The thousand job opportunities of the new world
You are an example that those who say it is impossible to live with the microstock business today do not know what they are talking about.
You work as freelancer, from a small country like Italy, and produce only stock images (not stock footage), but you get a salary every month and, I think, do a job you like.
What do you suggest to a person who discovers the microstock business today and wants to work hard to reach your level of profits?
With microstock (as with all the work I've done, and also when I was a student) I have always been very strict and uncompromising. My advice is just this: think about it, and then decide if you really want to try.
Of course, you can decide to do something else with your life, but if you decide to try your hand at the microstock business, it is impossible to earn certain figures with little effort.
This is a job, like so many, and you have to:
- wake up early in the morning
- work 8-10 hours a day
- study, update, improve
If there is still a chance of success, I think this is the only way to understand it. The bad thing is that it is not guaranteed, but that's how all businesses work.
The future of microstock
What will happen to microstock is one of my greatest concerns because I am focusing a lot of my energy on this business. The evolution of all industries based on technology is too fast to foresee.
Obviously, it's easy to double your profits when you have 100 images and you upload 100 new ones. But when you have 10,000, selling another 100 does not make any difference because the increase in earnings starts to become imperceptible in the short term.
After paying your expenses and taxes, the net earnings do not allow you to live a rich life, especially if you think of all the hours dedicated to this business. But it is a job that I like, and I am optimistic.
There are contributor accounts who have:
- an impressive number of images
- portfolios that contains discrete photorealistic renderings along with excellent shots taken outdoors or indoors with models
I doubt those accounts are only contributed to by single freelancers. I believe they are companies that have made microstock their business. Perhaps this could be an idea for me: associating with other producers who are good at subjects that I'm not able to produce, or hiring them, or buying the rights to their stock images.
I don't know. But this strategy could be an interesting way to gain a better ranking in the results shown to buyers, as the most "active" producers are preferred, and so being part of an "associated producers account” would, in theory, increase the number of average sales.
Unfortunately, I don't know anyone to partner with. I tried several times to involve friends, photographers, even unemployed ones, and simply recommended becoming a microstock contributor, but despite having seen the profits I am reaching, people are always a bit skeptical. I don't understand the reason.
I believe that:
- understanding the market’s needs
- keeping up to date on new technologies
will be necessary to remain competitive.
Finally, I suggest that those who want to seriously try to make money with microstock keep track of their uploads and their sales month by month. I do it with a simple spreadsheet where it is also possible to create graphs that immediately represent the figures. It is a very useful tool to help to understand:
- how things are going
- which agencies are the best
- what the relationship is between the number of images uploaded and sales
An interview by Daniele Carrer, originally published in Italian on this page.