Milestones in action

© Alf75
Do you consider your personal Dreamstime milestones only as a neat statistics?

I will let you answer this by yourself. Let me try to direct your mind flow before you answer that.

Few months ago I reached a small milestone of first $100 in sales, recently I reached 100 images online and this days another one - 100 sales in total. Looking at this as a statistics, every of this three milestones was good enough for a small celebration... buying myself a beer. I was thinking how important it milestone be, except you can celebrate this as an achievement. Almost like a birthday, you get one every year and you don't need to do anything except to stay alive.

Milestone - perfect metaphor, showing where we are at some task, how fast and in which direction we are moving.

Here comes the contemplation which I will start with a thesis:

Personal milestones are not just statistics.

Importance of milestones

There are two kinds of people.

One of them are highly motivated for some (any) reason. They keep uploading more and more images every day or week, and don't care about milestones at all. Some of them don't have anything else to do, some are high professionals ant this is their job, some are motivated by earnings...There are plenty of reasons to do microstocking. As I stated somewhere in my previous articles: you can easily find thousands of reasons for NOT to do something ('excuses'), but in fact you need to find only one to do it. There are people who already have their own motivating reasons, and milestones are not that important to them.

Other group of people keep struggling with their Dreamstime performance, and are all worried with database exposure, rejections etc. They seek for motivation to do the job well. There are any things to learn on that road. It is easy to lose motivation when you need to spend lots of time producing images, learn new knowledge, improving skills, deal with rejections, struggle with keywording, if all that gives almost nothing in return. Numbers are cruel. It is easy to fall in trap of thinking that it is not worth. If you are in that group, think for a moment about milestones. It is reference number for all other numbers in your portfolio. It shows you where you are on the road. Watch your milestones and you will see if you are moving. Believe it or not, you are moving. The difference between all of us is only in speed. This group of people SHOULD consider milestones as important.

Milestones math?

Now that is an interesting part. Milestone is not statistics, cannot be calculated, and it is not complex mathematic result of anything. It just is. It is fact. Only case that I can imagine to put milestone in math environment is a simple math: milestone is number that increases by 1. Step by step. It applies on all other numbers. Images online, number of sales, earned money, views etc. Milestone is just a reference to your achievement and its beauty is in diversity to its source. Look at my example from the beginning. I achieve three 100 milestones in couple of last months. But those milestones are based on different numbers. Your number of sales, earnings, and images online will almost never be the same. Those numbers advance at its own speed. If you concentrate at only one of them you may get the wrong picture. It may advance so slow, you think you are not moving and you lost your vitality.

Earnings, for example is very dangerous number to depend on. Since it is money - it is important, it is high priority, but it is result of other numbers and your activities. It is the slowest number (even there are exceptions, but those are in first group of people). If you don't see it moving up, you will quit because you don't have sense that important things are going better. And finally, you can't increase earnings directly as it is result. Now if you switch your focus on subjectively less important things like uploading (as we usually set up our mind), and give them higher priority, you will see that this doesn't do immediate effect but somehow pulls money up. Number of online images is something that we can affect directly. Either you upload new images or you don't. And hey, uploading new images is your first and only major job here. It is the main road you are moving on, one step at a time. Don't' stop!

Milestones and success

Some may consider this as a cliché, but for success you need to set up your goals. Success is rarely something that comes by accident. There are plenty of phrases that define ways to success. Here are some of them, just for illustration:

Set up a goal - if you want something you must define what it is, where you want to go. If you go "nowhere", you will probably get there.

Take one step at a time - this means moving. As in normal walking, step by step gets you somewhere. If you don't feel you want to take another step, just lean forward. That will do it.

Keep looking at your goal - your goal may be far away. Look at it because you may lose it. The best way to lose your goal is to look at your every step searching for obstacles. You may lose the direction. Don't look at the obstacles. If you fall, stand up, and keep going.

Success is made of small failures - don't get discouraged by small failures (rejections for example). Failures give you more experience then success. Failures will follow you on the road all the time, use them to learn, not to stop walking.

Back to milestones. I hope you already see the connection. Milestones are something that may just show up with the time, but can obviously be your goal.

If you set ANY goal dealing with misrostock, it will probably be defined as a milestone.

Milestones in action

So here we are. You probably know all the places where you can see the numbers on your Dreamstime account. It will not be hard to see the relations between them. There are several milestones you can set as your goal.

Images online - I believe the most important is number of images online. Everything else depends on this number. This is you major path and you cannot see the end of it. You can step firmly, and you can stop right where you are. Since you may not see your success, you can easily see the next milestone. Upload images until you get there. Then repeat. Be careful with setting your goal. You can probably see farther milestones, but don't get greedy, be real. I have 103 images online. I can set my goal to 1000 but that would not be real. I will set my next milestone to 150. Sounds easy to achieve, makes me comfortable and motivated. Since I managed to get 100 it will be easy to het half of it. I can do it, and i will not quit. I will not look at my earnings as this would distract me, it is moving slowly.

There is one more thing which goes with goal setting. Set your deadline. Again, don't be greedy. Set your goal based on former experience and add some to it, lean forward, make extra effort. Based on your former monthly uploads you will see how consistent you are. Take real variables and measure what it takes to achieve your goal. If you set your goal to 100 images in next 30 days, it sounds fine. But is it real? Put this in real life. It means about 3 images a day. And what time is needed to get image uploaded. Shooting takes a second. Getting idea, finding good scene or object may consume some time. Howe much, based on your experience? Then there is technical issues like downloading to computer, checking, eventually editing. How much time is that on average? Next thing is uploading time, few minutes. Next significant issue is keywording. Since it is essence, you want to do this right, don't you? Estimate your time until you get some average. Then multiply it by 3 images a day. Can you manage it considering your daily duties and activities? If not then your 100/month is unreal. You will be disappointed and you will lose motivation. Based on the same numbers how many images you CAN upload a day? One? One in two days? What sounds real is base for your goal. If it is one in two days this is 15 in a month. Set up your goal accordingly. If you want to lean forward and push yourself, make it 20 and don't allow yourself to fail. If it is last day and you are missing 3 images, do something, stay overnight, borrow camera if yours is broken, check old images, be responsible to yourself. It wasn't your boss who sets the milestone.

Earnings - Earning milestone (comparing to uploading images) just drops out of nowhere. You don't know where and when. You cannot affect on it directly. Earning milestones are on unequal distances and time shares. I don't see it practical to set the earnings milestone as a goal. You can't set the deadline to your earnings because you don't decide if someone will like your image or not, you cannot set the price, you cannot sell using brute force. You can just watch. When you don't reach any nice and rounded earnings milestone, be quiet (meaning, don't groan) and concentrate on upload. When you finally reach it, any of it, $10, $30, $50, $100, $10000, be happy, celebrate, let the community know, many will congratulate you. That is kind of success step evolving from your commitment. It is milestone that makes you happy and it shows that your work is worth.

Similar to earning milestones you have plenty of others. Let's call them "informative" milestones. Your first level 2 image, reaching 10 level 5 images, one of your images is viewed 100 times, you reached 80% acceptance ratio, all of your images are sold at least one time, your downloads becomes greater then images online... all of those are something that you can praise yourself with. What is good, those tiny milestones are filling the gap while you are reaching your goal, and give you more or less additional motivation. While you are focused at your online images milestone, those other sideway milestones will constantly prove you that you are really moving.

It is your choice

Final truth is that if you stop, some of those will still change from time to time, but will stay at the same speed. You may consider it success, or be unsatisfied with progress. If your earnings reach $50 every two years and you consider it success, it is fine. If you want more, let's say $2000 a year, then keep going, set your upload goal to reach new 10, 100, 200, 300, whatever... this is kind of multiplier for the speed of everything.

If you want to share, let us know what about your next milestone so we can check you on your deadline :)

At the end I congratulate everyone for every milestone you already reached. Keep up!

Photo credits: Alfredo Ragazzoni, Bizroug, Falconia, Alain Lacroix, Yukchong Kwan, Eti Swinford, Svetlana Shapiro, Zoom-zoom.

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December 19, 2010


very interesting thanks for sharing! :)

December 16, 2010


Great blog!! Thx!

December 12, 2010


Good blog. Makes a lot of sense!

December 09, 2010


Well though out and presented!

December 08, 2010


Brilliant, brilliant blog. You are right it's easy to be demotivated. Setting realistic targets is important and look at all the numbers, I'm sure a lot of people quit because they want instant success. It's not how we celebrate success but how we respond to failure, which sets people apart. As you say, don't stop walking.

December 08, 2010


Incentives, incentives. . . . . . wow, more to learn!

December 08, 2010


That was a good read! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

December 08, 2010


Useful article!
Thanks a lot!

December 07, 2010


Interesting. I had a goal (finally reached two months ago) of a certain amount of earnings per month. It was kind of a useless goal, though, inasmuch as you can only indirectly achieve it. It was far more useful to set specific goals - increase uploads by 10% a month, upload at least 50 a month, etc.

December 07, 2010


Nice one

December 07, 2010


Wow, you've done a great analysis of the different approach to DT and an useful blog about how get motivated on microstock!

December 07, 2010


Wow what a blog. Impressive writing.

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