Writing today to commemorate a major milestone. I started thinking about doing my photography business in 2012. For some reason I kept putting it off. I didn’t open my store until July 2013, and I opened it in response to financial stress given I was now a single mother, and I had no safety net. I worried and still worry constantly about the future and not being able to keep a roof over my children’s head. So I opened my store simply because I could no longer afford to put it off. Being a parent and a mom means doing whatever it takes to keep them healthy and safe.
I had never done B2C sales or marketing before. So I was unaware that summertime is the absolute worst time I could have selected to open my store. I remember very distinctly thinking that if I sold one print I would be ecstatic. Just one. That’s all I needed. For one person out there to think my work was worth buying.
And then the miracle occurred. Someone bought one of my photographs. I remember thinking “Who is this crazy person who is willing to buy one of my photos? It’s just a fluke.” And then, bang, a second sale happened. And a third. And wow, before I knew it, I had a real store and I was making more sales than I could keep up with.
It’s been 2 years since that first sale. And today I achieved a major milestone. Before I opened my store, I remember doing research and found a very successful photographer on Etsy. I noticed she had made 600 sales. That seemed amazing to me. Seriously, I just didn’t know of any photographers outside of the really famous ones that had sold 600 photos. I’m not sure why, but 600 seemed like a better gauge of success than 500. Well, today I just had my 600th sale on Etsy. Although it’s my 600th sale, it’s actually closer to over 1000 prints sold because I’ve sold over 95 print sets which is another 352 photos and had sales on other channels, including my personal website and Fine art America. 1000 prints! Wow, I honestly can’t believe it. My prints are now in homes, hotels, and businesses all over the world. I have made over 30 thousand dollars in revenue from this little side business. Who would have ever thought that my hobby would be the thing to help save my family and keep my children financially secure?
This level of volume keeps me very busy. I barely have time after I get home from work and put my kids to bed to fill all my orders. I often fall asleep while I’m in the middle of filling an order. But this means that for over 2 years I’ve just been working without any down time after work. My weekends are often dominated by filling orders. Whenever I have a free moment to myself, instead of doing something fun or relaxing I’m taking care of my little side photography business. I don’t’ even have time on the weekends to do work for my day job.
Anyway, I’m not really sure what this all means to me and I don’t know what the future has in store, but right now I just want to be thankful that I’m lucky enough to be making money doing something I love. And I want to say thank you to all of my customers around the world for buying my photos. Thank you!
P.S. why this photo? I dunno. It's a really subtle photo that I took pretty recently that I love. I'm just tired of all the flashy, over-saturated, over-contrasted photos out there. So much of nature is hidden or hiding and even when we come across it, part of the fascination is that you can't see all of it. With birds you often hear them before you see them. You have to look to find them. With this bird, which was black with white stripes on its wings, I really had to search. I wanted to capture that feeling you have when you hear but can barely see something beautiful in nature. I am probably the only one who likes this photo :)