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 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.
8:35am – 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.
12:00pm – 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.
12:30pm - 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.
1:45pm – 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.