First of all, I sincerely hope that you are recovering well from your recent illness and hospitalization. What a coincidence- I too spent some time in the hospital with kidney problems- bad stuff! So- I can relate to your situation in many ways. I am going to write a more detailed post for you in a little while- I would do it right now now but things here are in a state of chaos what with my taken ill, work behind schedule and a massive renovation job taking place at my studio- it's like open house field day at the asylum- if you know what I mean!
My immediate advice is STOP and rest! It is never a good idea to make life changing and financial decisions when you are ill or even in the recuperation stage- hospitals are depressing places at best and when the body is a state of malfunction, the mind is always affected- gallbladder issues gotta hurt! Try to take a few days off and watch silly movies or slapstick cartoons- this causes the brain to secrete endorphins (happy chemicals) that put you in a better state of mind without drugs! I am not kidding- not in the least- I was told this by several wise doctors- it helps and it works! LAUGHTER!
Well- you know, as per your experience as an artist that many of the arts, professionally speaking, become rat races and entail horrible eating and sleeping habits, feast and famine issues, insane deadlines and all kinds of stress which tends to take its toll in the health department of our lives. We don't tend to keep banker's hours and in this day and age, even the banks are open all hours- it's becoming a 24/7365 world! Clients want instant service and instant gratification in the commercial field and many of think that the world of digital photography makes for instantaneous creativity on demand and many of the younger generation of art directors erroneously believe that every problem can be solved in PhotoShop! Good camera work si still required for optimum results and that takes time and craftsmanship!
I am not trying to discourage you or paint things black and I am sure that your talent and experience in the art field will place you way ahead of many photographers with more technical training than artistic talent! Plus- you are good in the computer and can furnish you clients with many auxiliary services such as typography, art direction, layout and design services and valuable advice!
The thing to avoid are what I call the “grass is always greener” syndrome and even if you decide to put more of your efforts into you commercial photography business, do so on a transitional basis. When we look at business from a neutral perspective, we realize that many successes and failure are the result of fads and fashion. Although the concept of tattooing is very old and traditional in certain circles, it has now hit the marketplace with a passion so in my opinion, it would be unwise to drop it at this point in time. I am sure you are quite aware of this what with the increase in your volume of work and your savvy as a businessman. The reason I am pointing this out is that you will need to accumulate a good amount of funds to jump start your commercial photography business. You may need more equipment but that is the least of it! When I decided to move into the commercial field and do less portraiture and weddings, I had to invest big time in promotional efforts.
I spent lots of time pavement pounding and invested heavily in creating all kinds of portfolios. If I was after the local beer manufacturer for business and had no sample of that product, I would create some- same with high tech merchandise and just about anything one can think of based on the local industries in your city. I spent a train-load of money on business shows, food shows, display booths at industrial conventions and trade shows. I wanted to become almost omnipresent in the commercial market and to a degree, it worked well. The problem I ran into was that, lets say for example, a manufacturer of saxophones could not fully believe I could photograph one of his instruments properly even if I showed him an award winning shot of an accordion. This is not always the case but it does factor in. With the advertising agencies- well- there is lot of politics and sorry to say BS in that segment of the business. I am not a great natural politician and I do not manage BS very well. I believe in hard work, consistent results, friendly business relationships and good old good service. Unfortunately enough, sometimes nepotism , razzle-dazzle and BS prevail in getting certain assignments, but again this is not always the case so we learn to get around the detours and the obstacles. Good works speaks for itself but good salesmanship is essential! Unlike doing work for private individuals can create a steady flow of recommended clients, in the commercial field, I find that customer loyalty is not always there and mot companies will not recommend their good sources to their competitors- they like to keep those things secretive.
Of course, all of this varies from one geographic location and marketplace to another. A good business plan is always compulsory right across the board- business is business and money is money wherever you operate and certain principles always hold true. The same goes for various industries; it is oftentimes surprising to me that the same principles apply to a bakery shop as to an aircraft factory! Sometimes, surprisingly enough, you can make more money, percentile wise, from small shoots for the bakery shop than a long tedious job for a major industrial client!
I hope this helps! Again- health first! Take it from this old guy- try never to overextend yourself in business to the point where stress becomes a way of life- pace yourself! Find good staff and delegate- every time I did not do that I regretted it!