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Thursday, May 25, 2006

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Frans

Great post Aimee, and so true.

*Goes back to work on the portfolio*

Andrew

Highly relevant post, thanks!!

--runelogix Au

Trinity Serpentine

Werd.
In all seriousness, I've taken a couple of pages out of your book of business, Aims. Networking is essential and so is the operation of a business. Working for free is a must as well. Kudos. <3

Fizik Baskerville

I’ve been asked to add to this, from the perspective of someone who employees people from Second Life.

1) Set realistic expectations – if you have specific timescale limitations and salary expectation set this out before you are commissioned.

2) SKYPE – the power of communication is key. Invest in a SKYPE account.

3) ALT – consider using an alt account, or offer to work under an alt for the project. RL identity - just about everytime, if you're asking for $$$, you will be expected to submit an invoice. This will normally mean divulging and taking that step back into the RL from your SL experience.


4) IP - The projects IP will belong to the client or the IP of the agencies client

5) Proactive – Don’t rely on forums or the user made services. Most of the people who are actively working – as Aimee said – have developed a network. We don’t use any of these services; we work from recommendations and people who take the time to contact us. If you build/use a website, it wont necessarily mean they will come and employ you. Get out there looking for work!


6) The SL developer directory – Only a few of the companies listed on the SL develop directory are RL companies. The rest are freelancers. Unless you are forming your own design company - I’m presuming for this article you’re offering your services as a professional designer, if that’s the case make sure you have a resume lodged and in the design agencies listed. List yourself honestly and accurately, don’t try and bluff you’re a RL design company or bigger than you are. If you’re a single person in a bedroom, be honest and say that, if not you will soon be found out.

7) Bricks’n’Mortar – for large-scale projects, a client will be looking for accountability, a professional track record and in some cases professional indemnity insurance. Learn to step away from projects that may be too big for you.

8) Expectations – there is a gulf between hobbyist design and professional design. A professional designer is defined by being able to work within a brief, deliver on the brief and add value to the project.

Timescales are tighter and more aggressive. Remember in your private time, you have forever to make what you want. In the professional design world you’re on a strict deadline.

9) Build your Rep – be prepared to take on work that will build your reputation.

10) Don’t quit your day job – we’ve been asked time and time again about this subject. Currently commercial activity in SL is in its infancy. Try to strike a balance between both. (for now anyway).

11) RL Design vs SL Design – A lot of SL design and the in-world dynamic does not translate and crossover into the RL design industry. Be prepared to learn something new and add value where it’s needed. Use your understanding to add value, not as a way to dictate and step aside from your own ego.


www.riversrunred.com
www.spacethinkdream.com


Hiro Pendragon

Good article, Aimee!

A few more tips I can toss out:

1. Eat your own cooking.
A freelance writer told me, last fall, that any business where you don't use your own product will inevitably fail. If you're not passionate about what you do, and make products that you yourself would and do use, then your heart's not in it.

2. Make them sign a contract first.
Don't get burned by letting clients talk a big game and then come up short when it's time to pay the piper. Negotiate everything first so you're not left with hard feelings later.

3. Don't isolate yourself.
You may be the best, biggest, and smartest, but if you're not helping to promote other developers and their projects, you'll find yourself quickly unable to find help when you most need it.

4. Work with the best.
Find the people you admire in SL, and try and work with them. You will learn new skills, make good network connections, and have better results.

5. My personal rule of success in SL:
Make something no one else has made, or make something better than anyone else.

Forseti Svarog

I enjoyed that article Aimee. I thought I would pipe in as well from a different angle: the services world can be tough -- organization and discipline can protect you:

- before you start a project, document your deliverables and due dates, and have your client officially sign off on this document before you start (ideally build it into a contract). This can prevent so much trouble down the line.

- Be as careful as you can afford when choosing initial clients. In the services business, reputation is critical (obviously). Select clients with whom you think you can have a good working relationship. Be willing to pass on a project if red flags start popping up in your head.

- You don't always have to give IP rights to the client, but if you want to keep IP rights, be prepared to change your pricing. People will not pay as much if they know you have the right to resell. Make sure everybody knows who will own what *before* you start.

- Ask your client up front if you can use images or video from the project in your portfolio. (Some will require approval for anything before it goes up publicly.)

- you should be prepared to do a mix of fixed-price projects and hourly projects to be competitive. Fixed price projects can be dangerous if you underestimate the work, so think very clearly about all the time a project will take across all the roles you might play. It may take you the first few projects to get your bidding levels and hourly estimates correct ... don't beat yourself up if you underestimated the work but rather focus on doing a great job and, as aimee said, getting it to the finish line.

- keep your standards high. Your reputation is created not only by word of mouth, but by the work people see and/or use. Even if it means a project turns unprofitable, it is in your interest to put forth the best effort possible.

- keep regular lines of communication open with your client during the project... whether you email them a status update on a regular basis, or pick a regular weekly time to have a conference call... communication is critical.

- when designing, put your client's interests first. For example, if you are a builder, the key is to focus on the needs and goals of the client, not your own artistic vision or agenda.

One could go on and on... if you do decide to take the plunge, good luck!

Merrick Sterling

Aimee, you asked me contribute. It would seem that after reading everyone's comments, there is very little left to say. Great advice has been provided, now if aspiring SL developers will only follow it right?

I do have a handmade sign on my wall at home and at work..it says:
"Be innovative...Everyday"

Does that help? lol

Oz Spade

I suggest the following advice:

- Wear pants. Even though you might not like to wear pants (honestly, who does?), companies like it when you're wearing pants. And if you decide not to wear pants because they can't possibly tell that you aren't at that moment, don't suddenly announce "IM NOT WEARING PANTS".

- In conjunction with the above... just because they can't see you, doesn't mean you can type one handed during a meeting. Well, I'm sure you CAN, just don't.

- Detach any dongs before going to a meeting. Unless its green and shiny, then they'll just love you all the more.

- Don't "orbit" your employer. Business people only like to fly in high-class jets with atleast one hot flight attendant on board. And lots of booze.

- Leave anything like "Started a blog with pictures of nude avatar's asses" out of your portfolio. Not everyone appreciates fine art.

Follow the above and you'll be on your way to success! Or something like that.

Frans Charming

Oz, put your pants back on!

slplayer

se a different NEXT gen engine like a lot of major companies are looking at. SL is small time compaired to the power of other engines and their liscenees or people using them for industry quality film production and professional architects. That engine, I won't say. It isn't this pathetic Linden that doesn't use ANY of the industry standard tools.

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