In sport the the athletes and leagues are divided in to two basic categories: Pro and amateurs. Pros are paid for their skills and athletic abilities, while amateurs are not… supposed to be. But of course, every year major universities bring in millions of dollars from sports, and almost every year some young athlete is accused of accepting cash, cars or other perks from booster or alumni, for filling the stadium. In the business world the distinction, isn’t as cut and dry as the sports claims it to be.
Having worked professionally for many different sized companies, and in many divers fields, I have experienced first hand the good, the bad and the ugly of business practices. I am also guilty of implementing a few of them. There are universal standards and practices that have been established through years of tried and true real world testing. Usually, following these keep you on the right track in your business. They will not guarantee your success, but they will make things less stressful.
Aimee Weber in her article “The Next Step – Second Life Professionalism” does a great job illustrating the aspiring SL professionals that although in-world the laws of gravity, and fashion are not as strict as the real world, the laws of good business are. Many people much like the early days of the Internet see Second Life as a great opportunity, and for many it will be. However, for many who jump in quickly with a plan, or sense of the market place will not be as successful.
In the end Second Life is just another market driven by participants, buyers and sellers, products – just about anything you can think of and then some, and prices. Yes, you may be buying your virtual Vespa from a female furry with wings and a long flowing tail named Elmo Buttercup, but other than that it’s just like the real business world.
I found that the best way to build a business is by reputation. And reputations are built by doing, consistent, good work for people of the long term. Marketing helps to get your name out in the world, but most people who have your name will look for a reference that they consider solid and ask about your performance. For my business it has meant almost everything.
So, wear your best set of wings, fishnet stockings, the ski boots that match your hair, and if you show the clientèle through your professionalism, good practices, and fair pricing, you will be a success in-world and in-real-world.
Although in-real-world I would lose the ski boots, they’re too hard to walk in.