I have reached 1000 sales.
As I write this, one of the most recent Featured Photographers was Subbotina. I found this Contributor a while back while browsing the database and I added this person to my list of favorites. The reason for adding is because we both joined DT on the same day. I thought I was doing good with sales versus the size of my portfolio, but Subbotina only proves that I still have much to learn about stock, producing quality images, and figuring out what sells. (Just look at Subbotina's time on DT versus size of portfolio and number of sales).
There are many Contributors like Subbotina who demonstrate that you can make it in stock, but only if you study and learn and continue to improve the craft. I make this point because I continually see in the forums various topics about why sales are low. You will hear reasons like the search engine algorithm being changed to favor others or blaming Buyers because they don't know how to do a proper search.
No matter what endeavor you are involved with, it is a constant of human nature: Successful people find a way to succeed while others make excuses. I know some people will not like that statement but Subbotina and other Contributors are proof that sales come fast and easy if you work at it.
I have been allowing my sales to build up and have made around $1,000 over the past six months. I am cashing it out and will be using the money to purchase studio lighting equipment. One of my weak points in stock is indoor work because I do not have the proper equipment. I know there is going to be a stiff learning curve in using the equipment properly (I didn't start producing top notch images just because I upgraded to a good Nikon and purchased Photoshop) so there is going to be angst and frustration while I figure things out. It's also going to be fun now that I will be making another step in becoming a better photographer.
Either way, I will no longer have excuses for not producing quality stock images when doing indoor studio shots. Despite the ever growing competition, watering down of various subjects and concepts as databases become bloated, I see great potential in the stock world because there are so many ideas that have not yet been covered.
I know some people don't have the time and means and others do this for fun, but it's the same for me too. I don't have the time and when I do work on stock it's only to have fun in trying new and different concepts. Yet, stock is still a business and if anything that means studying and learning and trying to improve. (The great thing about this kind of business is you don't have to pay rent, fees, or taxes when not working).
My journey to 1,000 sales has had a lot to do with studying and learning the business of stock. I had a legitimate excuse for not doing inside work, but no more. A simple blog like this isn't going to tell you how to get from A to B nor will it inspire you to do better, but when you see Contributors like Subbotina, there should be an epiphany that there is a way to get to B. It's up to you to find the way.