Three months ago, Pond5 contacted me informally. The typical email that when you read the topic, you realize that is definitely about something positive and maybe something big:
My English is good enough to have a good pronunciation of the videos I produce for this website and my YouTube channel, and not to have problems when filling the keywords of my stock footage.
For business, I don’t like Skype calls in English because I do not have a high-speed connection, and I don’t like to be in a conversation with software that starts crashing when I’m talking about money:
Did you say one hundred or one thousand dollars?
That’s why I prefer to receive the same offer by e-mail.
People who live in the USA (Pond5 has his headquarters in New York, even if they also have offices around the world) are much more pragmatic than Italians, at least in business. I’m not happy to say it, but it’s what I think:
In a globalized world, stereotypes are often true.
By the way, I love spaghetti and pizza.
The business relationship I had with Americans, or at least with people who work in the USA, is fantastic for someone like me. They don’t waste time with useless problems:
What’s the price?
The price is 100.
- Ok, let’s do it.
- No, I’m sorry.
That’s exactly the kind of relationship I love. With my fellow countrymen, the person who wrote the email would have insisted on using Skype, or even on meeting in his office, because
staying one in front of the other is better.
After wasting hours of my time, the end would have been something like:
OK, I’ll let you know
The employee of Pond5 wrote back to me fifteen minutes after receiving my message:
If I were a representative of the microstock producers, I would have said:
No thanks, you’re killing the market.
Given that the subscriptions are pushing down the average price of sales.
This is what a dreamer would have done, but I abandoned a permanent job in 2013 because I didn’t want to be someone who spends his days waiting for the fate to change something. I had realized that the internet was allowing the world to become a place based on meritocracy.
In real life, which is very different from dreams, I have to buy food for my family and me, so 10 minutes after receiving Pond5’s message, I replied to my partner overseas:
Yes, let’s proceed. Thank you.
The agreement, in addition to the $0.50 cents monthly for each selected clip, talked also about a bonus tied to the possible success of the membership area, which could be worth more than $1,000 per month (although I don’t really believe it) + the revenues of normal sales which should continue coming.
Yesterday, I got an email saying they had chosen 1582 clips of mine. Do you remember my post about that beautiful thing called passive income? That’s exactly what the deal with Pond5 is:
Thanks of being part of Pond5’s membership area, I will receive $791 per month, whether I continue to upload or I go living on a white sand beach in Thailand, where my only concern is not burning myself in the sun.
That $791 is just a small part of my microstock income because every month I have:
- Normal sales on Pond5.
- Bonus for Pond5 membership area.
- Sales on Shutterstock.
- Sales on Storyblocks/Videoblocks.
- Sales to other Agencies, even if I’m not uploading my content there anymore.
- Direct sales generated by my historical film archive.
I’m quite sure the new membership area will be renewed over time, so those 1582 clips of mine won’t always be there for sale.
One of the reasons why I was selected is my long time registration to the website, as I am a “grand old man” (at least I started when Pond5 collection included less than 1 million clips). Probably those 1582 clips will decrease, as I’m now focusing on other digital projects, and I’m contributing to agencies less frequently.
To make you understand the success that this represents for my career as a producer, let me tell you something:
- To get $791 a month with Google AdSense advertising, you need to have an average of 500,000 unique visitors a month (it’s an average number).
I know many of those who read this post are not internet expert, so let me tell you clearly:
But I also want to be clear about something else: to earn my digits in microstock starting today is very difficult, especially if you do it without first spending months studying (the good news is that thanks to this website you can shorten that period).
Here I was shooting a time-lapse in Sardinia in 2008
Buying my course can allow you to earn a lot more money than you can do without buying it. If you are a rare talent (of filming but especially of entrepreneurship) in the long run, you can approach what looks like a monthly salary. However, this happens to one student out of 10, so I take this opportunity to say:
Do not buy my course if you do not believe in yourself and in your ability to be better than others.
Making money in microstock is boring for someone who starts today because you can enjoy your time as a producer only after months of hard work, but when you leave the house with your camera after starting to sell, you’ll realize that you have found the best job in the world.