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I’m a serial entrepreneur in a virtual world. How did a nice girl like me end up being such a geek? Was it because I read science fiction as a young girl while all my friends were reading romance novels? Did it happen when I played […]

Cybergrrl Oh, owner of Athena IsleI’m a serial entrepreneur in a virtual world. How did a nice girl like me end up being such a geek? Was it because I read science fiction as a young girl while all my friends were reading romance novels? Did it happen when I played Space Invaders on a neighbor’s Atari? Was it because I watched Star Trek every day after school? I have no real answer for why my brain is wired the way it is, but it’s no wonder I love Second Life.

Part of my online work has migrated over into the virtual world Second Life. Yes, I said work, and no, Second Life is not a game. I actually run several businesses in SL as we residents call it, as Cybergrrl Oh, entrepreneur, producer and host. Some of the businesses in the virtual world are adjuncts to what I do in my First Life, others are completely unrelated and probably things I could never do in “real life.” However, when you’re a freelancer, you take the revenues wherever you can get it!

If you’ve ever wanted to know what a day in the life of a serial Second Life entrepreneur looks like, here’s your chance.

All times are in SLT (Second Life Time) or PST based on the time zone where Bay Area company and Second Life creator Linden Lab is located. I have to constantly do a time check because I’m doing business in another time zone.

8:30am SLT – Post to Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce, Facebook and Plaxo through HelloTxt.com about my Monday event for Second Life Marketers Club. One of my “businesses” is forming and hosting Second Life groups or clubs on my tiny parcel of land, Athena Isle. I bring in experts and authors to speak to the public groups I manage – Second Life Women’s Club, Second Life Entrepreneurs Club, Second Life Marketers Club, Second Life Writers Club and Moms in Second Life. The business: Event hosting. The revenue model: Sponsorships and advertising from companies wanting to reach the members of my highly targeted groups.

Cybergrrl Oh fixing the terrain8:35am – Log into Second Life. I recently rebuilt the Athena Isle Clubhouse where the groups meet every week, so I spend about half an hour moving objects such as promotional posters and events calendars into place. I also have a shop called Athena Wares and the Athena Gallery of women’s art on my isle. I spend some time editing the terrain under the new clubhouse so there aren’t holes in the ground. I’m a bit clumsy at building and landscaping, and these are things I’d never do in real life, but in Second Life, they come with the territory of owning land unless you can afford to hire other people to do it for you. The business: Providing meeting space for groups, display space in the gallery and vendor space in the shop. The revenue model: Rent for space.

9:00am – Promote the day’s event on Eventful.com, a Web-based events calendar that accepts Second Life events. Then I write and submit a press release to Free-Press-Release.com. I’m still logged into Second Life, and I can hear the wind chimes and water fountains on my isle in the background. The business: Event marketing – something I’m also doing for other Second Life events. The revenue model: Consulting fees from clients.

10:00am – Update the Athena Isle calendar of events on a notecard in Second Life and replace the old calendars in several objects on the isle that automatically give notecards when an avatar clicks on it (called a Notecard Giver). When it comes to promoting my Second Life events on my isle, I can’t live without my Notecard Givers and URL scripts that lead people to my Second Life club blogs when they click on the related promo poster.

11:00am – Print out the run sheet for my Second Life television show REAL BIZ in SL on SLCN.tv. I feature a different real life company or nonprofit organization each week with a 20 minute tour of their island in Second Life and a 5 minute sit down interview discussing the business side of their Second Life initiative. Second Life is still running in the background, and I’m fielding IMs from SL friends and acquaintances including a PR person, a music columnist, a photographer, a reporter and a stay-at-home mom who just stops by to say hi. The business: Second Life television production. The revenue model: Advertising and sponsorship.

Second Life Marketers Event on Athena Isle12:00pm – Rush to put up a new sign that directs people to the roof of the clubhouse for our meeting. Welcome my guest speaker and send her up to the roof for a quick photo shoot with the photographer who I’ve hired to be the official Athena Isle photographer to help me document my events. I’ll pay her in Linden (the Second Life currency) and in gift certificates to great Second Life clothing stores. Fly up to the roof and usher everyone to sit at the MystiTable by Mystical Cookie, an ingenious piece of furniture that appears to have one chair but a new one appears as soon as someone sits in the empty one. It seats up to 40 people which is all my isle can handle so it is the perfect piece of equipment. I start the live text chat and let my guest take over. Today’s guest is Pebbles Hanya (her avatar name) or Mary Ellen Gordon of MarketTruths.com, a Second Life research firm, giving a talk titled “Are People in Virtual Worlds Normal?” The event is hosted by my group Second Life Marketers Club.

Cybergrrl Oh arriving at the Splitsville sim12:30pm - I suddenly realize that I forgot to make the club meeting an hour earlier so ask my photographer to moderate and save a transcript, then leave the meeting quietly by teleporting to the island or “sim” (for simulation) owned by Splitsville, a real world bowling alley and nightclub venue. Call into the bridge line, and lead the production crew on a quick walk through of the sim with the sim’s developer, Dire Logo (his avatar name).

1:10pm – Start the show. We film live and usually do the entire show without stopping, but this time, my producer stops me so they can redo the shots of me (my avatar) and Dire Lobo bowling. I improvise dialog while maneuvering my avatar on the screen and am thrilled that I’m able to bowl a strike on the second take. This is all in Second Life, mind you. I’m still sitting at my desk in my basement home office.

Cybergrrl Oh hosting REAL BIZ in SL1:45pm – Wrap the show and film a quick commercial that will be uploaded to YouTube to promote the archive of the Splitsville show. Have a discussion with my executive producer about a Second Life music show I’ll be producing that starts in April.

2:00pm - Teleport back to Athena Isle. Upload graphic files of tshirt designs that I created in PhotoShop Elements into Second Life then construct three tshirts for a nonprofit organization called Wings of Hope. One of the other things I do in Second Life that I could never do in real life is design tshirts, both promotional ones and my own line called Cybergrrl Teez. I’m doing these three shirts pro-bono. The business: Promotional tshirts, tshirt designs and tshirt shop. The revenue model: Linden from items sold inworld (that can be converted to dollars) and dollars from items sold on CafePress.com (Second Life Swag).

3:00pm – Put some finishing touches on promo posters for the next day’s event. Greet people who arrive at Athena Isle to explore. In real life, the babysitter is leaving for the day so I log out and get to my First Life work before my baby wakes from her nap.

Some people struggle to balance life and work. I’m struggling to balance, First Life, Second Life and my work in both of those lives. But such is life when you’re a serial entrepreneur in a virtual world.

  1. My gosh, I was exhausted just reading all you do! I could never achieve that kind of scheduling success. Kudos to you for your achievements in both your First and Second Life!

    Barbara

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  2. gawd blimey
    its soo wierd
    but are u making a living – like paying the mortgage and increasing your earnings or is it a world of wanna bees all dressed up and hoping its all economically real because without some idea of you true economic turnover how do i no if it’s all not all some kind of wierd make believe business.
    Once you’ve answerd that then i would want to know in terms of ratio effort vs expenditure / profits what would be the comparison of doing what you do virtually with doing it for real including the kind of income you actually earn…..
    n

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  3. If you care to answer with rough estimates, how profitable is an average day or month in your SL?

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  4. Revenues, yes. Profits? Hmmmm…not yet. Since January 2008, I’d say in terms of time, I’m spending 8-10 hours a week working in SL. Rough revs based on average income directly related to SL (both Linden or US dollars) would put my earnings at about $10 an hour so far for time worked. In RL, I get about $150/hour. I guess you call this a loss leader right now.

    I hope I did the math right…

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  5. My goodness, I too am exhausted after reading this. :-) I ran a storefront for a few months last year as part of a satire group I’m part of (RL), but in the end I just couldn’t bridge the gap and have one platform benefit the other. If I had more time I would/will try again, with more of an eye towards trying to weave it more into the SL world, but I really had trouble with lagging, etc. It’s an interesting concept, but my patience isn’t what it used to be (nor my backroll to build what I wanted, hehe).

    Still, your story was very interesting, and I thank you for sharing. You make me more than ever want to get back in and play. :-)

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  6. Wow girl!

    I love it, what a great glimpse into the day of a entrepreneur, mother, virtual news maker, etc. I like how you laid out the revenue models, I need to get some help on that score!
    I seem to be very good at spending at not so good at making the revenue.
    Thanks for the peek into your day to day.

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  7. Observing billboards in every picture you posted. A virtual world turning into a 3-dimensional advertizing page is not my idea of Second Life. I’m still pondering over this possible danger, that you inevitably face when working commercially in SL. How about brain-storming some new ideas of how to avoid such?

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  8. Hi Aliza

    Thanks for this. It made really interesting reading, especially as I set my own office up in SL a few months back and have, since then, been wondering how best to use it. I’ve made some money my self through doing work related to SL, designing educational courses and creating training videos etc, but I have yet to actually make any Linden bucks in world.

    I’ve written a short blog posting related to your posting here at: http://quickshout.blogspot.com/2008/03/working-in-second-life.html

    Thanks again

    best
    Nik

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  9. I am writing from a small shack in a Mayan village near the southern Mexico boarder in a place called the Ixcan. I fly a small plane to provide humanitarian aid, emergency medical flights to the villagers and support missions working here.

    My question to you is do you think we can drum up support for the charity relief work we do using SL? I have often thought that it might be possible.

    I produce a lot of video about our work, can that be injected in to Sl somehow? Do you have any advice or suggestions?

    Rob Rice
    Great Commission Air
    Gobbs of Video On Google Video

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  10. Also GuateMissionPilot.blogspot.com

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