Business ventures in Second Life. People talk about them, some even attempt them and a small group, master them. Is it a goal of yours to start one in the new year?
It’s hard to even talk about the potential of businesses in Second Life without talking about the “historic” accomplishments of Ansche Chung or seeing the current and booming efforts of individuals like Siddean Munro of Slink or even the amazing growth of ZoHa (yes, very meta of me).
So, what makes the difference between someone’s attempts flopping and someone having a thriving business? Well, there’s no exact recipe for it, but let’s discuss some important factors that can make or break any venture.
1. Probably the biggest thing: you must regard your Second Life business as a legitimate business. Now, it sounds funny for me to say this, but it plays into a lot of the points that I’m about to bring up. There is often a mentality around Second Life businesses that you can’t take them as seriously. However, for a business to thrive virtually, you need to follow a lot of the same practices as a physical business.
2. What is your “thing”? What’s going to make you stand out amongst the masses? You should have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish. Are you going to go into real estate? Are you going to go into clothing design? Will you be making your own clothes from scratch or using templates? Perhaps you’re hoping to break into the mesh homes market? Whatever it is that you decide to do, pick a direction, map it out as far as what you want to accomplish with it and stick with it. To-do lists are great.
3. Don’t overdo it. You need to start off small and grow your business or offerings at a reasonable pace. Want to go into fashion or décor design? Before you go announcing to the world that you’re breaking out a great new business, how about creating a base line of offerings? That way, you’re not starting off with just a couple of things, and have other products for people to check out. Don’t throw a ton of money into forcing yourself to look big and awesome. Posturing rarely ends well.
4. Will you have a storefront? That’s a biggie, because your presence in world will have a large impact on whether or not someone decides to buy from you if they opt to stop by. Does it look well-organized? Is it nicely decorated or veering on the side of excessively busy? Is it in a nice area or clearly a parcel slapped in the middle of randomness? Is there room to grow if *you* grow?
5. Social Media! Some of us love it, some of us loathe it. But the reality of the matter is that social media presence is crucial for businesses in general- especially virtual ones. What I mean by social media presence is having a Facebook page, a Flickr, a Twitter, a Tumblr and knowing what groups to join and hashtags to use. You need to know your audience and the best way to reach them. Blogs are also huge, and should be cross-referenced on the different platforms. It’s a lot of work, but it’s essentially free advertising and has the capability of reaching tons of people. This is how you get from noticed to known. Can you afford to register a domain with your business name for your blog or create a full blown website? Do it. Tie it all together into a pretty little marketing package. It’s a huge way to stand out.
6. Kind of circling back to the first point, but professionalism is paramount. If you want it to run as a full-fledged business long-term that is genuinely profitable, you need to keep it professional. That means your presence all the way down to your customer service. If you eventually branch out to have a team of people working with you, have clear guidelines/expectations so they represent your brand as best as can be. Does your business involve advertising your products individually? Create (or have created) a clean and sleek template to use for all of your advertising shots so they look consistent and professional. All those little details lead up to people taking notice to what you’re offering.
7. And this should go without saying but…….you cannot make money without investing some. Whether it’s getting a parcel of land for your storefront or getting the tools to build your creations in world or going into real estate, you’ll need to invest before you profit. This is true in any life. There’s no magical formula for making loads of money in Second Life without investing first- sorry guys. To be able to stand out and catch the attention of the market you’re after, it’s going to take some hard work, consistency, a business headspace and an eye for details. And of course, investing.
While this isn’t a surefire, guaranteed way to be able to run a successful business, these are certainly some key areas that you need to take into consideration. Many try, many buckle at the first obstacle, some keep pushing and a small group thrives. If you are eager to establish a lasting and profitable business in Second Life, do know that it’s entirely possible- but it’s all up to you and what market you’re catering to.
Already have a business started and just need a great place to establish an in-world location? Get in touch with one of our great staff at ZoHa Islands to find out what amazing commercial-friendly lands are available! We’d love to hear from you!
ZoHa Blogger/Social Media