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Author Topic: How do you keep motivated?  (Read 8323 times)

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jen

« on: November 16, 2010, 12:11 »
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So, I'm having a terrible November.  I'm feeling very demotivated because I've been work-work-working and I've only made 1/7th of what I did in October. 

My question is, how do you keep motivated in an inconsistent and unpredictable business?  Stock photography is still new to me, and I know I have to keep pushing and develop a huge and wicked awesome portfolio before I can make steady money.   I'm interested in hearing stories about how you made it over the hurdle (working hard, hoping it would be worth it eventually).


« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2010, 12:13 »
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I mostly only shoot things that interest me. I'm still trying to build up numbers, but I'm not getting uptight about them. As long as you shoot what's interesting to you,the rest will follow.

WarrenPrice

« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2010, 12:48 »
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So, I'm having a terrible November.  I'm feeling very demotivated because I've been work-work-working and I've only made 1/7th of what I did in October. 

My question is, how do you keep motivated in an inconsistent and unpredictable business?  Stock photography is still new to me, and I know I have to keep pushing and develop a huge and wicked awesome portfolio before I can make steady money.   I'm interested in hearing stories about how you made it over the hurdle (working hard, hoping it would be worth it eventually).

Good question, Jen, especially about consistency.  I had posted something similar on DT.  I finally reached 500 images there.  There are days that I have five downloads followed by days and days and days of nothing.  I was hoping that 500 was the magic number.  It's not.   :(

« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2010, 12:52 »
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Yeah, I try to stop thinking about the money, turn my brain off and work on things that I enjoy. It's good to think about the business side too, but I "TRY" not to get too obsessed with it.

lisafx

« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2010, 12:59 »
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Very good question, Jen.  My answer is - I don't!   Having a really hard time getting motivated right now. 

I think Blufish and Cthoman have the right idea about putting the business aspect aside and shooting what you enjoy.  This year I have been focusing too much on sales and not enough on pleasure.

I had expected to be able to relax after I got my portfolio to a certain level, but with 6k pictures, the competition is fiercer than ever.  I feel compelled to keep producing. 

In the new year I might try shooting some editorial RM.  That would be a good change of pace and hopefully get my creative juices flowing again :)

« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2010, 13:03 »
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The only photo you won't sell for sure is the one you don't do or upload. That said, I'm not seeing any big downfall in my sales.

microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2010, 13:33 »
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So, I'm having a terrible November.  I'm feeling very demotivated because I've been work-work-working and I've only made 1/7th of what I did in October.  
My question is, how do you keep motivated in an inconsistent and unpredictable business?  Stock photography is still new to me, and I know I have to keep pushing and develop a huge and wicked awesome portfolio before I can make steady money.   I'm interested in hearing stories about how you made it over the hurdle (working hard, hoping it would be worth it eventually).

If you've been working a lot lately, don't despair: pictures take a few months to really start to sell on most sites (except Shutterstock where sales are almost immediate), so results will possibly come later.

That said, November is not as good as expected for me as well.

What keeps me motivated is travelling. I am shooting a lot less for microstock while at home, but I take a short break now and then and shoot a lot of pictures. Glasgow and Berlin (again) lately.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2010, 13:35 by microstockphoto.co.uk »

« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2010, 14:04 »
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Sales are certainly a huge motivator. So far November has been doing very well (1st half was on track to be a BME but we'll have to see).

OTOH I have been totally demotivated by the crap at IS and decided that I'd just do what I wanted to with the time I've had - and I didn't shoot any Christmas stuff this year at all. For therapy I've been processing images from this summer - I was planning to work on those but not in the fall. I've uploaded everything I've processed and some of it has even sold amongst all the Christmas/snow images (from prior years).

I still don't really know what I'm going to do next year, but for the moment I'm just going to ignore saleability and process and upload things that I really love - and play lots of music (loud) while I do (I have a home office, so I have no co-workers to tick off by my music choices)!

LSD72

  • My Bologna has a first name...
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2010, 14:17 »
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Motive through Photography.. not through Stock / Microstock. Learn more about Photography. Go step outside your comfort zone for fun.

I go walking around with my 18 - 55 lens and see what I end up with.. with no plans on selling them. I take those pics and learn some type of creative editing. All for the sake of just doing. If you spend all your time thinking about the next stock shot... then do like a regular job and take your weekends off.

« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2010, 14:24 »
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I haven't uploaded anything new for a couple of months now. All of the things going on at all of the sites really put me off. But then I enrolled in college again. I am taking a Photography I class. We're shooting with a black and white film camera, developing the film ourselves and printing ourselves. I have to say that I have reaffirmed my love for photography (not microstock) in addition to learning a lot of things. The things I have learned about the relationship between f-stops and exposures has been priceless. Is it making me money? No, quite the contrary. The supplies are costing way more than what were told to expect at the beginning of the year. But I almost don't care.

It's a fresh, new way to look at things and that has motivated me to go back to my digital camera and apply the principles I've learned and hopefully take some better shots.

« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2010, 14:39 »
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Lets be honest.  You're either doing microstock for enjoyment or profit. 

To anyone now yelling, No, I do this because its personally rewarding  Really?  You find joy hunched over the computer for hours... retouching, keywording and uploading photos that you fear wont sell?  You would rather do that than spend time with loved ones or on a favorite pastime?  Let's not kid ourselves.  We all have dollar signs in your eyes, or we wouldn't be so obsessed with microstock.

Dont get me wrong.  You can learn to enjoy putting profit first.  Aim to find subjects that buyers actually want and put your creativity to work in adding a fresh spin on those topics.  Youll find this is rewarding both financially and creatively.

On the flipside, you will not succeed financially if you place top priority on what you enjoy creating and assume that people will eventually find your works of art and buy them on their artistic merits.  Not going to happen, unless some marketable concepts slipped in by accident.

Dont trust anyone who suggests that following your heart will lead you to a pot of gold.  Check out their stats to see if its working for them, then come back to reality and focus on creating marketable images in a manner you find creatively fulfilling.

« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2010, 14:42 »
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Right ^ .  What motivates me is knowing that competitors around the globe are trying to get motivated.

RT


« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2010, 15:04 »
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Without sugar coating anything, if you're new in this industry you're going to have to work very very hard ( a lot harder than when some of us started) and then after a while you'll reach a certain level where you'll still not be able to relax and will probably have to work even harder to maintain that level.

If you're struggling to find the motivation at this early stage I suggest you give up. Oh and don't worry about the huge, wicked, awesome portfolio - mundane, highly desirable, useable portfolio is what you want, this ain't art.

Told you I wouldn't sugar coat it ;)

microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2010, 15:10 »
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Lets be honest.  You're either doing microstock for enjoyment or profit. 

I'm doing microstock for profit. But my final aim is enjoyment. Enjoyment of free time and life style that only a weird business like this allows, compared to many other traditional jobs.

« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2010, 15:14 »
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Lets be honest.  You're either doing microstock for enjoyment or profit. 

I don't see it as an either or. I see it as both. One without the other, for me, wouldn't work.

« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2010, 15:18 »
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Motivation? What's that?

« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2010, 15:24 »
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I don't see it as an either or. I see it as both. One without the other, for me, wouldn't work.

I agree. I took a break from microstock for several months and realized I missed it. If it was all business, my portfolio would be filled with a much different type of image. I'd probably make a lot more, but be completely miserable. A good balance is tricky, but rewarding.

« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2010, 15:33 »
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I find that long delays in inspections will discourage me as much as periods with no sales (which usually happens every weekend anyways).  I frequently doubt myself, and slow down the rate of processing and uploading files, telling myself, "Let's just wait a bit to see if these are going to fly, eh?"

But it's not the agency's fault, it's a matter of personal confidence and determination.

« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2010, 15:33 »
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My motivation: bills that keep appearing in my mailbox.

« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2010, 15:34 »
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I think many people didn't get my point.  I'll put it a different way...

There's three different images you can create and submit:

1. Those that you enjoy producing

2. Those you have reason to believe will sell

3. Those you believe will sell, and you just happen to enjoy producing

If you want a portfolio that generates good sales, aim to spend your time producing the third type.  But since those types of shots are the toughest to figure out, backfill with the second type.  Avoid the first type unless you're truly in this just for fun and don't care if you get a single sale.

« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2010, 15:39 »
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I think many people didn't get my point.  I'll put it a different way...

There's three different images you can create and submit:

1. Those that you enjoy producing

2. Those you have reason to believe will sell

3. Those you believe will sell, and you just happen to enjoy producing

If you want a portfolio that generates good sales, aim to spend your time producing the third type.  But since those types of shots are the toughest to figure out, backfill with the second type.  Avoid the first type unless you're truly in this just for fun and don't care if you get a single sale.

Thanks for making your point clearer. Now I totally agree with you.  :)

« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2010, 15:45 »
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I think many people didn't get my point.  I'll put it a different way...

There's three different images you can create and submit:

1. Those that you enjoy producing

2. Those you have reason to believe will sell

3. Those you believe will sell, and you just happen to enjoy producing

If you want a portfolio that generates good sales, aim to spend your time producing the third type.  But since those types of shots are the toughest to figure out, backfill with the second type.  Avoid the first type unless you're truly in this just for fun and don't care if you get a single sale.

Don't forget about the ones that you think are garbage, but buyers love. Or the ones that sell well despite breaking all the "great selling" stock image guidelines. For every rule I make about what makes a great selling image there seems to be at least several exceptions. I've given up on my ultimate stock selling bible and just make images, release them into the wild and let microstock Darwinism take care of the rest.

« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2010, 15:46 »
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My motivation: bills that keep appearing in my mailbox.

Yeah, what's up with that, they keep sending them, every month!!

« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2010, 15:52 »
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My motivation: bills that keep appearing in my mailbox.

Yeah, what's up with that, they keep sending them, every month!!

You should move!

jen

« Reply #24 on: November 16, 2010, 15:55 »
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Without sugar coating anything, if you're new in this industry you're going to have to work very very hard ( a lot harder than when some of us started) and then after a while you'll reach a certain level where you'll still not be able to relax and will probably have to work even harder to maintain that level.

If you're struggling to find the motivation at this early stage I suggest you give up. Oh and don't worry about the huge, wicked, awesome portfolio - mundane, highly desirable, useable portfolio is what you want, this ain't art.

Told you I wouldn't sugar coat it ;)

Perhaps "motivation" was a poor choice of words.  I am extremely motivated, I've been working on my portfolio like crazy , and I'm generally enjoying this entire process.  But it's an interesting business, and I've always been an "instant gratification" type of person.  I'm never expecting to be able to sit around and eat bon bons while my account balance fills up, but it's interesting to see how other people have pushed themselves through the waiting period between tons of work ---> worthwhile reward, when you're just starting out.

PS I would describe "highly desirable and usable" as "wicked awesome" as far as microstock is concerned. :)


 

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