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I am currently running an experiment that I might decide in future to develop into a full scale system that other content creators in SL can benefit from. About half a year ago I started selling my virtual products on credit. At 1st I was setting credits manually in database for each customer upon their initial pre-payment of 30% and it was lots of unneccesary work. But recently I programmed what I call a credit vendor and now when customers pay 30% of full price of the product the remaining 70% is set as debt automatically. These remaining 70% then they pay off with 50% of their earnings from all of my systems when they withdraw them. From the 1st look it might seem that this is a bad idea and that it doesn't make sense and that as a content creator I am loosing money. But it is really not a bad idea and I ❤ the concept. And here is why: Drop rate of new signups in Second Life or Residents who stay in SL for only a month or few months is very high (like for any other free social platform - people try it out some stay lots drop out). If as a content creator I can sell my products for at least 10 - 30% of full price through credit vendor (as in case of many SL drop outs who will never pay off their debt because they stop using SL) I am still getting sales that otherwise would not happen. *The virtual goods I sell are no transfer so they can not transfer to another avatar and abandon their obligation to pay. Unlike with RL physical goods there is no material production cost and with virtual goods we can sell unlimited copies of it. Because above reasons to me selling virtual goods on credit makes a perfect sense. Another amazing reason worth pointing out is that i n this way I can get my product and brands in the hands of many more people and that makes for great marketing effect. If your product is not worn or used by anyone and for others to see it and talk about it then that is almost the same as if it doesn't even exist. (There is a scifi book author Cory Doctorow who issues his books with public copyright permissions, so books can be copied basically for free and his argument is that this way more people find out for his work and he also gets more sales). I learned great deal from reading about his rationale from a preface of one of his book. Selling something on credit is known concept already from ancient times. While for the selling of virtual goods on credit I kind of hope I am the 1st one or one of the 1st ones doing it in history. \O.. O/ Now 1 main disadvantage or risk is that a customer doesn't fulfill their obligation to pay off their debt (but at least they paid pre-payment). So if I ever build full scale credit system for other content creators to use the customers will have a credit rating / credit score that will be based on their past repayment of debts. Customers with bad or low credit rating won't be able to make any aditional credit purchases and content creators using credit vendors will be able to set minimum credit rating needed to buy on credit. I have been very happy with my credit sales little experiment. Since I've started offering my products on credit there is now a total for about 15 000 usd of customer/players debt on my books (database) for which its questionable of what % of it will be ever repaid but what is not repaid will be mainly because the SL users are no longer in SL. It has not hurt my product sales purchased paying full price. I think its actually boosting it. I've established trust with hundreds of customers. By giving them my trust first that they will respect their obligation. My goal is for the debt to grow to 21 000 000 L$ by the end of 2021 for a better proof on concept and if its recepted well by content creators community I might expand the credit system for others to be able to sell on credit through it too. We'll see \O.. O/ Some general advantages and disadvantages of selling on credit from the web: Advantages: An increase in sales may happen when you start selling on credit. Your customers are likely to buy from you as their cash flow is not disrupted and it is not necessary to pay upfront to competitors. Better customer loyalty. Offering credit to customers demonstrates trust. Disadvantages: It can lead to bad debts.There is no guarantee that the customers will pay back. Loss of income/capital. Bad debt is a loss of income as well as loss of capital you have invested in buying the goods. (Does not apply for virtual / digital goods of which there can be unlimited copies and copying has 0 cost). Strained relationship.
As I had some graphics designed for me by a friend today it suddenly occurred to me, the long forgotten idea of a franchise as a viable business model in Second Life. What is a franchise? Think about McDonalds. Disclaimer: I don't like fast food, unhealthy food or promotion of unhealthy life or habits on overall. I am mentioning McDonalds because its a symbol of a success of a franchise as a business model. There are many franchise chain restaurants who promote more healthy lifestyle and service more healthy food. It is a very successful business model that I learned about and many years ago as a student when I traveled in US I was able to see it with my own eyes (Smoothie King, The CheeseCake Factory, SubWay and many others). In past I was going in direction of creating one in SL but then I totally forgot about it as I got busy with other things. Some time ago I've watched biographical drama film The Founder and through it I learned about complicated and even controversial history of McDonalds. It was very educational. If your aim is to grow big business some day I recommend you watch it. I think that franchising could be a very successful model that could be used across different type of virtual services and products in within Second Life. I am not starting this post to promote my franchise (because I don't even have one) but to promote the franchise as a viable business model in Second Life for virtual content creators. It works in RL and I believe it can work well in Second Life. I wanted to become a virtual business coach and help other people find ways how to grow their virtual businesses. For same reason I recently floated the idea of a business incubator in Second Life. There might already be successful established franchising models in Second Life and we don't know about it. The closest I think is affiliate marketing / virtual products brands in-world stores who share commission on sales. But I think those lost on prominence with introduction of SL Marketplace (but they still work). Second Life is used for many different things. The aspect of Second Life that I focus on and which one I want to advance virtual businesses and the ability for people to be able to earn money in a virtual world. Basically I employ my mind both professionally and as a hobby to try to find more and more ways how to make as many people as possible to benefit from growth of Second Life economy. I would like to see Second Life to become something more than what global community currently sees it for. A place to escape into a surreal world and where you can forget about your RL. (Disclaimer: using SL to relax and escape from mundane life is perfectly ok and I don't have anything against it at all and it is actually currently the biggest reason why and what for Second Life is successful). I would want it to be that and so much more. That is why I am all for exploring other use cases of Second Life not of it just being a game or a role play place but also a place where one can work, learn, advance and earn money and conduct and grow business. I would like to see it being seen by global public audience as a world of many different opportunities. Now most people don't have skills, talent or time to learn designing or 3D modeling to a level where they could create a marketable products. I believe that virtual businesses in Second Life could provide for employment of people with less skills in a way to provide for them a viable path towards gaining many new skills that can put them on a progression path in life and at the same time grow virtual businesses that can gain a significant importance. I have already gained so much from Second Life. I came to the point where I realized that to outside world Second Life is still relatively small and the only way forward is if we as a business community of SL find ways how to cooperate and create real business breakthrough that can lead towards greater and better recognition of Second Life to the outside world. But for that we need to start creating products, services and BRANDS that can go big - McDonalds big (that could break through & gain recognition in real world). Basically someone within SL business community needs to create a killer product for SL that will create interest and waves of new sign ups to Second Life that will benefit all the other existing businesses in SL. They need to be able to make so much money so that they can afford to advertise on Facebook, Instagram and other social media and add to the efforts of LL marketing. We need to learn or work towards to provide environment to make such things possible. I would not like to see just 1 but a growth of as many as possible virtual business giants in within Second Life. Franchise is a nice business model for creating new rules and standards for product or service that can then spread all over the grid. All the communities can take the business in a package and integrate them in within their lands for communities to use. If I ever create any new products in Second Life I'll apply the model of a franchise. I would like to lay it to the heart of everyone who means something in a virtual business community to maybe start marketing your products and brands in a way you can create opportunities for the SL users. If you want to set your SL business on a enhanced growth path then find ways to make it so that clients of your services and consumers of your products can also benefit from growth of your virtual business and brand. Many are already successful at it and just need to find ways or add their successful model on steroids. So I present a franchise as a business model as something to look into and learn from it and maybe implement in your own business strategy.
I am interested to meet people with various knowledge & experience from the business world with interest of setting up a startup school / incubator in Second Life. It would be a place in SL where people with ideas & various skills, knowledge & experience meet, learn together & network. Its aim will be to help scale up or increase sales for existing SL creators & help them reach next level of growth. I have long had an idea of creating such place in a virtual world SL. I am inspired by a story of how Silicon Walley came to be as a result of Frederick Terman, the legendary dean of Stanford engineering school during the 1940s and 1950s. He created the tradition of Stanford faculty starting their own companies. It is all about creating a space and a climate of positive, friendly, creative and growth inspired people who seek to achieve technological breakthroughs, progress and growth. Builders. I believe SL can become such a space on an international scale. If we make it into. I have been doing business in SL now for 10 years, ever since my student years. Everything I learned about being an entrepreneur I learned through SL by actually doing things & learning from experience. I did everything 1st on a small scale and then kept learning how to make it bigger. With my 1st ever "big" project in SL and upon introduction of my business plan I've been laughed at by then SL community on SL Universe forum. Now SL Universe with most of those people is gone but my 1st big project on which I was able to learn to then make even more projects which were more successful still runs successfully. Now if ever anyone laughs at me I am ok with it and it doesn't affect me as its just a reflection of that persons inflated ego or even ignorance. With like minded people I would like to create an environment that will encourage people starting something new and learn ( even a project that fails is a learning experience ). A place where people with new ideas are encouraged to learn to execute them and find like minded, similarly highly driven friends who can help with their knowledge, experience, connections towards growth and new breakthroughs. The reality is that most people never start anything because they are afraid of failing. Most people are afraid of taking risk and settle for comfort zone (that never leads to growth and new learning experience). Also failing leads most people into self doubt that can lead to depression. Because that is what we are all taught in schools. Schools were not designed to produce people who are comfortable thinking outside of the box. Although some teachers and professors are amazing at adding that component in their teachings. Most unfortunately don't. The tight online forum communities that are always looking for their next laughing target are not helping making the world a better place and one could argue that its even a form of online bullying (I am sure we'll have some of it in this topic too). This demotivates many people from trying to break through their comfort zone and innovate. Why would anyone enjoy at bringing other people down emotionally? (Some people are just like that because it boosts their self esteem as they are lacking their own or seeing others succeed makes them feel bad about themselves so they want to prevent it if its in their power). I've learned to move away and ignore such people. It is an important part of becoming confident as an inventor, innovator, entrepreneur and not only that but also it helps you be a better person. After 10 years of learning and growing in SL I have reached a point where any additional work input no longer leads to increased growth output. I have so many projects and active daily user base in SL is currently only at 50-60k. I realized that any new successful game product I create in similar fashion as I did before would cannibalize on all my others. This is also why I paused my next project massively multiplayer game specifically designed to work in SL environment just before 1st ALPHA release. I don't currently find it worth investment of my energy and time. I believe it similar with many other people with strength and skills set to potentially develop the next big product or killer app for in SL that would positively affect Second Life's user retention rate and number of concurrent active users daily. I am not primarily motivated by money. Since I studied economics I see it as a tool to build. Money for me is capital. I already have enough to live comfortably being with my income in within average of top 25% programmers in US (stats from 2019). When I was a student 1st year I quit IT university because being a programmer was not what I saw myself in the long term. I switched to economics - business school but been learning about both IT, economics and many multidisciplinary fields. I am not the best programmer because I actually write code very slow & sometimes it takes a lot of effort for me to do it. But I have managed to earn more with my programming work than most programmers that are way faster and time efficient at solving algorithmic problems. It is not about how I program but it is all about what am I programming. I learned what works best for average consumer/player in SL. I am a CEO that most often does customer support work himself (it is a very good way to get most valuable 1st hand information about how your product is doing to be able to surgically target investment into product improvement that will have the highest impact). A lot of implicit knowledge is needed from various fields (psychology, sociology, economics, neuroscience...) to be able to innovate in tech industry. (But even if you are highly educated and with PhD you are not going to perform and actualize your potential if you don't take risks and stay within your comfort zone. Many people who are highly educated are afraid of loosing reputation and are afraid of doing anything and they stop growing). I have been successful in Second life as a programmer creator but now after 10 years of every day hard work and while in the eyes of many I am seen as successful I feel like a failure because despite good income I stopped growing. I realized few days ago that in all that time I could do so much more if I had a whole team of highly skilled people at my hand. But for that I will need a startup that I can raise investment capital with. Since 14 days ago I started purposefully pushing myself out of comfort zone and started doing things I've been afraid of doing and starting to do before. My life has improved. I keep reaching for newer and higher goals. A day ago I've decided to instead keep working hard its time to start working smart. I have sent an email to Linden Lab's VP of product management Patch Linden with a (detailed product description) of a new game system I plan to base my startup as a joint-stock company. So that I can raise investment capital to set up a team and develop 1st and then many more projects. Before I can make the next step I will need a formal approval of my product design by Linden Lab. So 1st step has been already made with sending formal request to LL and now waiting for reply. My goal is to keep doing what I am good at. Inventing games in SL and keep gamifying SL to make more people want to spend time in SL for. But this time on a much larger scale with more risks and larger rewards for everyone involved. With a backing of US corporate-venture capital instrument. But in the long run I want to become investor and some day support life extension research. To me that is best investment anyone who reached the top can make. As results benefit everyone. I've been learning and running business for 10 years I am ready to take the risk. I am an ex competitor in martial art judo. I Iive to compete and reach new bigger goals. I work all the time and last year I even moved my office into a kitchen (it just made sense to be close to water). I hope I can create a success story of SL and inspire other content creators and that maybe we can join our efforts either through joint investments or direct cooperation to move Second Life forward. I want to set up a startup incubator organization in within SL with like minded people from all over the world. I want that we create a highly innovative and encouraging environment that will make it much more easier for young developers to develop and reach their true potential faster. To be able to launch companies that can reach multi million valuation a lot more skills, knowledge and connections are needed than 1 successful individual content creator can have. Especially because when you are creating content you need to be focused on it. We need an incubator that can make growing business from within SL easier and faster. We are organizing in a SL group called: SL Business Consortium Its open to join.
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