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Friday, November 13, 2015

Advice from an SL Expert About Business Ethics in Second Life.

What makes a business successful in SL?

Just like in real life, a business in SL is successful because of customer relations. Although a customer is not always right as the cliché goes, in order to retain business the customer must always feel that they have been treated fairly and reasonably.
If customer service is so important, then why are there many businesses and business owners in SL who seem to have an axe to grind and offer poor customer service in addition to their inferior products?

In the past decade, The SL Enquirer weathered many storms and stood tall above the top-ranking media sources which have come and gone through the years. There is a reason it has survived. SLE continues to thrive in a virtual world so beaten down by those who forgot to appreciate the creative freedom of such a place, as well as respect and treat others the way they would like to be treated.
Despite the assumptions and negative comments from some people who seem to think they know what Lanai Jarrico does behind the scenes with The SL Enquirer, one fact remains constant. Her dedication to SLE has overcome many obstacles, people with hidden agendas, and ignorant assumptions for 10 years. The best part is the positive reviews vastly outweighs the negative.

SLE has been through the bustling heyday and the “SL Great Depression.” Lanai has experience and knows the seasonal patterns, cultural psychology, and hazards that need to be avoided in Second Life. Most importantly, she has met  and befriended many SL Legends who paved the way for those here today.  Equipped with SL knowledge and experiences, she is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to advice about Second Life and best business practices.

First, It has never been about money, nor is it about fame for Lanai or Team SLE. Dedication and perseverance comes from a passion. Without passion and hard work, ideas and creativity fail. These same principles can be applied to any business in Second Life that wants to succeed.  Sure, making lindens is important to sustain a business and a comfortable SL lifestyle. If planned properly, it can still be achieved.

I hate to break it to stubborn business owners, but the Era of the SL Millionaires has passed.  SL wealth seekers have saturated the business market so badly that it diluted the linden pot of gold into gold-plated sludge.

It has become increasingly difficult to even generate enough income to cover tiers and break even without having to dig into your pocket to cover the difference. Trying to be greedy will only cause issues, so be careful how you tip the business scale and who you try to get over on while attempting to make a profit. It is NOT like real-world business. The time spent in Second Life overly outweighs hourly wages. High expectation will result in disappointment if you think otherwise.

If it’s about the money, Lanai wishes you luck!  The unpredictable nature of Second Life makes it almost impossible to generate a sustainable income you can trust for stability. Unless you have beginning capital, a great real job to fall back on, time to invest in SL, and a true business plan in place, thinking you can live off Second Life is virtual insanity.  It may work for those lucky ones who tapped a market with great demand, ones who understand the culture and have that burning passion to succeed. With that said, more power to them,  Let’s move on.

There have been times Lanai was ready to put down her pen and accept defeat. It isn’t defeat in the sense of  being pummeled by competition.  It was a small instance where she failed to believe in herself. It is her true friends that remind her how important media is for the community. Those moments bring strength and courage to go on. The self doubt storms passed  through the years and her determination grew.  This part is about building up a support system, being part of a community, and making friends you can trust.

The energy to continue was and still is much greater than herself. It is about sharing something special with an entire community. Documenting Second Life as it developed over time, Lanai has been the keeper of records and shared stories about the culture and people who make up this vast virtual world longer than any other source in SL today.

It is a beautiful thing to be part of and that is why The SL Enquirer exists.  Take this bit of advice and make it part of your goals. The ability to make and keep friends will help you achieve your goals much more easily than trying to plow your way through Second Life with a nasty attitude and boasting without the proof to back it up.

To stand uniquely separate from others is to not see others as competition or think you are above anyone. To Lanai, she has none and prefers to lay low and work with people who want to work with her.
People with similar ideas in the SL Media world are seen like a media community.It is important to support each other rather than try to destroy each other.  It never really mattered to Lanai what others were or still are doing as long as they are doing something to contribute to the community and not causing her any grief.

What matters is what she is doing for SLE and building alliances with other sources. Right there is the key to keeping the peace and ensuring success. The Second Life grid is saturated with businesses that are very similar. Business owners can’t go around being nasty to each other or trying to sabotage their “competition.” It is a waste of time because they should be spending worrying about their own business, bringing new ideas to the virtual table, and providing better customer service.

Customer Service is a big deal that many business owners seem to be overlooking these days. A word of advice, STOP GIVING CUSTOMERS ARE HARD TIME! Do not avoid their inquiries, do not blame them for your poor business practices and most certainly do not make them jump through hoops for a refund of 1000L or less (approximately $4.33 USD) or a copy of the product. It isn’t like you have a RL warehouse, supplies and materials to cover.

Ask yourself if the bickering is worth a bad review from someone who liked your product enough to buy it in the first place?  As long as you have a transaction history, properly investigated their complaint or the product is no transfer, there shouldn't be a problem doing a redelivery followed by a thank you for your continued service. Be the bigger person. End of story.

Another great Idea is getting involved in expos to showcase  products and services alongside others in the same industry. Maybe even be part of a charity.
This bit of advice takes me back to being much bigger than yourself, forming alliances, and giving back to the community.

This article isn’t about The SL Enquirer or Lanai jarrico; it is merely an example that whatever you set your mind to in SL can be achieved if you take the time to familiarize yourself with the community and truly follow your passion. It is your choice whether you take advice from a business which has shown an enormous amount of contribution to Second Life and still here and doing well. It wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Lanai has observed many people and how they operate. She has developed many friendships and cut off just as many fake people. She has the key to success.  It is clear and she knows exactly how to protect what she has worked so hard to obtain.

Up until this point was an example that anything you set your mind to can work in a virtual world. You will find that things do not come easy. Whatever it is you want out of Second Life, you have to believe it is possible but you also have to work for it.

Also,  remember behind every avatar is a person--not just any random person you probably will never meet in real life, but someone who you may need someday for help, or a person who you learn from or may need your help.  We, as a virtual community, need to be responsible for creating a peaceful environment in which everyone feels appreciated and a part of something.

The attitudes on the grid have become alarming and noticeable enough that it was time to virtual sit down business owners for an intervention.

My last bit of advice but the most important. Develop your profile positively. It is a reflection of you and how you conduct yourself in Second life. This also goes for employees. Having questionable content in your profile can act as a deterrent for potential customers.

If you wish to be perceived as an honorable business owner in Second life. or a good person for that matter, remove the negativity.  For example, if you are a business owner and your profile says something along the lines of this extreme fabricated example- DO NOT CONTACT ME OR SEND ME FRIEND INVITES BECAUSE I AM JUST TOO BIG HEADED AND BUSY TO WASTE MY TIME WITH YOU,(followed by half naked photos of your avatar), then you probably should rethink being a business owner.

In a nutshell, being a professional includes a passionate, friendly and engaging attitude, attention to detail, helpful profile, presentable appearance and high standards of customer service. Otherwise a business owner cannot expect to be successful in Second life.



  1. This is a great article and a must read for anyone interested in doing business in Second Life.

    0THELLA - editor of MAGE Magazine


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