That's my goal for total earnings online before I die!
I'm getting there... slowly. Last year, my total online sales from all assets on all sites was roughly $3500 (not counting eBay). This year, so far, I'm on pace to double it.
I know you're gonna click on my portfolio and shake your head. But they key, I have found, is diversity and finding niches. I've stated previously in a blog that I'm primarily a video guy. My still portfolio is the result of rendering out some high resolution stills from video projects. Which, I don't do often enough.
My first rule is, treat stock like a business. If you treat it like a hobby then progression and success will come much harder. Try to schedule regular hours when possible and when you're doing it, don't have the television on or hold a conversation with your 4-year old about where hot dogs come from (yeah, she went *there* and we both giggled).
My second rule is research. I don't spend much time scanning popular images or clips. What sold yesterday isn't that important to me, I wanna know what's gonna sell tomorrow. So I read a lot of marketing information about trends, popular looks in commercials or print ads, and I watch a lot of television for the commercials and infomercials. I pay attention to every single request from buyers, not so that I can fill that request now, so much as looking for trends in what buyers are looking for.
My third rule (the hardest of them all) is patience. There are thousands upon thousands of people just like me all struggling for a piece of the pie. Fortunately, most of them will become frustrated at slow (or non-existent) progress and quit. I'm just happy with ANY kind of progress, be it making just $1 more this year than I did last year, or getting kudos from a few buyers who really enjoyed my work.
And my fourth (and final) rule is that I invest half of what I make back into my "business". Be it new equipment, new software, or just gas in the car to get me some place I haven't been before.
The stock business is growing and evolving... I have to grow with it, or get left behind. Most of you are WAY MORE talented than I am, so I gotta be smarter and trickier whenever I can. :)