A year of DT - measuring sales growth

posted on 28th of april, 2009

Spring is in the air, and we're starting to see some buds forming. I had to bring them inside for this shot to get away from the snow we are still having! Spring is a good time for my one year DT anniversary. I've definitely met or exceeded where I thought I would be a year ago when I signed up. I've got 1090 uploads online and over 1300 sales!

I'm not sure where the next step will take me, I think I've started to exhaust my supply of 'easy' stock photos and need to start thinking out of the box. My biggest problem with that is that the shots I spend lots of time on don't do better - or do worse (!) - that the 'easy' shots. Here is an example of me with my head on backwards - took me a long time, only a couple of sales:

On the other hand, stuff like this (shot of paper) seems to do really well, and requires much less time:

I'm not saying my business image is the best shot around, but it is unlike anything online. The sales just haven't justified the effort for me personally...

As for advice, I've written a few blogs in the past on my thoughts, but for this blog I wanted to focus on a few random thoughts on sales, portfolio size and comparing yourself to others.

It is tempting to look at a small portfolio with lots of sales and focus on what they are doing right. I don't think it is quite that simple. I used to compare my downloads per image to others as a basis for success. What I found was that there were always people with much higher numbers - but smaller portfolios. The common theme was that they had been online much longer (say since 2005). I realized that the faster way to bump up your downloads per image number was to simply stop uploading. Then every sale moves the DPI up. Great on paper, but what really matters to me is growing my revenue.

So - instead I've started focusing on the my sales per 100 images online for a given month (sort of like DPI except tracking your sales THIS month over your whole portfolio size). And this is what I use to compare myself to others. To do this, you must look at someone else's portfolio at a point in time, and then again some time later. Then you can see if you are growing faster than others. What I've discovered is that I actually have quite high sales per online image on a monthly basis (about 20 sales for every 100 online). It also tells me that even though I am adding images, my overall ability to sell is staying about the same. This is much more interesting to me than knowing I have lots of images online, or absolute sales. This is also the number I want to move up by focusing on quality and unique images - but it will also tell me if focusing on fewer uploads with higher quality is really increasing sales, or if I should just keep doing what I'm doing.

Have fun on DT!

Comments (4)

Comment by Bradcalkins on May 19, 2009

Thanks for the comments :)

Comment by Alexhor on May 19, 2009

Happy Anniversary. Lots of common sense in this article. Usefull.
Good luck.

Comment by Eclecticelegance on April 29, 2009

Very interesting!! Thank you for writing this. This is a subject that is important for contributors to think about.

Comment by Creativei on April 28, 2009

Happy Anniversary, You have done great until so far. I admire your portfolio and it gives me inspiration. Good luck for future sales.

This article has been read 1136 times. 5 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Brad Calkins.

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