I have reached a big milestone for myself. I just sold my 100th image. I would like to celebrate by sharing with you some of the things I have learned while reaching this milestone.
1) Upload, upload, upload. When people post in the message board asking for criticism on their portfolio and half the comments say "upload, upload, upload." Those comments should be listened to. I always see an increase in my sales when I am uploading verses when I am not.
2) Don't expect too much too quick. Unless you are a professional with tons of stock images just waiting to be uploaded, it takes time to develop a well rounded portfolio and it takes time for certain images to sell in a well rounded portfolio. Some images sell seasonally and if you uploaded one of those images just after the season for purchasing them it can take a year before you get your first sale on that image. Be patient, your first payout is really the hardest. It took forever to get my first 50 images sold, but now sales are continually coming in.
3) Always try to push yourself. When I began I was only doing photography, then I saw how non-photography images were doing, so I learned how to paint/draw in Photoshop and have seen a large jump in the number of sales I am getting (and some of my illustrations are very basic, like my 100th).
4) Have fun with what you do. Be willing to do something a little crazy, it might result in more sales. Let your hair down and have some fun with this, many of us are here as a hobby, and shouldn't a hobby be fun? When I look at stock imaging as a fun hobby I get much better results than when I try to make it a "job."
Finally I would like to thank Dreamstime for allowing me to be a part of this community. I would also like to thank those in this community who have given me insight and help into developing my portfolio so that I could reach this milestone.
Cheers, here is to the next 100.