Stocks as a business, or the importance of planning

Olga Zakharova, a practicing illustrator and active seller of her work on many stock sites, spoke about the importance of planning in this kind of work.

Therefore, if someone is planning to start this business, first make sure that you can carefully manage all your affairs and plan tasks in advance.


They say that stocks were once a great place to make easy money. I don’t know – I didn’t. Those times have passed for many years, but the myth continues to live on – many believe that you can draw circles with your left heel in a dream, pour on drains – and if not thousands, then at least hundreds of dollars will pour in every month.

As a result, newcomers entering the stock market for a very long time cannot understand why sales are not going on – they do everything that their more experienced colleagues say – they create ten from one picture, try to draw a fashionable flat and keep an eye on the salesmen …

The answer to the question “why do I earn little on stocks” is banal to the point of impossibility – because most authors treat stocks as a hobby. And a hobby is not something that makes money, it is something that gives pleasure. This does not mean that business and hobbies are incompatible – one of the other just often grows. But this “leakage” does not happen automatically, it requires a lot of hard work.

After all, it never occurs to anyone to try to open, say, a grocery store without having dealt with the logistics, without investing a penny of money and not a minute of time in studying the market, but having only the thought “maybe it will ride” in my head. And with stocks, this happens all the time, because it seems that very little is needed to start – a computer, an illustrator, and a minimal knowledge of English.

But in fact, you also need something else – you need to understand that stocks are a business, which means that you need to have some kind of business plan – at least in your head, but generally better – on paper.

How to draw up a business plan for conquering stocks?

There are hundreds of books on business panning – the basic principles can be applied to any business, whether it’s a skateboard shop or a stock, and I’d recommend reading at least a couple. But for the very minimum minimum – here is an approximate “fish” of the plan, that is, questions to which it would be good to find an answer.

1) Product / Value Proposition

What are you planning to paint? In what style? Why are your pictures better than those offered by other market participants, what makes them different?

2) Target audience

Who will buy your pictures? How and for what purpose can they be used?

3) Market analysis

What topics should you start drawing pictures on in the first place (ideally, you should make a list of 5-10 topics that you will start working on first, here I wrote how I search for topics)? Who is already in the themes / styles you are aiming for? Why are their pictures good and how to make sure that yours are not lost in this mass?

4) Organization of the process

How many pictures will you paint per day / week / month? How will the process be organized – when you are working on a sketch, drawing, propagation, when attributing, when uploading to other stocks and uploading? How often will you paint and how will you control your results?

Is it obligatory to draw up a business plan?

Of course not.

But – this will save a lot of effort and a lot of time, because one way or another you will have to find the answers to all these questions when you want to earn a little more than $ 100 per month (and even more so if you want to get much more). It is almost impossible to get good earnings without analysis, planning and summing up the results. I know individual examples when people “drove out” on intuition and natural talent, but I also keep in mind that this happened when the competition was exactly three times less.

Everything is clear, but how to draw up a business plan when you are just starting out and still don’t really know anything about stocks or about yourself as an artist / illustrator / designer?

At first, don’t think of a business plan as a constant. It is impossible to predict the indicators and the path of business development with an accuracy of 100% – and, moreover, you are not faced with such a task. You just need to think about the initial vector of development and plan the stock business the way you would like to see it. So use not only your actual knowledge, but also your imagination with intuition and remember that you can always correct the existing plan.

Secondly, everything you don’t know can be found out. Look more often at Shutterstock and “walk” through the tops of different categories – look at other people’s pictures, note for yourself what you like in the work, what is not very much. Role-play – Imagine yourself as a designer who needs to find stock items for a restaurant menu layout / make a wedding invitation / any other scenario of your choice. Try to understand what attracts you, as a client, in other people’s pictures – what colors, what composition and presentation, what keywords you hammer into the search to find the right image, etc.

Thirdly, if you don’t know yet which style you do best and / or which one you like best, try different things. Come up with a theme for yourself – and draw elements for it by hand, with a pen, blobbrush, in any other way that seems interesting to you. Pay attention to your feelings – what you like in the process, what – as a result. And to begin with, do not be sprayed – choose one or two styles in which you will begin to form your portfolio, it will be easier to swing it, you can always add variety later if you wish.

Fourth, organize yourself a workplace and set aside working hours. Think about how you will store the files and how you will track the results of your work (for example, I fill out a simple table in Pages – an analogue of a Word for a poppy – where I indicate what I worked on and how many pictures I ended up with). Take time for all these organizational points (point 4 of the business plan) – the existence of a certain structure makes life much easier at long distances.

Fifth, And this is the main thing – do not forget that all top authors, too, once did not distinguish a white arrow from a black one in the illustrator and drew one picture for weeks. Nobody was born with a cool portfolio – everyone created it himself, which means you can do it too. All you need is a desire to develop 🙂

After reading all this, you will most likely really want to go and draw something abstract, with no plans and no goals – this is normal. Because a business plan is what most people associate with something very large, serious and complex. And the more the task seems to us, the more we want to postpone it.

Therefore, I advise you to take a timer, set it for 15-20 minutes, and make such a plan that you can in the available time. Such a plan would be better than no plan.

Cover photo: ShutterStock

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