Here’s a summary of my photography side hustle for 2015.
I think it was a good year. I didn’t achieve all of my goals, but I had some good successes and I’m building a good foundation for success in 2016 and beyond.
Let’s dig into some details.
My main goals for 2015 were:
- Achieve a gross income of $1,000
- Get into stock photography
- Start doing photography jobs (weddings, portraits, events, whatever)
How’d I Do?
I did not achieve my gross income goal. You’ll see below that my gross income was $778.98. It was an ambitious goal, as my 2014 gross income was $427.52, so I did achieve a significant increase but not as much as I’d hoped.
I did get into stock photography, with some small success to date, so we’ll call that a win.
I did one photography job – I was one of the several photographers at the Manitoba Marathon and earned a decent income for my 6 hours of work. Another win.
I had a gross income of $778.98, which includes some American income converted to Canadian at the exchange rate at the time. I record income on a cash basis, meaning I only count it as income when I receive it.
Here’s where the income came from:
- AdSense: 29% (on several niche web sites)
- Image sales: 10% (direct sales to people or companies)
- Print sales: 8% (from Pixels.com and Redbubble)
- Product sales: 15% (calendars and Gumroad video sales)
- Work for hire: 31% (Manitoba)
- Writing: 8% (writing articles on Improve Photography)
I stopped running AdSense on my main blog (Confessions of a Train Geek) in May and that certainly affected the income from that. I decided that I’d rather solicit ads from companies and people I believe in rather than run random ads on my main blog. I’m still using AdSense on several niche sites. I probably will stop those once I get my next payout but I haven’t 100% decided on that yet. It’s not a lot of income.
In 2015 I had expenses of $412.03, broken down as follows:
- Web site expenses: 54% (hosting with Pair.com, name renewals, acquisition of this site’s name)
- Photography expenses: 5% (Lightroom presets)
- Advertising: 10% (Facebook ads for products)
- Training: 2% (eBook for stock photography)
- Software: 30% (monthly Adobe Creative Cloud payments)
My expenses were up in 2015 due to the Creative Cloud subscription (a good value, in my opinion) as well as the Facebook ads. I’ll be writing about my ad experience soon.
At the end of 2015 I paid my web hosting fees 24 months in advance to obtain a 24% discount. It didn’t get paid until 2016 so it doesn’t appear in my 2015 expenses. I believe this is a good investment to bring my expenses down.
My net income was $366.95, which is 47% of the gross income (good) and more than twice my 2014 net income (great). I’m happy with that but I want to improve it for 2016.
Goals for 2016
Here are my 2016 goals:
- Gross income of $1,200
- Stock photography income of $50/month by end of year
- Net income of $700
- 2 paid work for hire gigs
- Write and publish one eBook
Let’s get started!