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Are most stores "labors of love"?


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Okay, this is a little crass, but does anyone make any money from their stores?

I'm asking because the owners of DV8 have decided to close their store. DV8 is a big store and there always seems to be people there. I would think they do a pretty good business based on the store traffic.

I know there are lots of reasons people walk away from businesses in real life and in sl, but people who are running successful businesses don't usually just pack up and leave. If an SL store was making a little extra income, at the least, for people I just don't see them walking away.

Are most stores labors of love? If so, thank you for all the beautiful clothes. ;)

If it's the land fees, maybe the solution is to just go online. Are there other expenses I'm not thinking of?

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In my own experience, most content creators in SL are lucky to make "beer and pizza money" profit levels. I've run several businesses in SL, and with the exception of my large-scale, whole-sim/multi-sim projects, most of the stuff I sold barely covered in-world expenses. If you looked at it in terms of what you cashed out versus how many hours you spent earning that money in-world, a minimum wage real-world job flipping burgers would pay better.

Certainly there are some creators who manage to make decent profits, but they also spend huge amounts of time making their stuff.

So, yeah, it pretty much is a 'labor of love'. You do it because you enjoy doing it. If you also happen to make any profit at all, so much the better.

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Probably a little of both, Myra. Some make money, most probably make enough to cover land fees and occasional shopping sprees, some do pretty well but most are likely hobbyists.  I'm sure there are lots of creators in SL who create just to create. They just can't not create. Keep in mind also that many stores that "close" go on to re-brand themselves and never really leave at all.

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I make money yes, but that is peanuts. I mean, the money comes in in buckets, but it goes out in wheel barrows! 

And now a bit more serious, yes  i sell stuff pretty regular, but not that regular i can pay my rents or what ever. For me, it is just the fun of creating stuff, let my artistic me do his stuff. Then if someone wants to buy it, great! Even when an item is sold just once, then 1 person liked it. That will do. So in a way yes labour of love. But it is love towards myself. I want to keep doing what i am doing. So every sold item is a confirmation to do so! :smileywink:

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Me, personally, I make money. Not always a ton, but my profits cover all inworld costs, allow for fun money inworld(for general hobbies, goofing off and whatnot), allow me to contribute to some very near and dear to me charities(rl ones), and also pay some rl expenses. Sometimes, all my rl expenses even, sometimes not though. I don't have a huge store-tiny in fact. But I also don't have a huge overhead, and can keep my actual business expenses at a minimum.

I think part of why some don't make as much as they could is they just don't really try too hard. Not always a bad thing of course. Some people really don't want to pull out a profit. There are lots who really are in it just for the fun of doing it. That's actually where I stand. I'm in business because it's fun, and I enjoy it. The perk is that it also pays for itself. But I had my business long before it started paying for itself, lol. So that's not really the reason I do it. Just a nice side effect. I do think if someone truly wants to bring in a big profit, and works at it as hard as they can, as best they can, they can make it just fine.

Some people close down shop for reasons other than financial. in fact I've seen tons close because they just didn't want to do it anymore, or couldn't. Rl changes will often affect our sl as well, so that too could play a part. Sometimes people get burnt out on what they're doing and need time off. I've seen loads of merchants come, go, then later come back with something totally different. I think that happens a lot. In fact one of my fav. stores from early on did that. Closed up shop and stayed gone for a while, then came back with something brand new(and a new brand, at that). Although the creator still makes clothing, it's a completely different style than it used to be, and primarily mesh now.

 

I would say that most merchants I have seen, aren't in it for the big bucks. If they are, they're not doing the most stellar job. Sometimes the ones who make the big bucks, aren't doing a stellar job either, they simply have a product that overshadows their shortcomings.(that's not a bash on any creator, group of creators, or anything like that, just the blunt truth-I've realized it myself with some of my bigger sellers over the years, I definitely could have done better on some of those, and am lucky they sold as well as they did). I never look at the revenue made by a company as an indicator of it's success, or failure. Well, not in sl anyway. Because sometimes, it really is just dumb luck, be it good, or bad.

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Most stores aren't going to make a real life wage. They might pay for Second Life, and maybe a little extra for cashing out here and there, but not big money. It's not the sort of wage people would work towards for money alone. You have to get some level of enjoyment from making and selling things to stick at it, and if the fun goes, so does the motivation.

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Thanks for the info everyone. I didn't think anyone got rich in sl, but I thought maybe the owners of the big stores might at least be making some rl spending cash. It's kinda cool that so many people are doing something that's more about the work than the money. That's sorta beautiful.

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I built my shop to entertain myself. And then I realized if I was going to call it a shop, I ought to put some things in there that had price tags on them.

And that's kind of continued to be the way I've done it each time I've moved.

I lose money on it hand over fist. But don't really care.

I do have a friend who started alongside me (we met at an NCI show your stuffz contest), who essentially matches her 'RL income' with her shop, or if not that, pulls in a pretty penny.

I think Tari's observations are correct. I don't try, my friend does. From watching her I know exactly what I could do to be an SL-business-success, and I know I even have all the skills to pull it off - knowing just the right things it takes to make this kind of content. But I don't bother, and she does.

 

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Myra Wildmist wrote:

I didn't think anyone got rich in

Yes they did, do the research.

For what it's worth, when the figures about monthly positive L$ cashflow, the numbers went something like this as a typical value:-

About 600,000 residents with a positive L$ cash flow

51% less than $10 US

90% less than $100 US

~1% over $2000 US

~0.3% over $5000 US

How rich is rich?  Anshe Chung, Stiletto Moody consortium, other land owners, other very successful shops? 

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Poenald Palem makes vehicles, it is what he does....this is the way things are and they will not change to much for a while....then again, maybe next month it is all over. That explains enough. Inertia + uncertainty means stagnation and inaction toward any direction and sometimes inertia runs out and you stay put...BUT, you are still in the middle of the road and you can't really pull over....where will you go? Where is next? Next is...wehere? Where is it? You don't know, so you just stay there and watch the shadows move and think...you watch a fly drop on the glass and think....you don't know.

Why? I don't know. Love? What exactly IS that anyway, I mean in the context of a entity such as a "business" because...well, who says you have to sell anything? Maybe you give for free...I mean, you have a store I guess....because it has a stock...well, of sorts. It has something to offer. So, yeah...it exists there and you are basically loving your interation and loving how people get your stuff? Like seeing what will happen next? Yeah,maybe just something to do and you love seeing what happens next.

I don't know why. I am here, it is what I do...I make cars, but right now I am sorting other things out but I come back. I make semething small, work on some ideas, flesh out some requirements for some product, or simply stuff away a few design lines to aid or a few concept bits sketched up to remember. Soon I will build, mesh up a vehicle and some other items. I will continue scripting, but with much more effort and results. I will bang my head against a bug list, continue feasability checking on some R&D and maybe at the end of the month....creations to sell! People will buy them maybe! But...why? I mean, maybe they shouldn't! Maybe they should go away from here and spend the money to see grandma! Maybe they should go and spend ten minutes at the store and ask out that one girl they like....maybe...I mean, at least they can stop worrying and feeling that pain....if they move on they will not have to suffer as much....buy maybe it will hurt more? So maybe they need the car, to take thier mind of it anyway! They needed it though? I mean, maybe not....there are other things out there....maybe they have some or all of those to....this was something new, different enough.

I better make something different, because maybe it wlil not put somethiing new into someones mind! Then, things will feel the same and look the same. They will be lost hurting....but wait, what if they are happy and the change reminds them of how things change so much? They remember death, sadly and with remorse for having logged in...things change...they change, they get sicker....they are upset and nothing can be done about it. Sad. or maybe I should say 'Sad?' or maybe just '?' and walk off? I will leave this post now. I could add more though, but this seems enough.

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Poenald Palen wrote:

Poenald Palem makes vehicles..... ...I will leave this post now. I could add more though, but this seems enough.

You think too much, chookums, and it sounds like a burden.

 

I ought to go check out your cars though, as I'm sure you do a good job. :)

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Myra Wildmist wrote:

I didn't think anyone got rich in sl, but I thought maybe the owners of the big stores might at least be making some rl spending cash.

I think a lot of people make "RL spending cash" but, if you could get answers from all store owners, I think you'd find that most either lose money or just about manage to make their tier costs with a little L$ to spend.

Some make very decent RL money but I don't think there are many of those. I was one until I got bored and decided to close down. That was over two years ago and I've let the store fade ever since then. It still makes enough RL money to be worth keeping it open but I don't think it'll be too much longer before it's no longer worth it. So, contrary to what you wrote in your first post, there really are people who can decided to shut up shop when the shop is doing extremely well ;)

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You don't need to own a big store, or even a well known one, to make a decent profit. You just have to actually want it, and be able to put forth the work to do it. I'm pretty sure if you actually polled every single business owner in sl, most probably fall more under the hobby umbrella. They enjoy what they do, and if it profits, fantastic, if not, also fantastic. I do believe in order for any business to succeed, you actually have to enjoy what you do, to some degree. I have seen some very well known creators who seemingly make a really great profit, actually not make squat because their overhead is ridiculously high.

Contrary to what some believe, you also don't have to shell out a ton of rl cash, in order to have a business be profitable(in rl cash as well as lindens kept inworld). Some feel they need to, in order to succeed, and of course that's their choice. But it really is entirely possible to build a busiess from the ground up in sl, with very little overhead, and still come out way ahead in the end.

Not everyone who makes a profit, goes around stating so. Not everyone who makes a large profit turns it into rl cash, either. I know of plenty of folks who make a pretty penny that never cash out-they simply recirculate their money on the grid. I'm not sure if the statistics we do see count funding that's never cashed out and turned into rl funds, though.

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Tari Landar wrote:

Contrary to what some believe, you also don't have to shell out a ton of rl cash, in order to have a business be profitable

Absolutely true. When I joined SL I shelled out some RL cash for a premium account and, soon afterwards, for a small piece of land. That was the last time I used RL money for anything in SL, and I've taken a lot out of it.

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You have to add the fishing affect, that is when they catch a small fish say an inch long, it grows each time the tale is told, so you will see some here claim profits in the same way, for most it is a labor of love but to some that have repeated their fishing tales they are multi trillionairs.

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People spent years learning to make content in SL and then LL dropped in mesh import and the marketplace is loaded with game rips and the masses buy that first before original works.

I am one of the people that simply decided it is easier to be on SLM only and stop handing LL every dime I make. I still have a home parcel but I think I will ditch that and drop to free account status and maybe invest in second inventory before it is too late. Or just write it all off as a very bad investment decision.

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Boudicca Littlebird wrote:

I agree, I don't think we are catered for any more, I think the large corps are and people that they sit round a table with, I think they just see us as addicted fools,
they think most of us are nuts anyway.

 

That's probably because a good portion of us are ;)

 

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Yes, I think most shops are either labors of love, or of boredom and frustration. (Creative outlets.)

I think many (successful) shops have pulled up stakes and moved to other virtual worlds where their operating costs are lower. I think some have gone into selling things online instead, such as mesh creations. They simply have very little overhead that way, purely online, and can also potentially reach more customers.

I do not think all shops who close were failing, in other words. Some simply want to make more money, be *more* successful.

Second Life residents are a unique breed in my opinion. We need a billion-dollar investor in order for it to really become what it could become, but those don't seem too interested so far.

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Ann Otoole wrote:

I am one of the people that simply decided it is easier to be on SLM only and stop handing LL every dime I make. I still have a home parcel but I think I will ditch that and drop to free account status and maybe invest in second inventory before it is too late. Or just write it all off as a very bad investment decision.

For a very similar reason to yours, I decided to do the opposite. I decided that LL saw how much money was being spent on stuff and decided to get a cut of it, and they came up with the marketplace for that reason. My response to it was not to put anything on the marketplace, precisely so that LL wouldn't get that cut. I admit that your way of denying LL money is better than mine, because it denies them much more than my way does. But I did do a little bit to deny them tier. As I downsized in two stages, from a sim to a quarter sim, I abandoned land so that LL would lose tier on it for some time. Much of that land remains abandoned but, unfortunately, some sold after some time.

When the store closes, probably sometime this year, I'll keep the account active(ish) and I won't lose any of my stuff - in case I fancy starting all over again sometime in the future with my better stuff. When my premium runs out early next year, Ill probably go to basic.

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Melita Magic wrote:

Yes, I think most shops are either labors of love, or of boredom and frustration. (Creative outlets.)

I think many (successful) shops have pulled up stakes and moved to other virtual worlds where their operating costs are lower. I think some have gone into selling things online instead, such as mesh creations. They simply have very little overhead that way, purely online, and can also potentially reach more customers.

I do not think all shops who close were failing, in other words. Some simply want to make more money, be *more* successful.

Second Life residents are a unique breed in my opinion. We need a billion-dollar investor in order for it to really become what it could become, but those don't seem too interested so far.

Problem is that so many potential customers are unwilling to spend any money. You may get a few thousand visitors a day on a good day, but 99% only come for the group gifts and MM boards, and 90% of the rest are just windowshopping.

Even with that, your potential sales volume still outstrips that of any other virtual community by a wide margin simply because of the sheer size of the SL userbase.

Myself, I no longer use the marketplace to buy much (except maybe a freebie, demo, or discounted item). I use it to browse, find something that looks interesting, then go find it in world to buy. If the in world store is abandoned or non existent, I see that as a sign there won't be customer support if needed, and will likely move on to another brand.

As to big companies investing in SL to "make it better", I don't see it happen. SL is pretty successful as is, LL doing a good job at improving a vastly complex system and keeping it reasonably stable (yes, it is, for something this size and complexity it's remarkably resilient and stable).

And remember that whatever they do, people WILL complain. They complained for example there was no mesh, so LL created mesh. Now the very same people (to an extend) complain there is mesh and their 5 year old viewers don't support it.

This is human nature, you will see it in any large enough community (and large enough means more than a few dozen people, if not less).

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Phil Deakins wrote:


Ann Otoole wrote:

I am one of the people that simply decided it is easier to be on SLM only and stop handing LL every dime I make. I still have a home parcel but I think I will ditch that and drop to free account status and maybe invest in second inventory before it is too late. Or just write it all off as a very bad investment decision.

For a very similar reason to yours, I decided to do the opposite. I decided that LL saw how much money was being spent on stuff and decided to get a cut of it, and they came up with the marketplace for that reason. My response to it was not to put anything on the marketplace, precisely so that LL wouldn't get that cut. I admit that your way of denying LL money is better than mine, because it denies them much more than my way does. But I did do a little bit to deny them tier. As I downsized in two stages, from a sim to a quarter sim, I abandoned land so that LL would lose tier on it for some time. Much of that land remains abandoned but, unfortunately, some sold after some time.

When the store closes, probably sometime this year, I'll keep the account active(ish) and I won't lose any of my stuff - in case I fancy starting all over again sometime in the future with my better stuff. When my premium runs out early next year, I may go to basic.

 

And why do you want to deny LL the income they need to keep SL running? Why do you deserve an income but they don't?

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jwenting wrote:

And why do you want to deny LL the income they need to keep SL running? Why do you deserve an income but they don't?

Because LL don't care a toss about their paying customers. Someone wrote a few posts back that LL sees their customers as "addicted fools", and I agree. They have done too many things that are negative for customers, and precious little that's good for customers, and, if I can deny them money, I will.

Incidentally, I didn't say that I "deserve" the income. I've taken it for years, that's all.

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Definitely a labor of love.

For my limited experience (Only been a shop owner for about three months, so possibly still very naive and still enjoying every second of my sl, everything is so new and fresh to me.) it could be that most people do not have much money to spend, it could be that my boutiques are affiliated stores and not my own creations, it could be that the sims I have chosen to open up my stores in are not very popular.  I have no definitive answer as too why I am not suddenly on the way to being a Millionaire, and I had always assumed the bigger stores who have invested so much more time, funds and work are a lot more successful but times are hard for everyone, so I am told.  That said, I can tell you each of my stores are furnished with love and a huge helping of Ceddy's dreams.  I enjoy every moment I take opening a store and filling it with goods.

For me the customers that come by are a great laugh, I have met some awesome people and have become fast and firm friends with them.  Since opening the stores, my friends list has grown, the other shop keepers are friendly and like the ones I have met on this forum, full of advice and willing to share their experiences.  With each shop I have been lucky to find likeminded people and have shared the joys of sales, the misery of quiet times, the excitement of watching new ideas work and working through some of the failures.  It feels like belonging to a big family.

It is completely a labor of love with the added bonus of friendships formed.  Don't get me wrong though, making enough money to pay the rents would be the cherry on the top of the cake, I do love the SL sound of money exchanging hands..Kerching!!

 

~Ceddy~

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Myra Wildmist wrote:

Are there other expenses I'm not thinking of?

Textures, sculpts, trinkets, bits, bobs, scripts and templates,  unless you're handy enough to make your own. 

Gifts/hunt items/MM Boards/Lucky Chairs are all 'expenses', of sorts because you make nothing from the items you give away.

Uploading fees for the pictures/ads

Paying staff/models if you're popular/big enough to have/need them

Photography fees, if you're not happy with doing your own pictures for ads

Advertising, if you go with SL radio ads, SL magazine ads, things of that nature

Yeah, it can get real expensive real fast if you let it.

Even if the merchants sell exclusively online, LLs takes a cut of every sale they make.

 

 

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Senobia Xenga wrote:


Myra Wildmist wrote:

Are there other expenses I'm not thinking of?

Textures, sculpts, trinkets, bits, bobs, scripts and templates,  unless you're handy enough to make your own. 

Gifts/hunt items/MM Boards/Lucky Chairs are all 'expenses', of sorts because you make nothing from the items you give away.

Uploading fees for the pictures/ads

Paying staff/models if you're popular/big enough to have/need them

Photography fees, if you're not happy with doing your own pictures for ads

Advertising, if you go with SL radio ads, SL magazine ads, things of that nature

Yeah, it can get real expensive real fast if you let it.

Even if the merchants sell exclusively online, LLs takes a cut of every sale they make.

 

 

Wow, yeah, Senobia. Silly of me to think it was only land fees. Hah! If only.

My friend and I were talking about this, this weekend, and we figure maybe the most popular places might sell 100 items in a day. If the average price is 300L, then that's about 30000L that a really successful business might make each day. That's only about $120 US. That's not much. Minus expenses and stuff, the most popular business might make $100 a day. Might. Or about $3000 a month.

Does that sound about right?

I doubt most businesses make money like that. Maybe a handful, but they have to do a whole lot of business and that's still not much of a living.

I wish there was some way people could start making some more money for all their efforts. There's just some wonderful things in sl and there'd probably be more if more people could make somehting of a living doing this.

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