When you get started in any new venture, balanced with your enthusiasm is your desire to make it worthwhile. After all, none of us have endless amounts of time or money to waste. So how do you know if your making a success of selling your photos, vectors or footage as microstock?
Tracking Microstock Earnings
The simple answer is to keep a track of everything, so you are in a better position to evaluate how you are going. But how? Well there are dedicated programs and websites out there designed to track your earnings and files online with the various agencies, but usually there is a catch. Either they don't support all the agencies you have joined, or they cost money each month to use. Or you may just be plain skeptical about giving all of your data to some unknown person on the internet!
Sometimes the best solutions are the most basic. Many microstock contributors find that maintaining a simple Excel spreadsheet is the perfect solution for keeping track of what's important.
Microstock Earnings – Statistics That Matter
You could spend days keeping track of every little thing to do with your images and the agencies that represent them. But in reality, there are only a few things that you really NEED to keep track of to see how you are going with your microstock earnings. These are:
- Number of files online with each microstock agency per month
- Earnings from each microstock agency per month
- Payouts received from each microstock agency each month (will differ from earnings if you don't pass the threshold each month)
- Totals for each month for all agencies combined
You may have other things that you really want to track, like referral earnings for instance, but the above represents what I feel are the essentials.
Microstock Earnings – Make It Add Up
The simplest approach to track your microstock earnings is to create an Excel spreadsheet with all of the microstock agencies names that you submit to down the vertical axis, and the months of the year across the horizontal axis. Be sure to leave a column or two at the end of the page to do totals based on each agency.
As you get your income results each month, enter them in the appropriate field. If you are even slightly Excel savvy then you should setup some auto-caculating fields to help you out with totals. For instance, at the bottom of each month's row I have a field which calculates that months total income from all libraries, using a formula that looks like this =SUM(B4:B40) where B4 and B40 are the first and last cells to add up. Just repeat this code for each column you want to add up, simply changing the ‘B' part to match the column you are in, and instantly you have a way to track your overall income each month from microstock.
The same formula can be used to auto-calculate how many images you have online at all agencies, or how much one agency has earned over the year.
Why Keep Track Of Microstock Earnings?
At the end of each month I always enjoy going through and spending an hour recording this data and seeing how much improvement there was over the previous month. Keeping a record of how your microstock earnings are going can be one of the best motivators to keep going. Especially if you combine it with setting reasonable goals for yourself.
So why not give it a go? It will make you take microstock a little more seriously as you see the results of your efforts. Have you found other data that you like to track? Got any suggestions for doing it better? Let us know below!