OK, so, you’re new to SL. Or, maybe, you’re not that new to SL anymore. Maybe you’re too old for money trees, maybe you’re too wise to the idea of camping (good for you! There’s hope for you yet!), maybe you’re too broke to buy your own Ls, or else want to get Ls without giving Linden Lab your money (again, excellent for you!). Whatever your reasons, you want to earn Lindens and you’re wanting to do what they do in RL: find gainful employment.
The problem is, you have no idea where or how to begin. Let me start by showing you what not to do. Names have been changed to protect the clueless and the harried.
[12:43] Noobie Blingshoes: qre you work here
[12:44] Noobie Blingshoes: Shop Owner
[12:44] Shop Owner: I own this shop
[12:44] Noobie Blingshoes: i came here to work
[12:44] Shop Owner: I’m not looking for employees myself, sorry.
[12:45] Noobie Blingshoes: ok bye
[12:45] Close Range: Noobie Blingshoes [21m]
[12:45] Shop Owner: lmao
[12:45] Long Range: Noobie Blingshoes [43m]
[12:45] Close Range: Noobie Blingshoes [39m] (OMG she’s coming back…)
[12:45] Chat Range: Noobie Blingshoes [14m]
[12:45] Noobie Blingshoes: Shop Owner plz think
[12:46] Shop Owner: about what?
[12:46] Noobie Blingshoes: work with you
[12:46] Shop Owner: No.
[12:46] Noobie Blingshoes: plz
[12:46] Shop Owner: Look, if you want to find work
[12:46] Noobie Blingshoes: yes
[12:46] Shop Owner: look in some of the help wanted postings at XStreet SL
[12:47] Shop Owner: build up some marketable skills
[12:47] Noobie Blingshoes: ok
[12:47] Noobie Blingshoes: thx
Ms. Blingshoes’s first mistake was to think that retail stores in SL work like they do in RL. But they don’t. Shops in SL are open 24/7, they don’t need salespeople to ring up transactions, and they have an infinite stock of items. Her next mistake was thinking that people will just hire anyone who walks in off the street without any apparent skills or interests. Ms. Blingshoes even had a pregnancy tummy, probably thinking that would garner sympathy. Another mistake: in a world where nobody has to eat, a pregnancy belly is not another mouth to feed and thus not something that will make anyone feel sorry for you (As a matter of fact, if you spend any time in SL, you’ll soon figure out that a pregancy belly is a sure-fire repellant!).
Her next mistake (of many) was not taking no for an answer. While tenacity can be an admirable quality in someone who really has skillz to offer, there’s a fine line between saying “are ya SURE you don’t need someone to do xyz?” and begging. Ms. Blingshoes, welcome to SL, NOBODY LIKES BEGGING.
So, now that we’ve talked about what NOT to do in looking for gainful employment, let’s talk a little bit about what works.
Have Marketable Skills.
Ms. Owner mentioned this briefly. What are marketable skills in SL? There are many, a few include: building items, making textures, making clothing, making hair, making sculpties, writing scripts, creating sounds, creating animations, teaching, planning events, performing, and streaming music. In SL, being social and literate is itself a skill, as evidenced by the ad listings for clubs constantly looking for hosts. If you don’t know how to rez a prim in SL, learn how. If you’re interested in how to make something but don’t have the foggiest idea how, Google is your friend: look up tutorials for making whatever it is you want to make. When a potential employer asks you, “What can you do?” Have an answer.
For those who are willing to learn, there are countless tutorials and learning centers in world.
There is no way to get rich quick in SL.
Short of purchasing Ls out of pocket, there is no quick, easy, or effortless way to get Ls. Business-in-a-Box deals are worthless (and may even border on scamming). Affiliate vendors may earn you a little bit of cash, but you need to make mad sales just to cover rent on a booth to host one (and keep in mind how many OTHER people are using the SAME VENDOR as you).
Begging, as I mentioned, is not only innefective in SL; it is a surefire way to lose friends and alienate people.
Camping, there’s no simpler way to say it, sucks. You’re spending more money for the electricity to run your computer while you wash windows/dance/sit on a stoop for hours at a go than you’re getting for your time.
Money Trees aren’t a bad starting point, but you have to be under 30 days old and (unfortunately) they appear to be waning in popularity and get harder and harder to find. If you’re tenacious enough, however, you might find a good list of tree LMs and make regular rounds. This will at least get you enough pocket change to upload a profile photo.
Entry Level Income
Here are some ideas for jobs you might look into that require minimal skills, and are thus good entry-level jobs.
I’ve mentioned it before, and it’s a job I personally loathe because I find it boring. But the fact is, if you can greet people when they come in, encourage them to tip the venue and/or person performing, thank them for tips when they give them, and make a commitment to doing so for at least 2 hours at a go per week, you’re on your way to a pretty respectable paycheck. Club Hosting is kind of the fast-food-worker job of SL: high demand for it, not bad job security, not a lot of skill needed, but also not a lot of respect for it.
Skills needed: Being a social person helps. Being observant of who comes in and who tips. The ability to spell is a plus but (based on what I’ve observed) gestures more than compensate for this.
Equipment needed: Nice skin, clothing, hair, and AO (much of which can be gotten for free). Prim hair is especially a must. Radar HUD (also free) is very helpful for easily seeing who comes in.
Average pay: Varies depending on the club and its crowds, but an average of $400L/shift is not unusual.
Many clubs have “eye candy” on hand to encourage people to come in. Exotic dancers in SL have to be shameless and skilled enough to entice people to tip them, which can be tricky when everyone has perfect skin, shapes, and hair. There always seems to be a high demand in clubs for dancers, but they also seem to have a high turnover rate. I don’t claim to know why this is. You also have to be bold enough to compete with other dancers who are working at the same time as you.
Skills needed: Good writing skills (and the ability to “show not tell” in doing so) go a long way in this line of work. When striptease is done with an emphasis on “tease”, with the right audience, your avatar can become quite in-demand and make a good living.
Equipment needed: Sexy shape, hair, skin, and costumes (the latter of which can get pricey if you let yourself get too carried away!). Clubs usually provide their own dance poles and/or animations.
Average pay: I’ve seen a good stripper make 1k a night; usually it’ll be more around 400-500L/shift, depending on the club and how many other dancers there are during a shift.
Professional Contest Winner
Clubs will often have “Best in ___” contests with cash prizes. Search Events at the SL website and they’re easy enough to find. You can always tell the professional contest winner at these events: they’ll show up with a dozen friends in tow and walk away with the most votes (and the money). People with a ton of friends, each willing to part with 1-5L, can also clean up in photo contests. Have a look, also, for trivia games and contests; your knowledge of lots of useless information can pay off!
Note: I am of the personal opinion that photo contests are a scam. Rather than having your friends give some stranger 5L to vote for you, they would do just as well to give 5L to you. But, do what you like…
Skills needed: Persuasiveness, knowlege of trivia or puzzles (as applies), ability to search events at the SL website and get your friends to join you at a moment’s notice
Equipment needed: Clothing vaguely related to the “Best in ___” theme at a club, Google, a fast processor, and lots of friends
Average Pay: Depends on the event. Trivia usually nets $5L per right answer.
In SL, everyone can look how they want, so anyone has the potential to land a job modeling clothing, accessories, or jewelry. But if you have a duckwalk, or that gawd-awful “Model AO”, your chances of getting a break are pretty slim.
Skills needed: Basic knowlege of SL clothing and poses. Willingness/ability to listen to what your employer wants and expects.
Equipment needed: Quality skin, shape, hair, and AO. Wide assortment of pose animations.
Average Pay: Depends on the employer. Often clothing/accessories are given to the model in trade for their time.
Not Quite Entry Level
Once you’ve been at it for a while, you may decide it’s time to try your hand at some other potential sources of income.
Got a great idea? Want to make the next best thing since sliced bread? Maybe you like designing clothing, or artwork, or furniture, or jewelry, or even buildings. If you learn how to build items, you too could open up shop and one day have noobs asking you for a job.
Skills needed: an artistic eye, creative mind, knowlege of building and rudimentary scripting within SL, use of graphic software such as Photoshop, willingness to work continuously at creating, marketing, and promoting, willingness to deal with customers, knowledge of how to build/use vendors
Equipment needed: Clothing templates (a free download), (if clothing designer) prim skirt templates or prim skirt builder, graphic software, space to build (such as a sandbox), space to shoot pictures of products, decent graphics card. Place to rez 1 prim for XStreet SL box; more if you want an inworld shop.
Average pay: Very low, to start with; increases gradually as business grows and improves.
Actually, is it more accurate these days for the “D” in “DJ” to stand for “digital”? At any rate, clubs are always looking for DJs. They’re in high demand and have some minimal set-up. If you really love music and have plenty of it to share, you can find work in numerous clubs.
Skills needed: Knowlege of whatever genre of music you play. Understanding of how streaming music works in SL. Willingness to listen to/acknowlege requests. Understanding of WinAmp, iTunes, or SAMBroadcaster.
Equipment needed: WinAmp with Shoutcast plugin (PC), or iTunes with NiceCast (Mac). At least 2 hours worth of music per shift. A tip jar (for some locations). A stream, which can cost upwards of 1000L/month.
Average Pay: about 500L/shift.
These of course are just a few ideas as to how you can make a living in SL. For any of them, you really do have to be willing to work to earn your paycheck, and to learn how to get skills. You can’t expect someone else to hold your hand and do it for you. If you prefer that method, I may suggest camping.