Starving In Second Life

Saturday, December 8, 2007 Saturday, December 08, 2007

I didn't realize it was possible to starve in Second Life. But it is possible. I have a friend named Xena Bikcin, who I think is very talented. She knows how to build, script, sell and organize. She's even constructed a unique vehicle (pictured, that's her at the controls flying me around Furumachi.) But she's always having trouble in Second Life. She tries really hard to earn a living by doing various business activities, most recently running fireworks shows. She's also had a store that sold artwork, and managed events as well. Unfortunately, she never seems to make enough money to be financially independent. I think she's very typical of many in Second Life who struggle to survive.

There seems to be two modes of financial existence in Second Life: Earner and Consumer. The Consumers are content to spend whatever they need to satisfy their immersionist roles, and they are the foundation of our virtual economy. Meanwhile, the Earners create the items and services that are purchased by the consumers. Both need each other, obviously.

However, I propose a third financial category: Non-Earners. These people, such as Xena, are inbetween Consumer and Earner status. It's a very uncomfortable position indeed, as they transition from one comfy mode to the other. They try to be Earners by creating businesses, but never seem to make enough money to offset the costs of creating their business. They act like Earners, but must spend like Consumers. It must be a very frustrating existence. Many must give up and go back to being consumers or even leave Second Life altogether.

I often encounter Non-Earners, and am always impressed by their (Second Life) youthful enthusiasm. I want to help them. I give them tips and suggestions, and sometimes they benefit. Or at least I hope so. I believe I help many more Non-Earners by posting Second Life business tips here on the Second Effects blog.

Their enthusiasm and creativity is absolutely required. But there is something else they need, something that Xena has: Persistence. You cannot give up. You have to keep trying. Trying different things until you find something that works for you. Yes, it is always disappointing that a business idea didn't work out, but that's OK. You learned something valuable for next time. You must build on your failures and successes. But you won't have any failures or successes unless you try.

Xena is still trying, and I help her when I can. Someday she will be a successful Earner, because she has all the things she needs. Do you?


Peter Stindberg said...

Having a background in 3D design I came to SL out of professional interest. This one got dampened pretty fast due to to crude tools, but I discovered the great people here and left the business aspect aside. Until one evening in Fibber's in the Dublin sim I suddenly had a great idea inspired by one of the guests, and I started my Translationd and Copywriting agency. I set myself a budget (1000 L$ - about 1/3 of what I had back then) and a timeframe (4 weeks)in which I intended to break even. I found a cheap office (50L$/week), cheap furniture, created an advertising notecard and placed a classified. I had my first client the very same day - the landlord of the office tower, giving me a job which effectively paid for 4 weeks worth of rent and the furniture.

Since then, my company is the source of my SL income. I have a certain amount of weekly costs associated to the company, and I had to hire staff as well, but still it works out nicely, enabling me to live what I call a "care free" Second Life lifestyle. Care Free in a way that I don't need to think twice if I want to "consume" things in here on a normal scale. I'm far from buying islands or even owning virtual real estate at all (I believe in renting), but apart from that I do fine.

Sometimes I wish I could be more creative. I'm fairly good at scripting and building in the meanwhile. But except for my Translating office, I'm notorious for not finishing things.

29Blogs said...

That is a great success story, Peter - you've taken your RL skills and applied them to the virtual world with good business sense, which as we all (should) know, works both in RL and SL.

BTW, for those of you who don't know, Peter's blog can be found at:

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