Interesting thread…it demonstrates that it all depends on where you live. And digging a little bit deeper, it’s about the globalisation of the media industry.
I have lived and worked in London and Berlin (mainly London). You couldn’t survive on $500 a month in either of those cities. In London, you need minimum $750 a month just to cover your rent and only at around $30,000 a year can you start talking about a comfortable income. (probably equivalent to 500 sales per month on VH). Berlin is quite a lot cheaper, but still you wouldn’t get far on $500 a month.
On the downside, what you lose out on with a career producing stock is access to big budget or high-end jobs, contact with clients, working with and learning from a team of people with different skills / more experience than you, a reel and experience that might ultimately lead to art director / creative director position. Most employers and freelance clients will be looking closely at what you’ve worked on (and stock doesn’t really count).
On the plus-side, working on your own, from home, being your own boss, following your own creative path, your own timetable and not being so answerable to the vagaries of clients is a very desirable thing. There’s a great community here and the speculative nature of Videohive is a great buzz too if you’re in to that kind of thing.
I would also consider one more thing before diving in as a full time Videohiver. That is that in 1 year, the number of project files has leapt from around 200 to around 1500. I don’t perceive that the client base has moved as quickly. It is becoming noticeably harder to make a mark here. My point is that the landscape is changing extremely rapidly… and not just for VH, but for stock and the media world in general. We see things today that would have been unthinkable just a few short years ago… and more unthinkable is just round the corner.