Saturday, 16 July 2011

Maintaining Motivation in a Global Recession.

I love this texture. It was made from one of my own photos with some post editing done in Adobe Photoshop (Blinds were added and I made it tile)

Its perhaps at least in part "why" I love this texture, because it's totally organic. It's mine.

I am lucky that my hobby is still at least in part, my income.

I have little doubt that if that was not the case and I was "clock watching" each time I sat down at my PC, within the current economy,  I would have thrown the towel in.

Many already have.

Some are comparing now to "The good old days" in Second Life (Pre 2008) when you could shit in a box and sell it,  and that's totally unrealistic because the economy in Second Life at that time is just as unnatural as it is today.

Second Life Post 2008 went through what FaceBook went through when it first kicked off.
Everyone wanted to be part of the action. It was new and exciting and novel.
But like everything, the novelty wears off.

Just as Facebook has recently lost 8 million users recently, Second Life has gone through a similar process.

It doesn't mean Facebook is going broke, it just means the initial rush has dampened down somewhat, other options and alternatives have surfaced and some people decided they didn't like aspects of it or simply got bored.

I think Second Life went through that same process around about the same time the real world economy nose dived.
The timing sucked but even without the global recession, I suspect we would have seen a general lack of "buzz" with Second Life around that time.

Those two changes have made running a profitable business on the Second Life platform bloody hard work.

But we shouldn't compare our business expectations with that of Second Life 2005 - 2007 because the economy was unrealistically inflated back then were as now,  it's gone in the opposite direction.

Now, you do have to work hard and "keep your eyes on the prize" Now it gets very real.

If we just "take our ball home" complaining about this and that and blaming that and the other, the only person loosing is you.

If you made an income from Second Life and that income is reduced or under threat because there is more or better competition and/or less spending customers and more freeloaders, then  "Welcome to the real world!"
Because this is the time when hard working people with a good set of business skills will be separated from those that were just lucky enough to be around at the time when the tidal wave of Second Life popularity was at its peak and consumers did not concern themselves with a one dollar virtual purchase.

The truth is, we have not seen Second Lifes natural economy yet, it went from inflated to depressed  within six months. (March 2008 - July 2008)

If you love what you do, if you're passionate about it regardless of how much you charge or how often it sells,  then keep on creating because at least that way you stand a chance of being around when the dust settles. And it will. Nothing stays the same for ever. Just as we had the good money flowing days and they ended, so now we have the "OMG I have just bought a 10L dress twice by accident!" stage and that will also end, one day.

On the other hand, if you are only "In it to win it" then financial incentive alone is likely to be your downfall.

That's not to say those who love what they do are not effected by lower sales or do not worry about being able to cover their overheads. Its a very natural and real concern.

I can vouch its not always as much fun working in SL when sales are not as thick and fast as "The good ol' days"
I can totally relate.

Like most people in my position, its a concern and a worry to not know from one month/year to the next whether I will be making enough of a wage to cover my overheads.
Its only because I love what I do, regardless of amount of sales,  that I am able to gather the motivation to keep creating new content.

And we all like to play the blame game don't we?

Its Linden Labs fault. Its my competitions fault. Its all of the freeloaders fault.... the list is endless and at some point I have pointed my finger at most of them,  but the book always stops with yourself.

Work with what you have or walk away. Those are the only options.

People who "Made It" in Second Life usually didn't set off down the path with the sole intention of making money.
But their obvious passion and love for what they did translated in the content and by default the quality of their designs and that made others want to buy it.
Sadly it made opportunists want to copy it whether its the actual design itself or the concept and business model. But that's no different in the "real world"
We replicate success.  

But those that developed a service or designed content based solely on "Chasing the coin"  are probably the SL stores we we no longer see around anymore and quite often the same people who complain about how unfair it all is.

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