Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How To Make Money In Second Life

How To Make Money In Second Life

The online virtual world, Second Life, recently crowned it’s first real life millionaire.
This milestone brings home the fact that virtual worlds with real economies are going to be a huge part of the internet’s future. Maybe bigger than YouTube in the same way that video games overtook the revenues of the film industry simply because players can interact with the story. In Second Life you are the story.
Second Life is a world of almost 2 million people where your avatar (your three dimensional character) can meet and chat with other people.
As John Chow recently commented on his blog, virtually anything is possible. Big corporations hold meetings in Second Life. Reuters recently conducted an interview with Nintendo President Reggie Fils-Aime in Second Life. NBC sponsored a tree lighting ceremony that mirrored the annual tree lighting in Rockefeller Center. You can buy, sell or rent land. You can create your own clothes, house, or working spaceship.
Alright, so how do you make money in this Second Life?

Getting started with Second Life
The first thing you need is a good, fast internet connection and a good, fast computer with a great graphics card. Basically, the same thing you would need if you were into online gaming. It’s a three dimensional world and the graphics are intense.
Then you need to sign up to Second Life. They have a free basic account and this is a good place to start. You can upgrade to a premium account for 10 bucks a month once you get the feel of things.

Linden Dollars
Every person in Second Life gets a stipends or weekly salary of a few hundred Linden dollars ($L). Linden dollars can be converted into US dollars at around 250 to 1. That means that 1 Linden dollar is worth about a half cent in real money.
In addition to the stipends, you can work for someone or start your own business to earn Linden dollars or you can buy them at online currency exchanges with real dollars. This feature of Linden dollars and US dollars being interchangable makes it possible to turn your virtual income into real income. So much so, that Congress has met to discuss the future of taxing this income.
Earning a Living in Second Life
There are a number of things you can do to earn money in SL. How much you can earn depends on your skills, your creativity and your business savvy, just as in real life. There are many people who earn a couple or a few thousand real dollars every month from their Second Life work.

Minimum Wage Jobs
There are lots of these. They typically pay 2 or 3 Linden dollars per 10 minutes of work and they involve kicking back in a chair and chatting with your friends. What? They pay you to relax?!! Yes or at some places you can push a broom or stand on a dance pad that animates your avatar. Basically you get paid just to be at the location.
The reason business owners will pay you just to be there is that people go to second life to meet new people and chat with them. The Second Life satellite map is a lot like Google Earth. People are drawn to places where there are groups of other people which is shown in the map as a collection of green dots. So having traffic will bring you more traffic and you can make enough money to pay your ‘employees’ and earn a profit by selling your wares or offering casino games.

Dancing, Hosting and Management Jobs
If you’ve got a hot avatar, which you can design yourself or purchase, then you might find work at one of the clubs as an exotic dancer. As a dancer, some places will pay you a wage and you can earn tips.
If you’re outgoing and a great chatter, you might be able to earn a little more as a club host, hostess or manager.

Design and Construction Businesses
With 3d modeling, photoshop or programming skills you can start to make some good money. If you have two or all of these skills, then the sky is the limit.
3d modeling. You can build and sell anything you can imagine from custom avator bodies to vehicles, plants, homes and commercial buildings. Pretty much anything. If it’s well designed, people will buy it. You can download Second Life’s basic avatar bodies and modify them yourself using Poser.
Photoshop. Creating custom textures for anything from clothing design to marble flooring can earn you good money. Fashion in Second Life is big business just as it is in the real world. Everyone wants to look good.
Programming. SL script is used to animate avatars and objects. It can make your avatar dance. It makes a slot machine work or a spaceship fly. Programmers bring SL to life with animation and functionality.

Become a Real Estate Mogul
Anshe Chung is an SL property developer and may very well become Second Life’s first billionaire. She has amassed property and holdings worth over $250 million Linden which translates into $1 million dollars in the real world - She’s the first real world millionaire with income earned entirely from virtual world profits.
Second Life has a First Land program which allows first time buyers to purchase a small plot of real estate below market value. In addition, you can buy land from other residents or at auctions. You can even buy your own private island.
The key to real estate is to buy land, subdivide it into plots and develop those plots with an optimum mix of commercial and residential buildings. Then you can rent these plots out or sell the development.
Like most real world big businesses, Anshe Chung has been at the heart of some controversy for establishing zoning rules on the land she holds - in other words you can’t build a commercial business on a residential plot. She has also evicted renters from land she has purchased, so that she can develop it into a more profitable neighborhood.

Where’s It All Going?
As you can see, many real world business models are possible in Second Life’s virtual world. The few key business opportunites being utilized now will expand as more people develop new ideas. The key is to look at what’s possible in the real world and find a way to bring it to the virtual world.
Then, you just might be Second Life’s next real life millionaire.

1 comment:

Susan said...

I never thought of making money with Second Life.