A Second Life For Fun & Profit
At some point, we've all dreamed of starting a new life. Well, technology has granted us a way - and it is very aptly named Second Life.
Second Life is a free-to-play virtual reality platform operated by a company called Linden Labs, in which everything is created by other players. It has a real-world economy powered by its own dollar - the Linden Dollar or L$, which can be bought or sold to real world currencies through the platform's powerful array of tools.
Read on to learn about how you can get started on the platform where opportunities are made.
An Introduction To Second Life
So, you've got a virtual platform where everything is created by other players and a thriving economy. Everyone's first thought is, "Oh man, I'll make stuff and sell it!" And that's a valid decision that might very well turn out to be your golden ticket, but only if you go into it fully armed with the facts.
I have friends who make their entire income off Second Life, but these are people who have spent months or even years learning their craft. Second Life is not easy to learn but it is an option, especially if you're a bit of an introvert, have an interest in gaming, or are generally creative.
There are some things to be aware of, though.
1. Second Life is an adult-orientated platform and you should expect to be exposed to some kind of adult content. It is a platform run by the players, so... there's no polite way to put it: it's full of smut. You don't have to be involved in the seedier aspects of Second Life but be prepared for accidentally stumbling across it now and then. It should be noted that Second Life can only be accessed in its full potential by people over the age of eighteen.
2. While Second Life is technically free-to-play, you should budget some spending money. Think of it like going to the mall: it's free to go there, but it's boring without spending money. I recommend budgeting at least $50.00 USD just to get your avatar looking nice. If you can't afford that, then keep an eye out for freebies - there are lots of them around, and some can be quite good!
3. You will need a decent computer. You can run the platform on a lower-end computer, but you'll notice a drop in the performance.
4. You will need a fair degree of technical know-how before you even begin. If you're not a computer person, then you're going to find Second Life to be an exercise in frustration.
Now, let me run you through the basics of getting started on Second Life.
Getting Started With Second Life
Before you begin, you will need to create an account and download a browser. Second Life is a platform, not a game, so there are multiple ways to access it. Think of it like your internet browser. Sure, you CAN use Microsoft Edge/Internet Explorer, but Google Chrome or Firefox have better features. I'll give you links to both so you can decide, but my videos will all be set on Firestorm because that's what I use.
Step 1: Create An Account.
Click Here to go to the website and create your account. You get to pick a starting avatar at that time, but don't worry about being stuck with it. Every aspect of your avatar is customisable in every single way, including your gender and species! You can be literally anything on Second Life. So, just pick something you don't hate to start with and we'll move you on from there.
Step 2: Download A Browser.
Your browser is how you access the world of Second Life. There are many different browsers, but they're mostly about the interface rather than the world itself. All are free and you can change your browser at any time.
Here are the most common ones:
- Firestorm (Recommended)
Or you can view the rest of the directory here.
Step 3: Log In & Do The Tutorial.
Seriously, don't skip this part! I know it can be tempting, especially if you're an experienced gamer, but Second Life is like no other system you've ever used. The tutorial is an absolute must.
Your first few days in Second Life are going to be stressful, overwhelming, and possibly put you off ever logging in again. Take a deep breath and take your time. Don't think of it like playing a game, think of it more like going on holiday to a whole other country, where the cultural norms are different and you don't speak the language. There are lots of things to learn, so take your time and enjoy the learning experience.
Don't rush right into trying to make money. Your first step is to spend a few weeks just wandering around, being a total n00b, asking questions and getting to know the world. Explore everything, experience all there is to experience, and watch what everyone else is doing. Make some friends. Join some groups. You might find yourself inspired to try something totally different to what you were originally planning. On Second Life, your imagination is the limit.
Now, let's discuss some of the types of opportunities that are available on Second Life.
Opportunities Available On Second Life
So, what kind of opportunities are available on Second Life, you ask? Second Life is kind of a twisted mirror of reality in terms of the opportunities that are available on there to make money. It's hard to make a viable living income, but not impossible. If nothing else, it can give you something to do when you're otherwise spending all your time alone.
Just like in real life, there are two major options: get a job working for someone else, or go into business for yourself.
Job Opportunities: Work For Others
Job opportunities on Second Life generally don't pay much, but they can help you find your footing in the world. The basic theme is the same as real life: a business owner needs help with a task, and you do it in exchange for money. Almost all of these are acquired through word of mouth rather than posted job listings, so making friends is the best way to find them.
These can include but are not limited to:
Owners of large shops frequently hire shop assistants to help answer the questions from prospective customers so that they can focus on designing new products. Just like in the real world, the exact tasks you'll need to perform as a customer service agent will vary from business to business, but it usually involves a combination of live chat, email, voice chat, and Discord.
You may also find some situations where real-world businesses want to provide an in-world presence for their customers. It's not super common, but it does happen.
Club Host / DJ / Dancer
Dance clubs are just as popular on Second Life as they are in real life, and just like in the real world, clubs need staff to keep the music pumping. If you're into music and love socialising, you may be able to get a job spinning tunes at a club. Some clubs will also hire dancers to make their club look more popular or hosts to run competitions and keep the atmosphere fun.
Real Estate Sales Agent
Stores in Second Life are mostly automated and don't require a living person to process sales, but real estate is a different story. When buying, selling, or renting land, someone has to be involved to represent the owner of the land. Since land barons are often very busy (and wealthy), it's not uncommon for them to hire staff to handle this for them.
Unlike the real world, you don't need to be licensed to sell real estate in Second Life. It's pretty simple, and you can pick it up very quickly.
If you have Photoshop skills, 3D modeling skills, or are good at programming, but you don't like the thought of setting up your own brand and running the shop, then you can make things for other people. Put together a portfolio and list your skills and put out feelers to see who's hiring. You never know who might be interested!
Job Opportunities: Work For Myself
You can do all kinds of things on Second Life, limited only by your skills, time, and willingness to learn. Here are some of the basic ones, but really you can do anything on Second Life.
Start A Brand
If you have some Photoshop skills and a lot of patience, you can become a designer on Second Life with reasonably few start-up costs. You could make fabulous clothing, furniture, houses, plants, art, makeup, or even body parts for avatars. Anything you see being sold in a shop is something that another player has made, so you could make it.
Become A Land Baron
Much like in real life, land is at a premium in Second Life. Before we even get into this one, let me warn you: Becoming a land baron has a significant up-front cost. It has an an excellent rate of return, but you need to have money to make money buying and selling land on Second Life.
Land works a little differently in Second Life to the way it works in the real world, since it's a virtual platform and all the land is equally virtual. In real life, we have a limited amount of land and you can't really go beyond that without having to clear farmland and destroy forests and what not. But, in Second Life, if you want more land then Linden Labs will simply... make more land for you.
There are two types of land in Second Life: Mainland and Regions (also known as Private Estates or Islands).
Mainland is owned and operated by Linden Labs themselves. In essence, there is a large continent of virtual land that already exists, and rarely gets changed in any way. Players and buy, sell, and rent this land, but it is still owned by Linden Labs and when you "buy" a parcel of the mainland it's more like you're leasing land rather than owning it outright. Mainland is generally cheaper, but there are lots of rules and limitations you need to be aware of, and Mainland is famous for being very laggy. Plus, Mainland is never truly private, because anyone can wander by and peep in your window.
Regions are small islands of private land that you pay Linden Labs to build for you. They are completely separate from the mainland and run on their own dedicated servers at Linden Labs HQ, so they're generally much faster and more versatile. You can change the landscape as you fit, and make yourself a mountainous retreat or a beautiful tropical beach, whatever strikes your fancy. You have full control over your island, what happens there, and who can access it.
Alternately, you can divide your island up into parcels and rent the parcels out to people that can't afford to buy their own islands, or don't want to. This is how most land barons make a profit.
You can buy an existing island from the Land Marketplace, or you can commission Linden Labs to build a new island for you. If you choose to commission a new island, then you have to pay an up-front fee (which covers the creation of a new physical server to host your island) followed by a monthly maintenance fee. If you buy an island that already exists, then you just pay the monthly maintenance fee, plus whatever commission the current owner of the island is asking. Some islands are worth more than others due to different factors, including the name of the island, the size, and the number of avatars it can host.
If you want to become a land baron, I highly recommend looking into a few classes on land management in world, to get you started on the right foot.
Start A Marketplace Shop
The Second Life Marketplace is kind of like eBay for Second Life. You can buy and sell just about anything on there. For example, I buy and sell rare gacha items for a small profit to help fund Cheeky Kea's in-world endeavours. You can take a look at my shop here.
Starting a Marketplace store is a relatively easy and cheap way to get started as a business owner, but it has become more difficult since Linden Labs banned Gachas in late 2021. But, it can also be an alternative to having to rent expensive land for items you're making as a designer, while you're still learning your craft.
Get Addicted To Breedables
This one isn't as lurid as it sounds, I swear! Breedables are kind of unique to Second Life, but they're very popular and quite fun. They're essentially little animated pets that come with different genetic traits coded into them. You take care of them and eventually they get old enough to have babies, and the babies may have a rare or valuable trait. You can then either sell your pet to another breeder, or you can breed it yourself to try and get more and more valuable traits.
There is a huge community of breeders on Second Life, breeding everything from cats to horses to fantastical dragons. If you have a look at the Breedables Category on the Marketplace, it will give you an idea of just how many different types of Breedables there are.
Breedables generally require access to land and you usually have to buy consumable food to feed them, so it can incur a bit of expense before you'll see anything back. You also need to pay out for your original starting "pair", and you'll most likely want to add new genes to your stable from time to time by buying new pets.
Breedables are expensive, but if you're stubborn and lucky then you can make quite a lot of money from them. Just make sure you check with your landlord before you start breeding, because not all areas permit breedables!
If you have any desirable skills, you can be sure that there's someone on Second Life who wants them. For example, if you're a programmer you could learn LSL (Linden Scripting Language). It's very similar to Java and C, so you'll have no trouble picking it up. Or, say you're a web designer. You could offer your services for people who want websites related to their Second Life businesses. Just about anything really. Whatever is is that you do, someone, somewhere, wants it.
Play Live Music / Sing
Live music is popular on Second Life, so if you have the skills to play an instrument or sing then you may find people willing to hire you to play at their club or event. Much like in the real world, live music gigs are all about who you know, so get networking!
I heard there was a lot of... ummm... "sexy stuff" on Second Life. Can I do sex work?
If that is your jams, then yes you can. Remember how I mentioned that there is adult content on Second Life? Well, there's also a very active... I want to call it a red light district, but it's not just one place, it's all over the place. There are many options for sex work on Second Life, ranging from stripping at clubs to voice or camera-based stuff. I won't go into detail on this one. If you want to get into sex work, the easiest way is to locate a sex worker in world and simply ask them for advice. Have fun and be careful! Don't accept files from any avatars you don't know!