes on and on.
Some of these methods may be detrimental to the Steem blockchain, but will yield you better, or faster results. This is a moral judgement call on most peoples behalf. Me, I choose not to pay for bidbots, but I buy Steem Plus Points to receive a nice vote from @steem-plus. Why? Because I like the idea of an SBI or Stake based system, more so than bots. I see bid bots as detrimental to steem. There is talk on plans for SPP's in the future, not just for upvotes! Projects like this tickle my fancy, and I believe them to be more valuable for our community.
Many services are in a grey area, and likely some of the one's that I use, but if you use nothing, you will make pennies most of the time, and this is the truth I'm sorry to say. If you bring some value to the chain, and others have verified this in one way or another, most are not going to judge you for securing a few dollars a post. It's not greedy, it's not detrimental to the sharepool, and it gives you an opportunity for some real growth over time.
There is no clear answer for how long it would take to make 25k SP without an investment.
Hmmm how long is a piece of string?
I’ve been using Steemit for a little over a year now. And haven’t invested a cent in the platform. Right now I have just under 1400 SP so I guess if you were to extrapolate that out it would take around 20 years to earn 25k SP.
That’s not really true though. There have been periods where I was earning around 300 Steem per week and other weeks where I made almost nothing. It all depended on how active I was on the platform and what form of content I was posting.
And the more Steem you hold the more you can earn. Right now I passively earn around 1 SBD per day without doing anything and the more SP I have the more I earn passively.
If I am highly active, I believe I could reach 25k SP within a couple of years. But I don’t know if I want to invest that level of time to get there. What’s more likely is that I will invest some money to speed up my progress to at least dolphin level. From there earning Steem will become all the easier.
There are several ways to achieve it, but in any there is a delay since if we observe the rate of SP that we gain by publication we will realize that it is difficult and slow to reach 25K, however there are several factors that could accelerate the process, for example if suddenly the value of the steem would rise drastically and progressively that would mean that the average value of the post would rise impressively what would trigger a greater and better distribution of SP for users.
Also another factor that is extremely important in the trip to 25k of SP is the quantity, quality and average value of rewards obtained by each publication because if you are one of those users who don't get big votes or important votes in their post the trip to 25k will become almost eternal, but if you are an actively contributor to communities where your post and publications are highly valued no doubt that will shorten the road.
Undoubtedly my conclusion is that estimating a time is very subjective because the distribution of SP generated from a post is never the same and it involves many factors that could change overnight to shorten or lengthen the path.
That is a good question but a hard one to answer.
There are so many factors to consider that could speed up the time or slow it down. The price if Steem at current prices is great as growth is a lot easier to achieve. Who knows in a few months the price could rise and then the platform is busy again with less Steem to go around.
I am very busy on the platform and have targets I aim for so I grow at a constant rate. My target is 24-30 months for 25 000 SP. The more you have the easier it is to achieve so your growth is constant but you are accumulating quicker.
An example of this is that if you grow at around 5-10% a week and have 1000 SP you will achieve your 25 000 SP target fairly quickly. It all depends on how much time you invest into various areas of your growth.
I have 1000 SP now and it has taken me 8 months so I am on track to achieve it in 2 -3 years but it all depends on so many things. Just grow as fast as you can and see what happens.